What to Wear to a Mehndi: American Clothes

We’ve covered mehndi parties a lot on this blog, but we’ve never looked at them from the perspective of a non-Indian person wanting to attend one and not knowing what to wear. So here you go!

Mehndi parties are a relatively casual event in the grand scheme of an Indian wedding. This is an event where most of the guests will have a colored paste applied to their hands, then wait patiently while the paste dries so they can resume normal activities. This is probably not the time to break out your floor-length BCBG Max Azria knit evening gown, unless the invitation says otherwise.

This is likely a time for a cocktail dress or sundress, and we’d lean more towards sundresses. If it’s winter when you’re attending a mehndi party, a sundress obviously won’t work for you, but you could probably wear a sweater dress or nice tunic with leggings and fit in just fine.

  

   

If you’re considering venturing into Indian clothes territory, this is a good time to discover the kurti, which is an Indian-inspired flowy top that pairs well with jeans or leggings. You can find kurti-adjacent tops by many American designers, like the ones we found below; think tunic tops and embroidery.

   

 

 

What to Wear to a Mehndi: Indian Clothes

Indian weddings are a marathon of joyous occasions, a feast of color, and a whirl of festivities. One of the first events to kick off an Indian wedding is usually a mehndi party. We’ve written before about what to expect at a mehndi party (here) and what kinds of shoes you might want to wear to a mehndi party (here). Now we’re here to talk about what to wear to a mehndi party if you’re planning on rocking Indian clothes.

Mehndi parties tend to be more casual than the other elements of an Indian wedding. It’s not uncommon to see guests — or even brides! — in jeans or shorts for this event. After all, henna can be messy, and you don’t want it to ruin your nicest sari. Take cues from the wedding invitation, check the website for information about attire, or ask the maid of honor what is proper attire for the party. However, when in doubt, it’s better to be over-dressed than under-dressed.

Keep in mind that henna is a greenish paste that is piped onto your hands like frosting. While wet, the henna is staining your palms a deep red in the pattern that your henna artist has chosen. However, if wet henna touches your clothes, or your face, or the carpet, it will stain that, too. Even damp henna will transfer color to other objects. In other words, this is not the day to break out the $500 sari, unless you live the kind of life where a $500 sari is your cheapest sari, in which case we’d like for you to adopt us.

As a rule, we’d suggest something on the more casual end of the Indian clothes spectrum for a mehndi party. We love a salwar kameez or anarkali for the ease of movement and comfort level. Both involve a long top and pants, with an optional dupatta accessory. Examples:

   

Another casual alternative is to mix a kurti with jeans, shorts, a skirt, or leggings. This is the most versatile option, still looks dressy enough for a party, and has an Indian fusion aspect to it, which we love. Examples are below:

  

 

What do you think, readers? Are we right on track? Do you prefer to wear lehengas or saris to mehndi parties instead of more casual options? Or do you think Indian clothes in general aren’t necessary for such an informal event? We want to hear from you!

Fashion Flash: Go Green

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, H+G readers! We’re feeling inspired by these gorgeous green looks from Kalki Fashion and Shyamal & Bhumika:

In the spirit of all things emerald, we picked some green gifts and accessories that we think would be perfect gifts for your wedding party. What do you think?

Bridesmaids will love these enchanting emerald chandelier earrings!

How cool (and practical!) would these green mirror aviators be for an outdoor wedding?

Want your groomsmen to wear matching ties to the reception? Done.

Picture a sea of bridesmaids in green floral silk robes getting ready for your big day!

No one would say “no” to standing in green Converse shoes during the ceremony.

Fashion Flash: Sabyasachi Mukherjee

Sabyasachi just dropped his Spring 2017 Udaipur Collection on Insta, and it is P-H-E-N-O-M-E-N-A-L. (Indian people ARE good at spelling!) Here are our takeaways, ideas for adapting this couture style to fit your budget, and some pictures for your viewing pleasure:

Floral is everything.

Delicate floral patterns are peppered throughout this collection. It is spring, after all, and what is more “spring” than flowers? Floral is hot on the Western runways as well, so you can be on-trend at an Indian wedding even if you’re not wearing Indian clothes.

   

 

Wedding parties don’t have to match.

Complementary colors look chic, too! We’re entering a period of experimentation on the color wheel. Dress your bridesmaids in red, and your groomsmen in blue. Or pick a rainbow of colors for each, and pair up matching bridesmaids and groomsmen to enter the ceremony together. Pick a vibrant color for your bridesmaids and a muted version of the same color for your groomsmen. Better yet: try a monochromatic look. Color is your friend – play with it!

  

 

Punjabi jutti are cool again.

udaipur-4

Well, assuming they were ever cool in the first place. But they’re definitely cool now.

  

 

Groomsmen can look good, too.

It’s not just about your ‘maids anymore! Dress your groomsmen in fun colors . . . maybe even in floral?

  

Fashion Flash: Romantic Red

Happy Valentine’s Day, H+G readers! In the spirit of the holiday, we thought we’d focus on the color of love, the eternally romantic hue, the crimson that flows through our scarlet hearts: RED. Below are some of our favorite red items to refresh your (or your beau’s) closet:

Kendra Scott Harlow Necklace
red-mm
Red Flower Lehenga by Manish Malhotra
red-sherwani
Crimson Asymmetric Embroidered Sherwani by Soltee by Sulakshana Monga
Kate Spade Cuff Bracelet

Cole Haan Bayleen Tote

Kate Spade Holland Watch
wine
Wine Lehenga by Surendri by Yogesh Chaudhary

Fashion Flash: Manish Malhotra 2017

Bollywood’s golden child, Manish Malhotra, sent some truly fantastic looks down the runway this month in his first fashion show of 2017. A few of our favorites, including some notes on how to translate trends for your closet, are below:

For the Gents:

Black is always in style. Pair a black sherwani top with black pants for a modern, monochromatic look. A snug-fitting kurta evokes a hipster vibe, and a pop of color in a dupatta or pocket square adds visual interest.

   

For the Ladies:

Metallics are back, and Indowestern gowns are still on-trend. We love this look for a reception — it has glamour and ease of movement, a timeless silhouette, and SPARKLES! A golden salwar kameez is a classic option for wedding guests who want to sparkle without outshining the bride. Brides wanting to capture the essence of MM’s look but looking for something only a shopping click away might consider this number by Badgley Mischka:

Turmeric is experiencing a rockstar moment in the food world, and the color yellow is popping up in our closets. Think you can’t rock yellow with your complexion? Think again! From mustard to buttercup yellow, this trend works on everyone. Consider a mustard yellow lehenga your new Indian wardrobe staple. Still not convinced? How about updating your classic black sari with a fresh yellow blouse!