How to Style Traditional Dresses for Work Wear

A recent conversation with a friend left me quite shocked. She mentioned that she prefers western wear to work rather than wearing traditional dresses as she feels western wear looks more formal.

In my opinion, Indian ethnic wear is so multi-faceted that you can style it to work for any occasion or purpose and it is very easy to power dress with traditional wear. Also, considering the rising temperature everywhere, there is nothing more comfortable than a kurti and palazzo. Also, online shopping has made it is so easy to buy traditional dresses online, you can even buy the latest trends of the ramp. I obviously took up the challenge to prove my friend wrong and so here are some ways to style traditional dresses as work wear.


Kurtis are no longer simple. There are so many options in terms of prints, cuts, hemlines, lengths and more that you can style a kurti with each and every type of bottoms one might have in their closet. Stripes or solid prints instantly give a professional look to your kurti. Just pair up a striped kurti with culottes or cigarette pants and a neat pair of stilettos to be workday ready. Another way to add a formal touch to your kurtis is to opt for a high or mandarin collar. For Fridays, a long a-line kurti with fun prints or bold colors is the way to go.  Wear it as a dress or pair it up with a skirt or flared pants and accessorize with oxidized jewelry.






Palazzos are one of my favorite pieces when it comes to ethnic wear as they not only look effortlessly chic but are so comfortable. For a quick work wear option, take printed palazzos and opt for a pastel-hued shirt to balance it out. You can wear the shirt tucked in to work for a formal chic look.

For casual Fridays, switch the subtle pastel for a pop of color and a georgette shirt and you are good to go. For a more formal look, go for prints like checks and stripes, opt for a high waisted palazzo and pair it with a fitted blouse or a body suit. To take it up a notch, just add a tailored blazer to this look.



Palazzo Friday



Ever imagined you can wear sarees to work? Yes, Sarees are one of the most elegant and comfortable options for work wear and will never go out of style. Wearing handloom sarees for work with modest high neck blouses will instantly give you a sophisticated look. Opt for sturdy fabrics like cotton or linen rather than light fabrics like chanderi or georgette. To accessorize your favorite nine yards, opt for simple jewelry or a classic belt. You can even add a blazer for a more elegant look.




Jackets & Blazers

Who made the rule that formal blazers and jackets can’t be ethnic? Layering instantly adds a touch of poise to any outfit. Whatever your outfit may be, on a salwar and tunic, on a skirt and blouse or on your denim and kurtis; an Indian jacket will only complete your work outfit with loads of elegance and style. A quilted jacket with Jaipur print or thread work can brighten up a boring office look while a long jacket with ikat or batik print with a plain shirt and solid color palazzo is a definitive winner.




With these styles of traditional dresses, you are sure to look your best when you want to change your look from the everyday western look.

Which is your favorite traditional dress for work?

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