How to wear a pareo 7 different ways and use it beyond the beach

by Sylvia

How to  wear a pareo 7 different ways and use it beyond the beach |

A pareo or sarong makes a great beach cover up. In many cultures, the pareo is part of a woman’s daily wardrobe. I’m here to help you show how to wear a pareo in fashionable ways and use it beyond the beach.

Pick a pareo with a classic color and pattern. The one I use is from Zara. The pattern gives the way I tie my pareo visual interest, since I can create new patterns depending on how I tie it. The small tassels are a nice design touch.

Select a fabric that’s not too sheer. A cotton-silk blend weave is a good, lightweight choice.


Also have a look at the best bathing suits for women over 40


What to Wear With a Pareo

I’ve evolved with fashion through the years, starting with a pareo and bikini, to wearing it as a dress, to layering one. Some of my favorite ways to layer a pareo include:

  • With a belt to cinch the waist
  • With a denim jacket
  • With leggings and a tank top underneath
  • With a strapless one-piece pant suit (worn in the pictures)

Ready to start wrapping?

1. A Kimono Shawl

Useful and stylish when it’s a bit chilly or your shoulders need sun protection.

One pareo - 7 different ways - wear it as a kimono |

Take the short ends on each side of your pareo and tie them together leaving an opening for your hand to slip through each hole. The longer, hanging ties shorten the shawl to keep it on your shoulders.

One pareo - 7 different ways - wear it as a kimono |

2. A Wrap Halter

One pareo - 7 different ways - wear it as a halter dress |

This is one of the easiest ways to make a dress or top. Place the middle of the pareo against your back and hold each end in your hand. Cross the ends across your chest and tie them at the back of your neck. Smooth the front, spreading the fabric underlayer to cover your chest area. This flows beautifully when worn with leggings or pants.

One pareo - 7 different ways - wear it as a halter dress |

Add a belt to cinch your waist and to keep everything in place if you’re wearing this as a dress. Choose a strapless bra, adjusting the neck tie to hold the back of the pareo up high enough to conceal your bra.


Also check the best bathing suit cover ups for for the beach


3. A Mini Halter

One pareo - 7 different ways - wear it as a halter top |

Tie your pareo in front with a big knot. Take the two hanging ends, twist them and tie at the back of your neck. Now you have an instant, flirty mini halter dress or top that looks great with shorts or leggings.

One pareo - 7 different ways - wear it as a halter top |

4. A Strapless Dress

One pareo - 7 different ways - wear it as a strapless dress |

This part of the technique will be the start of the rest of the looks: With the middle of the pareo against your back and the ends in front, grab some fabric at a halfway point between the tip of the pare0 and your chest for each side. Tie the bunched fabric pieces together, leaving the ends of the pareo to fall and hang.

For a clean, strapless look, find the two hanging ends, fold them together and tuck them into your chest, under the knot.

5. A Single Shoulder Strap Top or Dress

One pareo - 7 different ways - wear it as a one shoulder top or dress |

Follow the strapless steps but take one of the hanging ends, twist it and tuck the strap piece into the back of your pareo.

6. A Flowy Top

One pareo - 7 different ways - wear it as a flowy open dress |

Use the strapless dress technique and leave the ends to hang in a strapless, flowy top like the photo above.

7. Flowing Bandeau Shirt Dress

Try this for a final fashion pareo technique.

One pareo - 7 different ways - wear it as a flowing bandeau shirt dress |

Tie your pareo with the strapless technique, grab the hanging ends and tie them in the back of your pareo, like an apron. The look is unique, and if you use a mirror to see your back, you can tuck until you create a really interesting pattern.


Now that you have some ideas, start experimenting! How will you wear your pareo?


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how to wear a pareo


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Patti

So helpful, Sylvia. And wearable here in Florida for a few more months, too. xo


2 Jodie filogomo

Wow…great ideas to make it so versatile! I love the kimono idea–mom & I kinda did that in an upcoming post!! jodie


3 Cynthia Bowman

It’s a great way to stay warm without clasping your shawl. I’ll look out for your upcoming post!


4 suzanne

I love the last photo, the one that is like a shirtdress – that is a new one for me! Thanks for all the great ideas, I always struggle to get my pare tied properly and this step by step guide is great! Suzanne


5 Cynthia Bowman

The last one was a happy accident! That’s why it’s fun to try different things in front of a mirror, you never know what you may discover.


6 Greetje

I have given up on pareos, however versatile they may seem. Somehow I always manage to make a mess of them. No matter what instructions I follow.


7 Cynthia Bowman

Pareo tying is tricky, Greetje. And sometimes scary, because no one wants to suffer from a wardrobe malfunction. 🙂


8 Brianna Probert

I really loved the strapless technique. I have been wondering for how long have you been concealing this wonderful idea ;). So now as you have shown me the trick……I ll surely give it a shot…thank you Cynthia it was worth the wait!!!!


9 Cynthia Bowman

Glad to hear, Brianna. Whatever we can do to make our favorite clothes and accessories more versatile makes life easier!


10 Andrea

Very great ideas! I haven’t seen all of them. Usually I wear my pareo only at the pool of beach but these looks I will try for the weekend or evening. Thank you very much!


11 Cynthia Bowman

Hi Andrea,
Sometimes the secret to making the pareo work beyond the beach is picking one that’s made of silk or a more elegant fabric or pattern that doesn’t look too beachy.


12 judy

Love this pareo. Can’t seem to find it at Zara. Can you suggest something similar that is easy to buy online. Size, colors etc.


13 kathy

I bought a pashmina dress about 4yrs ago at a mexico resort. it can be worn 7different ways. cant remember all the ways. it has 1-1-1/2″ straps, really cute. Any ideas. tag says pareos del
pushmina dress


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