Wedding Special: How to wear white at an Indian wedding
While the world separates virginal from white, here’s how the traditional Indian bride has accepted it as a colour of celebrationUpdated: Sep 28, 2019 23:20 IST
White weddings, with the bride sashaying down the isle in that grand (and famously trailing) gown, have been romanticised by young women all over the world. But can the Indian bride turn this fairy tale-hued wedding into a reality? A few years ago, the answer would’ve been a blunt ‘no’, for who could wear ‘the colour of mourning’ on their big day?!
White is now slowly finding favour in Indian wedding wear. Just browse through any couture designer’s Instagram handle and you’ll see white being celebrated big time.
According to designer Nachiket Barve, the norm that white is considered a colour for widows is not followed by brides in South India, who mostly wear white and gold traditional kanjivarams. “A white and gold attire along with jewellery looks wonderful against the lush green in Kerala, even in parts of Maharashtra, brides wear white saris with red borders,” reveals designer Ritu Kumar.
“There is nothing as timeless and elegant as white is,” asserts fashion designer Nidhi Ahuja of the label Pankaj & Nidhi, whose recent wedding line is, in fact, dedicated to the love of white.
“Interestingly, white wedding trousseau is common in Gujarat too, where brides and grooms love to wear white with a hint of red,” says Payal Jain, whose wedding wear has always reflected an admiration for white.
Moreover, with destination weddings catching the fancy of well-heeled Indians, white is one hue that’s making an appearance on Indian brides on foreign shores as it gels well with the themes and locales.
Although Christian brides have been wearing white to denote virginity, the notion seems like a redundant belief now. “I’m against the idea of white being associated with the purity of a bride, which position are we in to judge anybody?” questions Nidhi. “If you look at Indian history, as opposed to the kings, the brides were expected to be touch-me-nots. I don’t believe in this at all,” adds Anju Modi.
So with modern brides and grooms taking decisions about their wedding look, whites, ivories and off-whites are ethereally making their place in bridal wear in a vibrant India. Here’s how...
Watch the accents
Adding accessories to white equals adding celebration
By Madhu Jain, fashion designer
A white wedding outfit, other than the embellishments on the dress, can be accented with vintage jewellery and add-ons such as the good old potlis, juttis, choodis and parandees!
1. Wear a maang tika from your grandmother’s closet.
2. Use techniques like tie-dye, bandhani, shibori or zardozi and use colourful gota to add a splash of auspicious colours to your trousseau.
3. Traditional kundan jewelley from Hyderabad with floral, especially mogra, motifs can prep up the look. Even a navratana necklace looks beautiful when worn with an ivory outfit.
Tip: Visit the famous Vithaldas and Tibarumal Jewellers in Hyderabad for the best vintage jewellery!
4. Accentuate the all-white wedding look with attractive and colourful potlis, juttis, choodis and parandees.
5. Wear a red or golden dupatta or a colourful mukaish dupatta over the ensemble to complete the look.
Attention: Men of the match
How to complement a bride in white…
By Rahul Mishra, fashion designer
Shahid Kapoor wore a white sherwani on his wedding, and complemented his bride’s outfit. Pick vibrant turbans and brooches to accentuate the colour.
1. Wear a pink or orange-hued turban or one matching the
bride’s outfit for a coordinated wedding look.
2. Go for tone-on-tone embroidery or colourful embroidery for a more fun look with off-white.
3. Coordinate the look with a bundi, which has a statement or floral motif for a traditional look.
4. The right accents and accessories can uplift the look. Accentuate with strong-coloured pocket squares or a brooch for a fun look.
5. Go for tan or beige shoes for a formal look or coordinate with hand-embroidered shoes with white-on-white embroidery done in same or different textures found on the sherwani.
Master the art of perfect pairing
The science of teaming pristine finery
By Nidhi Ahuja, fashion designer
White goes with everything! In fact, it leaves more room to experiment with colour as well as embroidery. A vibrant dupatta or a heavily colourful blouse will perk up your white outfit!
1. For a modern look, pair your white lehengas with tops that have dramatic, statement sleeves.
2. Also, colourful embroidery and textures
add fun and brightness to a white outfit. So go for it!
3. Throw in a colourful dupatta in bright pink or tangerine to offset the white.
4. Brides wear fresh white flowers like mogra in your hair as they pair very beautifully with an ivory outfit.
5. It’s a great idea to team colourful blouses and crop tops with white saris. You can go with bright colours like fuchsia or emerald or even more muted colours look gorgeous like salmon pink or pale blue. Brocade is a great fabric and both bright and muted shades in this rich luxurious fabric look beautiful.
Make the best of the west
If traditional isn’t your thing, here are five ways you can rock your white look
By Rishi Raj, celebrity stylist
Let comfort come first when you choose a white Western silhouette for your big day. Plus, go easy on jewellery and accessories.
1. Pastle-enameled baubles and polkis look stunning with white Western silhouettes.
2. The fabrics depends on the time of the year and the destination of your wedding. Thicker, sculpted white fabrics work well when it’s cold and softer flimsier ones work well for beach weddings.
3. Always dress to celebrate your body and highlight your favourite features. And remember, you’ll have to be in this outfit for a while, standing for hours possibly. So comfort should be the first factor.
4. Let your natural beauty come through and go down the minimal route as well as accessories and jewellery is concerned.
5. A high-neck embellished white outfit could get some breathing space with an updo, while an off-shoulder number could have a softer wispy bun or even open hair.
Think 50 shades of white
There are multiple shades of the same colour, and multiple ways to wear them. Here’s how you can enhance your favourite shade
By Payal Jain, fashion designer
Whether you are wearing an eggshell white or an ivory ensemble, pick the right jewellery to complement the shade!
1. An eggshell white looks great on Indian skin. If you have picked that, then go for minimal gold or silver jewellery to keep the white in focus.
2. When wearing an ivory ensemble, go for diamonds and pearls or emeralds and rubies.
3. For the bride who likes a dull white and an understated look, bring in accents of gold or polki into your wedding outfit. And if you are wearing the same for a reception, change to pearl or emerald jewellery.
4. Also, white-on-white chikankari looks great on Indian skin tones. So go for it!
Tip: White looks great on Indian skin. However, if it’s a beach wedding, go for fun and lighter fabrics, while in destinations like Delhi or Rajasthan a dressed up look works and a royal, antique look works best in an old heritage property.
Pick the most flattering of ‘em all
How to pick the perfect tone and fabric
By Nachiket Barve, fashion designer
Of course the right fit and cut make all the difference. But remember: flowy fabrics flatter the curvy and structured ones make slim brides look extra sexy!
1. On a duskier skin tone, warmer whites would look better like bone, ivory or cream.
2. Cooler whites like a milky colour, snow white or a porcelain hue would look great on lighter skin tones.
3. If you are on the heavier side, go for flowy fabrics like georgettes, chiffons or crêpes.
4. Petite women must opt for structured fabrics like organza, taffeta and satin.
5 Athletic people can carry all fabrics beautifully. However, a suitable cut can make all the difference. The fit has to be right. A bias cut works well, a flared silhouette looks good as well.
Sashay in a sari
How to sport the white sari with sass?
By Monica Shah of the label Jade
Make your white wedding sari memorable by picking the right shade and embellishments. Go glam if the wedding’s at night but be sure to not wear too much jewellery with a heavy white wedding sari!
1. At daytime weddings, saris in off-whites and broken whites complement warmer Indian skin tones, but if it’s a night wedding, a stark white sari with gold work looks outstanding.
2. Pearl work or intricate kasab work on white saris is ideal during daytime weddings and it looks quite traditional. At night, keep the embellishments glam with nakshi pita work.
3. When picking a blouse for your white wedding sari, remember, open necks and low backs work well for all body types. For someone with chubby arms, sleeves below the elbow help create the impression of slim arms.
4. Go for kanjeevaram, bandhini and benarasi saris during the day and reserve fully embroidered white saris in lace for the night.
5. Keep the accessories minimal when wearing a heavily-embellished white sari. For instance, diamonds pair quite well with Chantilly lace saris. Avoid maang tika and simply wear a clean necklace, big earrings and a vintage watch with it.
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From HT Brunch, September 29, 2019
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