Diwali Party Style: Do’s and Don’ts

Navi Sidhu

What to consider when creating your next outfit for Diwali

I feel like Diwali is the beginning of the holiday season; the weather has turned, the decorations are starting to be displayed, American Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and the social calendar starts filling up. It’s a wonderful time of year…until you have to figure out outfits for all the get-togethers.

Here are some tips and tricks into figuring what to wear, from what you have already available to finding a new outfit.

Consider your venue:

Your outfit should always consider the venue. If you’re going to a house party, you may want to be a little more conservative and casual, accessorizing minimally. If you’re attending a party in a hall you may want to up the ante a little. Go with something a little more daring and fancy and add a statement accessory or two. Now, if you’re not an invited guest but you’re attending a festival/mela as a ticket holder in a hall, you may want to go somewhere in between, not so dressed down but not so over the top.

One thing I always consider is whether I will be wearing shoes at the event or not. A cropped pant does call for a killer pair of heels so I wouldn’t usually wear them to a house party, but rather a hall where I know I will keep my shoes on. I always find it awkward trying to pair shoes with a salwar so I’d be more likely to wear a salwar to a house party than to a hall.

Photo Credit: Pursebop.com

Photo Credit: Pursebop.com

The look:

I feel as though it’s easier to find something to wear if you come up with some idea of a look in your mind – nothing specific, but some parameters. For example, this year I’m thinking in the deep, rich colours – which always suit a colder time of year when it’s dark for so much of the day. I’m also attracted to rich, warm fabrics with some depth like velvet, brocade or raw silk.

For style it’s much more complicated. I don’t blindly follow trends at the expense of personal style or what flatters me. Also, I never overlook the classic shapes and styles that I could’ve worn five years ago or five years from now since I know they’ll give me a lot of mileage.

But as far as trends do go I do enjoy items that aren’t so specific that you wouldn’t look outdated if you try to wear them in a year or two.

I gravitate towards styles that have always been around but are currently having “a moment”.

If you are going for something new, it’s a good idea to go for something you don’t already have in your closet so that you are adding options going forward.

Try a colour or a style you that you don’t already have 10 of in your closet.

For example: I’m pretty “over“ the whole really long anarakali, almost gown look – I will definitely wear the ones I already own but I doubt I’ll be purchasing any more in the near future.

What I am interested in is the many different types of bottoms out there right now – cigarette pants, dhoti pants, printed, embroidered, etc. Again, all of these are not revolutionary and people wear them from time to time, so they won’t become “so 2015”.

Screenshot 2015-11-08 23.11.20

I also love the different kind of tops. There have always been the regular kameezes in varying lengths and the anarkali that comes and goes, but now I feel like that there are a myriad of tops in different necklines, shapes, lengths so there’s something for everyone.

So now where do I begin? I usually begin by looking through what I have, stitched and unstitched BEFORE I begin shopping. I do this first so that I don’t fall in love with something new and shiny before I give my existing pieces a chance. Can I just re-wear something I have? Can I mix and match something I already own to make an entirely new outfit?

On the rare occasion that I’ve decided that I must have something new I have found amazing options online. So far, my favourite site has been a little website called Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop. (No, I am not getting paid by Pernia or receiving free merchandise to write this…But if you are reading this, Pernia, I will willingly sell my soul for any of your wares!)


If I were to purchase something this year…which I may… here are my inspirations for my Diwali social calendar:


House Party:

Photo Credit: Pernia's popup shop

Photo Credit: Pernia’s popup shop

I’m loving this Krishna Mehta suit. It’s a solid silk kameez with a touch of gold embroidery paired with printed purple and red pants. This outfit is simple enough to wear to a house party paired with a nice pair of earrings such as these medium-sized Rohit & Deepa kundan ones.

Photo credit: Pernia's popup shop

Photo credit: Pernia’s popup shop

This outfit is versatile and would transition nicely to other seasons as well. You could pair it with larger accessories, statement shoes and wear it to a fancy hall party. I’m already thinking of how I could reuse those pants with a different kameez, or even pair that kameez with a contrasting dupatta and pajami and create a whole other suit. That would drive the cost per wear (CPW) pretty low…and justify my purchase.


Hall Party:

Photo Credit: Pernia's popup shop

Photo Credit: Pernia’s popup shop

For a dressier event this Ridhima Bhasin suit is very different than anything I own. It pairs a peplum kameez with a lace dhoti pant. This is a statement and would be great outfit to carry you to a party in a hall.

I would avoid large earrings or a necklace since I wouldn’t want to distract from the detail at the neckline but would pair it with a couple of great accessories like this maang tikka (head piece) and statement ring:

Photo credit: Pernia's popup shop

Photo credit: Pernia’s popup shop

Photo Credit: Pernia's popup shop

Photo Credit: Pernia’s popup shop














Diwali Mela:

For a piece I could wear over and over I would opt for this jacket/gown by Prathyusha Garimella:

Photo credit: Pernia's popup shop

Photo credit: Pernia’s popup shop

It’s very elegant and understated; it would be what you either wear with it that would dress it up or dress it down. For a mela, I would opt to dress it down by wearing this whimsical House of Tuhina necklace.

Photo Credit: Pernia's popup Shop

Photo Credit: Pernia’s popup Shop

To keep CPW low, I would re-wear this to a wedding reception by pairing it with a traditional passa (head piece), ornate necklace and/or a large cocktail ring. If ever it were to seem outdated due to the length, I would be look into hemming it shorter, which is an option because there isn’t embellishment at the bottom border… which, again, reduces CPW 🙂


So, folks, today’s lessons can be summed with these simple points:

  1. Always consider your venue when deciding what to wear
  2. Mix and match, get creative
  3. Try to add to your inventory by getting something you don’t already own
  4. When in doubt, CPW can justify any purchase.
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