Runway Ready

Indian fashion is exploding with vibrant colours and styles, the options are endless! When buying a traditional Indian outfit it can be overwhelming trying to figure out where to start. Here are my top 3 tips to a stress-free shopping trip for women.

Pick a style of dress

There are many different styles of clothing for women to choose from. Depending on the region of India, and the occasion, different outfits may be more suitable. Some of the different traditional clothing options include:

  • Saree/sari: this is made up of a long piece of fabric (between 4 and 9 meters) and paired with a choli (blouse piece). The fabric is wrapped around your bottom half to form a skirt, and pleated at the front. The extra material is also pleated and draped over your shoulder. There are many different ways to drape a saree depending on the region and occasion (e.g. if are moving around a lot you may want to drape it so that it is off your arm, while other people prefer to drape it so the fabric hangs over their arm). Often the blouse piece is attached to the fabric at the end of the cloth and is cut off and you take it to a tailors to get made into a blouse, which costs around 1000-1500 rupees ($20-$30NZD). Alternatively you can try and find a pre-made blouse which matches the fabric (this often works out cheaper, depending on the quality of blouse you are after). Sarees are a very versatile piece of clothing and can be worn to formal and non-formal events, and have a huge variety to pick from depending on what you are after.
  • Lehenga: this is made up of an ankle length skirt and a choli. It is also often paired with a dupatta (scarf) which can be draped in various ways. Lehengas are often worn to formal events and parties.
  • Kurti: this is a tunic-style dress paired with matching pants or jeans underneath for a more casual look. These can be every day wear, or depending on the style, can be worn to semi-formal occasions.

Pick a colour

You can find Indian clothing in almost every colour imaginable! If you have a colour in mind before going shopping it can help narrow down your options. You can also find clothing in solid colours, two-tone outfits (where the choli and saree/lehenga are contrasting colours or the saree/lehenga is made up of two colours) and three-tone outfits (where the choli, lehenga and dupatta are all different colours, or the saree/lehenga is made up of 3 different colours).

If you aren’t sure where to start with picking a colour, you can take this quiz to see what colours suit your skin tone:

Or you can do what I did, and just buy clothing in your favourite colour!

Don’t forget to accessorize!

Once your outfit is all sorted you will want to complete the look with some accessories. You can do this with some bangle sets (I usually get 1 set per arm), and a bindi (a coloured dot sticker that goes on your forehead) or for more formal events a maang tikka (similar to a bindi, but much larger and often made up of beads, and has a chain attached that hangs from your hair onto your forehead).

Now you are runway ready!

Annelise (left) wearing a kurti-style dress, myself(middle) wearing a lehenga, and Chloe (right) wearing a saree

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