7 Ways to Wear A Salwar Kameez


Salwar Kameez. That quintessential 'behenji' outfit that has been glorified as being uncool over the years.
'Only moms wear these clothes!'
'Eww, I don't wear Indian outfits.'
'Salwar Kameez is so boring, I prefer wearing shorts.'

Let's face it. We've all either heard or said these things before. I know I have! For me, Indian outfits were very very difficult to embrace when I was a kid. I didn't own any and the times I did have to go out and buy one were when there was a wedding or some big family celebration. But even more than that, I didn't think this was a practical outfit because I was forced to wear it the exact same way, which meant I looked like a copy of my old self. Turns out my teenage self just didn't have the style sense and while it's taken me a while to find new ways to wear this very 'aunty' outfit, let's hope you don't have to!

Read on to know my favourite ways to restyle a salwar kameez that fuse the best of both worlds and look modern but still have that ethnic flavour!

1. Skirting the Issue

If you've got a top that's beautiful and fits you well, the easiest way to wear it is to throw on a skirt. Honestly, those custom designed kameez styles you had stitched by your tailor should be out in the world and don't let a pair of salwars you think don't flatter you stop you! Adding an a-line skirt makes the outfit look so much more modern and infact, you could get away with wearing this to the office too, depending on wear you work! Go ahead, give it a try!

2. Still Skirting It

Right. This is a spin on the first look. Say you haven't shaved your legs and still want to wear that top. Ladies, let me tell you, a simple black maxi skirt is going to be your best friend! This look is essentially letting you flaunt your short salwar kameez tops but still giving you the freedom to be a modern girl (read too lazy to wax/shave her legs because Netflix released a new show to binge watch!). Of course, if you aren't a fan of the length of the top, you can use the same trick as the first look and tuck it into your skirt. Do what works best for you honestly. It's all about finding that remix that works for you.

3. Shirt Up, I'm Cool

Yes, yes. If you've seen my other style posts I can almost hear you saying, do you wear a white shirt with everything? And the answer my friend, will always be Yes! Seriously, a white shirt will make pretty much anything look good and a pair of salwars is no exception. Now a lot of these salwars have those gathers at the crotch which means a longer shirt is a perfect thing to hide them but still give you a very 'I'm too cool for school vibe'. I added the dupatta to pull in the print from the bottoms and balance the look out but you're welcome to go without it if you like. It's super easy, it's edgy and trust me, a pair of salwars are sooooo much better for those early morning brunches than tight denims. (Life lesson learnt by yours truly thanks to the 40 degrees heatwave in Mumbai).

4. Knot Cool

Yet another variation on the previous look. I ditched the dupatta, took the shirt and knotted it up. Yes yes, if the salwar has awkward pleats then you might not be very happy with how this looks and that's okay. But I bet you have a few different ones and you'll find the ones you love inspite of the pleats. It's simple but striking and has to be the most 'summer' friendly fusion look I've created till date.

5. Dupatta To the Rescue

If you're bored of the top, the easiest hack to upstyle a look is to drape the dupatta with a simple belt added on top. This style is something I always try with longer stoles and dupattas and honestly, it makes for a new-ish outfit but takes less than a minute to create. Since a lot of the traditional salwar kameez sets have matching bottoms and dupattas, this helps in creating a single toned look instead of the constrast top style that is usually favoured. Of course, a monotone look also helps give the illusion of being put together so that's an added bonus!

6. Take it to the Beach

Okay, this is something I didn't even think I'd include in the post but honestly, this is what you'll see me wearing to the beach in a modest country! The salwar just gives me super hippy vibes and the top is actually a thrift buy from a street-seller who kept it for me because he thought I'd like it. Simple but striking, this is also a sneaky way to tell you to pair your bottoms with a different top in solid colours to get a bit more use out of them!

7. Blazer of Desi

 Finally, I think I'm slowly turning into a blazer person (jk, I was always a blazer person). When you've found a way to sneak in a blazer into a desi look, you know you're winning! I loveee how kitschy this whole look is and while I know a lot of you might not be very comfortable wearing it, I hope you keep it in mind for those days when you feel like pushing the envelope. Trust me, it's utterly out there but still, it's super comfortable (minus the heels maybe but feel free to add sneakers instead). Try it and then don't forget to share it with me if you do!

So those were all the looks folks. We've got a rich heritage full of 'designer wear' where every tailor was a master designer and we all had custom-made clothes. Somewhere along the way, we turned into fast fashion hoarders because we're a generation with zero patience. While that's okay, I hope you don't discard those 'custom-made' pieces before you give them a last chance to be modern. Style is subjective and you are the only person who get's to decide what your style should be. However, I hope you atleast try something new before deciding because there's so much potential in the things you already own that you don't need to buy new bits!

If you're still curious about how I created these looks, there's a quick 1 minute styling video over on my Instagram that you might want to see. If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends because that means the world to me and doesn't cost you anything but a few seconds of your time! Thanks people and I hope you have a lovely week ahead!!

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