Growing up in Kolkata, which did not have a very cosmopolitan setting back then, my idea of Navratri was a festival celebrated by the Gujarati community who played dandiya all 9 days. I would keep wondering why Durga Puja was for 5 days and Navratri for 9 days. Only much later did I realize that both celebrated Goddess Durga and there was no real difference.
When I moved to Mumbai, I was amazed at how everyone celebrated Navratri and Durga Puja here. It was not what I thought. It was not just about playing dandiya for all 9 days. The family visits to pandals, chanting of scriptures, enacting the story, decoration, food, frolic and spirit – this festival has it all.
Apart from all this, Navratri/Durga Puja is also about being stylish for all nine days in beautiful traditional clothes. I find the festival so colourful and joyous. So to celebrate all the 9 days, I bring to you nine style tips:
- Quirk up the dhoti:
Dhoti pants are extremely comfortable. If you plan to go dancing all night, nothing beats this modern-ethnic piece. Add a crop top to it, wear a high ponytail and some light makeup. See how you make heads turn.
2. Glow in White:
Just because it is Navratri you don’t have to pile on colours all nine days. Give the green, pink and blues a break. Take out your whites and add a chunky piece of jewellery to it and walk around like a diva.
3. Make a statement:
Choose one piece of accessory and rock it. Combining the right accessory with your outfit can make you own the stage. We usually hear about statement necklaces but why not try a statement earring? Try to keep your outfit simple so that the accessory can stand out.
4. Re-create the Retro magic:
Those bold prints, silver jewellery and big bindi reminds us of those days when Zeenat Aman and Parveen Babi would rock Bollywood with their style quotient. Try out something like that this Navratri. Don’t wear bold prints all over please. Any one piece will do the job.
5. Flower Power:
It is always nice to have a great hairdo when you are stepping out. Amongst all the colours and bling, use some flowers on your hair. It just adds a lot of freshness and novelty to your festive look.
6. Pretty in Pastel:
Sometimes isn’t it nice to just keep it low and use some nice warm colours during all the festive bling around you? That is when you pick up the pastels from your wardrobe and style it the way you want to.
7. Go BOHO:
A little bit of twist to your traditional wear never did any harm. A kurta as a dress, brought together with a chunky belt and some bangles creates a boho chic kind of a feel. It is different from what one generally wear during the festive season. But who is making these rules?
8. Drape it like a boss:
Sometimes just draping the saree differently can change the way you look. So instead of going for the traditional drape, try out something which has a fusion feel to it.
9. Choose Handloom:
Let’s all do our artisans a favour and wear handloom on one of the day’s of Navratri. During festivals we generally try to follow the current fashion trend. But let’s not forget the environment and choose ethical fashion as well.
I am really looking forward to all the fun and happy times ahead. Festivals in India is so beautiful and a great way to bond with family and friends. So go ahead and decorate your homes, binge on sweets, live it up fellas.
Photographs by – Sougata Datta