, this salwar!, this salwar!

Remember the good ol’ days when our moms were wowed by the beautiful salwar kameez on the silver screen? Or the cute kurtas with the figure-hugging churidars that rocked the fashion scene. Cut to 2018, the style is back with a bang!

And the best part, the conservative two-piece has now undergone a radical makeover, elbowing aside the lehengas and skirts with a new-age panache and silhouettes to boot. So, it’s time to make space for this traditional, stylish ensemble in your wardrobe. “Modern, unconventional silhouettes have now given a facelift to the stereotypical contours. For instance, the salwars have been modified to palazzos, ” says fashion designer, Nikita Kaushik of Studio Casa 9. 

What’s new? 

So, gone are the days of baggy Patiala salwars and clingy leggings in all possible shades or the slim churidars that gathered just above your ankles, or the embellished shararas

Now, there are palazzos which complement your body if you’re tall. These pants have a flare and are both comfortable and stylish. Then, there are the anarkalis, these have a flare from the knees and twirl as you walk. The boot-cut versions come with broad ends and three-quarter length palazzos that’ll help you show off your dainty ankles.

Draped palazzos and straight cuts add a shape to the form, while dhoti pants in layered fabrics bring in a shift in focus for those who are generously endowed on the rear. You can dress cleverly by slipping into a straight cut, form-fitting pants in solid colours to bring in a visually slimmer shape.

“Earlier, the Pakistani flair had brought in lace and crochet-trimmed palazzos. Now, a border in fine embroidery as a lower panel adds to the charm of the reinvented salwar, or even mega-sized tassels bring in an element of fine detailing that spruces up the festive appeal of the salwar,” says fashion designer Pooja Shroff. 

“Kameez has now shrunk in length. Whether reaching your knees, or mid-thigh or hips, it is a personal choice depending upon your body type and comfort level. In vogue are crop tops teamed with palazzos, off shoulder renditions, and even short camisoles, as the modern cut in kameez, to go with flared pants. They look extremely chic,” says Pooja.

Fancy a Grecian look? Then, go for cold shoulder cuts and slashed sleeves which show off your arms and add a bit of glamour. Also, the short and snug kurtis that were a rage a few years ago, when the film Bunty aur Babli released, is passe now, just like the simple, long and straight-cut tunics. 

Look fab

Now, the focus is clearly on the fabric, and the stylish cut, rather than on embellishments. “The kameez length has been taken over by versions of one piece dresses or tunics, or even modified kaftan cuts which are asymmetrical, with no specific curve, showing structure,” says fashion designer Benita Sahani. 

 It is the versatility of this outfit that makes it comply with casual as well as festive wear. The dupattas have been done away with these days, with a sheer cape or a translucent jacket stepping in as the third component of the salwar kameez. The festive season this year brings with it a rich palette to set the mood for a splash of joy and revelry. “Colours like blushing corals, burnt rusts, bright mustards, ravishing reds and nightingale navy blue are becoming very popular on the fashion circuit,” says Nikita. “Opt for flowing,
figure-flattering fabrics and slinky fabrics including georgettes, chiffons, silks, modals and crepes,” she adds.


Of course, the hues abound in keeping with the special occasion you have in mind. For celebrations that are scheduled to be held in the mornings and afternoons, Pooja picks a mixed palette in steel grey, ice blue, blush pink, minty green, mango yellow and timeless ivory. These colours work very well in combinations and contrasts as well. With heavily embellished uppers, they look simply beautiful and classic. For those wishing to spin in retro charm, long neckpieces like sautoirs, big chand balis or chunky wrist cuffs look very cool, suggests Benita.

 Team it up with traditional mojris or high heeled embellished footwear to step up the elegance. Pooja says, “Beaded jootis, or those replete with colourful thread work, or even plain Kolhapuri chappals look breezy and fabulous.” Go in for round formed comfortable jootis, or the embellished chappals for comfort. The idea is to skirt the desire to bring in the overkill, though. “Just avoid teaming a flared, long upper with a salwar, or going over the top with the bling on both the upper and lower garment. You end up looking like a chandelier. Try and keep it simple and stylish.

For the young, you can even rock the look by pairing a cape with dhoti pants and a bustier; or dhoti pants and a leather jacket style with sneakers, to amp up that edgy chic vibe,” sums up Pooja.

So go on, craft your own look.

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