6 Unique Ways to Accessorize Your Lehenga or Saree


1) Makeup 

Who said that makeup can’t be an accessory? While traditionally, the saree and lehenga are noted for their rich and vibrant colors—this doesn’t necessarily mean that a gal can’t turn heads in a simpler, more neutral toned piece. In the image on the right, our model is seen wearing a crème colored off the shoulder lehenga, with beaded fringe sleeves and a cultural print. In a boldly patterned—yet softly colored fabric such as this, a dramatic eye is a sure way to pull the look together.

Think a fierce winged liner on the lid, and a dark colored liner on your waterline to emphasize and draw attention to your eyes. Top this off with a cool shimmer in the tear duct to pull the colors of your fabric into a dazzling monotone. This works even better in a simple tied-back hairstyle to show off the embellishments on the sleeves, while also drawing attention to the subtle beauty of your face. 

2) It’s All About the Jewelry

In a more traditionally colored lehenga, we see our model wearing an off the shoulder top in a deep pink hue, paired with a golden yellow skirt and metallic patterns. Here, we see her wearing a dupatta that doubles as a necklace matching the ensemble of her skirt. Pulling the look together are a pair of statement drop earrings (called jhumkas). Clip the sides of your hair back with a cute barrette—or tuck a few strands behind your ear so that the earrings are clearly visible. Grab a few bangles or even your favorite nose ring/clip until you find yourself fully encompassed by Indian culture.  

3) Decorative Marks

If you’re not keen on glamorized makeup looks and looking for something a bit more subtle—then decorative marks may be ideal for you. In the image above, our model is seen wearing a lehenga—the dark colored top containing metallic cutouts that match her jewelry, as well as the patterns on the royal blue bottom. Her makeup is minimal, so that we are aware of her delicate features, such as the neutral color of her lips.

What really pulls this look together, is the red bindi in the center of her forehead. This is a traditional Indian mark that is symbolic of creation in the Hindu religion—yet also serves as a beautiful stylistic implement that ties the darker colors of her lehenga together. It also adds a pop of color that draws attention to the jewelry above her shoulders, such as the glimmer of her nose ring and earrings. Adorn your hands with the conventional henna patterns of intense reds for an even more invigorating glow. 

4) Draping Your Saree

Draping your saree is an art—and when done correctly, is essential for shaping various body types. The model above is seen draping her saree in a traditional style where the bottom is worn like a sarong with pleats in the front and one end of the garment is tucked into the right side of the waist. The other end is thrown over the shoulder. While this style is universal in terms of different body types, it is important to note the way it frames, and gives transcendental curves to more petite women who tend to get lost in the lengthy fabric of sarees.

 5) Don’t Forget Your Dupatta!

Oftentimes, we tend to forget about our dupatta as we’re dancing the night away in our lehenga at festivals or attending events. Don’t make this mistake, as our dupattas can be our greatest accessory! Channel your inner 90s by draping it around the front of your neck as it hangs loosely at the back—showing off the embroidery on the ends of the fabric or drape it over your head in a respectful gesture if you’re attending a religious ceremony.

 6) Mix and Match

Those of us who are native to South Asian subcultures definitely have a plethora of sarees and lehenga’s laying around—bored of the fabrics we’ve worn one too many times to different events. Keep in mind that matching doesn’t necessarily constitute a superior fashion style.

Tone down the intricate patterns of a skirt with a plain top from another outfit or use the different colorings of your jewelry to add pops of color into your ensemble. Don’t rely so heavily on an advertised vision of what your outfit should look like. Be bold and choose pieces from outfits that are unique to your own style!

Tiffany Ramlall