It is a reflex to open your wardrobe and say, ‘I have nothing to wear.’ Even though you know it is not true, you cannot fathom wearing the same set of clothes with the same group of friends. And suddenly, you see all that festive clothing occupying more space than intended, clothes that don’t see the light of the day after you have worn them once, maybe twice, in a year. Refer to this style guide to know just how you can turn all of that into casual wear. According to the designers we spoke to, the possibilities are endless.


The myriad choices you come across when you are shopping for festive clothes can be overwhelming. In addition, the discount offers are enough to push you over the edge and turn you into the shopaholic that you aren’t. Before you start to ask yourself if you really need that outfit (of course, you do), you might want to ask if that outfit can also be turned into a casual one.

According to Kolkata-based fashion designer Ambrish Damani, a smart way to invest in festive gear is by ensuring that they can also be turned into a casualwear outfit. “This means that you can wear your festive gear more than once, rather than packing them away into your wardrobe for the rest of the year,” he says.

Ace designer Shruti Sancheti is of the opinion that we Indians love bright and festive clothing and it is not just limited to major festivities. She says, “The use of traditional elements and vibrant colours are seen during casual outings too, but, the outfits have a relaxed look. Comfort and practicality have been key elements in people’s choice of shopping festive clothing. Thus, fusion clothing or the Indo-western look has become hugely popular.”

Fashion designer Anjali Jani will tell you that you can put together festive gear such as palazzos, cigarette pants, kurta, jackets, skirts, capes in many different ways. “You can wear a pair of palazzos with a kurta or a shirt, a Banarasi skirt with a solid shirt, a heavy dupatta with a tank top and pencil pants,” she suggests.

If you are looking for more options, Shruti suggests wearing dhoti pants with kurtas, long block-print skirts with crop tops, cigarette pants with a long and high-slit kurta or even a palazzo in various formats such as a sharara, flared, pleated or straight.

We weren’t joking when we said that the possibilities are endless. Ambrish explains that one of his collections included floor-length anarkalis with a stitched dupatta that gave a festive look, but the moment you removed it, it looked like a maxi dress you could wear for a casual outing. He says, “My recent collection includes a crop top and printed pencil pants with a wraparound box-pleated skirt. These are floor length and with elaborate embellishments.” Katrina Kaif seemed to have worn something similar in the song Kala chashma from Baar Baar Dekho and looked gorgeous.

“However, in my upcoming collection, I plan on putting together printed shararas with net anarkalis on top. They are transparent with sequins so that the work on the skirt is visible. These can be worn on a causal or formal occasion too.” He encourages people to do their own mix-and-match with colours and patterns as per what they find trendy. “Designers just give you a guideline but you can do much more,” he adds.

While you put so much planning into clothing, it is essential you don’t ruin it with the wrong kind of jewellery. To that Shruti says, “These clothes need few accessories, as the idea is to keep it casual, so, a statement neckpiece or earrings in a contemporary style will look great.”

Ambrish too suggests you give the funky jewellery a miss. “I wouldn’t recommend it. Traditional jewellery like jadau, kundan would add elegance to the entire look. These could be real jewellery or even fake, but it surely does add to the traditional feel and you look the part,” he recommends.

Apart from all the mix and matching, you can always add a few elements to your clothing to lend that casual yet trendy look. As per Shruti’s advice, you can always add scarves and dupattas to an outfit and belts, especially, to enhance your entire look.

Anjali Jani seems to be on the same page as she also agrees that belts always add a touch of glamour. “Appropriate footwear and a jacket too add glamour to your look. Throw a casual jacket with a skirt, with
a pair of boots, to make a festive look, casual, yet glamorous or even
a big belt with a skirt and a white shirt.”

Like we said, with the right kind of styling, anything is possible.

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FASHION NOTES: With Model & Actress Elena Fernandes