‘Twirl around to get that perfect picture!’ that’s exactly what most of the women do when they’re decked up in an Indian lehenga. A swirl of colours and dazzle, the lehenga is one of the most elaborate silhouettes of the Indian culture. The use of this deep-rooted ethnic garment dates back to ancient India and is an on-going trend that has been staunchly followed till date. Every Indian wedding, auspicious and festive occasion witnesses women flaunting colorful lehenga sets with pride. But well, the story of such heavy outfits beyond these events is not as bright! With fashion changing continuously and social norms that dictate not repeating garments causes these expensive designer lehengas to become a dead investment lying in your closet for years.
One of the common problems faced by women these days is to keep their outfits varied without spending a packet. So if you’ve worn your favourite pink lehenga thrice then you wouldn’t prefer wearing it for the next wedding and definitely wouldn’t want to discard it and see those thousands of bucks going down the drain! So that calls for some out-of-the-box thinking and re-styling your favourite or old lehengas as completely new outfits! Let’s see what all you can do you’re your gorgeous ethnic skirts-
Style It Differently:
Experiment with Different Blouses
Does the same heavy or coordinated choli look too common? Then it’s time to quench your thirst for exclusivity and revamp your traditional ensemble. It’s the era of innovative fusion so go ahead and pair your lehenga with a ruffled western top, a plain black Chinese collared blouse or even a striped T-shirt! Styling is an individual thing that stems from the creativity of your own mind. You can even keep that embellished dupatta away and strut like a modern fashion empress in such fusion ensembles! If nothing else, get a new chic blouse stitched or matched with your lehenga – and wear the fresh ensemble like a queen.
Re-style as an Indo-western Suit
If short blouses are not your thing or if you want to hide your abdominal flab then wearing a long kurti or tunic over your lehenga is a good idea! This will convert your lehenga set into a comfortable indo-western lehenga suit. This combination works best for plain skirts and such lehenga suits make a versatile garment which can be carried off at not just parties but also casual outings like a family dinner or a shopping day out! You can also go for the ruling peplum or frock style choli trend that not only looks very regal but also is flattering and easy to wear – who cares about bloating now 😉
Use the Art of Layering to your advantage
So your friends and relatives have a sharp memory and remember all of your outfits? Try some smart layering and keep them guessing, as you confidently wear the same garment multiple times, and yet walk in with a new look each time! Layers are a quite a rage these days, and when you get the combination right, it can turn even the simplest of outfits into a statement piece. Experiment with short and long jackets, shrugs, capes and poncho layers. Or, simply layer up with an added dupatta – yes, the 2 duppatta look is also quite in now – especially if you are attending a wedding in winters, as it gives you extra coverage – not to mention an extra edge!
Whether it’s a heavy wedding lehenga or a plain cotton silk one, layers can work well for all. For festivals like Navratri, Diwali and other celebrations, you can pick a black lehenga choli and layer it with a colorful embellished jacket. While for a cocktail party or wedding reception a simple satin silk lehenga choli worn with a sequined poncho and dazzling diamond earrings will make a smart and elegant pick!
Apart from these, you can drape your dupatta in different ways and use other add-ons like belts and scarves to keep your look varied with the same garment. Meanwhile, if dupatta is not your thing, why not fashion your existing wrap into a long jacket that completely takes away the need for a cover up.
4. Modify The Ensemble:
After all these styling experiments, if you’re still feeling tired of wearing the same thing over and over again, then you can creatively modify your gorgeous lehenga in the following ways –
a. Turn it into an Anarkali suit – or wear it such that it gives a suit like impression
This is probably the easiest thing to do for modifying your lehenga choli set. If your outfit is simple and does not have too much of embroidery, then you can either stitch the pair or add a net layer in between which will keep your midriff partly visible. For heavier garments, you can discard the choli completely to have a plain top stitched above your heavy flare. Compared to lehengas, Anarkali suits can be carried off for more occasions. If that is not your thing – next time try wearing the lehenga very close to your new choli (we are suggesting you get a new one stitched) & drape the dupatta like a saree pallu – and voila – see how you turn heads!
Re-construct Into a Jacket
Those heavy appliqués, zardozi hand-embroidery and thousands of stones and sequins- the work on your lehenga may still look tempting but Alas! It’s a lehenga after all and no matter how much you adore the details you practically cannot wear it often. But when such exquisite garments become old, outdated or reach your repeating limit, all you need to do is catch hold of a good tailor and get your lehenga modified into a fusion-wear jacket! Such layers can be an ally for your plain palazzo suits, trouser suits, tunics, plain skirt-top coordinates and even your ripped denims! Even better, you can use the left-over material and get a potli bag or clutch customized too!
This surely sounds like a fun idea, isn’t it?
Turn it to an Indo-Western Bohemian Dress
So you’re not fond of layers? Or you’re a free soul who prefers off-beat stuff? Taking cues from the Bohemian form of clothing and Indian wanderlust clothing, which is commonly available on the streets of Goa and Pushkar in Rajasthan – your lehenga can get a Boho makeover in the form of a sizzling halter or tube dress! Or, if you find it too risque – then a simple kurti style dress will do too. Accessorize your fusion dress with a statement belt, colorful juttis and glares for a day out with your girl friends, and let them keep guessing about your designer outfit! You can also wear it for a wedding.
4. Turn Into a Lehenga or Sharara Suit
You can also get your lehenga modified into a lehenga or a sharara suit for festive occasions like Eid, Raksha Bandhan and other special occasions. Pair your lehenga skirt with a plain long kameez or turn the lehenga into a swirly sharara – with help from your friendly neighbourhood tailor. Pair with a kameez – ornate for weddings, simpler for other occasions & you have what will set the stage sizzling.
5. Add Your Choli to Another Ensemble
Often, when it comes to reinventing grand lehengas, we tend to forget about those magnificent cholis. In fact, blouse is one separate from this ensemble that can be reused the maximum. So, here are two ways you can make the best use of those gorgeous bodices. Pair your lovely heavy blouse – that came with your lehenga – with a saree.
Or, pair your ornate heavy choli (as well as dupatta – if you wish) with a plain lehenga or even plain silk pants/ ethnic trousers. Bet, this looks awesome! You can make your choli also work like a crop top.
There’s indeed a lot that you can do with your casual, festive and wedding lehengas, instead of giving them away after a while. Restyling and recycling not just saves your resources, they also make your wardrobe interesting and unique! By this time, your mind must be running over all those old lehengas that have been lying around in your closet for a while. So get going and start styling!