How Exactly Do you Put that On?!: A Step by Step Guide

There are several different styles and varieties you can wear to an Indian wedding.  

Here are some of the most common and to showcase what they look like, we’ll use our favorite model – Deepika Padukone 😊 (duh).  

  1. Salwar Kameez
  2. Anarkali
  3. Lehenga (or Lehnga)
  4. Sari (or Saree)

TLDR: The most common outfit for young/young-ish women to wear to the Sangeet, Wedding, and Reception are Lehengas. For men, the outfit is the same for all occasions (the Kurta) but varies in terms of fanciness.  

Salwar Kameez/Anarkali/Gown

Salwar Suits themselves come in many styles and consist of a tunic top, pants (chudidar) and a dupatta (shawl). They often vary dramatically in silhouette, length of the tunic top, and fit of the bottom. They also vary quite a bit in fanciness: these can be the most casual of the Indian female outfit but can also be quite embellished and suitable for a wedding.

The Anarkali is one of the most popular and elegant forms of Salwar with a tunic that is fitted at the top, and flares into a gown like silhouette at the waist. Anarkalis suits range from casual to formal and are available in various fabrics and patterns. If the Anarkali hits the ground and doesn’t have pants underneath, we call it a Gown.

The great thing about the Salwar, and the Anarkali are that they look great on anyone regardless of your size, age, or body type. Kids wear them, people your parents’ age wear them, and people in their 20s and 30s wear them.There is no exposed midriff, no exposed leg, and no need to start a keto diet or join a crossfit studio.  And you will look elegant in this flowy, colorful Indian favorite.

How to wear: 

To put on a Salwar Kameez on simply put the tunic top over your head like you would a dress. The churidar (pants) either tie at the waist or have a clasp you can fasten (just like you would on dress pants). The dupatta/chunnni (or shawl) that comes with the Salwar can be worn around the neck like a scarf, across one shoulder or across the chest. 


Lehenga (or Lehnga) is a three-piece outfit made up of a floor length A-line skirt, a fitted (often midriff-baring) blouse, and a dupatta/chunni (shawl).  Some of the very modern styles don’t include a chunni. Lehengas come in many different fabrics and are generally worn for formal occasions. They are very popular to wear to weddings, especially wedding receptions. 

How to wear:

The blouse can be pulled on over your head (like a sweater) or can be buttoned in the back (like a bra). Some blouse styles are rather short (think length of a bra), while other blouse styles are much longer (think crop top or even full shirt length). The range of midriff shown can be anywhere from your from none to 8 inches or more.

Sometimes the midriff-baring nature of the lehenga causes some wedding goers to get pretty anxious. No need to! Since there are so many styles of blouse you can simply choose one that is a length you are comfortable with. You can also use the chunni (shawl) to cover your midriff! 

The lehenga skirt goes on just like any other skirt: you can pull it up starting at the floor. 

It can hit closer to the hip (showing your belly button) or you can pull it up closer to your waist (covering your belly button). 


The Sari is probably the piece of Indian clothing you’ve most heard before. A Sari is a single piece of cloth that ranges from 3.5 to 9 yards in length and is meant to be folded and draped over a form fitting blouse. In fact, there are over 100 ways to drape the sari! The Sari is the hardest of the three to put on (and dance in) but also the most elegant. We wouldn’t recommend trying to do it on your own. If you really want to challenge yourself, go ahead and get a sari--  but we think it’ll take some serious study to get just right. 

Check out  or get some help from a friend who knows how. 


And that’s your primer on how to wear Indian clothing for weddings! Check out our future articles on what to wear for Men and don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions at [email protected]. We can’t wait to dress you!



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