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Rediff News  All News  » Getahead » Going dancing this Navratri? Dress right!

Going dancing this Navratri? Dress right!

Last updated on: September 18, 2009 

Photographs: Poorthi Parekh

While most would agree that India has its fair share of occasions to get all gussied up for -- what with Holi and Diwali and Ganesh Chaturthi and a healthy sprinkling of weddings and parties in between -- you would also agree that there's just not enough occasions deserving of those heavily embroidered, gorgeously mirror-worked ghagra-cholis.

However, come Navratri all those bright chanya-cholis, colourful dupattas and pretty silver jewelry are dusted off (or invested in) just for those nine fun-filled nights where kids, teens and the young at heart boogey away to the heady dandiya beats.

As fun as it is to go out dancing, it is just as much fun putting together the perfect ensemble for each night. So to help you look the part, here are some style tips...

Go traditional

Photographs: Poorthi Parekh

If you really want to get into the spirit of Navratri, go traditional!

For the ladies, it's a chanya-choli embellished with mirror-work, embroidery, sequins, shells and beads.

"Backless cholis are also big, so if you're comfortable carrying it off, go for it," says Chitra Lahoti, dance instructor from Mumbai. "The best part is that you don't have to buy outfits or get them stitched anymore, you can just rent an outfit for as little as Rs 100 to 500, and look the part."

"Red and green are always popular colours," says 19-year-old Preeti Shah. She has been a regular at the dandiya events in her neighbourhood in Ghatkopar (Mumbai), "but anything that is bright, colourful, jazzy are best. Dull, muted colours are a no-no!"

For the men it's the kedia, in bright colours.

"Not too many guys opt for it, but it's fun to be all dressed up. I mean it's only once in a year, right?" says Hitesh Mehta, a youngster from Surat.

Keeping it light

Photographs: Poorthi Parekh

If tugging on a chanya-choli is too much effort or not comfortable enough, you can opt for a gypsy skirt with a traditional print. These will give you the space to dance away without weighing you down.

"You can also opt for a heavy halter top on jeans or even an mirror-worked or embroidered top," says Chitra. "Mix and match also works well. You don't need to have an outfit that matches perfectly, just one that looks good."

For the guys, a black or white shirt on jeans with a brightly coloured bandhni dupatta is the easiest way to add a little tradition.

Accessorise right

Photographs: Poorthi Parekh

Silver jewellery is usually the way to go. You can pick up a set (necklace and earring) for as little at Rs 300. Then you've got your bindi, which is optional, but bangles are a must! The jangling will only add to the festive spirit.

"When it comes to jewellery, the key is keeping it light," says Chitra. While the heavy sets look great, they'll only tire you out and weigh you down.

"I usually opt for light jhumkas and chain. It can get very hot with the dancing and crowds, and very uncomfortable if you have heavy jewellery," adds Preeti.

Inking it

Photographs: Mayur Bhatt

Tattoos are big this year. These are painted on and wash off easily too. They cost anywhere from Rs 200 to Rs 1000 depending on the intricacy and detail.

"I love getting these," says Medha Mehta*, a 22-year-old from Mumbai. "Last year I chose a colourful geometric design, this year I think I'll try a more traditional one."

Make-up etc

Photographs: Mayur Bhatt

The more traditional tattoos might be on the costly side, so if you have a budget, try a more modern floral or decorative theme.

Also when you're applying make-up, use a water-proof kaajal or mascara, warns Chitra. "You can get very sweaty and you don't want smudgy eyes." Hair should be worn up too, she advises.

"For make-up, I keep it light," says Neha Jaitley, a 20-year-old from Mumbai who never misses the celebrations. "Eye-liner, a little eye-shadow and lipstick, that's it! Once you start dancing, the make-up won't stay on too long, so there's no point packing it on."

When it comes to footwear, if you want to keep it authentic, you'll need to get yourself a pair of mojharis that will match or complement your outfit. However, the keyword here is comfort. If you plan on dancing the night away, avoid heels. Opt instead for a pair of decorative sandals that will be nice and comfy.