Choosing the right lengha style and color should not only depend on one’s personal taste but also on the type of figure and complexion you have. It is very important that the lengha you wear not only suits your style but also goes well with your body shape and skin tone. If you choose the right type of lengha then the silhouette will perfectly complement your figure. This is not only important for your wedding day but also for any other special occasion you attend. Be sure to follow these guidelines as you start shopping and creating your trousseau.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT COLOR
Start off by deciding on colors that you like. You should keep this very broad because there are a lot to choose from and some may not suit you as well as others. Rather than just saying you would like purple, green, blue, and orange; for example; try to be more specific and think in terms of lavender, magenta, turquoise, peach, and burnt orange. You may be very fond of green but that shouldn’t limit your options. There is a lot to choose from such as jade, olive, lime, bottle green and sea green. By being broad minded and researching all your options you will know what to expect and what to look out for. Your lengha collection, however, shouldn’t just concise of shades from one family of colors. Try to make a unique and vibrant mix of colors based on what you like and what best suits your style.
COLOR AND COMPLEXION
One of the most important elements in building your wardrobe should be color. Whatever you skin tone may be, choosing the right color to go with your features will be likely to put your complexion to an advantage. For example, you may be very pale skinned and deeply fond of purple. Instead of choosing a very light pastel shade such as lavender that will wash out your skin, you may want to go for something a bit deeper such as magenta that will allow your natural glow to radiate. Fair skinned individuals can usually carry off any color from soft pastels to mid-tones. It is wise to avoid colors that are too light or dark if your skin tone is very fair because they will either wash out your skin completely, especially in photographs, or make you look too pale. Aqua, medium toned blues, pinks, peach, lilac and especially soft green are great choices for the fair skin toned. Those with light skin and also pale undertones should consider deep magenta, burgundy, and gold accents but not hot pink and shocking colors to complete their evening look. Opt in for more pearly hue with silver accents and light work or embroidery for the daytime.
Emerald green, ruby red, rust, bright orange, navy blue and turquoise go perfectly with wheat-toned or golden skinned women. Basic black and white are also quite suitable. Although not as popular before, these are becoming more common now for evening wear. If you do choose to go with black opt in for gold or silver zari work and pick a matching black opal or pearl and gold jewelry set to go with the black and gold attire or maybe even a platinum and diamond one to perfectly complement the black and silver lengha. White embroidery also looks stunning on black or vice versa and can be worn with white or black pearls. The combinations you can make are endless and you will notice that you have a wide range of possibilities to choose from because of the latest addition of western influence and the popularity of fusion wear. Mustard and ochre with antique style golden accents, saffron orange with copper accents, deep ink and royal blues with silver or tonal accents and even golden or champagne all go great during both mornings as well as evenings if you skin as golden undertones to it. If you have olive undertones then copper, rust, rich maroon with gold accents, emerald green with pale gold accents and similar colors will suit you the best any time of day.
WHAT TO AVOID
Avoid very pale or pastel colors that can make your skin look too dark, if it is tanned, and be sure to ask for advice or take someone with you to help you out. Don’t be afraid to ask questions throughout your search for the right lengha. Remember, that this should be a fun and exciting experience for you. You will want to look your very best and don’t let your pride or wrong instincts allow you to buy something too flashy or unsuitable for your body. This should be a meaningful journey for you in which you will not only receive a stunning product to cherish at the end but you will also learn a great deal.
If you are reading this thinking you should stay away from all flashy colors then don’t be mistaken because bright colors are the perfect complement for chocolate skin. So if you have dusky skin then definitely go for bright yellow, bottle green, bright blues and oranges, magenta, and warm red. Even taupe, beige and white could look great. Crimson, scarlet, burgundy, cherry, ruby, and wine colored are some options as well. If you like bright colors then lime or parrot green as well as yellow with bright gold embroidery work are great for you. Avoid hot pink as it may be too sharp or shocking but try to go by what you think looks best on you. If you are uncertain, then don’t buy something you may regret later on.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT STYLE
Not only should your lengha be the right color but it should also be made to flatter your own individual figure and that’s only when it will suit you best. You shouldn’t opt in for something only if it looks good. Personal taste and style should definitely play a role because you don’t want to be wearing something you don’t “feel” great in. However, your options are not limited and you will be able to find something you adore that perfectly complements both your personal style and figure. It is often challenging to find a lengha that you love that also fits your body type and shape but these guidelines will make your task much easier. Once you have narrowed down your options it will be simple to obtain what you want.
If you are petite then you will have a variety of styles to choose from. Either a full skirted or a slim fit will both go well on your body type. You can choose from a variety of woven fabrics such as jacquard, brocades, and especially raw silks. Straps, sleeveless, off shoulder, cap sleeves, deep backs and even ¾ or full sleeves all complement your figure precisely. Your choice from these depends on your personal style and preference. It is best to choose something you are comfortable with wearing. The fabric should have small designs with very intricate embroidery in a vertical design. Wide U or square shaped necklines are great options as well if you are both short and slim. Avoid embellishments that are vertical because they can make you look too skinny. Do, however, consider wearing a longer choli and draping your dupatta over one shoulder. Your dupatta should not be too heavy or it will add too much extra weight to your appearance.
Softer fabrics such as chiffon, crepe and georgette give an especially feminine feel for full figured women. You should avoid stiff fabrics such as organza, brocade and tissue and try to settle for single colors and slightly darker shades. Cap sleeves and slightly longer cholis are advisable along with wider necklines. Go for a wide, six panel lengha or sharara that goes well with your full figure. Definitely avoid slim lenghas and very short cholis but instead opt in for something that is wider and concealing.
Pear shaped figures definitely look great in A-lined lenghas with not too much volume that may add an extra, unwanted bulk. Straight cut and tapered along with soft fabrics will look great on a pear shape. Avoid wearing fabrics that are too stiff. Full sleeves and padded shoulders should be worn to extend the shoulder line and give the figure balance. Ornate cholis with a contrastinglightly embroidered lengha are a perfect combination.
Avoid raised embroidery work on the choli if you are full busted; this will add to your bust size. Also avoid big designs and choose very flat embroidery that is especially light on the choli. Small designs such as leaves and flowers or even no work except on the sleeves is best suited for the choli. Try to avoid cholis with work done on the bust area that may draw too much attention. Keep away from a jewel neckline that will make you appear bustier and choose necklines that are not very deep. Wear a full lengha instead of an A-line to give balance to your look and complement your choli.
THIN AND TALL
Use a lot of volume in your lengha to add grace and softness to your appearance if you are thin and tall. Most fabrics will complement you but go for heavy material such as jamevar or raw silk, banarsi organza, and brocade if you want to create a flare to your lengha that is elegant. You should avoid very long cholis that can make you look to thin but instead consider wearing an overlay jacket. Shaded tones will project your height and deep and wide necklines will best enhance your body frame. Avoid cholis with very high necklines. Your body frame is best suited for broad borders and elaborate embroidery.
Softer fabrics in crepe and georgette are great for broad figured individuals. They help to give a slimmer look and feel. Single panel cuts are best recommended along with deep but not wide necklines in darker shades for a slender look. Choose a lengha with slim border in a vertical design.
If you have a thick waist then you will also be able to create a slim look with soft fabrics. Go for hip-length cholis in a single color but dark shade. Choose very tiny and delicate embroidery that creates a soft feel. The choli should have a wide and deep neckline to give you a slender appearance.
Hip Length Cholis/Kurtis are usually found in Ghararas:
Hopefully, these tips and guidelines will help direct you in the right direction. Be sure to choose something that is not overly trendy because since styles change rapidly you will not be able to reuse your outfit again. It is best to go with traditional styles and patterns that are everlasting and precious. You will want something you can look back on with pride and always cherish. Most of all don’t let all the rules of wearing the right lengha take the excitement away. Be sure to choose something suitable for your body type that represents you as an individual and at the same time enjoy the search as you embark on this valuable journey.
[As seen in Spring/Summer 2006 of Shaadi Style and March 2008 of Rivaaj]
[photo credits: homeindia.com, utsavsarees.com]