It's almost wedding season and for us desi girls that means we need to start designing/buying/planning our outfits NOW! For those that don't know, South Asian outfits usually consist of 3 pieces: the top also known as the blouse or kameez, the bottoms which are one of many pant styles or a long skirt, and a long scarf known as the chunni or dupatta. The style of the top depends on what type of bottoms you're wearing. We can choose to either buy the fabric and get a custom outfit made, or buy it pre-stitched and have it altered. I LOVE my culture and I love the clothes, but one thing I can't stand is the outrageous prices here in the US! I'm not fortunate enough to go back to India ever year and shop, so I have to deal with the crazy expensive prices when I'm in need of a new outfit. Thank goodness my mom is good at bargaining or I would be paying an arm and a leg just for one outfit. Any South Asian wedding will consist of at least 3 events over the course of a week which means at least 3 outfits that are suitable for each event!
There are tons of websites to shop from with affordable clothes one can purchase, but how do we know which sites to trust? I took that risk a few years ago when I ordered an outfit for my cousins wedding reception. Surprisingly, the whole process from the time I ordered it until I tried it on was perfect and my only complaint was that the colors in the outfit were actually darker than what was shown online. Luckily it actually ended up looking better in person than it did online so I didn't mind.
Just a couple of weeks ago I figured the process would be just as easy as I'm preparing to attend at least 3 weddings over the course of the next 6 months. I wasn't as lucky this time. Every outfit I liked was extremely pricey and shipping/altering prices were through the roof! For example, one of the outfits I considered buying was a stunning yellow suit with a patiala salwar and fulkari work. It was at an amazing price, but just before I put my credit card information in I realized I would be charged $40 for stitching and another $30 for shipping from India to the US. That would end up costing more than the suit itself!
I will never understand why it has to be such a struggle for us ladies outside of India to purchase quality attire. I get that there's a demand here and to import the clothes is a hassle and all of that, but it's not fair that the guys can usually just run to the mall to get a dress shirt while us ladies have to plan months in advance to be prepared just in time for any events we may have to attend because we most likely can't be seen wearing the same outfit twice(thanks to Facebook and Instagram everyone can see what we've worn to what party in the past). My opinion is, if I'm going to spend a chunk of my hard earned money to buy, alter and accessorize an outfit, I'll wear it as many damn times as I want!
On a side note, I ended up buying two outfits from a local boutique with reasonable prices. I won't be posting any pictures up until after I wear them to the events they're intended for but I promise you'll see them soon! The boutique is Sindhar boutique in Carteret, NJ! She also does custom designs, has a variety of accessories and even has kids clothes!