A 1971 Wedding Story: Told Through the Wedding Wardrobe that Featured

My parents got married in 1971. The 1971 India-Pakistan war officially started a few days before their wedding but the cards had already been distributed and the caterers instructed. The baraat band played “Dum Maro Dum” from the hit movie ‘Hare Rame Hare Krishna’ which was the rage at the time – an odd choice for a wedding song if the lyrics are considered but Bollywood always reigns supreme.

My parents had an arranged marriage in Punjab and my mother received various clothes from both sides as is customary. Her wedding wardrobe contained various sarees and her mother-in-law (my dadi) who was a clothes enthusiast herself gave her a beautiful selection of sarees which included a  few vintage sarees that belonged to her mother-in-law as a token of family history.  The bride, my mother, who happened to be a naturally organized lady, took great care in storing her wedding clothes in a meticulous fashion. Very recently my friend forwarded me an article from Vogue India that started with the tag line “The secret to a sustainable wardrobe? Knowing how to store your clothes.” I read this and instantly thought of my mom. My mother has always been someone who cares for her purchases regardless of whether they are old or new, cheap or expensive. Growing up, I remember her storing her out of season sarees carefully in a few trunks lined with paper.  She made concentrated efforts to separate her outfits with white paper and keep them out of direct light and humidity. A few years ago, she asked which of her wedding outfits I would like to have and then separated them equally between my sister-in-law and me.

A few weeks ago, I surprised my parents by visiting them unannounced in the US and on my way home, decided to bring my share of her wedding wardrobe with me. It goes without saying that Indian fabrics are stunning and their weaves, colours and styles are a sight to behold.  My mother’s wedding trousseau is now almost 50 years old and I find the sarees and other Indian outfits from that era fascinating.  So much of her wardrobe is still so current and the styles have truly stood the test of time.

Revisit, reimagine and reuse – I have often promoted this line on this blog and I wholeheartedly enjoy reconfiguring clothes that already reside in our wardrobes. In this series of blogs, I want to lookbook my mothers’ wedding outfits to showcase the fashions in 1971 and highlight the timeless beauty of Indian wear. All credit goes to my mother for preserving her outfits so well (the shine of this sari has to be seen to be believed) and I look forward to sharing them with you.

In this lookbook, I am wearing her ‘doli’ saree. This means that this is the saree she wore after the Sikh wedding was over and when she was leaving her home for my father’s house as his bride.  My mother mentioned that in those days in Punjab, most women had a doli suit but my Dadi being a saree fan chose this banarsi organza saree with an all over motif as her ‘doli’ outfit of choice.  The bride wore this saree with a matching orange blouse at the time (with similar sleeves as the purple one) and matching orange sandals.  Unfortunately, those two items have not survived the passage of time.

I wanted to say a big thank you to Aadheekta by Mudra for providing this beautiful traditional jewellery set and collaborating on this post.  Please do check out her Instagram page – she has a beautiful selection of pieces that are well worth the visit. Please quote ISHA10 for a 10% discount.

I hope you enjoyed this vintage saree lookbook.  As always, thank you for taking the time to visit Isha’s Verdict.

Clothes and Jewellery:

All Jewellery – Aadheekta by Mudra – Instagram @Adheektabym 

Saree – bought in 1971 in Ludhiana Punjab, at Kiran Stores

 

Destination Wedding Guide Part 2: What to Wear and Why?

Continuing my focus on destination weddings, we arrive at the big question.  What do I wear for what event at the wedding?  Now, is a good time to note that we all live in a multicultural society and may attend a variety of weddings through the course of the year.  For the sake of this post, I will concentrate on clothes that one may consider wearing to a culturally Indian wedding.

The Saree: The six-yard drape is a natural winner when it comes to wedding attendance attire. Sarees look beautiful and the choice of style and fabric is endless.  However, there can be a small problem with taking one to a destination wedding. The tying of a normal saree involves pleating the front and this is not everyone’s cup of tea. Many people are discouraged from considering a sari because they have no idea who is going to pleat it away from home. This is a genuine problem and I have seen many a tear shed and time wasted trying to tie a saree that won’t work at the opportune time. My mother has a tried and tested solution for this problem that truly works. I will be posting a live video of her method in my next post.

The other relatively new solution is the ready-made or ready-pleated saree. These modern sarees have pleats that are already in place like a stitched skirt. All you have to do is slip them on, zipper up the side, put the palla across your body and you are ready to go. Once on, you can move around freely as there is no danger of pulling out the pleats by mistake as the saree is made to size and securely in place. This avatar of the saree is truly well suited to destination weddings; the wearing time is minimal and the output is maximum. If you are particularly apprehensive about wearing a saree – this is a great option for you.

Sharara: A sharara is basically a flared wide-legged trouser (in various styles) that can be worn with a short or long top and an optional dupatta.  It is a truly comfortable garment and one that I think would be truly flattering on all sizes and shapes. This versatile garment works for a multitude of functions – right from the wedding to the reception.  I highly recommend you incorporate a sharara in your destination wardrobe for a comfortable ensemble that packs a mighty fashion punch.

Suit: It is hard to go wrong with a salwar kameez, anarkali or churidar suit.  They work well and are uber comfortable.  Furthermore, they will keep you warm as they allow for a variety of warm undergarments to be worn with ease.

Lehenga: A lehenga with a short or long top is a tried and tested outfit that will work at most times. It is also an ideal piece to mix and match with other tops and dupattas in your wardrobe.

Fusion wear: Modern Indian destination weddings present a unique opportunity to wear clothes that may not work in traditional Indian weddings.  For example, if you are attending a wedding at a beach resort, a beautiful kaftan with statement jewellery would be a unique choice that would offer both comfort and style. These outfits are a great opportunity to make an individual style statement and I will be lookbooking a favourite kaftan dress in a later post.

Shoes: I do believe that shoes make the outfit or are at least as important as the rest of the outfit. When you are destination wedding bound – shoes take on even more importance due to their possibly bulky nature. In this case, it becomes imperative to pack shoes that you know you will wear with an outfit (hopefully more) and not ones that may possibly work.  My sincere advice; pack shoes that are comfortable. The whole idea is to go and have fun – it’s not worth letting foot pain ruin your enjoyment.  Equally importantly, please pack shoes that compliment your outfit – it is truly impossible to put forth your best style statement if it is apparent that your shoes were an afterthought.

Jewellery:  Destination weddings are a great opportunity to wear some of your statement jewellery. Do carry your jewellery that compliments your outfits. If you are travelling to a foreign country and want to take real jewellery; do look into local laws of taking gold etc. into the country.  Many countries may let you take it in but will question you if they discover you are travelling out of the country with precious metals and stones.  Also, keep in mind that if you travel with real jewellery, the oweness of keeping it safe falls on your shoulders. Make sure you have a secure provision to store it.

Given the above, the following are some tips that I think are important when it comes to considering what you may want to wear to a destination wedding:

  1. Decide on outfits that complement the particular function that you have chosen them for.  You may be desperate to wear a new outfit but wearing a slinky cocktail saree to the actual wedding ceremony may look out-of-place and leave you feeling self-conscious.
  2. Do not shy away from ethnic weaves and other traditional Indian outfits.  Modern sarees and gowns look great but so does a South Indian saree with flowers in your hair.  Mixing up your sartorial choices is a great way to put forth your fashion acumen and versatility.
  3. If you have no idea what others may be wearing – try to find out.  Individuality is great, but dressing in a style that is totally out of whack with what others are wearing may leave you feeling awkward or embarrassed.
  4. Do your research on certain controversial colours before you pack.  For eg., certain families may not appreciate you wearing black to the main wedding function.
  5. If the evenings are going to get considerably colder (such as in southern California where temperatures can fall significantly once the sun sets) go prepared with a shawl or other warm garments that match or coordinate with your outfit.  It’s no point ruining your look with a puffer jacket on top of your saree to evade the cold.

Last but not least, I suggest that when you are deciding what to wear (and before you go shopping), go shopping in your closet and in the closets of those close to you such as your mother, aunts and friends. We all own beautiful clothes that have often not been worn more than a few times.  These clothes deserve another outing and choosing them will prevent you from spending more on new clothes.  As importantly, this exercise will spurn you on to mix and match in your closet and in turn create new outfits out of old ones.  I am a firm believer in this practice and I will show you my recent haul of sarees from my mother’s closet in a future post.

I hope you have found this post useful in some way. In my next post, I will share a video of my mother’s pre-pleating saree’ hack as well as my packing list for a destination wedding. Have a great weekend and thank you for reading Isha’s Verdict.

I want to thank Kumkum for collaborating on this post and providing this sharara that could work perfectly as a destination wedding outfit.

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