This article is not only for our brides-to-be, but for all those of you who have a packed social calendar, many functions to attend and the perpetual feeling that you don't have enough clothes!
Given the crisis that has befallen right now and the need to be as ethical in our fashion choices as possible, all of us want to be environment and cost conscious.
On a personal note, I've been married for over 2 years and I'm always attending social gatherings and weddings. I completely get the feeling of wanting a fuller Indian wardrobe but not breaking the bank for achieving the same! We all want to be impeccably dressed, try not to repeat clothes (at least where the crowd is the same!) and also be as economically effective as possible because, let's face it, ethnic clothes tend to be very expensive!
In this series of blogs related to a bridal trousseau (and desi wardrobes in general), I'm going to give all of you some tips that I have been using to survive the wedding seasons i.e., putting together different looks, but also reusing a lot of my heavy Indian outfits, because in all honesty, our hearts are always in the intricacies and we don't want to wear them just once!
THE IMPORTANCE OF STAPLES!
If you have these staples in your wardrobe/trousseau picks already, you're good to go! But if you don't already have these, you should seriously find the ones that speak to you ASAP!
A) The IT blouse-
Girls trust me on this, a good nude/golden blouse is your saviour and wardrobe hero! I can't stress enough on how many times I have been able to pair a classic nude, hand embroidered blouse with a saree/lehenga/drape skirt and created extremely versatile looks! Whether you like to borrow your Mom's classic sarees or your sister's latest acquisitions (but you both wear different sizes!), your classic gold blouse is going to be your knight in shining armour.
If you have a gold blouse with more traditional embroideries like Zardozi or Aari work, get a differently patterned nude blouse done with mirrors, gota, sequins, etc.
I ensure that I have different patterns and different embroideries done for these blouses so that I'm covered for family functions as well, for which I usually pick slightly conservative options.
Here are some tips to ensure that the blouse is versatile -
Ensure that it has all shades of gold in the embroidery (light gold and dull gold), try to mix gota work, nakshi, zardozi, pearls and fewer mirrors in one super-heavy blouse. This becomes your hero. You team it with a light saree/lehenga for a less heavy look and you can pair it up with really heavy clothes for occasions of your inner circle.
If you want to invest in a variety of silver/nude/gold blouses economically, I'd suggest you do a few with all-over handwork and then more from readily available fabrics in those shades (like sequins, machine embroidery, plain raw silk, velvet, etc.). Plain blouses in great cuts look really good paired with heavier sarees and lehengas.
Once you start planning your blouses, ensure your nudes match every color of embroidery from silver, light gold, dark gold, mirror work, pearls, etc. Also ensure that they are in different patterns and cuts so that you have something for traditional functions and indo-western fusion ones too!
B) The Versatile Dupattas
Personally, I love net based dupattas in a beige/nude tone. You can mix and match them with almost anything! I prefer their width to be 30 or 44 inches(standard), smaller than the wider ones as they're easier to carry and drape.
If you don't have a gold net dupatta, here's a DIY option -
Pick out a net fabric with sequins/ thread embroidery buttas all over (opt for a more neutral color of embroidery). Next, pick out one or two borders which match the embroidery of the buttas. Ensure that you stick to gold borders and don't go for contrast colored ones as your styling options become limited since it cannot be used with everything.
If you want to opt for a heavier classic dupatta (that also matches your blouse tone), you can give it to your designer to get it dyed and get handwork done on the dupatta that matches the embroidery and motifs of the blouse to make one cohesive, neutral set.
You also get ready patch work dupattas (for daily wear) which are versatile and literally go on any kurta because they have all the shades patched on them!
3. Can-Can Skirt
Add that extra glamour to your lehengas by making them look voluminous and spreading the fabric in a complimentary manner. The reasons you should have one of these in your wardrobe are-
- So that you don't need cancan in all your other lehengas.
- It's easier for storage.
- It's a dream to travel with for destination weddings!
- It can double up as a standalone lehenga
- It lets you de-glam some lehengas for lighter functions
4. Must-have lehengas/skirts
- Plain raw silk lehenga in a nude tone (no borders, nothing)! This is great to pair with absolutely anything and everything, from crops to blouses to shirts to kurtas to sarees!
- Plain velvet lehenga in deeper tones like marsala/navy/black (depending on your wardrobe color palette). These look rich paired with neutral blouses or under heavy kurtas too!
- A rich brocade lehenga which could be paired with a shirt for a modern look or a traditional blouse for a wedding.