A brightly colored envelope hits your doorstep announcing a wedding from a family member or dear friend. Whether you are Indian or not, you do want to wear something suitable for this beautiful occasion. The wedding season is in full motion during spring and summer. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and lost when you shop for Indian clothes. There are many different styles, colors, embroidery styles and fabrics to chose from. That is why I will give you a simple guide to Indian clothing, which will make your search for the perfect wedding outfit a little less complex.
Indian clothing styles
The Indian clothing styles differ per region and religion. Different regions also know different styles of embroidery and decoration. A well known example is the Zari embroidery style, using silver or golden thread. Another style is the colorful Phulkari embroidery. A style used by famous designer Manish Malhotra for his Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WLIFW) autumn/winter 2013 collection (it is worth a Google). All styles come in different fabrics. Often used are; silk, satin, cotton, brocade and georgette (crepe) fabrics.
A well known clothing style is the Sari, which is a long piece of unstitched cloth worn with a tightly fitted, midriff bearing blouse (choli) and a simple underskirt (lehenga). You can drape the sari in different ways. You can opt for a more conservative style by covering yourself up with the fabric or reveal some skin for a modern style of dress. A common way of draping is, wrapping it around your waist (pleating is optional) and draping the other end over your shoulder.
Fun fact: designers Shivan & Narresh have recently introduced the fashionable bikini sari. A beach must have!
A Salwaar is a loose pair of trousers, a Kameez is a long shirt/tunic. Both are worn with a dupatta/odhni which is a long scarf. There are many different styles. The Salwaar trousers can also be tight fitted (churidaar) or baggy and the Kameez is available in loose styles or fitted, with short or long sleeves. A fashionable style is the Anarkali. The Anarkali has a tightly fitted top with a long umbrella bottom and is combined with tight trousers.
Ghagra Choli (Lehenga Choli)
Most gowns worn by Indian brides are the Ghagra Choli style. This style is very popular and often worn by actresses in Bollywood films. It consists of a midriff baring blouse (choli), a heavily embroidered and pleated skirt (lehenga) and a long scarf (dupatta). There are many styles, some more revealing than others. If you are a fan of Bollywood films you might have noticed that some choli tops are nothing more than bikini tops. I would advice not to wear this style of choli (blouse) to a wedding. The choli comes in many different styles; backless, halter neck, short sleeved or sleeveless.
When it comes to color you can wear whatever you like. Keep in mind that in Indian culture white is worn to funerals and red, the color for purity, is worn by brides.
Time to hit the shops
As you can see in the gallery, there are many styles and different designs when it comes to Indian clothing. You can opt for a more traditional gown or go for Indo-Western styled ensembles inspired by western clothing. Time to hit the shops!
The gallery is brought to you by Hunar Designs, an online shop for Indian clothes based in Singapore. Visit them via www.facebook.com/HunarDesigns for more Indian clothing.