Handloom Sarees: What Makes a Great Indian Outfit – Money or Styling?

Hello everyone – I hope you have all had a great weekend full of fun, frolic and fashion.

Fashion discussion of the past week:

A few days ago, my mother and I were having the following conversation. At some level, have we accepted that Indian clothes cost more than western clothes and find ourselves more willing to spend a sum total on an Indian outfit that we would never find ourselves spending on a dress, even a ‘going-out’ dress?  We both agreed that we have often heard the sentiment expressed that good Indian looks cost a fortune! Furthermore, it is ironic that we are willing to spend much more on an Indian outfit that may only get a small fraction of the wear that a western one would get and therefore, works out to be an even more expensive proposition with limited repeat wear options.

I am not quite sure where I stand on this issue.  Yes, I think Indian clothes can be expensive and I have to put my hands up and say that I am not sure how willing I would be to spend the kind of money on a dress (the first time I saw it) that I have spent on an Indian outfit.  On the other hand, we have to take into account that often Indian wear is reserved for special occasions where the presence of abundant family and friends makes us want to look our very best and therefore, we are willing to open our pockets that little bit more. Transport and logistics of getting that outfit to us must add to the cost  – a fact that cannot be ignored.

The one thing that I am sure about is that a good-looking Indian outfit does not have to cost a fortune.  I believe that the ‘styling quotient’ has the same effect on an Indian look that it has on a western look.  The skill of how items are put things together and the desire to experiment and push your personal fashion styling boundaries can produce a great look, regardless of the kind of clothes we are wearing.

As you may have noticed, I am a great lover of mixing and matching clothes that are already in our wardrobes and I have always championed this practice on the blog.  Here, I am wearing a gorgeous yellow (my favourite colour) handloom saree with a ready-made brocade blouse.  I bought this sari for less than Rs 5000 (approximately £54) at Delhi Haat in New Delhi and my friend N in Mumbai (who has fabulous taste) brought me this blouse from a little ready-made blouse in Mumbai that we would both frequent when I lived there. The blouse cost Rs 2000 (£22) and fitted like a glove as I gave my friend my ready-made blouse size (ladies you must always know your ready-made blouse size!). Even though the two items are not exactly colour matched, I loved the way they looked together once I put them on.  I think there is a synergy to the look, where the total looks better than the sum of the individual parts. I love handloom sarees and I am a great fan of the deliberate mismatch here as I think it draws attention to the beautiful individual components of the outfit and demonstrates some styling chops.

I love the necklace and earrings I am wearing from Toraan  – the pale green stones add a rich opulence to the look and pick up on the greens in the blouse perfectly.  Finally, a big bindi – bigger than my normal go-to size but loving the look all the same.

I hope you enjoyed this lookbook and I would love to hear your thoughts on what makes a great Indian outfit. As always, thank you for taking the time to visit Isha’s Verdict.

Jewellery:

Set – Toraan

 

Traditional Wear: My Five Rules for Effective ‘Mixing and Matching’

I have long advocated the idea of ‘mix and match’ on this blog – especially with Indian attire that never seems to get the wear it deserves.  Now I have friends who are happy to admit in the spirit of fashion honesty, that while mix and match is a great sounding idea to espouse – it is actually much harder to pull off in a desirable manner. I absolutely agree with this sentiment and my reply to them is always along the following lines.

‘Mix and match’ is an established fashion principle.  However, like most well-founded principles, there are some rules that help execute the look more effectively:

  1. Aim for an overall cohesive look – Regardless of what I am mixing and matching, I try and aim for an overall coordinated effect.  This helps tie the various elements of the outfit together to deliver a ‘sharp’ fashion look that highlights your fashion prowess.
  2. Complimentary or clashing colours – Either way, the combination of colours in your outfit should be pleasing to your eye.  If you look in the mirror and feel that these colours have nothing in common, trust your gut instinct and rework the outfit.
  3. Use different textures – Often a mixture of textures works wonders.  For example, silk and lace and linen and cotton are some of my favorite mix and match combinations.
  4. Single colour in varying shades – Creating a fashion look with a small variation in colour tone is a fabulously simple yet sophisticated look in my opinion. Different shades of grey and different shades of pink are great options to try.
  5. Combine patterns and prints – combining geometric patterns with floral prints is a key mix and match option.  I have never gone wrong with combing a striped blouse with a floral bottom – a nice black and white striped blouse is a staple in my wardrobe to be worn with a variety of combinations throughout the year.

The outfit in this lookbook is a true ‘mix and match’ ensemble that I loved wearing.  I bought this lehenga two years ago and I have featured it on this blog previously during Diwali time – Diwali Celebrations: In A Yellow And Pink Kurta And Cream and Gold Skirt. The green blouse is a recent delivery that a fabulous friend got me from Mumbai when I mentioned to her I was in need of one – it pays to know your ready-made Indian blouse size! The pièce de résistance of this look is the gorgeous jewellery set by Toraan deign. This set is everything I love about Indian jewellery – intricate in design and regal in look.  I love this entire look from head to toe as it caters to the passionate love I have for ethnic Indian outfits.  I have added some flowers in my hair to finish off a great summery ethnic ‘mix and matct’ look that would work for a vareity of occasions.

I hope you enjoy this lookbook and I would love to hear your feedback.  Have a great week ahead and thank you so much for visiting my blog.

Clothes and accessories:

Indian Jewellery Set – Toraan design £150 (please email them about this set)

Lehenga – The Silk Tree

Dupatta – The Silk Tree

Blouse – Friend – Santa Cruz Market Mumbai