Unwrapping the mystery of the pareo

magenta long pareo skirt

A pareo is an absolute staple in any gypsetters wardrobe, offering the feel of ultimate comfort and elegance whilst travelling. Many have never heard of a pareo, so we are here today to unwrap the mystery and offer an insight into these beautiful wrap garments and the history of their beginnings.

ddoo collective navy pareo skirt on model

What is a pareo?

A pareo is a type of sarong; a wrap of cloth that ties around the waist to form a luxurious and comfortable garment. Usually just under 2 metres in length, draping down to a length between the thigh and the ankle, these are commonly worn in Polynesia, as well as in many other hot destinations across the globe. Our collections utilise the versatility of a pareo in many different ways; from wrap shorts and trousers to silk wrap skirts. These allow you to create outfits that can transition from city chic to boho beach and from day to night with ease.

pareo skirt design from tahiti

Where does ‘pareo’ originate?

The word pareo (or pāreu) originates in the Cook Islands as the Tahitian word for a ‘wraparound skirt’. It was once only used to refer to the female version of the skirt; however, today the term refers to any piece of wrap cloth used by both men and women. In Tahiti, pareos were first made from a fabric called tapa, which was often formed of woven leaves or beaten bark. This meant that the colours of the pareo were often very neutral, consisting mainly of deep brown tones and had a short life span. For special occasions, the pareo would be decorated with natural colourings to make a statement. However, these pieces slowly evolved over time from the bark material to western style cloth, as the process of making tapa was very time consuming and not sustainable with the short living nature of the fibres.

When western explorers bought over this cloth in the 1700s, the revolutionary change from bark clothing to fibres such as cotton began. From this point onwards, the materials were more beautifully embellished, dyed and decorated with imagery of ferns, flowers and other natural forms. It was traditional for the pieces to show an array of vibrant or bold colours, not only for special occasions but also for everyday wear.

firefly hunt pareo skirt from ddoo

Modern-day pareo

Today, a variety of pareo can be found in differing lengths and styles, commonly dyed in bold colours with tie-dye effects and traditional floral motifs. The light silk fabric ensures that no matter where you are, your pareo will not inhibit your travels but help you to look and feel as beautiful as ever. Pareo is commonly made from materials such as cotton, silk and rayon in modern day but still follow many of the traditional styles and colours. Our pareo are made for longevity, to be a staple in your luxury travel wardrobe, and to aid you in the freedom of your travels. We offer pareo trousers, pareo skirts and pareo shorts in a variety of designs to suit every travel personality from light and bright colours to deeply rich tones. Explore the range today!

ddoo sarong encre en chine

What is the difference between a pareo and a sarong?

Pareos and sarongs are very similar, with the main difference being in their origins and traditional patterns. An Indonesian sarong is usually made from batik fabrics, and the word comes from the Malay word “sarung” which translates to ‘sheath or covering’. A Tahitian pareo, on the other hand, is made with vivid colours and floral patterns with printed patterns and tie-dye effects.

pareo trousers and long silk shirt outfit

How to wear a pareo

A pareo can be worn in many different ways, from our long pareo skirts to shorter alternatives as well as dresses, shorts and trousers. These all share the similarity of being tied around the hips or waist with a simple, elegant knot, creating an effortlessly chic look. Mix and match your pareo with bold colours and patterns with an open shirt, a simple bikini or a cami top, and you will feel ready to take on any adventure. If you need a little help learning to tie your pareo, the video below may be of help! Invest in your very own pareo today and feel the sense of comfort and freedom offered by the wrap skirts, short and trousers and you will never look back.