Style Search: An Overseas Wedding in India

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Our latest Style Search comes from full clutch Facebook friend Jessica.  She writes:

“Greetings, FC! Summer wedding season is approaching and I have a challenge for you. I am travelling to India in June for a wedding and sightseeing. It’ll be hot (90-100 degrees) and all my stuff we be packed in a travel backpack. I’ll need a vibrant dress in a forgiving fabric. Help! What kind of dress should a gal choose for a destination wedding? Any tips for looking fabulous in the heat? What makeup and accessories will pack the most punch without filling up my suitcase?”

Jessica, this is a great challenge. How fun is it that we get to search for garments fitting for a wedding involving international travel to India? Indian style is full of beautiful saturated colors, intricate patterns, and bright metallics. These fashion nuances can easily be incorporated into an outfit for a wedding, while still maintaining one’s personal style. There are a few details about the wedding I’m a bit fuzzy on:

  • Is it formal or informal?
  • Will it be outdoor or indoor?
  • Is this a traditional Indian wedding, or a stylistically western wedding happening in India?

I’m going to do my best to offer a few suggestions on dresses that will be comfortable, cool, and won’t necessarily need an iron if one is not available. First we’ll focus on three dressier options, then look at some dresses that can work casually as well. You’ll notice most of the dresses I’ve chosen are sleeveless for sake of the temps you will be in, but it is traditional in India for women to dress very modestly and be fairly covered up. You might want to consider a camisole under a dress that dips low, and perhaps purchasing a pashmina wrap upon arrival to have on hand just in case you feel the need to cover yourself at points.


Leaning Dressier

Travelsmith Dresses

Travel Smith Crossover V-Neck Maxi – $94 ($129), Beaded Ikat Dress – $79 ($89), Medallion Print Maxi – $89 ($129)

All three of these pretty dresses are offered by the travel clothing and accessory website All dresses on this site are travel ready, and through June 5th are up to 35% off. Shipping works on a tiered basis. I’ve showcased three of my favorites in the picture above. At left we have a really vibrant v-neck maxi that would look gorgeous at an up-scale warm weather wedding. The only problem I foresee is the light color of the background, but as long as you wrap it in a plastic bag in your travel pack, it should arrive in India in top condition.

The next dress is a boldly colored ikat print dress with lots of beading at the neckline, eliminating the need for any jewelry around your neck. This one has sleeves, so if the wedding is outdoors you may want to skip it, unless you want sun protection for your shoulders. The fit is straight and loose, so you might be able to catch a breeze from time to time. Poly & spandex.

At right is a lovely, form fitting maxi with an eye-catching medallion pattern on the skirt. This is a great cut for accentuating the thinnest part of your torso, and this one could be dressed down if needed. The vibrancy of the skirt eliminates the need for too much jewelry, but if you’re planning to pack some, a bib necklace like the one in the picture would look just lovely. Try your local jcp for clearance costume jewelry that you need not worry about traveling with. If you accidentally leave it in India, you’ll only be out 10 bucks or so.

More Casual

India wedding dresses 1

Chico’s Emma Maxi Dress – $109, Athleta Maya Maxi Dress – $118, Athleta Jura Dress – $89

I’ve suggested a couple maxi dresses for sun protection (and cultural norm), just in case this shin dig is outdoors. The first dress on the left, from Chico’s, is a 95% acetate, 5% spandex blend. All synthetic, but that’s required for a wrinkle free effect. The darker color in the dress is a deep, chocolate brown. That’s a perfect color to pair blue stone jewelry with. Try a turquoise station necklace. The fit seems to be pretty flattering on this dress, and all reviews on the Chico’s site are good.

The next dress shown is from Athleta. There’s a love/hate relationship going on in the comments section, but there’s much more lovers than haters of this pretty maxi. It sounds like fit can be a bit wonky, like it runs long, but if you’re willing to have it altered, it might be a perfect dress for an Indian wedding. It’s offered in beautiful colors, and is fairly modest. And it offers that leg coverage for sun protection. You can easily make this dress “dressy” with the right sandals and jewelry. And best of all, you can dress it down and wear it throughout your trip! Just consider a camisole for modesty’s sake, unless the neckline hits you higher.

At right we have the Jura dress, another offering from Athleta. Athleta is a great site to search for dresses made specifically with travel friendly materials. This dress actually contains some cotton, so might breath better than the other two, but will likely be prone to wrinkle more. Regardless, it’s a good dress that like the maxi from Athleta, can be dressed up or down. If you have an Athleta store close by, you might want to head in store to try this one one. Reviews are mixed. Comes in three pretty colors in the print, and several solid options as well.

Sephora Desert Sun PaletteNow let’s talk makeup. I’d definitely recommend a tinted moisturizer or BB Cream with a high SPF. Sephora sells a travel size of my favorite BB Cream for $10. I’d also go with a tinted chapstick, so you don’t have to worry about messing with a liquid gloss. Sephora’s Desert Sun Eyeshadow & Blush Palette offers a nice array of colors in a little package. If you don’t want to worry about a shadow palette, just take a couple eyeliners, perhaps a black and a color, that will smudge. Then you can smudge upwards and get a bit of a shadow look on your eyes. I personally would also take mascara and a brow pencil, but you know what your usual beauty routine consists of. It’s all about trying to simplify it down a bit. Sephora and are good places for travel size cosmetics. A tip for the heat, make sure your mascara is waterproof, and if you have the tendency to rub your face a lot, carry some of those cosmetics with you in a purse to the wedding for touch-ups. If you have longer hair that’s wavy or curly, carry a hair band at all times, just in case your hair and the humidity have words.

And lastly accessories. This includes shoes in my book. The easiest dress shoes to pack are going to be flat sandals. Hopefully you can find a sandal that is dressy enough for the wedding, but not so dressy that you can’t wear it around the rest of your trip. Metallic material, or studs or rhinestones, will add some shine but can still be worn casually. Keep jewelry to a minimum. Wear your comfortable, everyday baubles on the plain ride over, and pack a pair of fun chandelier earrings and a longer metal or beaded necklace you can double up to create different looks. Also, don’t forget about shopping over there! You might find some incredible jewelry, wraps, scarves, even shoes, that you want to bring back with you. If you think that will be the case, don’t even worry about bringing jewelry, unless you know you won’t have time to shop before the wedding, or the area you are traveling to doesn’t have a large marketplace.

Jessica, I hope these suggestions help you pack successfully for your trip.  Have an incredible time, and if you think about it, please post a picture or two from your travels on our Facebook page when you get the chance!

Have any suggestions to help Jessica out?  Leave them in the comments… 

3 Responses to “Style Search: An Overseas Wedding in India”
  1. Wow, thank you so much for all of this great advice! I can answer some of your questions. First, this is a traditional Hindu wedding taking place in South India. Second, the dress is actually for the reception. For the wedding itself (on another night) I will be wearing a sari chosen by the groom’s mother. Other than that, I know that 3000 people are invited (!!!) so I assume it will be inside and outside, perhaps under a tent. Or many tents. I have no idea how formal it is, but I am hoping to contact a female Indian guest to get some more info (we are friends with the groom, who lives here in the US).

    You are very correct about dressing modestly! The first dress I picked I had the groom email to the bride for approval and she said no (it showed my knees and showed too much of my neckline). The groom says that I “get a pass” because I am a foreigner, but I certainly don’t want to draw any negative attention and distract from the celebration. I think the long dresses look great and I can add coverage as needed with a camisole or scarf.

    As for accessories, I have flat sandals and strappy low heels both in metallics that should fit in my bag. Good call on the jewelry! I’ll bring a few items but I definitely want to shop there as well.

    And for makeup, waterproof (or sweatproof) will be my codewords. It will be summer and the start of Monsoon, so I want everything to stay put! Also, I just received a bonus Birchbox full of Nuance by Salma Hayek goodies, including the Lights, Camera, Action eye trio. It looks super travel friendly and I will give it a test run before I go.

    Thanks again and I will make certain to share some photos!

    • Sarah says:

      3,000?!? Whoa nelly! What an incredible experience to be able to take part in. Looking forward to the pics! :)

  2. Amy says:

    I’d say since it is in India don’t wear anything that shows too much leg. We don’t wear short things there legs are usually covered up!