10 Things Every Desi Girl Needs in Her Wardrobe

Desi closet

Getting ready for an event can be stressful. Outfits are usually decided in advance but what makes it hard to get out the door are the details. And when styling an Indian outfit, are there ever details!  If you have handy a small wardrobe of accessories to finish your outfit, you can be ready and out the door in no time.

Here, in somewhat of a particular order, I’m listing 10 items that make getting event ready easy:

1.A Pair of Sandals in a Metallic or Nude

It is the standard footwear that you can trust to go with most outfits. When in doubt, open toe metallic or nude heels are the answer.



This minimal soft gold pair is right on trend and at a great price point so it doesn’t have to be the only pair you own.

Opt for a non-descript metallic pair like these so you can be sure that they go with anything AND the kitten heel is great if you’re not comfortable in a higher heel an don’t want to risk a broken ankle:




2.Statement Earrings

An Indian outfit is never complete without a good dose of jewelry.   There are many traditional styles to choose from, but any earrings with presence will serve you well.


Available at Pernia's Pop Up

Available at Pernia’s Pop Up


Chaand bali:

Available at OSR Jewellers

Available at Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop


Two toned chandelier:

Diwali chandeliers

Available at Pernia’s Pop Up Shop




If your outfit has a high neckline or you’re just not into dangling earrings, then a large pair of tops can step right in.

New mom tip: wearing long dangling earrings and necklaces aren’t convenient when handling a little one. Opt for a large pair of tops instead; they still make a statement but don’t interfere with cuddle time.

Here are a couple of pairs with impact that are sure to stay out of the way:

Diwali earrigns

Available at Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop


Available at Pernia's PopPup

Available at Pernia’s PopPup



Since our outfits are usually quite intricate, your face needs a little something, too. I’m not recommending a full face of make-up to you natural faced beauties out there, but a little bit can go a long way. I’m suggesting a bit of mascara and a swipe of lipstick. If you are really timid, a nude is ideal. If you’re into the make up thing, I would make sure that your lipstick wardrobe includes a berry shade, a pink and the ever classic, red.

This is great neutral that would work on most South Asian skin tones and comes in an easy to apply format:

Available at Sephora.com

Available at Sephora.com

4.Some arm candy

With all that effort on your face and the vicinity, not wearing anything on hands and wrists makes them look a little sad, especially in a sleeveless outfit. I would try to add one thing on each wrist or hand.   A single bangle offset with a cocktail ring on the opposite hand, a stack of bangles on each wrist or choose a something with a little more weight and wear it solo.

Here some pretty options that help avoid the sad-wrist-syndrome. Some very traditional, timeless pieces:


Available at Pernia’s Pop Up




Available at Pernia's Pop Up Shop

Available at Pernia’s Pop Up Shop

A little more modern, for a diverse wearing:

Available at Pernia's Pop Up Shop

Available at Pernia’s Pop Up Shop


Available at Perni'as Pop-Up Shop

Available at Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop



Some non-Indian options:

Available at Nordstroms

Available at Nordstrom’s


5. Clutch 

Please don’t be that girl carrying her 9-5, black, carry-on sized handbag at a wedding reception. A small metallic, jeweled, satin, or other similar clutch will serve you well. If you want to play it really safe and ensure that you get the most use of your purchase, try a nude coloured one.


If you had to buy only one bag, then I would get something versatile that you could wear with almost anything, with gold or silver accents, day or evening, dress it up or dress it down. For that versatility, I would get something similar to this DVF nude leather with a pearly finish:

When buying any evening bag, test out that it fits your phone, keys (minimal, not the whole janitor key set), lipstick and a few other small essentials.

6. Sari Blouses:

Changing up the blouse can change up the whole look of the sari. In addition, it’s nice to have a your own blouse that fits when borrowing your mom or sister’s sari. Having a couple of extra simple blouses that can easily be paired with any sari is just a safe bet.  If I had to choose just one, it would be a medium gold blouse made in a simple, classic silhouette. If you’re not ambitious enough to find fabric and have it stitched, you can purchase a ready-made blouse like this one here:


Available at Pernia’s Pop Up shop



In a pinch, you can easily find crop tops at many trendy Canadian/American retailers to pass off as a sari blouse.

Mom-to-be tip: Saris are a great uniform for Indian events when you’re expecting and nothing fits your belly.

New moms: opt for a blouse that opens in the front when you’re breastfeeding and need to access the “goods”. Meanwhile the sari conveniently doubles as a cover.

7. Bindi

This quintessential piece of adornment is recognized as Indian around the world.  Why not wear one just because you can without being accused of cultural appropriation. Although, Beyonce: if you’re wearing the bindi because it makes you feel beautiful and like a goddess, then go for it because that’s the whole point!

8. Jutti

 As much as a heel elevates most outfits, sometimes a traditional jutti works better if you are going for a more traditional, folk look. A neutral pair like this will give you loads of mileage:


Available at Pernia’s Pop Up shop


I keep pajamis in black, cream and gold on hand so that I can use them to either complete a suit or break up and change up a suit.

If you can’t just borrow from suits that you already own, just pop into any mall to find leggings in an array of colours. If you want a more authentic product, some Indian shops do stock just pajamis in stretchy, one size fits all, “lulu” fabric (as they call it).

10. Headpiece 

I’ve always made a point of wearing a tikka or passa to family weddings – I just love that they’re a piece of jewelry that is distinctively Indian. They can be worn without having to consider necklines and they’re a good alternative when your earlobes just aren’t up for the abuse (item #2, I’m looking at you!).

If you’ve never worn a headpiece before, this tikka isn’t intimidating and is something you can wear again and again:




Available at Pernia’s Pop up Shop



I hope this is a good checklist for you to see what you have and what to be obsessively shopping for online when you really should just go to bed. We all know that rational shopping purchases happen only after midnight. Now, how many times would I have to wear those Jimmy Choos to make them a sound investment?

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