Sarong: A Timeless Piece of Fashion

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By Shanuka Kadupitiyage

Although most of us fancy a modern collection of outfits and clothing, traditional garbs continues to have timeless value, thanks to its cultural relevance in society. The Sri Lankan sarong is a great example. A simple article of clothing it may be, the sarong is versatile, functional and remains fashion relevant on the runway at CFW, while seamlessly fitting in while chilling at the village tea spot. 

I was neither much of a fan of sarongs, nor do I have any preference. I simply didn’t own one to wear, and never saw the need to buy one for myself. I had to be gifted with one to realise what I had been missing out on. 

Even if the sarong wasn’t a traditional dress it’s no surprise that the sarong falls into the timeless category of fashion. It’s simple in design, with a silhouette that is flattering for the physique of especially South Asians. 

However, my eyes opened to the functional benefits of what the sarong has to offer. It would be a surprise to hear that making a sarong would create a lot of waste material. Not only that, it’s easy to wear and wash: is a huge step up in comfort compared to some skinny jeans I’ve worn. It even serves to provide ample protection against mosquitoes and other insects. 

Even so, the sarong is rarely seen being worn among the public (save the rare exception) outside a certain strata in society, especially in the urban landscape of Colombo.

This is also most probably due to some practical limitations that is synonymous with the sarong. The modern trousers are simply more convenient for our everyday life in the urban landscape. 

It would also be easy to chalk it up to social stigma, but the sarong is a frequently-showcased element of menswear in almost every designer’s collection. 

Maybe rocking a sarong would be an interesting idea to play with as humidity continues to increase as the weeks go by. Mixing and matching with your wardrobe might take some looking into to get the perfect aesthetic, but if you are feeling a little daring, why not give it a try to make a statement and stand out from the rest.