Indian ethnic apparel is beautiful and varied. Among these, two popular choices for women's attire are the lehenga and the saree. These two garments differ greatly in shape and style but are both popular for special occasions. With so many of life's celebrations happening every year, it's essential to know how to choose between these two stunning garments.
Lashkaraa will provide an essential style guide, showing you which one to wear and when, as well as how to choose one. First, we're going to highlight the fundamental differences between lehengas and sarees, so you truly understand them.
What Makes a Lehenga?
The lehenga is most commonly worn as part of lehenga choli fashion. It consists of two pieces. The first is the blouse, known as the choli.
Cholis come in many different styles — they can have long or short sleeves and can be plain or feature detailed embellishments. The choli usually fits at the mid-torso, resulting in an exposed midriff.
The second part is the lehenga, which refers to the ankle skirt worn as the lower garment. It is usually flowy and lavishly decorated.
Lehengas can be modest without being humble, and they are certainly impressive to look at. They are appropriate as formalwear at weddings and parties alike. They are often slightly specialized to fit an occasion or an individual as well. For example, the bridal lehenga is one example of a piece made to serve special purposes.
What Makes a Saree?
The saree is one of the most iconic pieces of Indian apparel. The main piece of a saree is a piece of long, flowing, unstitched fabric similar to a large scarf or shawl, which is used primarily for draping over the body. This fabric is versatile and can be draped in numerous different styles.
Depending on how it is draped, a saree may be even more tightly fitted than a lehenga. It's traditionally paired with a choli and sometimes a ghagra underskirt for shaping purposes.
The saree also has religious and cultural implications that the lehenga lacks, mainly regarding cultural ideas of womanhood.
In Hinduism, particularly in Southern India, the coming-of-age ceremony for women is known as Ritu Kala Samskara. It marks the gifting of a girl's first saree and signifies her becoming a woman.
Like the lehenga, a saree is appropriate for most festivals and celebrations. In particular, the saree is an essential part of many Southern Indian weddings. If you attend one, you can't go wrong wearing a saree.
Which Should You Wear: A Lehenga or a Saree?
Choosing whether to wear a lehenga or a saree depends on several factors. The first consideration is what your daily apparel looks like. Many Indian women wear sarees regularly and are more likely to wear a lehenga for special occasions. On the other hand, if your usual apparel is jeans or Western dresses, a saree creates an immediately distinct look.
You also have to consider the garment itself. There are sarees intended for daily wear, just as there are kurta pyjamas for everyday use. On the other hand, Lashkaraa only produces high-end versions of all of these garments. In other words, these are the pieces you’ll wear for the special times in your life.
Culturally, the two are also different. While the lehenga has become popular along the entire subcontinent, the saree still holds a special place in the south.
When choosing between the two, make sure you consider the event's formality. Lehenga cholis, depending on how they are cropped, can seem more immodest than sarees. If you've been invited to a wedding, consider the formality of the ceremony and how conservative the family is.
Also, as a wedding guest, you should avoid the color red. While Indian brides don't always wear red, it is a common color for bridalwear, much like white is in Western cultures. While cultural diffusion has resulted in a wider range of colors, it's best to be on the safe side.
What Should You Wear to Parties?
The right garment will immediately turn heads and divert everyone’s attention to you when you walk into a room. Few pieces do that as elegantly as our Multicolor Embroidered Georgette Lehenga.
This sleeveless organza choli creates a modest impression with its high boat neckline and gentle pink hue. However, modest does not mean boring. Beautiful, detailed zari embroidery frames the neck and waistline, making this choli shine with charm and grace.
As beautiful as the choli is, the star of this outfit (and your next party) is the lehenga. Georgette fabric drapes elegantly and brings movement to the skirt, which is enhanced by the bold impression given by the rich red and green fabric panels. Each colored panel features its own intricate floral embroidery style to enhance the skirt's complexity.
For a closer fit, consider the Red Floral Organza Saree, which drips with floral glamor. Gold zari and leaf embroidery on the choli meld with the warm notes of red and gold for a sultry appearance. The saree itself features copper-toned lace along the hem, as well as a vibrant, pink floral design.
A gold belt helps hold the drape in place and cinches the waistline. The end result drips with passion and would make an impressive entrance at any party.
Our last partywear suggestion takes the classic lehenga and modernizes it with a dark, mysterious approach. The Black Sequins Embroidered Net Lehenga features a double-layered black net, a dark blue base, and glittering navy sequins. This creates a luster that's undeniably contemporary, with classic floral embroidery patterns.
In most party settings, people will go for bright, bold colors. To stand out from the crowd, choosing rich, dark hues is a bold statement all on its own. Be in a class all your own with this sassy, modern look.
What Should You Wear to Special Occasions?
Parties aren't the only special occasions for which to dress up. For other special events in your life, understated allure and bold, beautiful designs are the way to go.
For starters, consider the Silver and Blush Sequins Embroidered Lehenga. The cropped v-neck choli is covered in gorgeous sequin work, with a fringe that shimmers as you move. This level of detail is repeated in the embroidery of the lehenga's waistline.
The lehenga uses pastel detail to incredible effect. Silver sequins and peach thread work create delicate floral waves all the way down to a thoroughly embroidered hem.
For a different approach to the day, try this Deep Plum and Pink Velvet Embroidered Saree, which features a delightfully fresh contrast in colors and fabrics. A heavy, matte velvet choli with richly intricate gold sequin and lace detailing offsets the more delicate pink net saree for a stunning, regal look.
With this outfit, it’s okay to go all out on your jewelry. Break out your favorite bracelets, necklaces, earrings, hair pieces, and rings — this is an outfit fit for a queen.
Our last party look combines simple, beautiful patterns and pure glamour. The Pink and Silver Printed Organza Lehenga features a bright sequin choli that shimmers and shines in the light. The deep V-neck and long sleeves allow for a mix of modern flair without being immodest.
The pink printed organza lehenga features an impressive mix of floral designs and architectural shapes. The bold print and light fabric add a light and airy feel that stands out at parties as fresh and bold.
The outfit is completed with a white tulle dupatta with a gentle mix of gold and sea-green detailing along the edges. These colors enhance the overall look, letting the choli and lehenga carry the show.
Pair this lehenga with a few stylish pieces of jewelry and let your outfit do the talking.
What Should You Wear to Indian Weddings as a Guest?
Few events demand as much prep work from the participants as an Indian wedding. Between Sangeet, Mehendi, the ceremony, the reception, and more, you'll need outfits that impress. At the same time, you won't want something so bold it draws attention away from the bride. To help you walk this careful tightrope, we've assembled the below garments.
The Light Green Mint and Gold Sequins Embroidered Lehenga is one example of a garment with understated luxury. The net top and lehenga with a santon inner allow for a layered look. Sequins and thread work show off six-petaled flowers on both the choli and net dupatta.
The lehenga itself features a contrasting embroidery with vertical sequins in lines that drip down the waist. At about shin-level, thread work creates distinct zig-zag lines, separating the sequins into ever-increasingly complex patterns that end in a glittering cascade of sequins along the hem of the skirt.
The net dupatta, with a decorative hem and spurts of florals, is comparatively simple, which only serves to highlight the garment’s elegance.
Much of great Indian fashion uses a fusion of fabrics to create complex designs. This is taken to a whole new stylistic level with the Taupe and Gold Sequins Embroidered Lehenga.
The choli is immediately recognizable from its elaborate sequin work and net ruffled forearms. This light, playful air continues in the embroidery on the lehenga's outer, where rows of thread work lead into dandelion-shaped bursts of sequins.
This piece can help you glimmer as a guest at a wedding (or any other function). The ensemble's finishing note is a dupatta with large circles of sequins. A delicate fringe hem provides textural contrast to the rest of the lehenga.
What To Wear as an Indian Bride?
Few clothes carry as much weight as our wedding dresses. The right saree or lehenga can be a defining garment during your wedding celebrations or a precious heirloom piece for your children. Bridal pieces should speak to tradition while evoking a sense of style that is all your own.
Our first suggestion for your special day follows the traditional theme of red for a bride with a dramatic twist: The Deep Red Sequins Embroidered Saree. Red is always a lovely color to wear as a bride, but rarely does it exude this much glamor. The sleeveless blouse features a deep sweetheart neckline and low back. An array of sequins along the choli, lehenga, and pallu ensures an unrivaled shimmer in your walk.
A net outer on the lehenga provides an elegant, subtle contrast. The hem of the pallu and lehenga are worked in dark-red sequins, all framed by the Sitara silk. By all standards, you will be ready for your wedding — and the red carpet.
For a rich presentation of a different style and color, there is the Emerald Green Heavy Embroidered Net Lehenga. The beauty of this lehenga lies in its drape and natural movement, which comes through the layers of fabric and delicate sheer sleeves.
Dark green and gold thread, sequins, and stonework sparkle in the light. They offer a lustrous contrast to the highlights of gold embroidery along the hem, waist, cuffs, and neck. The dazzling designs also frame the net dupatta for a well-put-together, stylish bridal outfit.
Your bridal lehenga should be richly adorned, beautifully complex, and breathtaking to behold. The Emerald Green Heavy Embroidered Net Lehenga sees to this.
Choosing Your Perfect Attire
Lehenga and saree are two of the most versatile fashions for any situation. If you've been following along so far, you'll now see that the pieces can fit in nearly any formal context.
Whether you wear a lehenga or saree when special days come is primarily a matter of personal choice. However, the type of lehenga or saree you wear still matters. Fortunately, with Lashkaraa's attention to tradition, style, and quality, we are able to provide exquisite ethnic apparel fit for all occasions.