Indian fashion is renowned for its intricate designs and elegant drapes. Indian clothes are designed to be comfortable and beautiful at the same time, enhancing the inherent beauty of women and allowing them the chance to express their personality by choosing the appropriate designs for the item.
Indian formal attire is no exception to this rule and in this category one can find numerous choices to match the occasion and one’s personal fashion sensibilities. Indian formal clothes, like their western counterpart, are usually worn for special occasions like glamorous parties, black-tie events and weddings, in a formal office environment and for business conferences.
Depending on the occasion for which it is worn, the style of the outfit will differ, though in general, Indian formal wear is more sophisticated and classy than the casual varieties.
Indian Formal Clothing for Women
When we think of formal dresses for women we think of gowns, cocktail dresses, crisp shirts, skirts and trousers. One can find Indian inspired version of each of these, from Indian evening gowns to shirts made of Indian fabrics and with Indian prints.
However, Indian formal wear for ladies can also include traditional garments like the saree, lehenga choli and the salwar kameez. Each of these has a unique appeal.
The saree, a long cloth that is pleated around the waist and then wrapped around the body over one shoulder, is valued for its elegant drape and graceful design. These are worn with long-sleeved or half-sleeve blouses in complementary colors.
Sarees made of fabrics like georgette and crepe which offer a lot of comfort and don’t wrinkle easily are very popular. This also goes for salwar kameez. The formal salwar kameez incorporate limited designs at the borders and neckline and may display a variety of silhouettes, from the simple straight cut to the trendy Anarkali style.
The lehenga choli counts as Indian formal but is not an appropriate choice for office wear or business events. They are typically quite colorful and ornate and hence are only suited for the more celebratory occasions like festivals, weddings and ceremonies.
These events also require formal wear but of a different kind. The kinds of Indian formal wear for women that would be appropriate for such occasions are more ornate and heavy, with a wider color palette than office wear permits.
While even casual wear sarees and salwar kameez may be colorful with designs, Indian formal dresses for women for such events tend to take the glamour to another level. They come with a lot of elaborate embroidery made of Resham threads as well as intricate embellishments of beads, stones, sequins as well as cutdana, cut bead, zari, Neemzari, aari, dori, booti and Phulkari.
The designs are highly artistic, incorporating Indian motifs like fruits, flowers, birds and leaves. The same goes for lehenga cholis, which are perhaps the most luxurious looking Indian formal wear for women, especially when they are made of high-end materials like Banarsi silk, Tussar silk, velvet, net, tissue, brocade and chiffon.
Formal Wear for Men
The classic formal dress for men is the suited and booted look; the combination of shirt, vest, tie, suit and/or blazer with a fitted pair of trousers is what we expect when we say formal dresses for men. A variation of this classic western look can be achieved by exploring Indo Western formal dresses for men like Nehru jackets, Indo Western shirts and Indo Western suits.
These utilize the simple western silhouette but incorporate smart ethnic additions like a high collar, border embroidery, attractive prints etc. In fabrics like silk, velvet and linen, they look ethnic yet elegant and can be worn for a wide variety of occasions, from business conferences to parties.
However for events like weddings or festivals, Indian formal wear for men like sherwanis and dhotis are the preferred choice as they have a traditional vibe which cannot be matched. In Indo Western wear there are also formal clothes for women like Indian formal gowns.
Also Read: Indian Men’s Ethnic Clothing
Accessorizing Indian Formal Wear
The type of formal wear mostly depends on the occasion. For days involving a lot of movement when we want our clothes to stay in place, crisp linen and silk sarees with a stiff drape would be perfect. For a more luxurious effect, silk sarees would be preferable.
However the correct accessorizing is necessary to get the correct formal effect. All formal wear dresses should be accessorized in a simple yet effective manner to avoid a fashion faux pas. For work, an Indian formal dress like a saree can be matched with a gold pendant and bangles for a classy, understated look. Most women’s formal wear will look good with pearl jewelry and silver pendants.
When it comes to dressing up wedding Indian formal wear, men should stick to additions like men’s dupattas and turbans.
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