Take out the kamarpeti this Diwali

Yashica Dutt

India, Nov. 10 -- Call it the Instagram effect, but everything vintage is suddenly desirable when it comes to fashion. And even though fashion glossies have been asking you to dig into your grandma's closet for a long time, this season is the time to try harder.

Fish out those exquisite pieces of jewellery that you've previously looked at with nothing but amused scepticism.

"You mean this gold waistbelt that crooked-faced mother-in-laws from Eighties Bollywood wore?"

Yes, that's what you should be wearing, along with other not-so-evil-by-association antiques, like the hathphool, bajuband and mathapattees. That is, if you don't want to repeat the jhumka-haar look from last Diwali. We've got together a few such pieces and some sound advice from those in the know.


These were supposed to keep your weight in check in a time when there were no measuring tapes, says Khushboo Gupta, jewellery designer at Boombox Designs. Today you can pair kamarpetis with T-shirts and shorts if you keep the rest of the look simple.

For an afternoon event, try this: "Wear a simple cotton kurta with white Pakistani pants and fresh flowers in your hair. Use the chunky gold belt to add definition to the waist," says Anaita Shroff Adajania, fashion director of Vogue India.

Alternatively, you could also get on the body-belt wagon. "Maharajas used to wear body belts that went across both shoulders and had a clasp in the middle.

Try the same with crystal studded chains with a fitted sheath dress," says accessory designer Sasha Grewal.

Shroff suggests you wear one under a black shirt and a flared pant and let it peep out for a sultry effect.


Give the tried and tested anklet a rest and try the thick gold and silver pajebs with dainty trinkets. Since this is a statement piece, don't be afraid to show it off. Wear ankle-length pants, a knee-length skirt or even a fitted churidar for maximum effect. And don't think you need to wear them only with flats or traditional footwear. Add them to your favourite platform shoes instead of the same old crystal heels for a stunning result. "I would love to wear them to a brunch with linen shorts and ballet flats," says Anaita Shroff


Matha Pattis

You might remember Malaika Arora doing the whole maang-tikka thing 20 years back in a music video, launching herself to super-hot, sex symbol status. But that's not what we're talking about. Think a maang tikka with two chains that trail to the back of your earrings. Except that the chains are in thin kundan or small pearls and you could partition your hair to tie them in a bun. Or "pair a maatha patti or the South Indian sagi phool (round, floral design, bridal hair ornament) with a dramatic long skirt and a fishtail braid along with a fitted embroidered top," suggests accessory designer Sasha Grewal of Kaabia & Sasha, who showcased at the last Lakme Fashion Week. You can drip glamour if you listen to Vogue's Anaita Shroff Adajania: "Don't limit traditional pieces to the same context. Combine a maatha pattee with a retro hairstyle and long dresses for oomph."


You've seen them in old wedding videos or in Chanel's Paris Bombay Pre-fall collection last year. Even Manish Arora used a hathphool for his Spring-Summer 2013 collection. So you could either opt for a traditional mommy version as a statement piece with a cotton salwar-kurta or the modified variety.

"Instead of rings for all fingers, we have a single ring for the middle finger with a delicate pearl/gold chain with ghungroos that connects to a single bracelet," says Amrapali CEO Akansha Arora.


Get over your Sex and The City hangover and their boring flower brooches. Think bright, serpent shapes from Felix Bendish or the big old ones like the British soldiers of yore.

"Medals and other military ornamentation are very fashionable right now. Wearing them over a plain Kanjeevaram sari sans any neckpiece and with the right attitude could do wonders," says Sasha Grewal.

Or work this. "The turban ornament - kalgi - can be used as an interesting brooch or as a unique hair ornament. The characteristic paisley shapes studded with colourful stones and pearls make for a perfect Diwali look," says Khushboo Gupta.


Braids are back and if you too are planning to do your hair in a simple braid, a fishtail or even a complicated French plait, you could decorate it with a gold/silver clip (choti) that is attached at the base of the braid and runs along the length, with golden threads hanging from the bottom. "You can add extra gleam to the hair by wearing the hair choti and showing it off upfront in a side braid," says Khushboo Gupta.


We're not talking about the snake-shaped bajuband, the lucky charm of TV vamps, circa the 2000s. Think jadau heirloom pieces that've been posing as statement pieces for quite some time.

And there are more ways of sporting them than you thought. "I saw a man wear a thick gold bajuband over a black three-piece suit and I was pleasantly surprised. I've never seen a man do that," says Anaita Shroff Adajania. Women can create the same contrast by wearing an off-shoulder top, jeans and bajuband for parties during the season, she says. Adds jewellery designer Anuradha Chabbra: "Pair a bajuband on a full-sleeve blouse worn with a rich Kanjeevaram sari sans jewellery."


Traditionally a Muslim headpiece and a few years back Aishwarya's jewel of choice in Kajra Re, a jhoomar works extremely well with the clothing trends of the season. "Shararas and anarkalis are going to be huge this season too and a jhoomar looks extremely elegant with both.

But one has to keep in mind that even if the outfit is slightly ornate, the jhoomar has to be the key piece of the look. Especially if one decides to go to any card parties this season," says jewellery designer Anuradha Chabbra.


The big ol' nose ring for the bride has been reinvented for less heavyweight occasions too, with a small nose ring and a diamante string that connects to the earrings. "When you opt for a nath, keep your makeup minimal and the rest of the outfit plain, to not look tacky," advises Sasha Grewal.

But if you wish to introduce an edge to your look, wear it every day during the festive season. "I have seen people wearing it every day as a strong style statement with whatever they are wearing," says Anaita Shroff Adajania.

From HT Brunch, November 11

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Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.