An Indian wedding’s multiple events give the bride an opportunity to curate a really diverse wardrobe. But while classic saris and lehengas are eternal favorites, modern brides are looking for more than just fail-safe traditional looks. They aren’t afraid to experiment and they want their repertoire to reflect their personalities. As designers innovate with new-age hybrid silhouettes that are contemporary iterations of age-old styles, there is a wider gamut of options for brides to choose from.
The reasons to love them are many—for one, they add freshness to a bride’s various looks for her wedding events. But more importantly, they marry the old with the new in a fitting reflection of the average aesthete’s glocal lifestyle. Versatility plays an important role as well. "While classic silhouettes are evergreen and safe choices, brides today are also looking for pieces they can re-wear in the future. The idea of repurposing your wedding outfits is slowly but surely being embraced," explains wedding stylist and designer Tania Kottoor. "In fact, I designed seven looks for my wedding, all of which I have now remixed into my current wardrobe."
Meet the Expert
Tania Kottoor is a wedding stylist and the co-founder of bespoke clothing brand WESTxEAST.
Kottoor points out the importance of comfort in present-day bridal wear, too. "Brides want to be at ease and enjoy their events without being bogged down by heavy outfits. They want to be able to dance in these, and have a good time!"
Below, we gathered 10 trending silhouettes to assist your hunt for a winning and lasting bridal trousseau.
Ever since the global pandemic confined us into our homes, kaftans emerged as the ultimate it-outfit. This inspired several designers to imagine this free-flowing silhouette to match festive occasions, paving the way for the year’s biggest trend. Choose from kaftan saris by Saaksha & Kinni, kaftan kurtas by Sureen Chowdhri and Rajdeep Ranawat, and more—these are easy to dress up with jewelry for a destination wedding!
Brides looking for sari inspiration beyond the classic nine-yard have a plethora of options: ruffles by Arpita Mehta, hands-free pallus by Studio Medium, and cocktail saris with sexy blouses and pre-draped styles by Gaurav Gupta and Amit Aggarwal. Kottoor attests to the popularity of the sari gown and lehenga sari with her clients, too. "These silhouettes are popular on the runway and are favored by brides who want one of their wedding outfits to be contemporary."
Move over superheroes. The cape is the Indian bride’s hero piece! There are multiple ways to wear one, too. Pair a heavily embellished cape with your sangeet lehenga instead of a dupatta, or choose a light gossamer version in a breezy print that can be thrown over a crop top and sharara set.
"I always give my clients suggestions on reusing their outfits. For example, a heavily embellished bridal blouse can be paired with high-waisted palazzo pants or a simple skirt and shawl. The possibilities are endless," Kottoor says. Even when buying a head-to-toe look, brides study how they can break down the outfit to reuse as separates down the line.
You don’t always need to buy the full look from one designer. Curate pieces from different brands for an end result that is truly unique to you.
Not ready to give up those sweatpants just yet? Bring you’re A-game to the wedding playground with athleisure-inspired Indian occasion wear by Payal Singhal, House of Masaba, and Bodice. A lehenga paired with a ribbed blouse and a bomber jacket for the mehndi will be fuss-free and fashionable. Take inspiration from this showstopper look from Singhal’s Spring-Summer 2021 collection. Or, wear a crop top and joggers with a cape for a casual pre-wedding gathering. Sneakers are not optional!
The Modern Anarkali
The floor-sweeping silhouette got shorter this year, shedding its weight and assuming a more comfortable persona in the process. Celebrity-favored designer Manish Malhotra color blocks his short peplum-like anarkalis with embroidered palazzos for a dressed-up look. Round it off with ornate Polki jewelry.
The ankle-skimming cropped lehenga is as dance-friendly as it gets. Anita Dongre and Papa Don’t Preach by Shubhika pair them with statement blouses for a look that guarantees maximum impact with a hint of quirk. Finish the look with embellished juttis and anklets.
Suits are not just for the groom. The Indian bride isn’t afraid to go androgynous for her wedding events in a well-cut pantsuit. The twist? Adding a touch of heritage by choosing one in a handwoven Indian textile. A jewel-tone Benarasi pantsuit by Kshitij Jalori, Raw Mango, or Sukit Dhir will add ample flair (and sass!) to your repertoire.
Cool, comfortable and oh-so-stylish, there are many reasons that a jumpsuit is a universal favorite. Its merits are not lost on Indian designers, who have reimagined the classic jumpsuit to fit into the format of an Indian wedding. Pre-draped jumpsuit saris by Ridhi Mehra are ideal for a pre-wedding lunch. Sabyasachi pairs his bandhini print jumpsuit with a belted cape, making it a mehndi must-have.
The blouse is no longer playing second fiddle to the rest of the outfit. Rather than an after-thought, it’s now the element that can infuse look-at-me allure to the overall ensemble. Think voluminous sleeves by Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla, bare backs by Torani, wrap tops by Jade by Monica & Karishma, corsets by Tarun Tahiliani, and more.