Vande Mataram! On 15th of August, as India gets ready to celebrate its 72nd Independence Day with loads of enthusiasm in every region of the country, we’re inclined towards some retrospection to see how far we’ve come and what all we’ve carried along. Some things never change and love for one’s country definitely falls into this zone of consistency. Indians may have grown and dispersed globally, but our roots remain strong as ever and that shows when even today we stand up with complete respect while our National Anthem is being sung. After all these years, Indians have been successful in holding on to the rich Indian cultural heritage which is one of the few cultures in the world that can be traced back to over 5000 years.
The strength of our culture is reflected in our lifestyle, rituals and even our wardrobe which, despite strong influence from the west part of the world, continues to hold space for Indian ethnic wear. Even today an Indian bride gets decked up in a traditional lehenga choli or a bridal saree for her wedding, no matter in which part of the world she’s getting married. The richness of the Indian culture has intrigued not just indigenous and global Indians, but also people from the other communities of the world, including royal families and Hollywood celebrities who have embraced Yoga, artistic handloom sarees and scarves and the old world charm associated with Indian embroidery. A lot of International brands like Zara, Versace and many more have opulent runway collections detailed with zardozi handwork and similar craftsmanship which is formed in different regions of India.
The Magic of Indian Handlooms
No matter how far the world progresses in the field of textiles with automated power looms, nothing can match the beauty of a hand-woven piece of fabric. India has a history of weavers that have been highly dedicated towards creating magic with yarns, thus putting India on the global map as a popular trade-zone for hand-woven fabrics. Handloom cotton and silk sarees are considered as prized possessions by Indian women. The ostentatious appeal of Banarasi silk sarees and the grandeur of Kanchipuram sarees have taken on the world. These days even foreigners are seen draping sarees and carrying off hand-embroidered salwar suits enthusiastically, thus proving that the beauty of Indian handloom and art is indeed irreplaceable. With the growth of e-commerce, today people from all over the world have easy access to handloom products made in small towns of India as well as signature runway collections of a growing number of designers like Neeta Lulla, Sabyasachi Mukerjee, Anita Dongre whose collections have hand-woven fabrics and hand-embroidery as essential ingredients.
The Essence of Tri-Colour
On every Indian Independence Day, a lot of citizens dress-up in saffron, white and green coloured outfits- the hues of the Indian National flag, to celebrate their freedom. A number of offices and colleges follow a tri-colour dress code and restaurants come up with special menus which have tri-coloured dishes. As the nation gets painted in saffron, white and green, let us know about the significance of these hues and also some smart ethnic outfit options for each of them.
Saffron which is a lighter tone of orange forms the topmost band of the ‘Tiranga’. It stands for bravery, sacrifice and the desire to put the nation above individual desires. Apart from being a patriotic colour, saffron or orange is also a bright and effervescent hue. Shades of orange are also connected to religious and auspicious occasions and that makes it a popular festive colour. Orange Punjabi suits are apt for festive celebrations like Diwali, Raksha Bandhan, Ganesh Chaturthi and Lohri while an orange lehenga choli makes a lovely wedding wear pick!
If you like to be noticed, then wear a bright orange tunic or kurti to college or an outing with your friends. Orange being a very striking colour, your outfit should be complemented with accessories having softer hues like cream and rose gold.
White is the colour of light- the inclination towards truth and righteousness. Having adopted the virtues of truth and non-violence from Mahatma Gandhi, white denotes the aura of peace that India strives to maintain perpetually.
A popular summer favourite, white ethnic outfits make a highly versatile option for office meetings, leisurely outings and even for wedding parties! The recently held star-studded wedding of Sonam Kapoor even had a white dress code party! Breaking away from the semantics of being the colour of mourning, these days white garments are being flaunted as an elegant fashion statement. Following the trend, a white Anarkali suit worn with heavy jhumki earrings would be a gracefully glam pick for a grand social meet!
White lehenga cholis with colorful details look vivacious for groovy celebrations and even for cultural occasions like engagement ceremony. As a modern bride, you can wear a white lehenga choli that has bold designs and complement the garment with a messy bun hair-do and minimal accessories.
Forming the last band of our national flag, green denotes the strength of our roots and the ideology of being constantly connected to Mother Nature. Green symbolizes life; it’s the colour that soothes and triggers off a feeling of peace and delight.
While the Indian flag has a medium tone of green, this lively hue has a number of tones that range from pure elegance to loud vibrancy. A light pale or pastel green saree or contemporary salwar suit worn with pearls looks apt for classy brunch get-togethers as well as house parties.
For the evening, you can pick darker tones like bottle green, olive and mehendi. If you’re attending an evening social meet like a ring ceremony function or a gala dinner, then a green Anarkali suit will be a smart wardrobe option. Choose an outfit that has metallic shimmers and complement it with shimmery metallic add-ons like stilettos and a gem studded clutch bag.
Through these years of independence Indians have carried forward the undying spirit of patriotism which goes beyond flaunting tricoloured outfits and singing patriotic songs. It is the ideology and the strong value system adhered to by Indians world-wide which ensures that our culture will have a perpetual life!