One of my favorite fashion-related interview questions is “What’s that one style hack to always remember?” It’s simple. Nothing makes you look as on point as dressing according to your body type. I can almost hear you guys groaning, “Oh… but Masoom, we know that already.” (And if that’s the case, I’m clearly doing a good job. Teehee.)
But what I want to talk about today is how dressing for your body type translates to ethnic wear. Given how important this fashion genre is to us Desis, I’ve decided to give you my two cents on the matter. This topic isn’t discussed as much as it should be and with the trends for traditional outfits changing so frequently, it can be a bit overwhelming to know what works for you and what doesn’t. Using two absolutely gorgeous Sue Mue outfits, I’m going to show you exactly how to pick the best ethnic wear for you.
In the photos below, I’m wearing pieces from the Sue Mue ‘Shades of Spring’ Collection. Inspired by ancient Chinese wucai or ‘five-coloured’ porcelain, this collection evokes ancient strokes of artistry, the bursts of beautiful flowers, and the assurance of immaculate design. Each piece is like a poem written in thread, an ode to women in bloom and just so perfect for the onset of the most beautiful season of the year.
The two outfits that I’ve picked from the entire collection are those that will flatter MY body type (a.k.a petite). The first is an off-shoulder organza sharara set called the ‘Rainn.” The boxy torso, which works best on the petite frame, is blended with a sharara made of oodles and oodles of fabric, making the entire outfit very twirl worthy.
For my second look, I’ve chosen ‘Susanna’, a short anarkali that is young and refreshing. The ghera in this is tailor-made for slender frames that won’t be affected by wearing voluminous fabric.
I’m not a rack size at all (thank you tiny waist and big hips), but being a bespoke clothing brand, Sue Mue tailored everything to my measurements as I picked the designs and customized them with their team of designers. Their team was very supportive and understood my requirements. It took them time to create these beautiful pieces but it was worth the wait.
Here’s a quick guide to help you make smarter decisions when choosing ethnic wear. It’s simple! Just choose your body type and then see which styles will suit you!
The Hourglass Body
36 – 24 – 36.
Need I say more? Okay, maybe just one thing – IF YOU’VE GOT IT, FLAUNT IT! These are the silhouettes that will best flatter your body type:
▪ Kurta & sharara
▪ Any type of lehenga!
The Pear Shaped Body
If you’ve got a slender, relaxed torso coupled with a booty to die for and hips that don’t lie, you’re a pear. Silhouettes that add some weight to your upper half will do wonders balancing out your overall proportions. You can also wear outfits that have bulk (ghera) under the knees. This way you’re not adding weight where you don’t want it to be!
Here are my picks:
▪ Draped saree
▪ Cape and lehenga
▪ Off-shoulder blouse and lehenga
▪ Strappy/sleeveless blouse/crop top with lehenga
The Petite Body
Being shorter in stature with incredibly slender limbs and torso (ME, ME, ME!) provides a lot of scope for experimentation! The key though is to stay away from any silhouettes that will add bulk around the mid-section or the hips. This will draw attention to your height (a big no, no!) instead of to your slenderness. Here are five designs that I swear by!
▪ Draped saree
▪ Cape & dhoti
▪ Crop top & dhoti
▪ Jacket & lehenga
▪ Gujarati Style Worn lehenga
The Curvy Body
Putting it simply, when you’ve got weight distributed all over your body frame, you’ve got to call yourself curvy. The key to looking your best and not ‘chubby’ is to pick silhouettes that are well balanced. Here are my best bets for you:
▪ Cape & lehenga
▪ Jacket & lehenga
▪ Jacket and palazzos
▪ Full sleeved blouse & lehenga
The Inverted Triangle Body
If you’ve got broad (or shall we say, reliable?!) shoulders with a flat tummy, you’re the inverted pyramid. Picking designs that will highlight the neck will work wonders for your shape! These are the outfits I recommend:
▪ Kurta and shararas
▪ Cropped jacket & lehenga
What are your favorite types of ethnic wear? How do you choose your outfits? Make sure to tell me in the comments below!