‘Choli ke peeche kya hai, choli ke peeche?’ While Ila Arun’s question remains unanswered, there is a more important question that I do have the answer to. And the riddle is: how can you wear a choli if not with its better half, the ‘shaadi wala’ lehenga? Yup, it’s your lucky day, girl. Remember the desi crop top you got stitched about a year back for your distant cousin’s daughter’s wedding? Dig into the back of your closet where it is, and pull it out. Because there’s plenty of pieces in your closet you can wear your Indian choli with, from tulle skirts to dhoti pants - but we all have our favourites, don’t we? So, here are my top 5 ways, western and Indian, to style the good old choli:
A pair of cool blue wide-legged jeans is the way to go if ‘easy-breezy’ is what you’re thinking. The snap detail on the side of this 70s style, high-waist pair adds some quirk to the look, doesn’t it? Clubbed with some oversized square framed glasses, it’s a smashing success. Keep it simple with the shoes… go for plain white sneaks or some tan mules. Voila! You’re ready for a café chat sesh with your bestie.
This is my ‘mix it up for the Mehendi’ pick. It’s time you take a (long) break from the old salwar-kameez routine - it’s practically a thing of the past. You need to infuse some new into your Indian wardrobe, even if it is using your old choli. Come on, it’s the perfect piece to layer with some fun bold colours. For instance, the fun kimono style jacket, wide-legged pants and geometric earrings are the perfect recipe if you’re looking for an edge. Wear it with Kolhapuri flats for a wedding function; club it with pointy pumps if you’re stepping out for an exhibition or a play.
If you’re thinking what a cool way this is to style your desi choli, you’re not wrong. You’ve got to love this choli, pinafore dress and sneaker combination. I mean, it’s creative, it’s fun and it is super comfortable. So, if you’re headed out for the whole day, this is your best (and most stylish) bet. Packing for a vacay? This goes in the bag. Dressing for a shopping trip? This is your outfit. Accessorise with a crossbody bag and some oversized hoops for extra points.
POPxo recommends: Kalamkari Print Cotton Blouse with Ikat (Rs. 1,439) by Indie Picks, Corduroy Dungaree Dress With Pocket (Rs. 640) by Shein and Women Turquoise Blue Sneakers (Rs. 1,499) by DressBerry
Indian doesn’t always have to translate into ‘bling’. If you’re dressing to impress a certain someone at your next wedding appearance, there are lots more you can do. Play with colours, statement elements and textures when you’re putting your look together; Here, the combination of bold black with a sheer zari dupatta and fringe-y statement earrings is killer, isn’t it? I love embellished juttis with this kind of outfit, but you can also wear it with wedges or strappy sandals if you want.
POPxo recommends: Kalamkari Print Cotton Blouse with Ikat (Rs. 1,439) by Indie Picks, Black Gota Embroidered Circular Skirt (Rs. 15,950) by Ohaila Khan, Zari Dupatta With Tassels (Rs. 399) by BIBA, Tassel Earrings With Hardware Detail (Rs. 599) by Blueberry and Bright Yellow Juttis With Bel Pattern Embroidery (Rs. 2,940) by Kalki Fashions.
Cocktail parties can be tricky. You don’t want to be the girl in the gown at the risk of being overdressed, but you also don’t want to show up in a boring saree-blouse combo either… Your wedding-worthy choli at your rescue! I love this look - deep blue saree with pom-poms, an edgy statement clutch and sophisticated sandals. When it comes to jewellery, a chunky ring and your favourite watch is all you need. Could there be a more elegant cocktail party outfit?
POPxo recommends: Kalamkari Print Cotton Blouse with Ikat (Rs. 1,439) by Indie Picks, Teal Pom-Pom Saree (Rs. 16,300) by Ilk, Mango Yellow Floral Stem Oval Clutch (Rs.7,750) by BE CHIC and White Blue Handcrafted Checkered Leatherette Heels (Rs. 2,900) by The Loom