HAPPY DIWALI! HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Here's a listicle of how to color for the pastel palette-loving woman!
Photos: Sindhura Gaddamanugu, Marisa Darabi
Location: Speer Family Farms Pumpkin Patch, Alameda
Blouse: Palanquine | Lehenga: Soiree Couture
Time and again, I have professed my love for pastel (Indian) ensembles, and based on the recent poll I did on my Instagram, it looks like so have most of you! There are few colors that exude feminine elegance like blush pink or powder blue, but I was quick to learn that my love affair with earthy tones would be fleeting. Dress codes, rituals, expectations, and many other things dictated the colors I could wear, and rightly so.
So for the 65% of you that happen to be fellow pastel lovers - if you ever want to embrace the other side, here are some key takeaways:
1. Be smart with the bling: If you’re opting for jewel toned lehengas, it is best to let the solid color take centerstage instead of over-the-top sequins or bling. If you really want to though, opt for subtle, antique gold gota patti embroidery or thread embroidery. Intricate motifs, crystal detailing, or matte sequins are elements that will add just the right amount of drama to a lehenga. If you’re going to leave the lehenga solid and with a border like I did, go for an embellished dupatta or blouse.
2. Welcome print: Prints are having a moment in Indian fashion, and since there is more than one color involved, it becomes incredibly easy to restyle parts of your outfit later. Contemporary prints include Butti work, block print, florals, or even geometric prints, and if you want something traditional, look into Bandhani, Ikat, or Batik.
3. Monochrome magic: I know it may sound ironic to suggest donning an in-your-face fuchsia head-to-toe, but hear me out. Wearing a matching set or layering with the same color/ tone adds a certain dimension and sharpness to your outfit. To break the monotone, get a dupatta in the right shade of gold/ silver. This is the perfect option if you want to cut back on the embroideries, prints, and the extra embellishments.
4. Fabric and fit based on your body type: I’ve dressed myself enough to know how (+where) my lehenga needs to sit on my waist, and what fabrics flatter my body type. Try enough fabrics and outfits in a store before you finalize one, and be sure to have it altered to fit you like a glove. If you get these two right, you’ll feel hella confident about wearing a vibrant color.
5. Offbeat pairing: The only way I can step out of my comfort zone and wear something I didn’t pick, is by staying true to my personal style. Wearing black for festivities is usually frowned upon in India, but it is SO me. That’s why I kept the black minimal to make it work for a fun Diwali party! Here’s a tip: take a small detail from your lehenga and match your blouse/ dupatta to it; with a little bit of practice, you’ll master mixing prints and more! For instance, here I played off the antique gold Butti print on my blouse since it matched the border of my lehenga.
6. Go all out: My original outfit featured a gold sequin blouse (taking you back to point #1) and a super long fuchsia, Butti-print dupatta. The resulting riot of colors made mum happy to the extent that she okay-ed all my browns, beiges, and muted madness. Here are some bright lehenga-bright dupatta pairings: orange and red, salmon and yellow, teal and purple, fuchsia and sky blue, green and coral.
I hope this helps you restyle an outfit that you put away just because you don’t relate to brights any longer! My remaining bright color-lovin’ fam - how would you like a how to pastel edition of this post?
Photos: Derick Pham (@creativality on Instagram)
Location: Palace Hotel, San Francisco
Lehenga: Soiree Couture | Top: SheIn | Earrings: Miraya (shop here) | Clutch: Accessories by Anandita
Over the last 3 years, I have found myself worrying lesser about what people think about my unabashedly in-your-face fashion picks. I was certain that my style wasn't relatable at all...until I e-met you all via Instagram and my blog. By now, you too know that the amalgam of Indian and Western is my kinda playground, and although it takes some practice to get groovin', here are some ideas that have helped me own my individualism:
1. Infuse your favorite trend: Whether it’s an off-the-shoulder number or pleated culottes, pair up a trending piece that you know you can carry off with ease. You can then spend some time finding an Indian lehenga/ blouse to go with it. This way, you’ll only have one experimental piece to worry about.
2. Let your accessories take centre stage: If you want to start small, start by raiding your mum’s trinket box. No, seriously! Playing around with Indian jewelry will help you learn how to work with different metals (a key aspect of Indian clothing is metallic colors), ergo colors. Clutches and shoes with Indian beading or embroidery will also serve the same purpose, and are the easiest ways to add an ethnic touch.
3. Focus on what you want to highlight: Numerous Indian designers have shifted focus to peplums, jackets, vests, cardigans, and kimonos at fashion weeks; you too can draw inspiration and wear your sari/ lehenga blouses with blazers, cardigans, or ponchos. Remember not to overdo it (a blouse AND a sari with a jacket will be an overkill) to maintain that subtle fusion vibe.
4. Separate your ensemble: Most Indian outfits include 2 or 3 elements (blouse, dupatta, lehenga etc.), so think about how you can use each piece on its own. A blouse may be too short (unless it is a crop top length) to pair with skinny jeans or a snug-fitting bottom, but will work with high-waisted pants or a ruffled skirt. A dupatta can be restyled into a shawl or a cape just to give your outfit that exotic edge.
5. Don't be shy, my honey: Okay I know this post was meant to tell you how not to be shy, but I have to be a little upfront here: just because you don’t find people on the street wearing Indian pieces, doesn’t mean you should conform and shy away from your country’s artwork! Wear and share your culture, and hold your head up high while doing so. It will soon become second nature to add Indian elements to your daily street style. And I promise you, anyone that is looking (more like ogling) is only doing so because you’re so GD beautiful, my desi girl ♥️
Shot these photos at the phenomenal Palace Hotel on New Montgomery street. You won't believe it - I put this outfit together in my head (didn't try it on until I actually wore it for the shoot). You might recognize this lehenga, I styled a boho-chic look with a white shirt earlier, but I just wanted to show you that tucking a solid shirt in isn't the only way to style it :)
...Because nobody knows the struggles of being a type A fashion aficionado better!
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Miraya originated as a concept magazine for a Publishing class, but much of it now exists online and has been adapted for this blog. The core remains intact, and that is to explore the changing landscape of contemporary Indian fashion through the international lens, engaging readers in a creative juxtaposition between tradition and modernity. Spearheaded by Founder and Creative Director, Namrata Loka.
Click here to read about me.