Outside of celebrities and perhaps South Asian weddings, many non-South Asians have anecdotally expressed that while they love saris, salwars, and lehengas they feel foolish or were told they were foolish for wearing saris. I am here to describe some personal accounts of women who have told me how they grew to be comfortable wearing them in the office or for other occasions. We would love to hear your stories too. By the way, all names have been changed in this post to protect these women’s privacy.

 

Gisele is a woman who works in a multicultural office in international development. She feels she has no issues with wearing a tunic and pants underneath since so many of her colleagues are well traveled. The tunic is a great for office wear because its conservative, clean, and sheik. She even wears a shawl with her tunic to add some style.

 

Jamirah is a woman who attended a Kenyan wedding where both the bride and groom decided to have a full out Bollywood style wedding. Why? Simply because they liked the culture. The bride wore a beautiful, sequin gown and the groom wore a sleek kurta. Unfortunately, she didn’t want pictures posted to share with the world but they had an incredible time and loved their wedding.

 

So what is your story? Tried to wear South Asian clothing at other times and got mocked for it? Applauded for it? Be great to hear your stories on what you think.

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For some of us who have never been to an Indian or South Asian wedding, you might be asking yourselves, what do I wear? If there are multiple days of celebration, do I need a different outfit for each occasion? While the customs of each culture vary and its always best to ask the person whose wedding you are going to what is the dress code, here are some tips from someone who has been to multiple South Asian weddings herself.

  1. Don’t go too casual. Generally, Indian weddings are big affairs with hundreds of people and everyone is showing their best.
  2. Be conservative in dress. Like many other religious ceremonies in the world, you don’t want to show too much skin, particularly during the marriage ceremony.
  3. Have fun wearing lots of jewelry! At Indian weddings, people wear lots of bling! Go with what you are most comfortable with, but if you want to wear big, gaudy pieces of jewelry, you won’t feel out of place at an Indian wedding.
  4. You can wear lots of bling in general.  If you have a dress that has lots of sequins, wear it! Beaded work, yes! Embroidery work, yes! Most of the South Asian weddings I went to were an occasion to get as dressy as possible and not feel out of place. So have fun wearing something you might not usually or seldom wear. It’s really a fun time to feel like beautiful in a gorgeous piece of clothing.
  5. Wear lots of colors! Yes, you can wear that outrageously pink outfit and not feel out of place. South Asian clothing generally has lots of colors and people love wearing bright colors for a festive occasion!

 

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Did you know you can wear the dupatta (shawl) for the lehenga in many different ways?

 

Wearing that dupatta differently can completely change the look of any lehenga. Want to show some shoulder? Wear it on one side. Wear it on your neck to extend your neckline. Wear it like a shawl for those times you want a more elegant, fashion look.

Below is a video to show you some of the many ways you can change your look.

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