Classic & contemporary

Amrita Prasad
Thursday, 11 October 2018

If you want to give your Navratri ensemble a twist, here’s how you must go about it  

Dandiya and garba nights are all about heavily-embellished chaniya-cholis, dupattas and kediyas, and heavy ornaments. But would you like the clothes and jewellery to weigh you down? Instead, why not give your Navratri ensemble a contemporary twist by doing away with heavy ensembles? Also, you can embrace pastel shades, neons and even black rather than the traditional red, green and yellow to make you stand out from the crowd. 
Experts share some handy tips on how to keep the traditional essence intact while infusing the clothes with modernity. 

Brijesh Bhati, CEO, Ankur Textiles (a division of Arvind Limited), says that over the years, people have moved from ethnic attires to Indo-Western outfits that ensure the much-needed ‘style and comfort’. “These two elements were therefore at the core of our recently launched exclusive range of multi-fibre fabrics for men and women at our design studio. Considering the fashion aspirations this Navratri, the outfits are contemporary in their outlook yet rooted in tradition, ready to add to the evolving fashion quotient of India,” he says.
For women, Bhavya Chawla, chief stylist,, says key pieces like dhoti pants, peplum kurti, long jacket, offbeat saree blouse, long flared skirt, off-shoulder kurti dress, jeans and sarees look trendy. “These should be in lightweight fabrics like cottons, chiffons, crepes and chanderis in subtle colours. You can mix and match them,” she suggests. 

Talking about how you can create these quirky looks, Chawla says, “Pair your funky printed dhoti pants with a solid crop top, silver necklace and juttis. A peplum kurti goes best with solid dhoti pants. You can even opt for a dramatic high-low kurti and complete the look with a pair of Kolhapuris.” 

If you think you can’t sport a dress during Navratri and Durga Puja, think again! Chawla feels that a full-length ethnic printed dress, accessorised with lots of oxidised silver jewellery, can bring out the festive look. “You can create an edgy and modern look by draping a checkered printed mulmul saree with a floral printed blouse or team up a long flared skirt with tucked in shirt or a crop top, and add a statement necklace. Throw on your jeggings and top, and drape a dupatta like a half saree and you are ready to grab eyeballs. For a more funky look, wear a long jacket with a tiered necklace, ripped jeans and loafers,” she says. 

Men can sport dhoti pants, short and long kurta, sleeveless sherwani jacket, printed and solid crinkled stoles, jeans and a Rajasthani turban. These may be traditional pieces, but can be worn in the most contemporary, stylish way. “Off white, onion pink, mint green, powder blue, lemon are the colours to pick this season. Go easy on the fabrics and choose comfortable weaves like cottons, crepes and lightweight silk. Wear dhoti pants with a knee-length kurta, a stole and juttis and steal the show. Similarly, a Pathani style short kurta worn with ripped jeans will look great. Try sporting a short wrap A-line kurta with dhoti pants or simply team up a silk kurta with a Kerala style off-white lungi and Rudraksh mala to add drama to your appearance. Asymmetrical kurtas with a pair of denims will let you flaunt the cool, laidback look,” suggests Chawla. 

Jeet Singh, stylist and owner of Delhi-based Hanger Lifestyle, suggests that one can explore with ethnic wear. “Though this is the time to flaunt your ethnic collection, you can experiment with them as well and pick an Indo-Western outfit or get some inspiration from designers. Some of the quirky combos that women can go for include dhoti pants with a denim shirt, cape shrug with a crop top and ghagra, a traditional ghagra-choli with a short denim jacket and so on,” he says. 
Sharing tips on what men can wear during Navratri and Durga Puja, Singh says that an embroidered cream sherwani with brown churidaar is always a safe and smart option. “The combination will make you look dapper. But you can always add a twist by teaming it up with a light floral shawl for those colder nights. Complete the look with Jodhpuri chappals or tan shoes. A sharp, crisp kurta with stitch detailing on a bandhgala can also make you look fashionable. For another look, try a well-fitted shirt-kurta and ankle-skimming pants with tan brogues. To further bring out the vivacity of Navratri, try floral jackets,” advises Singh. 
Designer Purvi Doshi says that lightweight plain cotton lehengas with embroidered border and beautiful tassels are eye-catching. Printed cotton lehengas or mixing print and plain cotton in a half and half lehenga style can also look elegant and chic. According to the designer, you can recycle your old kutchi mirror patches and mix with a plain or printed fabric and wear a kediya style blouse with it. For the chunni/ dupatta, recycle your grandmom’s saree. “Plain cotton lehenga with kediya style mirror patch blouse and a dupatta recycled from an old saree looks very stylish. Printed cotton lehenga with a backless blouse recycled with old patches and a nice plain cotton dupatta and decorated with tassels also looks fresh and young,” she says.  

Apart from old kediyas and dhotis, men can wear cotton kurtas embellished with not so heavy mirror work along with churidars or pants. “They can also wear a printed cotton kurta with Jodhpuri pants or dhoti style pants and add a stole to complete the look,”  suggests Doshi. 


Kamakshi Kaul, VP Design Head, Max Fashion, shares a few tips while dressing up for Navratri:  

  • The ‘traditional flair meets contemporary appeal’ never disappoints.
  • Your favourite festive ensembles can have an upgrade this time of the year. Pair the artsy outfits wisely to make heads turn.
  • Hardly anyone can say ‘no’ to a vibrant dash of colour, and with the nine-day long celebration of Navratri, you have plenty of time to experiment with all the colours.  
  • We know you love to mix and match (who doesn’t!). Make the festivities your perfect opportunity to indulge in it. 
  • If there is a perfect time to play with silhouettes, proportions and fit, it’s this.
  • Don’t shy away from breaking away from conventions as you bring out the best with your unquestionable style quotient. 

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