How to Wear a Dhoti the Right Way?

Written by: Kaushik Jethva

Last Updated: June 27, 2023

indian dhoti and silk shirt in ethnic view
indian dhoti and silk shirt in ethnic view

When it comes to traditional Indian attire, the dhoti holds a special place in the cultural landscape of India. For centuries, men across the Indian subcontinent have been donning this attire for various occasions. So, how do you wear a dhoti? This guide will dive deep into the art and intricacies of how to wear a dhoti with style and grace. From the types of dhoti to the occasions best suited for wearing one, this is your ultimate resource for mastering how to wear a dhoti. Let’s begin!

1 History and Significance of the Dhoti

Before we delve into how to wear a dhoti, it’s essential to understand its rich history. The dhoti is considered an ancient garment, with mentions in Indian literature and art dating back over 2000 years. This attire has been a symbol of pride, cultural identity, and traditional values.

Understanding the importance and heritage of the dhoti will further enhance your experience when learning how to wear a dhoti.

2 Types of Dhoti

different types of dhoti for men
Different types of dhoti for men

As you embrace learning how to wear a dhoti, you should know that there are various types of dhotis, such as the Pancha, Munda, and Veshti. Each style represents different regions and communities. So, whether you’re wearing a Bengali-style dhoti or a South Indian-style dhoti, the technique of how to wear a dhoti may vary.

3 Materials and Accessories

When mastering how to wear a dhoti, choosing the right fabric is vital. Cotton and silk are the two most popular materials. Cotton is preferable for regular use, while silk dhotis are reserved for special occasions. Moreover, accessorising plays an essential role in how to wear a dhoti. A well-matched kurta, elegant footwear, and traditional jewellery can complete the look.

4 Step-by-Step Guide on How to Wear a Dhoti

a happy middle-aged man wearing kerala style dhoti sitting on a chair
a happy middle-aged man wearing Kerala style dhoti sitting on a chair

Now let’s get into the main part: how to wear a dhoti. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Preparing the Dhoti

Before you learn how to wear a dhoti, make sure it is clean and ironed. Lay it out and make sure there are no wrinkles.

Wrapping Around the Waist

Hold one end of the dhoti and start wrapping it around your waist. While wrapping, ensure that the length is such that it reaches just above your ankles. This is the first step in how to wear a dhoti.

Making the Pleats

This is an integral part of how to wear a dhoti. Take the fabric from the right side, make pleats and tuck them into the waist at the front.

Securing the Other End

Now, take the fabric from the left side and bring it between your legs to the back. Tuck this end into the waistband at the back. This step is crucial to provide mobility and comfort, which is why it’s a central aspect of how to wear a dhoti.

Final Touches

Adjust the dhoti to make sure it is even all around. You can also use a safety pin to secure the pleats in place.

Pairing with Appropriate Upper Wear

Knowing how to wear a dhoti is not just about the dhoti itself. Pairing it with a suitable kurta or traditional shirt is equally important.

5 Customisation and Variations

As you get comfortable with how to wear a dhoti, you can start experimenting with various styles. For instance, the Bengali style involves additional pleats and is draped differently around the legs compared to the South Indian style. Understanding regional variations can help you customise how to wear a dhoti based on the occasion and your preferences.

6 Tips and Tricks for a Perfect Dhoti Look

Choosing the Right Size

One of the fundamental aspects of how to wear a dhoti is choosing the right size. A standard dhoti is about 4-5 metres long and 1-1.5 metres wide. However, you can opt for different sizes depending on your height and build.

Selecting Appropriate Footwear

Traditional Indian sandals or juttis are ideal footwear when you’re mastering how to wear a dhoti. Make sure the footwear complements the colour and fabric of your dhoti and kurta.

Using Safety Pins

One common challenge in how to wear a dhoti is keeping it in place. Using safety pins can be incredibly helpful to secure the pleats and ensure that the dhoti doesn’t come loose.


As with any skill, practice is key to mastering how to wear a dhoti. Try wearing it around the house to get accustomed to the feel and learn how to move comfortably.


Traditional accessories such as a brooch, an ethnic watch, or a stole can enhance your dhoti look. Don’t hesitate to experiment to find what works best for you.

7 Occasions to Wear a Dhoti

Knowing how to wear a dhoti is particularly useful for special occasions. Dhotis can be worn for weddings, festivals, religious ceremonies, and cultural events. Each occasion may call for a specific style or variation of the dhoti. For instance, a gold-bordered silk dhoti might be perfect for a wedding, whereas a simple cotton dhoti would be more appropriate for a religious ceremony.

8 Benefits of Wearing a Dhoti

As you become proficient in how to wear a dhoti, you’ll also appreciate the benefits it offers:

  • Comfort: The loose and flowing nature of the dhoti makes it extremely comfortable, especially in hot and humid weather.
  • Versatility: Dhotis can be worn in different styles and paired with various upper wear, making them versatile.
  • Cultural Connection: Wearing a dhoti helps connect with one’s roots and heritage. It’s a beautiful way to embrace and showcase traditional culture.

9 Wrapping Up

Learning how to wear a dhoti is not only a skill but an experience that connects you to a rich cultural heritage. From selecting the right fabric and size to mastering the pleats and accessorising, knowing how to wear a dhoti is an art in itself. With practice and a keen sense of style, you can confidently don this traditional attire for any occasion and make a statement.

Keep in mind the tips and tricks shared in this guide, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a dhoti-wearing connoisseur. So the next time someone asks you how to wear a dhoti, you’ll be ready to share your expertise and maybe even give a live demonstration!

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About This Article

Kaushik Jethva
Written by: Kaushik Jethva author

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Updated: June 27, 2023
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