Onam celebrates the colourful culture of Kerala. Lavish feasts, colourful floral rangolis, boat races are all part of the 10-day festivities. Festival dressing too is a big part of the celebrations. Women wear the traditional Kerala white saree with golden border. Known as Set Mundu, Setu Saree, Kerala Kasavu and Mundum Neriyathum, the traditional saree is not only popular in the Southern states but across the country as well. For Onam, men wear white mundu (lungi/ dhoti) with golden border and team up with a white shirt or a colourful cotton kurta.
While Set Mundu or Kasavu with golden border is traditional and authentic attire for Onam, you can tweak it a little to create different looks.
Mix and match
Designer Priyanka Varma says that if you want to stick to the traditional Set Mundu saree yet aim to look different, you have to play around with the colour of the blouse. “The most preferred match is the golden blouse in sync with the saree border, which most women wear on Onam. But it is not necessary to stick to the golden one. Contrast is really in, so you can opt for a blouse in contrast colours like red, green or blue. If you want to get a little more experimental, you can go for plunging necklines and sleeveless blouses to create a contemporary look. However, if you want an extra edge, try pairing the white saree with a printed blouse in ikkat, floral, tie and dye, or even go for embroidered blouses, which will elevate your look,” advises Varma.
While wearing Set Mundu in the traditional way looks great and is comfortable, trying different draping styles will add more fun to your attire.
“You can either drape the saree by tucking the pallu in your blouse (how Mohiniyattam dancers drape). This is an ancient way of draping the saree in Kerala. To enhance your look further, you can go for a white and golden border lehenga saree, which are very much in vogue and easy to wear as well. You can get them stitched or buy the ready-to-wear ones. You also skip the white and golden border and go for a dupatta in vibrant hues to create a new look,” advises Sonia Nambair, Bengaluru-based stylist.
Varma suggests that although traditionally women keep their hair open and wear gajra, you can also make a bun.
“For accessories, you can either go for gold jewellery or antique oxidised ornaments,” she adds.