Ethnic wear has always lured me towards it time and again, from the summery colorful kurta & patiala to boho chic long skirts , from the oh-so-hyped anarkali to the sarees in rich vibrant colors. They bring a fresh change to the usual western wear dressing. I enjoy varying my style from chic uptown girl to a desi belle on weekly basis. In my attempt to do so, it makes it imperative for me to know what’s in my wardrobe. The eternal question comes back again is how do I create a basic wardrobe for ethnic wear.
But before I brief you on 7 wardrobe staples for ethnic wear fashion , these tiny little monstrous questions might be jumping in your head. So read on.
Why – Because it’s a fresh twist from the same ole fashion
When – Wear it to Work | Evening out | Festivals | Weddings
How – That I will show you now & how – Tadaaaa 🙂
1) Kurta – The prime ingredient of any ethnic wear fashion fix starts with purchase of colorful Kurta.
You can buy different kind of Kurta depending on the following criteria to create a big collection
Style – A line, Straight cut , Anarkali
Length – Long , knee-length , short length
Sleeves – Full Sleeves, 3/4th Sleeve , Half sleeve, Cap Sleeves , sleeveless
Fabric – Cotton, Linen, Chikankari , Kashmiri , Chiffon, Georgette , Silk ,Khadi , Jute
Buying tip – The first buy has to be white , cream , black & maroon Kurta. Then you can keep adding different colors & styles. Always prefer solid colors to prints as it gives you more permutations to style. My favorite shopping place to buy different kurta would be Cottons, FabIndia & Anokhi for the solid colors. Quirky prints can be tried at Biba & Global Desi.
White is the must have ladies. Grab it in all possible fabrics – cotton, linen, chikankari , Kashmiri , Georgette & Silks. They are the best investment ever.
2) Leggings – I remember how in my childhood days, we would get Churidar stitched from tailors – yes , all of you might have worn those shabby , loose from the knees or maybe extremely uncomfortable & tight fitted churidars. Since the time knit fabric came into picture , life became easier for all . Leggings are a boon & saviour from all of the tailoring hassles. Grab them in all the colors possible colors.
Buying tip – As the Fashion Basics buying rule commands, start with neutrals like off white , black , maroon & brown. You can then proceed to red, mustard yellow, green , indigo blue , rani pink and so on. My favorite pick ups have been from Cottons & Biba.
3) Patiala – They have so much room , I can breathe well and I can move however I want to 🙂 What more do I want ? They are an alternative option to leggings.
This entire look has an air of elegance & sublime beauty to it. It’s so chic & comfortable.
Kareena Kapoor has been, I think ,the official brand ambassador of this Fashion trend. She sported this look for couple of her movies – “Bodyguard” & “Jab we met” being the major ones.
Buying Tip – Do check the fall of the fabric while you buy. Stiff fabrics will make you look broad. Try loose cottons & satin silks. As usual begin with Off white, black , maroon, indigo blue & then shift to pink, red & green colors. I have got the best ones again from Cottons , FabIndia & Anokhi.
4) Salwar Suit – Once the separates are sorted, we can now move on to buy few classic salwar suit sets. They come handy when you have to attend a friend’s engagement or a religious ceremony or a Diwali party. If you haven’t bought one yet , then you are reading the right blog.
Salwar suits can be bought on the basis of following criteria –
Style – Anarkali , Straight cut with churidar , short kurta style with patiala , angarkha
Fabric – Cotton, silk, chiffon, Georgette
Buying Tip – Pick up fabrics according to occasions. Select a style that suits your body type as well. For eg – Anarkali is a big no for heavy busted women , Straight Kurta are a No for Pear shaped women. Steer clear of too much of detailing, you don’t want to be a christmas tree.
5) Heavy Dupatta – A colorful dupatta increases the style quotient of any salwar suit. You can always mix and match lot of these dupatta. You could take your pick from heavily embroidered Phulkari or Kutchi work dupatta, a Bandhani or a leheriya , chanderi silk or even an ikat dupatta. Indian textiles gives you a wide array of options to select from.
Buying tip – Have fun with colors. You can go overboard with embroidery , hand work & fabric textures. Yes, they come a little expensive but you could think of it as heirloom pieces. They can be best bought at the state shops promoting Indian crafts. Oh, also please do check out Patan na Patola stoles , they are gorgeous.
6) Saree Blouse – I am sure all of us own that one golden blouse which seems to go with everything and anything for the wedding festivities. Before we start making big purchases on these fineries, I would suggest to go for one golden blouse, one black blouse and one off-white blouse. These 3 are neutral colors and typically gel with all sarees. Since color blocking is still a big trend, you can then experiment with various contrasting colors or maybe go with a light-dark monochromatic scheme. You could get them stitched by following criteria –
Neck line style – High neck, boat neck, halter neck , deep V neck , backless
Sleeve length – Long sleeves, 3/4th sleeve , half sleeve, cap sleeve, sleeveless, one shoulder , corsets , halter neck, noodle straps
Buying Tip – Invest in good quality fabric. Stay away from tacky , shiny golden fabric. Matte finish always looks more elegant and suave. Ensure the fittings are done well , not too tight that your bulges seep out and not too loose for people to have a peep in 🙂 Hail good tailors , if they exist !
7) Skirts – Long and knee-length ethnic skirts seem to be the flavor of Indian fashion industry now. It’s a middle route for those who don’t want to dress in a western outfit and yet look stylish. Various Fashion brands have now been introducing long skirts as a fashion must have in their spring summer 2014 range. Brands like Biba , FabIndia, Anokhi , Vintage Earth , Pantaloons & Cottons come up with an interesting range of skirts. My favorite place turns out to be a Rajasthan state-run handicraft store which has beautiful block printed skirts.
Buying Tip – Start with Indigo Blue , maroon , mustard yellow, pinks & greens and then build around it . The idea being typically long skirts are available in Indian textiles with natural vegetable dyes, so a certain color palette flows in it. They come in soft fabrics, crinkled fabrics , silk & satin as well. Choose the fabric according to the occasion you plan to wear it for. Cottons for the regular wear & silks for the occasional wear.
So ladies, rummage through your wardrobes, take inventory, make a purchase list and go shopping. Or are you plain lazy to go out in this heat ?
If yes, then go through these 3 super links I like for Ethnic wear :
Hope you enjoy browsing through these sites and end up shopping some of the 7 wardrobe staples for Ethnic wear Fashion in India. Next post will be on basic footwear a woman should have , besides the 50 extra heels that we have 🙂
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Stay stylish people 🙂