Fashion can bring us back to our roots and make connecting with our family at home and abroad easier. It’s a way for us to find our personal identity while still honoring culture and tradition, and it offers us many opportunities to express our personalities and styles.
And when it comes to the classic pieces and styles you like best, turn to the team here at Lashkaraa.
We carry traditional styles for women looking to stay in touch with their families and cultural heritage no matter where they live. Not only do we supply the style, but our experts share top tips on how to style traditional pieces – such as the dupatta.
This versatile piece can be styled in many ways, both traditional and nontraditional. Read on for our favorite ways to wear a dupatta.
What Is a Dupatta?
The dupatta is a large shawl that has been a staple of Indian culture for generations. While it was first introduced as a symbol of modesty and can still be used to pay respects in houses of worship or at official celebrations, the meaning of the dupatta and how you can style it has changed and evolved dramatically over the years.
A dupatta is one of the most versatile pieces in Indian fashion. You can wear it for function or as an accessory with many outfits and styles.
Today, it’s an iconic and unique element of Indian fashion that can add formality to an outfit, embrace a more modest style of dress, or simply elevate your everyday wear.
The dupatta also makes up one of the three essential pieces of the lehenga choli outfit, which is worn at special events like weddings. However, it may also be worn with other styles and looks like a salwar kameez, kurta, and more.
10 Draping Styles
How you drape your dupatta can significantly impact how your outfit looks on your body, how formal the outfit is, and how you express yourself.
Here are a few of the draping styles and options you can use to help your dupatta fit your personal style.
1. Pinned Up on Both Sides
One classic way to wear your dupatta is to pin it at both shoulders. This makes it lay flat across the chest and drape over the arms to the wrists or elbows.
This traditional style is a great way to show off the embellishments of your favorite dupatta, like the jaal of mukesh booties and the bright gold kiran border on our Orange Net Dupatta. This dupatta features a sheer, fiery orange backdrop with gold embellishments that, combined with the form-flattering cut of its matching lehenga, is sure to turn heads.
If you’re pairing a particularly elegant dupatta featuring beadwork or zari threadwork, consider pinning it on both sides to really highlight the shine and craftsmanship.
2. Flowing Down From the Head
Another traditional way to drape your dupatta — one that looks particularly elegant — is to start at the head rather than the shoulders. This is a classic look for many brides, allowing you to show off your dupatta with a more modern twist.
Pin it to the hair and bring it forward over the shoulder on one or both sides. This striking style emphasizes the detailing of your favorite dupatta, like the floral organza print in your White and Pink Floral Printed Lehenga set.
The subtle, sheer florals of our Pink Floral Dupatta are designed to frame your face and add a touch of romance to any outfit. Combined with the deep neckline and tasteful crop of our satin lehenga top, this dupatta is flattering for all figures.
3. Head and Chest
Take that look to the next level by draping your dupatta over the shoulder rather than leaving it loose. Pin it high on the head for a beautiful bridal display, and then embrace a little of the movement and pleating that makes dupattas so unique to create an eye-catching display.
This is an exquisite style for dupattas with unique colors or bold embellishments, like our Olive Yellow Floral Chanderi Lehenga. This lehenga features a soft yellow background with a delicate white floral print. Lightweight and stunning, this lehenga is the perfect way to dress up for a casual event.
4. Waist Tuck
Tucking your dupatta at the waist adds a sense of grace to the whole outfit while making it easier to move around. Both practical and elegant, the waist tuck is easiest to achieve with some of the lighter or more flowing fabrics, like organza, tulle, or net.
This draping style draws the eye along the edges, highlighting the embroidery or beadwork detailing on your Silver Sequins Embroidered Dupatta. This dupatta is simple-yet-bold, featuring silver tulle edged with shimmering silver sequins. While this dupatta is versatile enough to go with any outfit, it especially stands out with its matching lehenga.
5. Belted at the Waist
If you love the look of a designer, traditional saree but want to save time on pleating, belting your dupatta at the waist can be a great shortcut. The belting helps give the outfit more shape and draws the eye to the body's natural curves.
This way, you can also adjust the rest of your dupatta to really fit your style. Consider pinning it over one shoulder or draping it at the elbow for a look that allows movement and comfort without sacrificing style. While not exactly traditional, this dupatta style is a great way to incorporate traditional ideas into a draping technique that displays your own style.
6. Off to One Side
One simple and elegant way to show off the style of your dupatta is with an easy and effective one-side design. About one-third of the dupatta will be draped over the shoulder and pinned there, while the rest flow free with the skirts of your lehenga.
This look requires delicate pleating, which is the best way to show off intricate designs and patterns. Consider using this technique for a highly detailed dupatta like our Lilac Beige Sequins Embroidered Net Lehenga, which features delicate lavender netting and intricate placements of matching lavender sequins.
Combined with a matching fringe edge, this dupatta can bestow class to any casual attire.
7. Over the Elbow
If you’re looking for a fairytale style and feminine appearance, consider tucking your dupatta at the elbows. This allows for plenty of movement and grace while highlighting the most beautiful designs and details of your fabrics.
The elbow tuck looks lovely with either one or both elbows. You can adjust your dupatta to highlight the body's natural shape and add a touch of extra elegance and regality with every step.
The final look is stunning, with vibrant colors and materials like the ones we use in our Ivory and Navy Blue Dupatta. With its rich navy blue background, gold embellished scalloped edges, and intricate gold sequin detailing, this dupatta deserves to be shown off — particularly when paired with the other two pieces of this silk lehenga.
8. Pinned at the Wrists
Take it further and pin your dupatta at the wrists rather than tucking it at the elbows. For maximum effect, you’ll want to use dupattas made with lightweight materials that aren’t too long. Consider a net dupatta like the one that comes with the Light Mint and Gold Sequins Embroidered Lehenga.
This dupatta features a delicate mint background with a thick border of gold sequin patterns. To add an extra unique touch, we’ve added a floral pattern to the body of the dupatta, emphasized by the elegant gold sequins.
Thinner materials and smaller shawls like this one will ensure you don’t have to bunch or fold the fabric more than necessary, granting you improved fluidity and elegance when out on the dance floor.
9. Covering the Face
By covering the head and face, you can pay homage to the history and tradition associated with the dupatta in a more modern way. Simply pin your dupatta to your hair and allow it to flow over your face for a dramatic and bold style.
This look is particularly effective with more translucent fabrics like net and organza, which allow you to show off your makeup and natural beauty in a mysterious and alluring way.
Lighter fabrics are also a good idea because you want to avoid fabric that might pull on your hair or dislodge your hairstyle. This bold look is sure to make a statement in every room. Pick a color that represents your personal style, like the rich teal of the dupatta that accompanies the Teal Heavy Thread Embroidered Lehenga.
Not only does this dupatta add character and vibrancy to any outfit, but it also features ornate gold and silver sequin details that are sure to catch eyes and turn heads. Plus, it’s lightweight, which means it’s perfect for this traditional dupatta draping style.
10. Pinned to the Bun
If you love the high dupatta but want to show off your makeup or stay cool on hot days, consider pinning your dupatta at the back of the head rather than at the top. This allows you plenty of room for movement and the unique flow of fabric.
Of course, you’ll have different options for draping your dupatta across the body as well. Consider laying it over the shoulders and cinching it at the wrists or elbows. This is a great look to customize to your specific curves and preferences.
When pinning your dupatta to the hair, you want to make sure you pick a light material dupatta. This will help maintain the hairstyle's integrity while still giving you a dramatic dupatta look.
Flawless From Head to Toe
The dupatta is one of the most iconic elements of classic fashion, and there are so many different ways to make it your own. You can adjust the style and shape of the dupatta by pinning it across the chest, over one shoulder, or cinching it at the elbow or waist.
The texture, materials, and embellishments of your dupatta will help to inform the best approach to your next look. Look at border designs, lace patterns, metallic threadwork, and stonework. You also want to account for your personal style, as some drape options are more modern or bold, while others are better for movement or comfort.
Lashkaraa is here to help you find the best style for you. We make it easy to connect with and pass down your cultural traditions, and it all starts with that perfect drape. Pick out dupattas in materials like satin, georgette, and organza, and begin trying out unique and personal draping styles today.