Wedding shopping! The words illicit responses from utter delight to sheer dread amongst women. The ones who relish the idea of spending hours upon hours browsing stores, online websites and meeting with various designers for their dream outfits are in shopping heaven while the ones who think shopping is a complete waste of time are filled with an impending sense of doom regarding the whole exercise. However the one common thread binding both extremes of women is confusion! How to choose your Indian Wedding Attire?
A wedding outfit must reflect your personal style, which isn’t so difficult if you happen to be the decisive sort and know exactly what will make you look on point. But the waters get a little bit murky when it comes to Indian wedding attire mostly because Indian fashion is evolving at a tremendously fast pace. The age old traditional wedding clothing were worn over many years and passed on to future generations. These types of wedding outfits are still very popular, but as immensely talented designers churn out fresher, newer and reinvented collections each season the choice between going traditional or contemporary has never been harder. Leading to total chaos due to a plethora of luscious choices.
It also doesn’t help that nearly every female within a 20 mile radius of you will suddenly feel the incredible urge to dole out advice regarding what she thinks is the latest trend in Indian wedding dressing and what she would do if it was her time to shine. You might get adept at treating unsolicited advice as white noise after a few hundred times and imagine clubbing them over the head with a heavy object as you nod and smile aimlessly but sometimes a piece of that annoying advice will get stuck in your head and mess with your decisions.
In an effort to simplify things and make life a little bit easier during this hectic and stressful time we break down traditional and contemporary Indian wedding attire down to its bare bones with examples for (hopefully) quicker conclusions.
Starting with the most versatile and confusion inducing choice – the Indian version of the pantsuit – Salwar Kameez.
To make it simple let silhouettes and embroideries be your distinction between traditional and contemporary. Traditional silhouettes have straightforward cuts and shapes. The embroideries on traditional Salwar Kameez styles are simple with Indian motifs and colours. These styles tend to be more wearable regardless of current trends making them classic and investment worthy.
Contemporary Salwar Kameez styles tend to have more stylised silhouettes and abstract or western embroidery motifs. As with anything trendy the contemporary styles run the risk of becoming dated very quickly as each new season brings with it a different version of the contemporary Salwar Kameez.
Moving on to the Salwar Kameez’s super dressy cousin – the Lehenga. Lehengas can be divided up into traditional and contemporary based on styling, fabrics and the amount of embellishments.
Traditional Indian lehengas have short cholis with sleeves in varying lengths, flared skirts and feature a long dupatta that can be draped in different styles. These lehengas tend to be heavier on embroidery and made in luxurious silks or brocades. Both these elements tend to make traditional Indian lehengas very heavy to wear but the weight is a small price to pay for their unmatched grandeur and opulence.
Contemporary Indian lehengas break the mould with their silhouettes, minimal embroideries and sometimes do away with the dupatta. Women who want to be able to move around without being bogged down by their heavy outfits will love the contemporary styles. The availability of a variety of silhouettes that feature the lehenga and cholis in different cuts and shapes and the subdued embellishments make these ideal for those who want their clothes to be an extension of their personality.
The most quintessentially Indian piece of clothing is undoubtedly the saree. It is also a necessity in every Indian woman’s closet irrespective of her age. In the past sarees have always been more traditional and have been considered family heirlooms. The custom of daughters wearing their mother’s wedding saree at their own wedding is still prevalent even today. However the creative geniuses of Indian fashion have given the humble saree a modern day facelift and created a myriad of styles. Sarees can be distinguished as traditional or contemporary by the way they are draped, the fabric and the kind of embellishments.
Local craftsmen who have honed their skills over many generations make traditional sarees from indigenous Indian fabrics. Each state in India has its own distinctive style of saree that is worn by the women who reside there. Traditional Indian sarees are always in style and add a certain vintage charm to any look.
Contemporary Indian sarees are the new age evolution of the traditional saree. They are made in lighter fabrics like net and georgette that are easy to drape and hug the shape of the body creating the illusion of curves. Contemporary sarees can be simply or heavily embellished with different types of materials. Some sarees are also pre-stitched and pre-draped for women who can’t be bothered with the hassle of draping and pinning down the pleats. Contemporary sarees may not have the old world charm of traditional sarees but there is no denying their endless possibilities of creative styling.
This post is provided by Strand of Silk, an online retailer of contemporary Indian fashion and bridal wear.