Indian-Influenced Summer Fashions

Photo by Brittany Jordt

India’s loud. So are there fashion choices. Indian women are not afraid of bold colors, fabulous fabrics, and big jewelry. They thrive on things that many American women would call gaudy, or loud. They do not feel self-conscious wearing clothes or jewelry that call attention.

I think of saris made of silk or cotton, in brilliant pinks, reds, and greens. Woven with beads, sequins, and glitter, these saris are wrapped around the waist and draped over the shoulder. Indian women are modest but bold. Shoulders and knees are covered, but the sari wraps tightly around their curvaceous shape, accented with a tight top and exposed stomach.

We western women may feel a bit overwhelmed wearing a combination of Indian garments and accessories. One piece at a time, however, can make a fabulous accent to a more conservative outfit, and help you step out of the box. Here are a few tips for making your wardrobe a little more daring, and colorful, this summer.

1. Get a scarf. Wisconsin’s weather can be dicey – a scarf takes the chill off while giving you a little flair! A simple accent like a scarf magically transforms any outfit, from a t-shirt and jeans to a little black dress. Choose a scarf with pattern and color (paisley is a popular choice). Don’t worry about matching, likely you’ll wear it with solids. The scarf wraps a variety of ways about the neck, or doubles as a shawl. It’s a totally practical purchase, and this accessory easily fits in your handbag.

Photo by Brittany Jordt

2. Patterns, people! Buy something with swirls of color, flowers, or both. On one garment in India you might find elaborately decorated elephants and camels, encompassed by vines and flowers.

3. Buy a bold, big piece of jewelry. In America, we call it “costume jewelry,” the kind that can’t possibly be real, right? Indian women love brilliant yellow gold. They buy flashy, ornately designed earrings with gemstones dangling from them. Go big with a pair of earrings, a huge rhinestone ring, or a fabulous pendent.

4. The long-sleeve dress. These dresses are made from relatively thin cotton, so that they are extraordinarily lightweight. They’re perfect for layering: a cami and leggings underneath for a breezy summer night or a jacket with boots for a fall day.

5. End it with an anklet and some flats. Every Indian woman and child wears ankle bracelets, the most popular a simple linked chain with little bells on it. Paired with some summery flats (they’re showing them in yellows, reds, and greens with 3-D flowers) they are simple, beautiful, and feminine.