The Ultimate Lehenga Guide: From Classic Elegance To Contemporary Chic

The lehenga is a quintessential outfit choice for Indian women because of its rich connection to the culture and traditions. The three-piece ensemble goes back to the Indus Valley Civilization when it was first worn. It evolved into the ghagra choli worn by royals in Rajasthan, Gujarat and other parts of northern India. Since then, the popular garment took many shapes and forms and new variations of the classic lehenga are coming up even today. In addition to traditional silhouettes, the guide also lists trendy fusion wear for a contemporary chic look and tips on how to choose the right lehenga. Whether you are looking for a wedding guest-appropriate outfit or want to dazzle at a party, keep reading to find all the lehenga inspiration you need right here.


Classic Traditional Lehenga Styles

  1. Silky Embroidery: The sheen of silk gives the lehenga a premium feel. Add traditional embroidery such as Zari work and beaded embroidery and you’ve got the lehenga that is sure to turn heads. Wear a silk lehenga set with temple jewellery for a truly traditional outfit.
  2. Indian Weaves: Banarasi handloom Brocade and Jacquard are exquisite fabrics made using a traditional method, where designs are created during the weaving process. Lehenga skirts made using these traditional weaves are fit for a regal look because of the metallic details and intricate work.
  3. Southern Roots: While lehengas were made popular in north India historically, the south has adapted the style with its own Kanjeevaram. The lehenga style features the silk fabric in the skirt as well as the blouse.
  4. Velvet: Once exclusively made for royalty because of the complicated making process, velvet today is a winter favourite for traditional occasion wear. Lehenga and choli-style tops with dupatta will keep you warm and toasty while looking stylish.
  5. Tie & Dye: Traditional tie & dye technique Bandhani are used on lightweight chiffon, georgette, and crepe to make gorgeous fabrics with unique designs. The vibrant Bandhani as well as Shibori tie & dye lehengas are traditional styles fit for summer occasions.

Chic Contemporary & Fusion Styles

  1. Multi-layers: Ruffles are a popular contemporary style used to add a whimsical feel to the lehenga skirt, sleeves, as well as dupatta. Tiered lehenga skirts are also trending and a top pick for cocktail events.
  2. Organza Floral Print: Vibrant floral prints on sheer organza are adding a fusion twist to the traditional lehenga silhouette with balloon blouse sleeves and a straight-cut skirt. Hand-painted floral organza skirts are also a trendy choice owing to their flowy look.
  3. Sheer: Opt for net and mesh fabrics for a bold look as they allow your blouse and skirt to be visible while still lending the elegance of dupattas. Skirts made from the fabric also have a bouncy look, making them look youthful and modern.
  4. Ombre: Pick from duo-toned or multi-toned ombre lehenga sets with gotta Patti work for a trendy design that has taken the internet by storm. This look is ideal for those who love fusion wear as it combines a trend with traditional applique techniques.
  5. Colour block: A popular Western trend, especially in co-ord sets, colour blocking has entered the world of ethnic fusion and has become a crowd favourite Colour-blocked lehengas have a striking vibrant visual impact and are perfect if you love bright shades.

 Tips to choose

  1. Body Type: Lehengas can suit all body types and it’s all about picking where the fitted sections will be placed. If you want to highlight your lower half, opt for a straight or fishtail (fitted at the hips and flared at the bottom skirt. If you wish to highlight your top half, go for a super flared lehenga and fitted blouse. To create an hourglass silhouette, add a kamarbandh over your dupatta.
  2. Try On Multiple Options: You may be one of the lucky few who find the right fit in the first go, but it’s always great to experiment. Try on all the different styles and take your time to decide the style that makes you look and feel good.
  3. Fabric: Lighter fabrics such as organza and net will lend a light and airy look that does not add bulk and can be picked for day events. However, velvet, silk, and brocade are ideal for a traditional royal and suitable for important occasions.

  4. Blouse Designs: Ensure that the blouse you pick is comfortable, not only in terms of fit but also for long-term wear. Blouse neck or back designs that you are not fully content with may end up deterring you from wearing the lehenga itself.
  5. Matching Jewellery: Jewellery is often an afterthought while planning outfits. However, if you are planning on wearing heirloom pieces, sentimental hand-me-downs, or your current favourite sets, remember to pick embellishments that will match beforehand.


Experimentation is always fun and you can definitely combine both traditional and contemporary styles if you want. The skirts from traditional lehengas can be worn with satin shirts or pair the blouse with palazzo pants for a fusion wear look. Similarly, your contemporary lehengas can be styled with traditional jewellery sets to dress them up. The dupatta from your lehenga sets can be paired with a solid kurta and trousers for a completely new look.


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