Dress for a healthy Diwali

This festive season says goodbye to buying new clothes. Instead, recycle what you have; or make your own outfit with an old saree

The festivity has officially begun and so has this pageant in our heads that we dress up for. This is the time of the year when most of north India goes all out when it comes to shopping. A report by YouGov confirms that people are going to spend most on clothing, in fact, more than they did last year.

So, in spite of an economic slowdown, we as a society want to show up for the revelry in style. To ensure that, a lot of brands and designer labels are offering festive wear with tinges of contemporariness.

Scrolling on our Instagram feeds, what we cannot ignore are the Diwali styling tips that every trending blogger has put out in the form of a video. Some have pointed out to ‘what not to wear’, just to avoid repetition of content. However, among several clothing brands and DIY’s available on the internet, we often end up looking like clones of each other.

Then there’s the high-street fashion brand Zara, which has a special Diwali edit but they work better for a European festival. The fact remains that the skinny sequinned dresses on offer, for a majority here, would not pass for festive wear.

So, keeping all this in mind, we are going to list a few things you can do to keep your look super chic and unique without a dent in your pocket and the environment.

The first thing one must do is to scan our wardrobes and know what is there lying under bundles of clothes that we end up not wearing. I think this is a great way to know what all one owns and a reminder of things one has bought previously and never worn. Remember that Nicobar Chanderi overlay in an ivory colour you bought on a sale and did not wear more than twice? Or that pink solid kurta salwar you got made for a wedding? There are umpteen outfits that need to be dug out and worn again.

Style the clothes you already have in a way that it becomes a new outfit altogether. Dye the ivory overlay yellow, throw in a different dupatta with the pink kurta; perhaps layer it with an embroidered jacket. These beauties in your wardrobe deserve another chance to glam up your festive look. The god of the environment will thank you, if not the clothing brands on sale.

But deciding what to wear is an elaborate affair and if that does not satisfy your feel-good hormones, you can go the extra mile and create a dress of your own. Enough people are doing that and running a successful business out of it, without knowing the basics. We can definitely dress our own selves in that regard.

Creating an outfit requires sourcing fabric and I must say it is a beautiful exercise if you have not done already. In Delhi, one can visit HP sons in Nehru Palace where you will find all kinds of fabrics that fit one’s budget.

There is Khadi Gram Udyog that has a beautifully handwoven selection of textiles from various parts of India. There is also Jaypore, store and online. If not that, try thinking about that beautiful saree that your mother owns but it has huge holes in it, you could turn that it a beautiful fresh garment.

Once the fabric is chosen, based on its nature and fall, decide a silhouette you want to make out of the fabric. Use some references from the internet. Take into account the exact look you want, and understand what will suit you. Take your mother’s opinion if her saree is going to make the cut. You can make a dress, a complete kurta set, and even a simple shirt out of this fabric.

Once the design is sorted, go to your favourite tailor and ask him to stitch the outfit for you. Yes, let us give some business to our local tailors than buying an outfit. Also, you will savour the process.

If one is looking at exploring something new which is local at the same time, they must check Border & Fall’s Sari Series which is a digital anthology of about 80 Indian saree drape tutorial videos. A beautiful resource for those who are fond of the idea of a saree.

A little time spent watching these videos helps you understand the art of saree tying and how each drape creates a unique look. All you need for this is a saree and shirt that can be worn as a blouse and you are good to go.

As for titbits like jewellery and shoes, visit Delhi Haat and you shall find a huge collection of handmade products that will complement your festive look. For silver jewellery, one can visit Dariba Kalan in Chandni Chowk and their collection will not disappoint you. Fresh designs that beat your London educated jewellery designers.

If you go by this self-help manual, your clothing this festivity will have a minimal carbon footprint. The fashion Industry is deemed the second largest polluter of the environment and it is only these small steps that will help to create a healthy ecology.

As for all the money, you will save in the process, use it to buy books for yourself and others that shall make for a great Diwali gift. If not that, use the money to take a trip to the hills on the Diwali weekend. In that case, you won’t need any festive wear.

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