A shawl is arguably one of the most versatile pieces of apparel in a woman's wardrobe. It can completely alter the shape of a dress and the silhouette of your figure. The perfect shawl can be used in countless ways… as long as you know how to wear it with confidence and joy.
Fortunately, as a specialist in all things in Indian ethnic fashion, Lashkaraa has extensive experience when it comes to shawls. Below, we've assembled three tips and tricks to perfectly style any shawl. Soon, you'll understand the essentials in choosing your shawl, the essentials of wearing it, and the essentials of pairing it.
How To Choose a Shawl
A shawl can add beauty and elegance to any outfit when styled and paired correctly. The first step is to choose the perfect shawl for you.
Colors: Meaning and Impact
Color matters a great deal when wearing your shawl. Many colors have symbolic significance. Specifically, in the Hindu religion, red can symbolize good luck, love, and power, yellow for good fortune, and so on. Beyond symbolic significance, your shawl color also has a direct impact on the way your outfit looks.
Pairing a fitted shawl with a same-colored primary garment can serve to create an even-keeled appearance. You'll seem like someone confident, well-versed in fashion, and practiced control of your apparel.
A brightly colored shawl with a neutral or dark-colored outfit will instead add a playful pop of color. If the shawl is sheer in any way, it can also serve to highlight your figure or jewelry in the outfit underneath.
A dark-colored shawl paired with an otherwise bright outfit provides the opposite appearance. It will add a touch of mystique and allure to your ensemble.
This brings us to our next tip, choosing the right color is the first step in styling your shawl.
Fabric Impacts Drape
The next step is choosing the fabric for your attire. Fabric affects many things, including thickness, heft, how a piece drapes, and how it catches the light.
Among the many fabrics, we have a few favorites. The sheer, playful look of net fabric makes a charming top for any piece. Silk and satin both create a lustrous appearance and provide a glamorous sheen to your apparel. The best shawls effectively use various fabrics to command the best impression.
You should also consider the season when choosing your fabric. Heavyweight fabrics like velvet are wonderful for winter or for whenever you want to add a regal approach to your fashion. Velvet has long been a symbol of royalty and high fashion and is an essential winter fabric.
Patterns speak volumes about the nature of the garment. Indian embroidery has long been admired for its complexity and attention to detail. Zari, thread, sequin, stone work, and more have long been used to create stunning ethnic clothing. They also enhance saree, salwar kameez, and lehenga alike.
You should choose a shawl that's patterns reflect, but do not wholly mirror, your primary garment. If you have a piece with extremely intricate sequins, for example, you may consider a shawl with simpler embroidery.
You can also take the opposite approach and pair a complex shawl with a relatively simply patterned garment. Either way, by pairing complementary and not totally identical designs, you create a more complex, rich fashion statement.
How To Style Your Shawl
The above three considerations give you everything you need to know to choose a shawl. Next, we'll help you choose the perfect way to style your favorite shawl.
Style 1. Over One Arm
Draping your shawl over one arm can provide an elegant, asymmetrical look. A simple shawl with minimal embroidery one can provide a humble but lovely companion to any gown. This style works best with formal looks where you can afford to have one arm held slightly up in support.
In this pose, your shawl is given more attention than it is in other sorts of drapes. It takes precedence over the side of your body you drape it on. The pattern is made visible in full, and the hem will invariably run along with the silhouette of your other garments.
This sort of elaborate statement turns your shawl into a bold fashion piece.
Style 2. Over the Shoulders, Across the Chest
Shawls aren’t just for fashion; they are also extremely functional. When the weather grows cold, you can grab your favorite shawl. Drap your shawl over your upper body for a unique alternative to a winter coat.
When you drape a shawl in this manner, compare it to the silhouette of your pants. Like all things in life, balance is key. Some women love to pair an oversized top with a tapered pant to play with proportion in a striking way.
Style 3. Over the Shoulders, Under the Arms
When you drape a shawl in this manner, you create a highly symmetrical look. The fabric goes over your shoulders but under your elbows. The end result is an open, welcoming appearance. This is the perfect way to style your shawl if you want to convey a friendly demeanor.
It can also help frame your figure. Black is flattering and can evoke a dramatic aura. It frames your silhouette, creating a slender impression in a relaxed, easily accessible way.
Style 4. As a Head Covering
A shawl can also be styled to cover your head. You can do this for religious purposes or simply to keep the sun away. In India, more women wear head coverings outside the home than do not.
Regardless of the reason, there are countless ways to style the shawl as a head covering alone.
Smaller pieces of fabric may be tied exclusively around the head. Otherwise, you'll want to use it to cover your shoulders and potentially arms as well. Whichever way you choose, be sure to knot your hair in a bun. This will keep it up and give you something to help keep the shawl in place.
These four styles offer basic and broad ways to style your shawl. Next, you'll want to consider ways in which you can pair your shawl.
What To Wear With a Shawl
Pairing your shawl is easy, as it is a fairly universal garment. It goes well, naturally, with any sort of traditional ethnic garment. However, it can also be used to dress up contemporary, casual Western-style clothing.
Next, we'll showcase a few major clothing options you can choose when pairing your shawl. We'll also give an idea of what types of shawls to wear and when to wear them.
Wear It With With Lehenga Choli
No piece of lehenga choli is complete without a shawl. At Lashkaraa, all of our lehenga choli arrive complete with dupatta-style shawls. Each ensemble serves as a recommendation for how to best match shawls to any lehenga outfit.
When you have a structurally uniform garment like a lehenga, your shawl can be well-used if it matches in style and shape. For a lightweight lehenga, an equally lightweight, playful shawl is used.
These outfits are gentle and refined, perfect for parties and weddings alike. Choose a shawl that elevates the outfit and your beauty without covering yourself up. The fact that it reveals the midriff is one of the distinctive features that make lehenga choli what it is.
Wear It With a Suit
Salwar Kameez can also be enhanced through the presence of a shawl. These suits cover more of the body and may use heavier fabrics than in lehenga fashion. For this reason, bulkier shawls can be of use. For embroidered attire, use embroidered shawls that reflect the garment without totally matching it.
A suit with uniform coloring may be matched by a shawl with contrast-coloring but similar embroidery. You may also choose to pair a printed pattern with another, more delicate print.
Wear It With Casual Apparel
A shawl can be used as daily apparel, especially when you want a layering garment for cold weather. It can be used either to support or to dress up nearly any sort of casual apparel.
A pair of jeans and a plain blouse can suddenly become chic and new with the addition of a gorgeous shawl. If you have a favorite accessorizing method, follow your own personal style. There is nothing more gorgeous than a confident woman.
Elegance and Function: The Perfect Match
We have shown you how to choose, style, and pair your shawl. All that remains is to find the right one for you and to wear it out. At Lashkaraa, we understand that ethnic apparel is a rich tapestry.
The history is thousands of years old and is added to every single day. What makes modern fashion history is not just the designers but also the people who wear those designs.
Our apparel is hand-stitched in India and shipped across the world so that everyone and anyone can have authentic shawls delivered to their door.
From Mashru Silk to Velvet: 5 Must-Have Winter Fabrics I Times of India
In India, Head Coverings are Worn by Most Women, Including Roughly Six-in-Ten Hindus I Pew Research
Meaning of Different Colours in Hinduism | Sanskriti Magazine