Dupattas are quintessential for traditional attire. Needless to say, they hold a special allure for both Indians and ethnic fashion lovers, alike. As a matter of fact, you might have even heard of the saying, "You can take Dupatta out of India, but you can never take Dupatta out of Indians".
It might seem a bit exaggerating and incoherent, but upon closer inspection, the quote perfectly outlines our love for Dupattas, and the international accreditation it has. But, why are we(Indians), or India, in general, is tied to this equation? To understand this, we should travel back in time to the very humble beginning of THE style statement that never goes out of style here in India!
History of Dupatta
Starting from the name itself, "Dupatta" - is an amalgamation of two Sanskrit words - "Du" meaning Two or Doubled and "Patta" meaning Piece of Clothing. It is believed that the style is an evolution of ancient uttariya - a shawl, usually worn to drape the top half of the body.
Early evidence of Dupatta dates back to Indus Valley Civilisation(or before), wherein women can be seen flaunting a veil around their shoulders on ancient engravings and sculptures depicting the key events from this civilisation. That being said, it is safe to conclude that the origins of Dupatta are indeed linked to India.
How do Indians perceive it?
Having its roots in the Indian subcontinent, it is obvious for us to consider Dupattas as a part of our own. In orthodox households, they are an integral part of their culture, as women often drape their dupattas in a way it covers their head. This is to hide their faces from everyone but their spouse.
Nowadays, this tradition has become stale but is practised for a different purpose. If you are from places like Delhi, Mumbai or some parts of South India where pollution breeds in air, you will spot women wearing Dupattas as a shield to protect their faces. In addition to that, the majority of the Indian women allow dupattas to fall from their neck or draped around their shoulders to cover their top half of the body - perhaps the most common use.
There is no limit to why we wear dupattas, we have always found a purpose in one way or another. In other words, Dupattas fill the void in our wardrobes and we love them despite surpassing centuries since its inception - it is not a fad!
Crossing borders - Dupattas in Western Culture
Before Dupatta crossed borders to attain international accreditation, it was considered as an afterthought in India. Not that we shied away from diversifying the ways to carry dupattas, but it was the Indo-Western clothing culture that showcased the efficacy of Dupattas and how they subtly uplift an outfit.
This cultural shift took place when the British Asian women saw their mothers carry dupatta over their neck. Although their mothers wore it to symbolise the Indian culture, British Asians perceived it in a different manner. When it was passed to them(the next generation - British Asians) Dupattas saw a modernised upbringing.
Of course, we can debate as to how the "Dupatta as a clothing" trend migrated to the West, but regardless of that, this change was for the good. Dupatta was regarded as a fashion statement and manufacturers strived hard in making them look more colourful and embellished.
The plain colour dupatta was a thing of the past! If you don't have any design on your dupatta, you are basically an outcast in the fashion community(metaphorically). In addition to the aesthetics of the fabric, there was also a shift as to how to wear(or "embrace") dupattas.
This cryptic shift from being a tradition in Indian households to a style statement all around the world, gave a window for fashionistas to experiment. Thanks to their experiments, you can now carry your Dupattas in a plethora of different ways. However, we picked or favourite ones to help you achieve that chic look with dupattas!
1. As a Stole
Perhaps one of the most innovative ways of wearing a dupatta, Stole adds sophistication to your modern outfit. It is very versatile and can be worn with Kurtis, Jeans, or a long skirt - essentially anything you find exuberant in your wardrobe!
Wearing a stole too is easy and wouldn't require much effort. All you have to do is to drape it around your neck and allow it to hang freely, and Voila! - your summer-ready look can not be much easier than this!
2. Dupatta with Jeans and Top
This is a growing trend among the fashion community - matching their favourite dupatta with a Top and Jeans. There is a reason for that. It not only looks elegant with the colourful dupatta adding life to your plain top, but also serves as a unique way to flaunt the fusion look.
In fact, you can even have your favourite traditional dupatta to go with your modern jeans and top. While you are it, go for an embellished dupatta, so that the fusion look is justified!
3. Drape it like saree with Jeans
Now that you are going for that Indo-Western fusion, why not go a step further and drape your dupatta like a saree to truly outline the traditional allure while still flaunting the style statement of the west in the form of Jeans!
The best part is that there are a hundred and one ways, or more, to drape a saree. Hence, it gives you the freedom to explore and find the one that exemplifies your taste in fashion.
4. Side Cowls Style
Who doesn't like Lehenga! Most importantly, who doesn't like wearing a dupatta along with a lehenga! Dupatta doubles the desi look that one carries while wearing a lehenga. But, we are all tired of wearing them the traditional way - single dupatta around the neck. That's why we suggest the Side Cowls Style.
Take your dupatta and have it go across your body like a saree pallu. Then pin both the ends together to form cowls. Ideally, the ends should be pinned to one of your shoulders.
5. Dupatta with a waist belt
When you wear a designer jacket with a long skirt, you need to have something creative to bring out elegance. Having a waist belt to keep your dupatta in place, is something worth trying.
Wear your dupatta on your shoulder and let it extend a tad bit beyond your waist. Then, pull out your sleek belt and belt it with the front part of your dupatta inside.
6. Through one shoulder and Pinning it at the wrist
Even if you wear a less embellished outfit, you can add a royal touch if you style your dupatta in a way it goes through one of your shoulders and is held in place at the wrist.
We would recommend this style for only ethnic outfits as it is perfect for cultural outings and functions, as you don't have to worry about your dupatta falling off while you dance to the rhythm.