Indian Style Pitfalls to Avoid


By Navi Sidhu

We’ve all had that experience where we’ve gotten ready for the party but something just doesn’t seem quite right…you’re just not “feelin’ it”.

So here are some of the common mistakes that we’ve all made that had us fall just short of fabulous:

  1. Sari lepitfallIMG_3906ngth: unless there’s a flood, we should only catch a glimpse of your shoes as you walk but they should not be on display when you are standing.  Two tips to avoid this very common mistake:wear your shoes when you tie your sari
    • stand in front of a full-length mirror when tying your sari and check yourself from the front AND the back as you go
  2.  Black shoes: a great staple for work and daily life but black shoes rarely work with Indian outfits, except in the rare case that your outfit is black.  When in doubt, go with nude or metallics and open toe is usually a safe bet.
  3. Casual handbag: I often see women carrying a big, work appropriate bag with their Indian evening attire.  Again, black is probably too harsh and big or printed is likely too casual. I usually choose a clutch in nude, metallic, or a solid colour.
  4. Wrinkled or creased: Ironing clothes is one of the most irritating things to do, for me anyway but it is one of the simplest fixes. Heating up the fabric will also release some of the odor from the past wears.
  5. pitfallIMG_3876Tailoring: most Indian clothing comes in one size and silk isn’t a stretchy fabric that will provide forgiveness.  Make friends with a good tailor (Indian or otherwise) and make sure that, if nothing else, these few measurements are just right:
    • Shoulders: the seams at the shoulder should sit just on the edge before your shoulder curves down to your arm.
      Sleeves: the sleeves should fit snuggly enough but still allow you to bend and raise your arms. If the item is sleeveless, ensure that the armholes are not so large that your bra is exposed.
    • Width of the kameez (shirt approximately down to your knees with slits to the hips on either side): the fabric width at the bottom should be about as wide as your hips, not much more, not much less.
    • Length: Similar to the short sari point above, your shoes should not be on display in a lehenga and the fabric should be an inch or two from the ground with your shoes on. To address this, decide on your shoes, take them to the tailor with you, THEN get the lehenga hemmed.  For a last minute fix, select shoes that have a lower heel or you could try to wear the lehenga higher or lower on your hip.
    • Underpinnings: visible bra straps are not ideal. Have a wardrobe of bra options on hand (strapless, stick-on, regular) to ensure that the elegance of your low-cut back isn’t undermined by your bra straps. Similarly, try to hide your safety pins and other aids by pinning them from the inside of the outfit rather than right on top
  6. Hair and makeup: I don’t want to tell anyone that they need makeup but you are reading a piece about style and beauty. It’s hard to carry off a fully embroidered, sparkly, bright outfit without a lick of makeup.  The over the top outfit will just punctuate the lack of colour on your face, unless of course, you have flawless, glowing skin, no dark circles and rosy cheeks.  If you aren’t a makeup girl, at the very least swipe on some mascara, blush and gloss.  It will brighten your face and help compliment the outfit.
  7. Jewelry: similar to makeup, it all falls a little short if the outfit is heavily adorned but you haven’t added any embellishment to yourself – the outfit ends up wearing you rather than the other way around.  You don’t need to wear a full set of jewelry but adding an earring with some presence can go a long way.  Don’t ignore your hands, either; I always like to add at least one bangle, cuff, or statement ring.
  8. Not being you: can’t walk with confidence in those heels?  Don’t wear them.  Feel awkward wearing that revealing sari blouse?  Don’t wear it.  The biggest style killer is lack of confidence.  On the other hand, if that neon green suit make your heart go pitter-patter, then rock it!  If you order a pair of Amrapali ear cuffs, count the sleeps until they get delivered and are super excited to wear them, then you’ve got to wear the hell out of them (and get increasingly smug with every compliment you get) even though your mother called them “weird”.

Here’s a look that does work:pitfallIMG_4096(2)

Why this look works: The suit fits, is ironed and clean. Make-up is minimal except for the red lip which ties in with the suit border; hair has volume and texture.  Chandelier earrings and matching bangle on each arm compliment the outfit.  Shoes are a nude peep toe, which are a staple, whereas the bronze clutch is acceptable though a softer gold might have been better suited.

Don’t forget to take a selfie while your make up is still fresh, then get on with the party!

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