Fashion is a unique and creative way to stay connected to your culture and history while still integrating new styles and modern designs. Whether you live near family or you’re creating a community abroad, clothing helps to bring people together, celebrate past traditions, and create new and lasting ones for the next generation.
Here at Lashkaraa, we believe in the perfect balance of tradition and modernity. That’s why we carry a growing collection of elevated and modern ethnic wear for the whole family. Indians abroad will love creating wardrobes for their families from traditional materials reimagined for the modern world. Our artisans use classic techniques, styles, and patterns to create looks, clothing, and accessories for every cherished occasion.
When you’re ready to begin designing your next lehenga, we’re here to help. Learn the best methods for designing and styling the classic lehenga, like how to pick out the perfect fabric every time.
What Is a Lehenga?
The lehenga goes by many different names, including lehnga and langa, just to name a few. It is a type of ankle-length skirt that is worn for elegant occasions and can be made custom or personalized through the use of patterns, styles, materials, and colors.
What Does a Lehenga Look Like?
There are many variations of lehenga, which means it’s easy to find a style and fit that truly matches your personality. Since they’re typically worn for significant occasions, you can elevate your lehenga for black-tie affairs with accessories, beading, colorful threads, and more.
Pick out your preferred style of lehenga from a wide range of designs and cuts, including the A-Line, the flared, and the mermaid, all of which are similar to the modern dresses cut in the same style. A Ghagri is a more traditional style, typically worn by those in religious orders, and you can find lehengas with more volume, as well, like double-flared or paneled styles.
A more modern twist would be the sharara, which has flowing pants rather than a skirt. A straight version is more subtle, and a train has an attached train for formal events.
When Do You Wear It?
One of the reasons there are so many styles of lehenga is because it’s often worn for important occasions, including weddings, by the bride. There are many ways to customize and personalize your lehenga for that treasured day.
Wedding guests and guests at elevated events, like celebratory parties and fundraisers, will also be dressed for the occasion in a lehenga. And you can style it appropriately with intentional accessories or tone down the look with more muted colors, depending on your fashion needs.
What Makes it Different?
The lehenga may bear similarities to other styles of clothing, but there are a few things that set it apart:
To start, the lehenga is the skirt element of the outfit, but it’s different from a skirt in that it’s designed to be paired with both the matching blouse and the matching scarf. These are often made of the same materials to create a cohesive look.
Another piece that the lehenga might look like is the traditional saree. One of the biggest differences between the two is that the lehenga has stitching and is fitted as a certain piece of clothing to the body.
The saree has no stitching and is more versatile. In some cases, a saree may be worn over a lehenga or may be wrapped and used to create a type of lehenga, but they are ultimately separate pieces.
How Do You Style It?
While the lehenga is often worn with a matching blouse or choli, you can style the complete outfit by mixing and matching patterns and styles for the two. Follow a color theme or type of pattern to stay cohesive, but consider combining inspirations for a truly stand-out design.
Lehengas are traditionally worn at more formal events, so you can also boost your final look with jewelry that matches, as well as elegant shoes and hairstyles. Consider tying your outfit's colors into your jewelry lineup for an instantly memorable first impression.
How Do You Pick a Fabric?
Lehengas are often customized and made personal, especially for occasions like weddings. There are many, many fabric options to pick from, like velvet, organza, brocade, and silk, and it can feel overwhelming to pick out the perfect fabric for your final look.
Here are a few things to consider when deciding on the best fabric option for your new lehenga:
You want to make sure you’re comfortable during your big day. That’s why you always want to consider the season and the environment when picking out fabric for your lehenga.
Warmer, thicker fabrics will be best suited for cooler weather weddings and events, whereas summer weddings would be better off with lighter fabric. Following the season’s styles will also help you to stay on top of the latest trends in cuts and colors.
In addition to dressing for the season, you also want to ensure that your outfit is appropriate to the venue. If you’re the one throwing the celebration, consider the colors and styles that will be most prominent, and pick a material that won’t clash with them, but won’t disappear into the decorations, either.
If you’re attending an event, you want to make sure that your outfit is elevated enough for the venue. Check the dress code on any invitation, and consider looking at photos of the location in advance to determine what materials and colors would be a good fit for the celebration.
Your lehenga should flatter your figure so that you feel confident and comfortable all day long. Compare fabric options and styles to see how they fall and how much give they will have on your body.
You also want to consider if you’re looking for a more fitted final style or one that has a looser effect, with cascading fabric rather than fitted. Consider how you want the fabric to sit on your body and the best fabric options for your body type.
Any Skin Sensitivity
Some fabrics are more irritating to the skin than others. This can also include elastics and embellishments, like threads or beadwork.
If you have sensitive skin or skin that becomes irritated by specific types of fabrics, factor that into your decision when picking out the best fabric for your lehenga. There are many fabric variations to pick from, and you’re sure to be able to find a substitute for the looks you like that will leave your skin feeling cool and clear.
Wedding celebrations are involved and full of events and activities. Differently colored fabrics will be more appropriate for certain activities than others, so you want to consider what color your lehenga will be before picking out the fabric. For example, Indian brides often choose to wear red bridal lehengas, so it’s best to avoid donning garments in this color as a wedding guest.
That’s because certain colors appear richer, lighter, or more muted in different textures and fabrics over others. It’s also because lighter colors can become see-through on certain fabrics, which you’ll want to avoid on certain occasions.
As mentioned above, there are many styles and cuts for lehengas, depending on your personal preference, the formality of the occasion, and the time of year. Not only do you want to consider how the lehenga fits your body, but also how well the fabric will go with the specific cut or style.
Some of the styles are designed to be looser and others more form-fitting, and some provide extra volume due to their design. With the right fabric, those elements of each style will be more pronounced, so they’re as flattering and comfortable as possible every time you wear them.
The Desired Volume
In addition to the cut, certain fabrics can provide extra volume or take some volume down, depending on your preference. If you’re looking to elevate the lehenga and really stand out, more volume is a beautiful option for doing so, in which case you’ll want to pick out a lighter, more fluffy material like organza lehengas.
If you’re looking to tone down some of the volume, fabrics like brocades and velvets are more weighty and, therefore, not designed to puff up in the same way. Velvet lehengas are rich and ornate: perfect for formal events, especially in the colder months.
The truth is, weddings can be very costly. With so much to prepare and pay for, it’s important to consider the cost of your lehenga, as well. Some fabrics can be significantly more expensive than others, and if you’re also planning to match the choli and scarf, or dupatta, the more costly fabrics can begin to add up.
Do your research when deciding on the best fabric for your lehenga and your budget, and see if you can find a more cost-friendly alternative that still delivers on your favorite styles.
One way to really elevate your lehenga is through traditional beadwork or needlework, like Zari work. Zari work is a style of thread work that uses metallic colors, like gold and silver, to add an extra sparkle to the final design.
Typically, Zari is very elaborate and crafted in swirling and elegant patterns, sometimes floral in design. The completed piece is always remarkable and perfect for meaningful occasions.
While all of the options for traditional embellishments are beautiful and unique in their own way, they don’t all go with every type of fabric. Some of the embellishments and beadwork can become quite heavy, and only certain types of fabric can support the weight of the decals.
For instance, silk and organza are more prone to tearing if they have heavy beadwork, whereas brocade and velvet can support decals and embellishments without worry. Consider the final design you like best and pick out a material that will help you to achieve that look.
Mixing and Matching
If you’re planning on matching your lehenga to your choli, you only need to pick out one type of material. But you may decide you’re more interested in mixing and matching the two.
In that case, you want to be sure that the two opposing types of materials actually go well together. The materials should complement and elevate, and the final look should be cohesive. You don’t want the two pieces to compete for attention, so consider how they’ll mix and match as a final style and pick out the best materials for the job.
A Classic Celebration With a Twist
The lehenga is a classic and traditional piece that embodies generations of artistry, culture, and beauty. It’s worn as a meaningful piece for particular events, which in many cases means the wedding day for a young woman or the celebration of a wedding for a friend or loved one.
Since the lehenga is such an important piece, there are many ways to style and customize it, most especially the type of material used in its crafting. When picking out the best material for your lehenga, you want to consider the season, the venue, the style you’ve chosen, and the weight of any additional embellishments or beadwork, just to name a few. You also want to think about how it will mix and match with other pieces and what colors you’ll be wearing.
Here at Lashkaraa, you’ll find luxury styles and accessories for your most memorable events and occasions. We make it our mission to bring the cultures and craftsmanship you love to your home, all with a modern twist. Find the perfect lehenga in the right color and material for your next celebration and a whole lot more right here at Lashkaraa today.