With the growing Indian demographics in America, chances are that you’re invited to attend an Indian wedding of a close friend or colleague. If you’re wondering about the appropriate attire, know that it is perfectly acceptable to wear a Western dress.
But, if you would like to blend with the guests and experiment with traditional outfits, consider investing in an ethnic lehenga choli. You've probably seen pictures of beautiful Indian women sporting flowing skirts in vibrant colors adorned with rich embroidery.
You could choose one of these elegant costumes. Or, experiment with Indo-western fusion versions that are essentially a combination of the two cultures.
Ethnic Lehenga Cholis Have Three Pieces
Should you check with online stores like, for example, Lashkaara, you’ll come across an amazing collection of outfits, some with the heading - ethnic lehenga choli. For the uninitiated, the entire attire comprises of a long skirt or lehenga that is typically worn fastened at the waist.
You'll also wear a fitted blouse or choli, as it is called, and carry a dupatta or a stole. While this is a very basic overview, know that there are any number of possibilities of how to carry off the entire ensemble.
You Can Choose Fabrics According to the Weather
Lehengas or skirts are worn by women all across Northern India. Depending on the weather, you can choose to buy a cotton skirt with beautiful embroidery all over.
Such skirts will likely have a border at the hem that weighs down the skirt and holds it in place. Instead of muslin cotton, you’ll also find lehengas in organza, crepes, chiffon, georgette, or light silk. If you’re looking for an outfit for a winter wedding, you can play around with stunning brocades, different kinds of silks, and even, velvet just as the
Traditional Lehengas Are Richly Embellished
The designer studio where you order your ethnic lehenga choli will have a range of embroidery styles with combinations of gold thread, faux gems, silk thread, beads, sequins, or pearls. With the availability of Swarovski crystals, couturiers have an additional kind of adornment.
So, you might just find a lehenga skirt that sparkles with crystals. While these embellishments do make the entire attire absolutely stunning, they add weight to the outfit. If you aren’t quite sure about the intricate work, you can opt to wear Indo-western fusion brocades that have a formal look, but are actually lightweight. Choose an embroidered blouse and you’re all set.
Indo-Western Fusion Lehengas Now Have a Choice of Different Styles
Modern-day lehengas are available in different versions of skirts. You can buy the full skirt that has yards of fabrics and pleats. These styles are perfect if you’re going to softer fabrics like crepe and chiffon that flows gracefully to the floor.
Or, you could opt for the straight A-line fits, which are best when created out of heavier brocade and velvet. Then, you have the fish-cut that is fitted at the hips, but flares out around the knees.
Instead of the skirts, you can also buy a gharara. This skirt is similar to the fish-cut, but is divided into two sections turning it into pants. Yet another version of the traditional lehenga is the sharara, which is a pair of flared pants with wide hemlines that look similar to the skirt.
And, if you want something totally individualistic and unique, talk to the boutique about getting a wraparound skirt or even a layered skirt.
Blouses Can be Styled in Different Ways
Traditionally, the fitted blouses or cholis are short in length and expose the midriff as explained by the folks on StyleCraze. While showing off cleavage is not appropriate at Indian weddings, you can go for interesting silhouettes and necklines that look best on you.
Like, for instance, choose a sweet-heart, boat-neck, Vee-neck, or even, the high neckline similar to a Chinese collar. Sleeveless, short sleeves, long sleeves, or three-fourths reaching halfway down your forearm - any style works beautifully.
The interesting thing about cholis is that you can show off your back. Many designers may have plunging backs or offer creations that hold the blouse together with just crisscross strings tied up with tassels and strings of beads.
As for the length, not all blouses expose your midriff. You can also get your designer to create a top that is longer and reaches the waist where you’ve tied the skirt.
How About Tunics in Place of Blouses
The amazing thing about the ethnic lehenga choli is that it is absolutely versatile allowing you to match the skirt with any kind of tops. For instance, if you’ve chosen the gharara, you can wear a short tunic style blouse that is longer and reaches below the hips.
You also have the lacha outfit which is essentially a long tunic with the hem reaching your calves. You'll wear a long flowing skirt with to complete the ensemble. This article on ScoopWhoop has many more examples you might like to look at.
While the traditional lacha tunic may have thigh-high slits on both sides to show off the skirt, many Indo-western fusion outfits now style the tunic in interesting new silhouettes. For instance, try the angarakha style, which is actually a sort of double-breasted tunic. This version is reminiscent of the Mughal era in India.
Let’s Talk About the Dupatta
While the ethnic lehenga choli has a stole, there are any number of ways to wear this finishing touch to your attire. Typically, the dupatta or stole is made with a fine fabric like chiffon or mesh.
Wrap it around the shoulders across the back or across the front just as this feature on the WeddingWire explains. The Indian boutique where you buy the outfit will also show you how to drape the stole after tucking one end into the waist and wrapping it to fall off one shoulder.
Now that you have a fair view of how to choose an ethnic lehenga choli, check out the many online stores that deliver the styles you want. You're sure to look absolutely stunning at the wedding.