India has been fortunate to be blessed with a myriad of cultures, religions, and customs, giving rise to an enviable history of arts and crafts that includes embroideries and dyeing techniques. Whether it is the intricate weaves of UP’s Chikankari, the wonderful simplicity of Bengal’s Kantha work, or the iridescent motifs of Rajasthan’s block printing – each stands out for its unique style of stitches and use of fabrics and colours.
Growing up, we have admired our grandmothers’ beautiful handcrafted silk sarees and the unparalleled elegance they would lend to the wearer.
Sadly, our Indian outfits today are merely reserved for festivals or special occasions, primarily due to the hassle of dolling up on a daily basis. As the role of a woman in Indian society continues to evolve by leaps and bounds, it’s about time our favorite attires catch on too. Read on to find out how you can marry the traditional Indian essence of feminism with comfort and convenience in your daily wardrobe:
Linen sarees are a working woman’s best friend with their light, comfortable, easy to breathe fabric and natural lustre. If the thought of these beautiful sarees fills you with the dread of wearing 6-inch heels and clumsily stumbling over to your desk, fear not! As the dialogue around reinventing the saree as a means of convenience is picking up steam, you can choose to pair your designer sarees with your favourite styles of crop tops for women.
You can visit anitadongre.com to read more about it. Keeping functionality in mind, you could even pair your linens with a contrast-coloured Nehru collared shirt. The style of draping is the final note that completes the picture, and draping a charming handwoven saree in a neck weave to free up your arms will help you perfect that effortlessly chic look. Complete the look with a pair of elegant embroidered jutis or leather sandals, and handcrafted chunky silver earrings or a bracelet.
The mere mention of silk and most women have their ears perked up for what is to follow. To really stand out at that special dinner, or romantic date, choose to style yourself in a raw silk outfit of your liking. The uneven silk yarn produces a textured slub that runs through the plain weave fabric, and gives a beautiful two-tone effect.
A plain fitted dress with a flared skirt in your favourite colour can be paired with a traditional brocade clutch, and a statement Polki ring to amp up the look. Alternately, you could also style your fabric into a long, open jacket. These are free-flowing, so you could add structure with a fitted tube top and skinny jeans. Pair either of these outfits with a classic pair of nude stilettoes, and be prepared to have heads turn all evening.
Got a brunch date with your girlfriends, and can’t decide what to wear while discussing life, careers and guys over coffees and croissants? If high street off-the-rack outfits bore you, Ikat is your new best friend. Pick a cotton fabric in one of the many eye-catching colours and patterns, and turn it into a short, breezy summer dress.
For a more casual affair, opt for a crop top to throw over a pair of distressed denim shorts or high-waist linen trousers. Alleviate the look with Kantha embroidered leather oxfords, or Dabu printed Kolhapuris. Finally, club your outfit with a macramé sling bag, beaded bracelets and round statement shades to own the unpretentious, laid-back look.