One rule every bride must follow is to only wear naye kapde for her functions. And, that’s perhaps why so many newlywed women end up with the infamous ‘bridal trousseau’ of इक्कीस जोड़े / 21 medium-heavy to extremely-heavy outfits that you will spend a lifetime trying to figure out how to re-wear or repurpose to get your money’s worth.
But, for my roka ceremony, I broke the cardinal rule (haww!) and wore an outfit I had already worn and been photographed in before. A lot of people within the family, and my friends advised me to rethink my decision—after all, they said, you don’t want people to see you in the same dress again, especially on your own roka.
But I loved the yellow lehenga I wore for my sister’s wedding; I couldn’t imagine why it only deserved one outing and had to be left to gather dust in the closet. Also, considering this fit made me feel confident, comfortable, it saved me thousands because I didn’t buy a brand new lehenga, and most importantly, my now fiance thought I looked gorgeous in it the first time—I honestly didn’t see the downside of repeating the outfit.
That said, I did a lot in terms of changing up my look through some clever styling choices, and hair and makeup changes. Here are some tips from my own style diaries that I’d love to share with going to be dulhans on how to reuse some of your outfits—at least for occassions like a roka, haldi, or mehendi even.
1. Change The Accessories
For my sister’s wedding, I wore a kundan jadau choker, which I replaced with some diamond jewellery—a classic and elegant set borrowed from my mother’s tijori. This transformed the look completely as the jadau gave it a more ethnic touch, perfect for the sister-of-the-bride look, while diamond jewellery elevated the look to bride-to-be status, for lack of a better explanation.
2. Styling The Lehenga
With lehengas, there is a small trick that goes a long way. Simply draping the dupatta differently can change the overall look of the outfit. Suggested by my sister, I wore the drape like a saree for my sister’s wedding and in the ulta-pallu style for my own roka. This honestly made it look like two completely different outfits. You could also take it one step further and change just the choli (the top) of your outfit. Want a more dramatic difference? Add a jacket style silhouette or make it a 2-dupattas outfit—one draped, one as a head cover or shawl.
3. Hair And Makeup Can Be Game Changers
I wore my hair as a side bun for my sister’s wedding and wore it down with Baby’s Breath flowers for the roka ceremony. Same for makeup: Soft smoky eyes with neutral lips for one, and metallic eyes for another. This gave me a desi girl look for my sister’s wedding, while for my own roka it looked more glitzy and glamorous.
As a 21st century millennial bride, I think it’s absolutely fine to break a few rules here and there and add in your own traditions and touches. Especially when it comes to this age-old rule of having a new outfit to wear every time. After all, smartly changing your outfits is inexpensive, sustainable, practical, and can be a lot of fun too! So my advice, you do you!