Vintage India NYC Blog

Indian Wedding 101

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Invited to an Indian wedding?

Let us help you know what to wear to the various events at an Indian wedding. Bottom line is, go for it!
You will regret showing up to an Indian wedding in purely western clothes. At least get creative and do an East-West mixture.

Below are the different events at an Indian wedding, and what to wear to them

Engagement ceremony

Women-What to wear

The engagement ceremony is generally a more a stylish but understated affair. There won’t be dancing, so you can have more options with your outfit choice. You just don’t want to outdo the bride or groom.

A slimmer lehenga or a simple flowing gown is a good option for an engagement ceremony, Engagement ceremony garments are fairly open to interpretation so wearing something that makes a good first impression as next time you will see them is at the wedding.

You can always enhance your simpler lehenga or gown with statement accessories bangles or bracelets, earrings and a necklace to create a look. Don’t forget a matching bag.

In other words, a more contemporary style is fine for the engagement ceremony.

Men-What to wear

Male guests can wear semi formal to dressy kurtas with churidhaar or patiala pants to the engagement. You can accessorize the kurta with a colorful stole in a contrast color. Sherwanis would be a bit formal for most engagement ceremonies, but again, it depends on the couple.



Haldi ceremony

Women-What to wear

Haldi is a messy ceremony and the turmeric paste tends to spread, so wearing something that is easy to clean or is a color that will hide a mustard color paste.

The close female friends may wear bright colored anarkalis or go for simple suits in equally flamboyant tones. More subtle jewelry would be appropriate with them outfits. No need for heels to this event. Flats would be appropriate here..

Men-What to wear

As a guest, you are probably not going to be part of the ceremony, but you might get some of the turmeric paste put on your face. Simple but elegant traditional clothes are appropriate for this event. Something in the gold or yellow family of colors will ensure you don’t ruin your outfit. Stripes or lighter colors are appropriate for the Haldi ceremony.

Sangeet ceremony

Women-What to wear

The sangeet is filled with music, singing and dancing! Wear something that you can move in. Sarees, and flowing lehengas will look good while you’re dancing. This is a dressy affair but flats are fine, whatever you are comfortable dancing in. You could choose an anarkali, but it would be good to get a dressier version for this occasion.

Men-What to wear

Shorter Nehru jackets and trousers are excellent for the sangeet, so you can dance! If you aren’t the greatest dancer, you can still look the part in your princely outfit!

Adding an Indian style cravat or scarf around the collar of your jacket can really make the entire look pop.

Mehendi ceremony

Women-What to wear

The mehendi ceremony will involve lots of sitting while the henna is applied. It is therefore essential for mehendi outfits to be lightweight, and comfortable. It is also a good idea to choose an outfit with the type of mehendi design that you want in mind because you will of course what great photos to look back on!

We recommend wearing flowy anarkalis or line suits in bright colours to match the joyous occasion, paired with light-weight jewellery and accessories such as a Maang tikka, earrings, a cuff and a polti bag. Flats and mojris are the ideal footwear if you’re looking for maximum comfort!

What not to wear

Heavily embroidered outfits, long sleeves and capes are all best avoided because they will interfere with the application of the mehendi design.

Men-What to wear

You will be awfully glad for another low-key event more centred on the ladies especially if it follows a raucous night of dancing and debauchery at the Sangeet. However that doesn’t mean you can just roll out of bed and attend a Mehendi ceremony.

Short or long linen kurtas with salwaars or printed cotton kurtas with churidhars work great for the minimal yet stylish look required at the Mehendi ceremony.

A kerchief in the side pocket or interesting buttons on the kurta can really elevate the entire look.

What not to wear

Formal shirts and trousers that will make you look too boring and dated.

Baraat ceremony

Women-What to wear

A lot of people are going to be there, so you will notice that people do dress up, but it is a comfortable kind of dressing up to accommodate the dancing and movement. A change of outfit after the baraat is over is usually planned for given that you are likely to be sweating after all the dancing.

A Lehenga or a relaxed top and bottom combination are usually preferred options. Since dancing is involved, select styling that both accentuates your moves and is well fitted. Feel free to experiment with bright colours or a style that is vibrant in look. Cuts can be conservative as you are likely to be dancing amongst family and friends of all age groups.

What not to wear

Avoid tightly fitted clothing that might restrict movement. Cuts that are too flattering or revealing could also be avoided because of the presence of family members of all age groups. Outfits that have a lot of flowing parts or loose ends (if these cannot be pinned in or tucked in) are also best avoided.


Men-What to wear

The Baraat is one of the highlights of the weddings, especially on the day of the wedding. If you are on the groom’s invitation list, then be prepared for a lot of dancing. If you are from the bride’s side , then you are likely to have a quieter ceremony, but you  might be dragged into the dancing celebration!

People do dress up, but this will be dancing clothes. You may need a second outfit here if you are prone to sweating.

Men can wear a Kurta that is vibrant in colour. You may need a turban that is bright in color matching your kurta!  Dancing shoes are a must!   Sherwanis are not usually worn at  a baraat.



Wedding ceremony

Women-What to wear

The wedding ceremony is where you go all out!

It is important to wear something that  honors the couple, so we would recommend a dressy anarkali, lehenga or saree.

Embellish yourself with as much jewelry as you can pull off. A fancy choker or necklace set with earrings and bangles will work , and don’t forget an evening purse. There is also the option for a mang tikka, or the full headpiece called Maata Patti


Men-What to wear

After the craziness of the baraat it’s time to cool down and be respectful for the wedding ceremony, so remember to always wear clothes in keeping with the religions and customs of both families.

Sherwanis are a great choice. Any formal Nehru jackets which is shorter cut can also work.  Get appropriate pants and shoes to compliment the outfit.


Reception ceremony


Women-What to wear to reception

The reception is dressy, but since there is dancing you will want to be able to be relaxed and move easily.

Dress for the occasion in a floor length gown . Often people wear western attire to this event.


Men-What to wear


Again, this is formal but in a more western comfortable way.  Often a tux is worn or if the couple specifies otherwise, you will be informed.




How and When to Wear Kurta and Kurti: The Humble Tunic

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Comfortable. Classic. Convenient.  In India and Pakistan, this item of clothing might be more commonly known as a kurta – for men – or a kurti, for women. Kurtas come in a variety of lengths, colors and fabrics. They generally have a more comfortable fit, meaning looser, but young people often wear their kurtas and kurtis in a body hugging style.  Depending on fabric and the level of embellishment, kurtas are worn for everyday as well as to weddings.

Here is one of our models in a linen kurta:


Many travelers and those in warm climates wear tunics, kurtas or kurtis to stay cool and, in some cases, maintain modesty. In Western fashion, these garments can serve as a short dress for women, and are often fitted around the waist in order to highlight the figure. However, women and men should try any length of tunic-style clothing to see what works best for them.

Stop in store to model some of our styles like this beautiful blue reversible quilted coat in 100% cotton

kurta in store

Modern kurta and kurti, as with Western tunics, have many embellishments and other details to make them more versatile and eye-catching than those worn for everyday. And if you go for one of these neat, pretty garments, you can accessorize as wildly as your imagination permits — tunics pair well with scarves, jewelry, hats and leggings or bright trousers.

Our scarves come in a range of colors and patterns – here are just a few styles from which you can choose:


We are always getting new arrivals, so check back frequently!

Can anyone wear an Indian turban (pagari)?

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On our recent trip to India, we stopped by and visited with pagari workers, pictured here, a collection of completed pagari – or “turban” – sitting behind them. As with many of our products , we go directly to the source, and find it fascinating to learn about how these one-of-a-kind items are created.

India 1

Not familiar with pagaris and when, how and why they are worn? Here are five facts about pagari which may influence – in a positive way! – your desire to purchase one of these beautiful accessories:

1. Starting with the very basics a pagari is a often a long piece of cloth that is wrapped into a turban and is traditionally worn by men, oftentimes at weddings. It consists of a length of cloth, about 5 meters long that is wrapped about a man’s head.

2.These pagari are worn at formal events and weddings.

Below: one of our glamorous mannequins in a pagari in our store on Lexington Avenue in New York.


3. More intricate pagari are worn at Indian weddings by the groom and it completes their wedding outfit. (Wedding season is here, so do let us know if you need pagari for your nuptial celebration.)

4. It’s a common practice that Sikh men wear pagri daily, although the cloth is far less intricate than those worn at Indian weddings. These pagari are usually plain and wrapped and re-wrapped daily.

5. And perhaps most significantly of all, pagari is a symbol of honor.

Design Inspiration From Our Store: Block Printed Cloth

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We were thrilled to watch the practice of block printing cloth in-person, as mentioned in our previous post, and were inspired by the colors, shapes and designs of the material being produced. These eye-catching patterns can be used in just about any room of the house: think bedspreads, a throw on the couch, curtains, a table cloth, or even as a wall hanging.

Each unique pattern can be paired with single-tone furniture such that the patterns are the room’s focal point. For example, these patterns could really brighten up a living room:


The bright patterns lend themselves well to curtains, or even to be displayed on the wall – it means you wouldn’t have to paint, or worry about hanging pictures, dealing with hooks and nail holes in your walls.

This cloth could be used as a an accent to a couch, chair, or even as a tablecloth:


We think that in a smaller, New York City apartment, a piece of this cloth could also cheer up a bed – particularly if the owner lives in a studio apartment, and space (and potential to decorate!) can be limited.

Block printed cloth also presents a vintage look to a space, and has the ability to soften furniture and start space. Adding these patterns and this lightness to any home can promote a relaxed, comfortable and certainly unique vibe. Stop into our store, and let us help you choose the perfect print!

Travels to India: Part I

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We recently went on a trip to India to source and discover new items to bring to our store, spend time in the country, visit suppliers, and browse the unique, vibrant markets. Simply soaking up the culture and vibe in India was a wonderful way to learn more and experience the products we have in store, and to be better informed about where and how items are crafted.

We’ve been looking for new, stunning prints and materials, and had the opportunity to stop and watch some of the block printing process:pagiri

This method of adding color and print to cloth is an an ancient Indian textile tradition. Dye and color is applied to hand-carved wooden blocks, and both the carving of the blocks and application of tint require skill and a steady hand. The intricate process of preparing the fabric, the blocks and the dye and then actually printing the cloth is further outlined in this article via Fibre2Fashion.

We also stopped by to visit some Pagari makers on a sourcing trip. These two were kind enough to pose for a photograph:

India 1

Stay tuned for more updates, new products and news from our trip to India!





Perfect Purses

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New Yorkers and travelers have one huge thing in common: they tend to carry large bags around with them containing just about everything they need for the day. This serves a couple of excellent functions.

1. It means a person learns to travel light, no matter where in the world they are.

2. Non-essential items are eliminated from one’s large bag.

However, whether spending a long day running around the city, or jetting across the world, if you carry a purse, it’s best to have something small and accessible. Why? Money, cards, phone, keys and so on can get lost in the depths of a bigger, heavy bag. And additionally who wants to drag something cumbersome into a large restaurant? It just so happens that at Vintage India NYC, we have some pretty, bright purses that won’t add bulk to one’s baggage, but will contain everything the owner might need:

Something for more practical, nature fans:


A cute, little embellished purse to bring to brunch:


Also available in a glamorous orange



And we have a selection of embroidered, pretty purses for any color preference and style, like this one, in green:


Stop in our store to see our full collection of perfect purses in bright and curious prints:


New Airline For India, New Travel Clothes For You

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It’s about that time of year again – Spring is technically here, but it’s not warm enough to take advantage of the longer days and nights just yet. However, especially on the East Coast, many of us are starting to dream of warmer climates and better temperatures, and planning the next vacation is a tempting way to procrastinate at the office. Even airlines are anticipating wanderlust – or they just have great timing: even Quartz reported today that India will have a new airline soon to add to its roster. The new carrier, Air Kerala will actually be owned by the South Indian state. It is expected to start operations in November 2015.

No matter when or where you plan to travel this summer – or year! – one thing is for certain: everyone wants to be comfortable AND stylish on the plane. So whether traveling to India is a reality or still on the dream list, we have some gorgeous, comfortable looks in which you can arrive at your final destination…with style:

For women, a tunic with or without leggings is a wonderful, light garment in which to fly. Bonus: they’re easy to pack and great for a variety of events and situations, so why not grab more than one?

We’ll start with a super fancy, beautfully-beaded kurta, which could be ideal for a flight to Hollywood or Vegas:


And then pair any kurta – or comfortable top – with a pair of these trousers, to not only look wonderful, but also feel utterly comfortable. (Hint: they’re made of silk, just in case anyone asks):


Another great travel item – a loose, floating shirt. It’s easy to pack, can be dressed up for evening, or down for the day. And we think these bright colors will add some cheer to that long-haul flight:


And for the guys, same wardrobe rules can apply, but why not consider adding a superbly stylish scarf? Planes can get chilly, and this accessory adds the perfect casual comfort vibe to any outfit:


Again some great pants can make an excellent addition to any traveler’s style, either for the journey, or packed up to wear at the final destination. These gorgeous cotton pants from India are a wonderful example:


India Fashion Week: 5 Trends to Wear

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India Fashion Week continues, and Vogue India highlights some noteworthy trends that designers are presenting in their collections. While we’re not delving into couture just yet, many of our vintage pieces from India reflect the visions of these designers. Here are 5 tips to select a one-of-a kind piece and be right on trend with the latest designers from India:

1. Add a Bit of Luxury to Your Wardrobe

According to the article, Suneet Varma’s collection highlighted the “luxurious indulgence of precious finery” and one of our women’s saris can add just that to any wardrobe:


2. Three words: Lace, Embriodery and the Shirtdress

Designer Shon Randhawa must have been channeling our vintage aesthetic, for the two aforementioned embellishments are prevalent in many of our items. We love the embroidery on this vintage shirtdress – and the bright color is perfect for spring:


3. Easy and Breezy

Men, this one’s for you: as summer approaches, clothing should be simplier and just keep you cool, precisely in the manner Nimish Shah communicates with his collection, “a summer holiday package wardrobe.” This look all available in store screams just that:


4. Simple and Sleek

Vogue also notes that newer designers are looking for simple shapes that can be worn by men or women. We have pieces that are certainly unisex, and beautiful for either gender, just like this shirt:dustedroseomshirt

5. Blue, Yellow, Ivory, Flowers.

Manish Malhotra’s collection reflects the new season, and these colors add the right blend of energy and fun to any wardrobe. For instance, this women’s outfit is bold, bright and truly lovely – and right in line with this trend:


India Fashion Inspiration

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It’s Fashion Week in India, and emerging designers and industry veterans alike are filling the catwalk’s with next season’s colors and styles. Notable designers, according to were Alan Alexander Kaleekal, Ankit Carpentar, Kanika Goyal, Manish Bansal, Priyanka Ella Lorena Lama and Salita Nanda. Many of them used pale colors, sheer materials and and simple silhouettes, but one designer took things to another level with Picasso-inspired bright shades and bold patterns.

We think that there’s a great way to mix up the old and the new, and our vintage clothing from India can complement any modern trends. Plus, any piece from our beautiful men and women’s clothing collection will add unique flair to any wardrobe.

This men’s raw silk Kurta is perfect for summer – and keeps with the palette seen at the aforementioned fashion show:


And it can be perfectly paired with these dark olive cargo pants: darkoliveorgcotpantMEN0184

For women, we’ll go with the bolder, Picasso theme: this bright purple dress is perfect for spring, and has an incredible, eye-catching pattern:


Likewise, the sheer material and pastels in this dress speaks to fashion week trends, and can be worn at a posh event, for a nice dinner, or even “just because” on one of those summer days when you just want to feel pretty:


And finally, for men, the bold colors in this hoodie are for those who like their fashions – from India or elsewhere – with a bit of an edge:


Vintage Bracelets and Bangles for Any Outfit

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Ever wondered why Indian women are pictured wearing beautiful sparkling bangles?

According to an article on, it is considered auspicious for a woman to have adornments on her wrists and forearms – particularly women who are married. In fact, in some parts of India, married women must wear bangles, and different shapes, styles and colors have their own significance.

Frequently, brides-to-be are gifted with different kinds of bangles, each with different meanings and different traditions. For instance, in Bengal, the mother-in-law will give her new daughter-in-law an iron and gold bangle when she enters her new home.

These bright and colorful bangles we have instore nod to the traditions:

Bangles also have different names, depending on the region. For instance, they are called Kangan or Chudi in Hindi, Valayal in Tamil, Gaaju in Telugu, Bale in Kannada, according to Sudesh Kumar’s blog on Hindu marriage.

These might not be bangles, necessarily, but we have many bracelets that feature beautiful gemstones:


And they look gorgeous on the wrist:

So go ahead, nod to tradition and buy yourself some new, beautiful bangles – or bracelets! – and treat your wrists to a new look.