South Asian (Pakistani) Dresses: 101? HELP.

posted 3 years ago in South Asian
Post # 4
Member
204 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

Sarees: 5 yards of cloth that are wrapped around you. They can be made of any material, from silk to polyester. Being wrapped in 5 yards of silk sounds good on paper but chiffon, georgette and net will give you a much better/closer drape than silk will. You mentioned Pakistani, so not sure if you are marrying a muslim, but sarees are a Hindu dress. Typically I see Bangladeshis wearing them more than Pakistani muslims. 

Lehenga Choli: this is the cropped top and long skirt. However, the choli, literally translating to “blouse” can be longer as you like. The new style of lehenga choli is called “latcha” (trapeze dress I think you are referring to) and is more modest. If you want something tight and fitted that covers your belly, ask for a “mermaid style lehenga choli.” Mermaid style refers to the skirt and then when they bring you all the versions they have, see what you can live with vis-a-vis the top. Bear in mind that they will drape the dupatta (accessory shawl) so that your tummy may very well be covered up. 

Salwar Kameez: This is the pants and long tunic top outfit

Typically in the US from least to most expensive are sarees, salwar kameez, lehenga choli. 

 

Post # 5
Member
312 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Not South Asian, but I’ll chip in.

So, you know saris. The other two biggies seem to me to be lehngas and salwar kameez.

Depending on where their families are from, a lot of brides wear lehengas, not saris, during the wedding. FYI, here are some, albeit the film-star variety!  You can also google for these under the term ‘chaniya choli’ or ‘ghagra choli.’

 http://pinterest.com/sunjayjk/lehenga-ghagra-choli-desi-skirt-ensembles/

For every day wear, but also fancy dress (particularly in north India/Pakistan), you can go with a salwar kameez or some variant thereof – http://home.arcor.de/india-products/information/salwar-types.html

 

 

 

Post # 6
Member
204 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

Also they have something called a lehenga saree now, which is like a pre-stitched saree that is halfway between a lehenga and a saree. But when I went shopping in the US the selection for them was really small so I ended up with a typical lehenga. 

Here is my engagement dress, excuse the hiddy picture but this is one that shows the dress mostly full length. This is a mermaid style lehenga with a corset choli and I bought it in the US. My wedding saree and lehenga were purchased in India.

My personal opinion is that mermaid style with a tummy covering top is a very flattering fit for most people. If you don’t buy a mermaid style skirt, your skirt will very full, it’s pretty much exactly the different between the ballgown/princess style wedding dresses and the mermaid style ones. 

Post # 8
Member
312 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@madelise:  They’re all basically the same thing, with perhaps some minor regional variations in the fullness/cut of the skirt. Different regions of India favor different terms, too. But if you stick with ‘lehnga’ you’ll be fine, everyone will know what you mean. 🙂

To answer your other question, yes, choli is the shirt, and lehnga/ghagra/chaniya is the skirt. People will call the whole outfit a lehnga (not mentioning the ‘choli’ bit), but it’s in there. 🙂

I must add here how terribly jealous I am that you’ll get to wear a lehnga for your wedding. Indian clothes are undoubtedly the most beautiful clothes in the world, and the jewelry… oh, man. If I were marrying a desi guy, I’d be so excited to rock a maang tikka, I can’t even tell you!

Post # 10
Member
312 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@madelise:  Double it up and get the best of both worlds! Wear something Pakistani for the mehndi/henna ceremony, and your big white dress for the wedding ceremony! Cool

Post # 11
Member
1040 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

Since we’re on the topic, anyone know a reputable place to buy wedding saris or lehengas online or in Australia. I’m going to be getting married in India as well as Ireland, and currently the plan is to get off the plane on Tuesday or Wednesday, go straight to the store with his grandmother to get a sari, then get a blouse stitched with the wedding on Friday. Which might be cutting it a bit tight! But Im not sure where else to look. 

Post # 12
Member
204 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

@madelise:  

Saree = 5 yards of cloth (historically 9 yards). Think of it as a toga, it’s draped. So when you talk about the skirt + swoopy shawl across the chest that you like, that’s not 2 separate pieces, it’s one piece of cloth that is draped to make both the skirt (everything from the belly button down that looks like a skirt) and the “pallu” (the word for the shawl/swoopy bit that covers the breasts). Sarees are a Hindu dress. Bangladeshis do tend to wear them, but I’m not sure your boyfriend’s family will be comfortable with you wearing this dress to a Muslim wedding.  

Choli = blouse. That’s what the word means.

Lehenga/Ghaghra/Chaniya: lehenga is the most common word used today. It is the skirt part of the outfit of mine that I posed. Both Muslims and Hindus wear this style of dress. The difference between the word “lehenga” and “chaniya” and “ghagra” is really trivial-I believe Ghagra and Chaniya are specific skirt widths or decorative styles regional to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Just tell them “lehenga” and they will get it. When they bring you the lehenga, you’ll see that the “choli” (blouse) will be cropped to different lengths, have different styles etc., as will the skirt. If you want a tighter and more form fitting skirt, then you can ask for a “mermaid” style skirt. That is the style I prefer. The new style of lehenga that everyone is hot for right now is called “lacha” lehenga, it’s has long sheer panels that cover the skirt…google images has a bunch of good shots. 

Dupatta: every lehenga and salwar kameez will come with a decorated shawl made of a very thin material-silk, net, gauze, chiffon etc.. This is worn along with the main pieces of the outfit. The dupatta either serves as the veil for the head, or it is actually draped across the outfit, usually to cover the breasts a little as well as to show the elaborate designs and embroidery on them. In the picture I posted above, I just held the dupatta, which is done sometimes. Here is my reception picture, you can see that they draped the dupatta on me. That thing that is swooping across my back and hanging down my arm is the dupatta. In this case the dress was more elaborate than the dupatta so they did a thin drape. When you go shopping, they will show you different ways to wear the dupatta on the outfit. I am Hindu and S. Indian so we do not veil the hair with the dupatta, we use it decoratively across the body. 

Salwar Kameez: I think they are sometimes called “suits” in India? They can actually be very very flattering and fancy, but if you want to avoid the sack like ones, know that the “new” style of salwar kameez is called “anarkali”. Google has some good shots of the anarkali style. Here is me wearing a tighter and more bodyfitting one for my mehndi. Salwar Kameez also come with dupattas, though I never use them.  

Post # 14
Member
204 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

@madelise:  nah, you pay to play when it comes to S. Asian clothes. They USUALLY tend to be made of stiffer or crisper materials often raw silks etc. and a lot of the beauty comes in the stonework and embroidery, which means that your skin is pricked on the inside depending the level of stitching. Ouch!

In order of comfort based on the type of dress, it tends to go salwar kameez, saree, lehenga…though I think some would argue lehenga is easier than saree, I personally prefer the saree. Almost everyone agrees salwar suits are the easiest though!

But! You are in luck. The typical pants worn under the newer anarkali style of salwar kameez are USUALLY leggings. The original classic style is silk drawstring pants called pyjam (yes, the word pyjamas comes from that). The comfort of these pants is always a matter of what is going on in the world of style. Because right now the style focus is the anarkali, with it’s long legth and flaired skirt, the pants are not as important, so they tend to sell fancy comfortable leggings with them. In the 90s they made the pants looser, almost like bell-bottomed/flair style and shorterned the length of the top. The one I’m wearing in orange/green for my mehndi ceremony is a very traditional “classic” style of salwar. It’s a raw silk body skimming top that went to my knees and silk pyjam drawstring trousers that are very tight below the knees. Now, the thing to know is that your whole tummy area will be quite comfy in those but the knees + below is a tight tight leg hugging fit. It looks really lovely in high heels but you may find that it can cut off circulation. You know how sometimes it’s hard for people to find knee high boots because their calves are too big for the width of the boot at the top? Same deal with the classic salwar kameez trousers I am wearing up there. 

Now on to the lehenga. For comfort you may want to try a fuller skirt-if fashion is your focus, then go for a mermaid skirt, but that is tight and the embroidery and crystals and whatnot will definitely be poking/scratching depending on the quality of the piece. With a fuller skirt, you can wear preventative leggings or shorts underneath. The second piece is the top/choli-here see if you can get in on some of the newer velvet based styles. They will hug your body while providing a softer touch/material. I believe you will look really lovely! Just know that if you take a fuller skirt, you should opt for a more body hugging choli/top or it will not be flattering. Typically they take this into account and most full/poof skirt lehengas come with little cropped tops. Again, depending on the liberalism of your boyfriend’s family they may or may not be comfortable with that-those are very obviously Hindu styles. 

Post # 16
Member
360 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

You can make the blouse longer so it covers more of your rib area.

You can tie the sari in a different style – check out youtube for styles 

but concealer with setting powder might be a good bet since the powder should “set” it so it doesnt smudge off and since the sari wraps around the right side, then on the left, it won’t be touching your rib area so it shouldn’t damage the sari.

 

Hope that helps!

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