All About Lehenga Cholis – What They Are and How to Maintain Them


There is no doubt that our B-town beauties have given us some major lehenga goals for every occasion. The gorgeous models walking down the ramps with stunning Sabyasachi and Manish Malhotra lehengas have always fascinated many girls. From radiant, rich colours to subtle pastel shades, we are totally in awe of them. Due to their wide variety of designs and elegance, they have been one of the most favoured ethnic clothing.
Be it a wedding or a festive event, we fashion girls always have a lehenga design ready in our minds. But, have you ever wondered about the origin of the lehenga choli?

What is a Lehenga Choli?

Lehenga choli is a classic Indian ethnic outfit that has a skirt, known as a lehenga, and a blouse, known as a choli. It also has a dupatta which is a long piece of cloth that acts as a saree pallu. A Lehenga Choli is a famous outfit among women in India, especially donned at weddings and other traditional occasions.

Understanding the Lehenga Choli: History and Components

The original source of the lehenga can be dated back to age-old times when it consisted of an Antariya, Uttariya, and a Stanaptta. An Antariya was a strip of cloth wrapped around the waistline, passing through the legs, and tucked behind the back. A Uttariya was a veil-like fabric worn over the head or sometimes shoulders. The outfit also comprised a chest band, which was known as Stanapatta. It can be assumed from the descriptions of our scriptures that the Antariya became the lehenga, the Uttariya was altered into the dupatta, and the Stanapatta evolved as the choli.

Lehenga choli was initially introduced to Indian fashion in the royal courts of the Mughals and Rajputs. The Mughal sovereigns were known for their rich lifestyle and their fondness for art, writing, and fashion. They presented several unique styles and creations in garments, including the Lehenga Choli. The outfit was first designed to be worn by females in the royal court, but it grew as a popular women’s outfit for all social classes.

Lehenga choli has also evolved as a mark of regional identity in India. Every part of the country has its unique style of lehenga choli, with exceptional fabrics, designs, and prints. For example, the lehenga choli worn in Rajasthan is known for its bright prints and elaborate mirror work, on the other hand, when worn in South India, lehengas are known for their simplicity and grace.

Over the years, the popularity of the lehenga choli has spread outside India to other parts of the world. It is now a popular attire for Indian weddings and other cultural occasions in many countries.

Styling Your Lehenga Choli: Tips for Every Occasion

From Indian marriages to festival parties, the lehenga choli has graced numerous occasions with its beautiful presence. A lehenga choli has infinite styling possibilities, so it’s no surprise that this outfit never fails to delight fashion lovers across the globe. Whatever the occasion is, here are some super helpful tips to help you style your lehenga choli for a gorgeously put-together look.

  1. Focus on the Dupatta Draping style

How you carry the dupatta of your lehenga choli can dramatically change your lehenga choli look. 

Here are some dupatta draping styles you can try:

The Classic Dupatta Drape: Wear the dupatta over one shoulder and let it fall freely. This classic dupatta style is graceful and looks elegant every time.

Gujarati Style Dupatta Drape: Drape your dupatta across the chest and pin it on the opposite shoulder. This style allows you to flaunt your dupatta’s design and adds a ton of ethnic appeal.

Belted Style Dupatta Drape: Cinch your dupatta at the waist with a chic and matching belt for a stylish, trendy look. This not only holds your dupatta in place but also accentuates your waist.

Veil Style Dupatta Drape: This one is the bride’s favourite. For a royal touch to your lehenga choli outfit, drape the dupatta over your head and let it fall over your shoulders like a veil. 

  1. Accessorizing your Lehenga Choli

As we all know, accessories can make or break your entire lehenga choli look. Focusing on how you accessorise your outfit is crucial and should be given ample consideration.

Here’s how to accessorize your lehenga like a fashion pro:

  • Jewellery: Select jewellery that complements your lehenga. Heavy and detailed necklaces and jhumka earrings work beautifully well with basic cholis, while delicate and dainty jewellery is excellent for heavily embroidered outfits. Don’t forget to adorn your arms with bangles, feet with anklets, and a maang tikka for a complete desi look.
  • Footwear: Comfort and ease of movement is the key, particularly for long events. Go for embellished flats or wedge heels for convenience and style. Heels can add additional height and grace but ensure they are comfy to wear and let you walk around. If you are a sneaker girl, embellished sneakers are a new-age choice of footwear to be worn with lehenga choli.
  • Hair and Makeup: How you style your hair and your makeup is of significant importance. Hair and makeup should complement your outfit. For traditional looks, go for intricate fish braids, messy buns, or loose waves. Makeup should enrich your natural features – try bold lips with muted eyes or go vice versa.
  1. Seasonal Considerations

If you are planning to wear a lehenga to the next event you are attending, do not forget to consider the season of the event before making styling decisions:

For Summer and Spring seasons: Lightweight and soft fabrics like chiffon and georgette in pastel colours are best. Accessorize with minimal jewellery and light makeup to keep it fresh and breezy.

  • For Autumn and Winter seasons: Heavy fabrics like velvet and silk in deeper shades are excellent for the time when days get colder. Layer your outfit with embellished shawls or jackets and opt for darker, bold makeup.
  1. Do not be afraid to Mix and Match

Mixing and matching different components of your lehenga choli can build a special and personalised look that echoes your individual style and preference. Here are some suggestions to help you play around with different combinations and make a lasting impression:

  • A Contemporary Twist to your Lehenga Choli: Pair a classic and traditional lehenga with a crop top or an off-shoulder blouse for a chic and modern twist.
  • Fusion Styles: Wear your lehenga with a shrug, chic jacket or cape for a fashion fusion look that’s both stylish and sophisticated.
  • Reuse and Rework: Be innovative by reusing components of your lehenga choli set. Pair the lehenga with a different top or blouse or wear the choli with a complimentary saree for an entirely new look.

Caring for Your Lehenga Choli: Maintenance Tips

The lehenga choli you wear or just bought for your next event is not just a piece of clothing; it’s a gorgeous attire that often holds sentimental significance in our hearts for a very long time. Whether it’s a bridal lehenga or just an outfit you got for your desi office party, good care is vital to maintain its beauty and ensure it lasts for years. 

Here are some thorough tips for maintaining your lehenga choli:

  1. Properly check for any stains or spots. Handle these instantly to prevent them from setting in. For small stains, use a gentle detergent and clean the affected area with a smooth cloth. Avoid scratching.
  2. Leave your lehenga choli in the air for a few hours to let any sweat or odours go away before storing it.
  3. Always go for dry cleaning, particularly for heavily embroidered or delicate material lehenga cholis. Let the cleaner know about the specific materials.
  4. Scan for any loosely embroidered sequins or beads and secure them with a needle and thread if required.
  5. If ironing is essential, use a low heat setting and put a thin cloth between the iron and the lehenga and choli to guard the fabric.

Storing Your Lehenga Choli: Long-Term Care

Gone are the days of wrapping your lehenga choli in plastic and keeping it away for years. It’s completely wrong and we strongly recommend against it. The right storage of your lehenga choli is fundamental to keeping its shape, colour, and quality intact. Here’s how you can confirm your beloved lehenga choli stays in excellent condition:

  1. Store your lehenga choli in a cool, dry spot to prevent mould and mildew growth. Avoid moist or humid locations at all costs.
  2. Immediate sunlight can fade the fabric. Pick a dark, airy closet or storage space.
  3. Wrap the lehenga choli in a smooth, cotton sheet or muslin fabric. Say goodbye to plastic covers as they can trap moisture and cause mould.
  4. For heavily embroidered lehengas, flat storage is suggested to avoid fabric stretching. Spread it flat in a big box or any available soft cloth storage bag.
  5. If you decide to hang your lehenga choli, use padded hangers to hold the shape. Secure the skirt in a way that it is supported adequately to avoid stretching.
  6. Set acid-free tissues between folds to control creasing and help maintain the shape.
  7. Use natural and chemical-free moth repellents like cedar balls or lavender sachets. Do not put naphthalene balls as they can leave a strong smell or stain.
Aditi Gupta
Aditi Gupta
Hey, I am Aditi. Join me on this journey as I explore the latest trends, delve into timeless classics, and provide valuable insights into the ever-evolving world of fashion.