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How to wear a red saree at someone else’s wedding

by Nikki Kumar

Red isn’t exclusive to the bride at this wedding.


The cardinal rule to never break at a wedding is attempting to outshine the bride in her most memorable outfit, just as she’s beginning a beautiful new journey. With that said, there aren’t any rules for guests who decide to wear red at the same event. And while this colour has returned as a top trend during this desi wedding season, there are ways to wear a red sari and not become the bride’s competition.

Traditionally, shades of red have always been worn during festive occasions across South Asia. And recent looks continue to be inspired by the likes of Sushmita Sen’s iconic slow-mo red sari entrance in Main Hoon Na (2004), Kareena Kapoor Khan draped in Manish Malhotra in the sultry “Chammak Challo” number from (2011), and many others. Whoever or whatever the inspiration may be, you can still wear a red sari and look stunning without stepping on anyone’s stylish toes, and we’ve put together a few ways to gracefully attend weddings in this eye-popping outfit. Respectfully, of course. 


There’s always the classic approach to wearing a red sari and a sleeveless blouse, where intricately-embellished designs in a shade of red blend with the rest of the fabric, rather than clash in contrast. Simplicity, however, goes more ways than one, as other style elements play their complementary roles. For example, having your hair in a sleek bun, sporting nude lips, and defining the brows with just enough shimmer around the eyes. This look is less ‘pizzazz’ and more polished with the absence of statement jewellery, apart from the glimmer of your earrings and a ring or two around your fingers. The sari itself is doing most of the talking without you going overboard. So let the rest be. 


Some ensembles can have a touch of grandeur, like hand-embroidered red saris with either a short or long-sleeved blouse, embellished with mirror, kasab (which resembles zardozi), and cutdana (stone and bead work) embroidery throughout. To complement this sari, opt for letting your hair down, combined with smoky eyes and nude lips, and an elegant choker for accessories, with the option of matching earrings. Granted, this look is slightly more glamourous than the previous one, but the aim is to elevate the red sari look, and not overshadow it.


There’s a difference between keeping things simple and putting on a minimalistic look, which can be a statement of its own. Something that is both aesthetically light and even softer to the touch can turn heads as good as other looks. For instance, a red chiffon sari with subtle patterns or floral prints, a spaghetti-strapped blouse, and the addition of a pair of diamond studs can provide a more approachable wardrobe choice. This theme spills over to nude lips, light-smoky eyes, and a tousled bun. 


One of the most attractive aspects of a sari is its silhouette on a desi woman – sensual and alluring. To achieve this aura, opt for a lightweight organza sari, which is a thin, plain weave, sheer fabric, traditionally made from silk. And when it’s in red, you can imagine how seductive the look may be, even when the choice of blouse is a modest one. The icing on the cake for this particular understated glam look can be the addition of stone-embellished jewellery, be it around your neck or around your wrist.


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