Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pareo Paradiso

Matt gave me this pareo on our first vacation together.
I never knew I needed it, but now I take it with me on every swell swimming getaway. 
When traveling to a beach or resort destination or really anyplace where I’ll be at a pool, I always pack at least two pareos. One that’s elegant and dressy and the other that’s casual and sturdy. The tying and wearing might be a bit of a mystery to some, but millions of people wear a length of unstitched fabric as their daily dress. And with just a little practice it’s possible to master a few styles. 
A pareo is the most versatile, practical and simplest of all clothing items. It’s just one length of fabric yet it does so much. The size is a rectangle around two yards long and one to one-and-a half yards wide, depending on what you need for your height. You can wrap it around your waist for a skirt or around your body for a dress to create a sensuous garment. And for those of us who are a bit self-conscious in a swimsuit, by tying a beautiful pareo around your hips you'll feel instantly chic and could find yourself walking poolside with an elegant confidence. 

Puerto Pareo Vallarta

Yet it’s the simplicity that can be the most mystifying. How does one wrap and knot and keep the darn thing up without fiddling with it constantly or feeling the whole thing sliding down to your feet, perhaps revealing more than you intended? There are many tying techniques, but there are a few basics that are easy to learn. The easiest is folding the pareo in half widthwise, hold it behind you by the two top corners at waist height then create a skirt by bringing both sides to the front and tie to make a square knot. 

With my more rugged pareo, I can throw it on the sand or lounge chair as a beach or picnic blanket. And what could be easier to pack than a flat, folded swath of fabric?
I’ve been studying lots of drawings and descriptions of how to tie a pareo and it gets confusing. The best is to watch someone demonstrate. 
Here’s a good video showing lots of variations. 
Grab a glass of wine (or a pina colada!), a pareo or sarong or make your own. Then indulge in twenty minutes watching the video with a mirror nearby and try the looks that appeal to you. With just a little imagination and practice, you can nail several tying techniques and soon you'll be wearing your pareo with effortless chic. 

1 comment:

  1. Indeed! And as one ages it becomes necessary to show less and less skin, then the pareo proves to be an essential and elegant wardrobe accessory; it adapts itself so functionally to covering the undesireable parts of one's body. However, you look lovely in yours, Lesa.