Look your traditional best this Diwali, but not without a funky spin

The festival season is a great excuse to get glamorous. But the right way. It's easy to get lost in the fervour of the festivities and pay little attention to one's wardrobe. You don't want to be caught with nothing appropriate to wear to a last minute Diwali taash party or turn up overdressed to a small family affair. The good thing about a festival like Diwali is that your wardrobe doesn't have to take a backseat. Tradition demands that new clothes be purchased weeks in advance and outfits be readied for the fireworks. With plenty of time in hand, the best way to dress up your festival wardrobe is by going ethnic. However, one needn't stick to the regular fare of anarkalis or embellished sarees. With a little imagination you can give your ethnic wear a cool contemporary twist.

If the recent fashion weeks have taught us anything, it's traditional wear doesn't have to be boring. Drape your saree in the dhoti style or wear your embroidered kurta over a lungi or skirt, to look stylish yet traditional. Mix and match and have fun with your wardrobe but remember to keep your body type in mind.

Experimentation is the way to go and fashion designer Anamika Khanna recommends putting a new spin on Banarasi or woven sarees with a simple rule in mind. “It's all about being funky and showing off bright Indian colours. However, the Indian silhouette requires that you keep one part of your dress narrow, preferably the bottom part. This helps enhance your body type,” says she. The designer who dressed actress Soha Ali Khan in a hip saree-dhoti at brother Saif Ali Khan's wedding, also recommends keeping your western wear hidden this time of year. “There's nothing more inappropriate than turning up at a celebration in an LBD,” she says.

Clearly, this is a time to let your Indian side shine. Garraras, ghagaras and kalidars are ideal for the festivities. You can dress them up with a little bit of bling. Velvet is a huge rage this season as well. The trick, however, is to keep it to a minimum. “Velvet should be confined to the blouse or just the saree border,” advices Manish Malhotra. The designer suggests pink, coral, dark burgundy and yellow with an old world charm as colours to stick to for the festival.

If old world charm isn't for you and you're willing to go the distance when it comes to experimenting, how about trying psychedelic? Designer Nida Mahmood's Spring/Summer 2013 collection, Sapna Cinema, is inspired by a psychedelic dreamscape. The sarees in the collection don surreal colours that are brought together with the right touch of Indian accents. The young with a bit of spunk can try draping these unique prints over floor-length skirts, jeans or even leggings. “Drop the boring stuff,” says Nida. “Think out of the box and allow your wardrobe to rejoice in the season.”

(This article was published on November 26, 2012)
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