My fashionistas, with a list of parties to attend, the on-going wedding season in India or anywhere in the subcontinent can be quite a stressful affair. While you have your outfit sorted out for your friend or cousin’s wedding-day, don’t ignore to pre-plan for the Mehendi day either. Being part of the Mehendi party means you’ll have to dress the part without upstaging the bride. While the bride would have had months of preparations (and a bigger budget) to get her Mehendi outfit ready, you as a guest might not be as lucky. To ease you into the wedding season, I have conceptualized this look with items from my existing wardrobe and sharing few tips on to look your fashionable best when you are heading for a night long dance fest complete with Bollywood tunes.
One of the many disadvantages of living far away from your family, friends and most of your relatives is, I end up missing opportunities to attend Desi weddings. I am away from all the festivities but you are not! So, in my imagination, I have visualised a Mehendi party that I’m attending in a South- Delhi farm-house (the location is important before you plan a look; halterneck blouses may not be a good idea to sport for a Mehendi function held in non-metro cities or small towns) and this is how I’ll dress-up if given only 30 minutes to decide instantly how to dress up for a Mehendi ceremony of your friend or neighbor’s non-resident Indian son, I will look nowhere but in my own wardrobe, pick all these accessories and outfits to put together a look. No new shopping means no pressure on your wallet either.
I choose a green Rajasthani Bandhej chiffon saree for a Mehendi function. This color blends perfectly well with the theme of the ceremony as it makes you feel festive. I also prefer the textile to be traditional for a wedding tradition like Mehendi (Henna) that is applied to the bride as pre-wedding ritual. So, I opted for Bandhej; it is a type of tie-dye practiced mainly in the states of Rajasthan and Gujrat, India. Bandhej is also known as Bandhni and Chunri. The term Bandhni is derived from the Sanskrit word banda (“to tie”). The art of Bandhani is highly skilled process. The technique involves dyeing a fabric which is tied tightly with a thread at several points. The dyers have experimented with the use of different elements both natural and man made for ages. However, in the early days dyes were extracted from roots, flowers, leaves, and berries. This traditional Bandhej art has started in India about 500 years ago but they are still ruling the fashion world everywhere and dressing up everyone from models on the runways to women in rural India. Because of its rich cultural history and colorful characteristics, I have always been obsessed with Bandhej. Confession time: I own about 10 Bandhej sarees, half a dozen Salwar-kameezes and a few gorgeous Dupattas (long scarves) in Bandhej pattern and prints. So, teaming up a Bandhej chiffon saree (I bought ages ago) with another tie-dye piece- this newest addition to my collection of arm candies- an Epoca tie-dye clutch (that you have seen me donning for a western look here) for a Mehendi function has been a match made in heaven.
Top tip: Wear an ever classic saree such as this emerald green Bandhej number with a statement crop top or bralet– it’s traditional yet modern, sexy and fun.
Look the Part: This is a fundamental rule as the people often get confused between clothes being too heavy or too light. I always say it’s not your wedding, so do not wear all flashy things in one-go rather create a statement without going overboard. As long as one is elegant, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. Choosing a simple saree like this green Bandhej chiffon make it easier to style as you can always play with the blouse design or colors, add a piece or two statement jewellery.
Go Tradition: Most urban Desi women practically live their lives and will continue to do so in modern clothes so this is the occasion that’ll give you the opportunity to embrace tradition. The notion that you must shake off is that traditional clothes are boring and dated. You can’t be further from the truth; in fact, well made traditional clothes with just the right amount of sensuality look breathtaking and are timeless. This Bandhej chiffon saree and an orange crochet bralet combo to mix the traditional with the contemporary. I love collecting clothes and accessories that can be styled in many different ways. The last time I wore this crochet bralet with a maxi skirt here during a beach holiday in Ibiza.
Dress your age and personality : Wear something that’s comfortable, I say. It’s important that you feel yourself. I often see young women at wedding parties getting weighed-down under overtly glittery sarees and matronly-cut blouses. So, opting for something light-weight and maneuverable, which you can dance in twirl in and which won’t weigh you down, so I chose this zero-weight Rajasthani Bandhej chiffon saree and couple of traditional accessories.
Colour: In a sea of gold and bling it’s nice to do a pop-up colour which instantly uplifts your mood as well as lights up the room. This is why I picked emerald green for a Mehendi ceremony.
Wear a statement piece : Adding something to take your look to a level beyond so it becomes memorable such as wearing this pearl and kundan Rajasthani maang tika also known as Borla. With a halter neck bralet, I skip the neckpiece but worn a pearl and kundan earring instead.
Last but not the least, live the moment! This has more to do with the attitude than the clothes! Remember, it’s also a time for family and friends bonding and celebration, so go ahead and live it up.
Location: Alexandra Palace, London
What I Was Wearing?
Rajasthani Bandhej Chiffon Saree from Dilli Haat, New Delhi, India
Orange Crochet Bralet from Forever 21
Pearl and Kundan Earring from Greater Kailash Market Extension 2, New Delhi, India
Pearl and Kundan Borla from Bardhan Market, Kolkata, India
Epoca Tie-Dye Clutch