“Welcome, winter. Your late dawns and chilled breath make me lazy, but I love you nonetheless.” – Terri Guillemets
Tell me who doesn’t love winters? Well most of us do and I can surely vouch for that as I can’t think of any explicable reason why not to. I mean, the weather’s a much-awaited respite from the sweaty hot months that predominate our country. Despite pollution, seeming to be at it’s peak during this season, we’re willing to ignore and sacrifice that much, in order to embrace the winter with full gusto aren’t we!
Winters are reminiscent of flamboyant weddings, strolling around in the open air any time of day without fearing sunstroke or evoking perspiration, excursions to various fairs/exhibitions, slapping on those luscious heavy-duty creams, smoky barbeques and fun-filled picnics, eat to your heart’s content (especially Mum’s Gajar ka Halwa) knowing that your layers will do their best at camouflaging any tell-tale signs, sipping on steamy hot chocolate and most of all the sheer enjoyment of dressing up in almost anything, any texture and any colour.
So whilst we look forward to donning those boots, fuzzy mitts, fluffy scarves, trendy hats and awesome jackets, we can’t disregard what to look forward to on those days when Indian outfits are the attire of the day! I’ve come across many people who prefer freezing to death when wearing Indian clothes in winters as they feel they can’t wear the usual suspects in winter clothing, fearing they will end up looking outlandish. This is a myth! If styled correctly, you can jazz up any ethnic apparel with the right winter ammunition. Read on to learn some trends on styling winter wear with Indian outfits.
Let’s say you need to wear a saree, lehenga or suit to a function or anywhere you want to, and all you can rack your brains with is a shawl or a cardigan. Wrong. A saree, being such a versatile piece of clothing, when paired with the right winter clothes can create a stunning and chic ensemble. Similarly a lehenga or an anarkali for instance can be absolutely transformed by fusing with winter wear, without looking hideous. Here’s how:
1. Short jacket/Blazer
Instead of the usual blouse, try wearing a waist length jacket that obviously goes well with the saree, anarkali or lehenga. I’m not saying a denim jacket here, but when paired with let’s say a contrasting or similar coloured jacket in velvet or silk, it can keep you warm and look oh-so stylish. The jacket can be a Nehru jacket or any style you fancy. Even a black formal blazer with some detailing would work too and this looks equally good with Indian suits. If you don’t want to stich a jacket just for pairing with Indian wear, then by all means pin a lovely broach to your western blazer to add that splash of glam. It will tie the whole outfit together.
2. Floor length jacket
If you’re feeling a bit daring and out of your usual league, try teaming your saree or chosen item of Indian wear with a floor length interesting jacket and if done well, looks ace. It definitely gives a boring saree a red carpet appeal and is a hot favourite look of mine! Ensure that the jacket has some detailing whilst keeping your saree/lehenga minimalistic, so that the jacket is your statement piece; as too much going on everywhere would go terribly wrong. Also, whilst retaining your style quotient, keep in mind the material of the jacket so it keeps you warm too and isn’t too flimsy. Lining the brocade or velvet jacket with fleece padding is an option and I’m sure you can get your tailor to do the honours.
Instead of the blouse you can opt for a much fitted sweater in a solid colour that can be tucked inside your saree petticoat and will drive away the cold as well as make you look fabulous. Even try a polo-neck sweater in black for example and accessorize with chunky jewelry. You can do the same with a lehenga and swap the blouse for a fitted sweater or a cardigan, but leaving the top few and bottom few buttons of the cardigan open, whilst showing a bit of midriff. When wearing a saree, try to just throw the unbuttoned cardi over your shoulders like a cape. So classy! If you love wearing dhoti pants or Patiala suits, skip the top and try it with a chunky or snug sweater. Casual yet stylish and great for winters! You might want to wear leggings beneath the dhoti/Patiala pants for extra warmth.
A very simple option of styling a saree is to wear it with some warm leggings and no one can tell and yet you will beat the cold. But, if no one can see your lowers then what fun is that! Try draping your saree in a more Grecian style where your pants (preferably fitted ones) are visible. This gives a fusion look and will make heads turn any day. Pair with pumps instead of usual sandals, so that feet is tucked away in your shoes. You can wear leggings under your lehenga, but would not suggest altering the length of the lehenga and keep your leggings camouflaged. Also try combining an anarkali with knitted tights instead of the churidar. Your legs will be super snug and thanking you. It doesn’t have to match, just contrast.
5. Pallu/Dupatta as a scarf
If you’re looking at keeping your neck warm and you’re missing your wooly scarves, then fear no more. As opposed to letting the pallu fall over your shoulder, why not drape the pallu around your neck and bring it in a straight-line down the front or wrap around like a scarf. Similarly, you can exchange your usual dupatta with a thicker silk or velvet scarf and accessorize your suit. No need of any neckpiece and with big earrings or jingling bangles this look is perfect for winters. Throw a jacket on this look and you’re ready for office.
6. Thick belt
Teaming a saree with a broad belt may seem preposterous, but when the saree is draped accordingly in an unconventional way, the final ensemble can look spectacular. Thin belts can be worn too, but we’re trying to make a thick belt keep your midriff warm and at the same time accentuate your envious waistline. Thick mini corset-like belts give the Indian outfit that Roman-style touch that screams fusion and is always a great alternative to the same old look every time. You can easily go wrong with this one so be careful!
7. Trench coat
Love your trench coat? May look a little weird with your gorgeous Indian apparel right? So why not replicate your favourite trench in a more luxurious and brightly hued fabric like rich brocades, heavy silks with sheen, glamourous velvets or even wool with embroidered detailing. It can make a sober looking suit or anarkali look snazzy. The belt would add that dash of western touch that would be a show stopper for sure if you can carry if off.
Now this particular style is not for the faint hearted. I know what you may be thinking. What is wrong with her right? Wrong, not many can pull this off, but teaming boots preferably ankle length ones with a lehenga skirt or an anarkali suit really pumps up the style quotient many notches. It’s a perfect blend of grunge amalgamated with ethnic. If wearing a lehenga then don’t wear the dupatta and the matching blouse or if wearing an anarkali, omit the dupatta otherwise you are bound to make heads turn for the wrong reasons. Instead don a tee or a sweater over the lehenga skirt and baam you’ve attained fashion nirvana.
Hope you liked these winter styles for your Indian outfits and will venture out in panache whilst braving the cold. There is no right or wrong as what may seem absurd to some, may become trends for others to follow. So, as long as you team your garments and align them with each other and carry them off well, there’s no stopping you.
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