The humble dupatta completes, complements and even accentuates the Indian dress worn with it. It's the veil that delicately hides a shy face; a shelter for the curious eyes who peer from within, a scarf pinned to perfection or draped casually over the head, shoulders and arms (or even one of the three). We sing of its wonders, even as we explain how to wear a dupatta in different styles.
Why wear a Dupatta?
While a bride in 2018 is often thinking and rethinking about the necessity of the different pieces of her bridal attire, the dupatta is right now in a safe territory. It's not just a drape, but also accentuates the emotions and the personality that you wish to portray in your bridal look. You can fling an end over a shoulder with careless abandon, drape it delicately over your head and shoulders or let it snuggly wrap around your waist, gather it around your neck or even let it function as a sheer cape.
The humble dupatta comes in a variety of avatars, depending on its cultural context, fabric, length, embellishment style and even the draping style you choose to don it in. We explore dupatta draping styles with this article. So, read on and take cues on how you can use the humble Dupatta and make any outfit a showstopper one.
How to Wear A Dupatta in Different Styles
When it comes to dupatta draping styles, variety really makes a difference. You can wear a single dupatta or pair it with another. It could be a veil or a head cover. You may drape it over your shoulders, cover your arms or thread it through the crook of your elbows. It also varies with the bridal outfit you have in mind - a lehenga dupatta, a lehenga saree, draping a dupatta on suits, dupatta saree, the dupatta as a fusion garment and even draped as a dress.
Then, there are also distinct cultural styles when you think about how to wear a dupatta in different styles. There's the Bengali knot, the Rajputi Odhani, Khada Dupatta and the dupatta over the Gujarati Chaniya Choli.
Let's explore each step by step and don't forget to take some notes while you're at it.
Single Dupatta styles:
Did you know you can style your Bridal Lehenga with a single dupatta in more than a handful of ways? Here's the long list of various styles you can look at and choose a draping style to step it up a notch.
1. As a veil
Let it drop from your head to cover your eyes. Variations to this note can extend to cover your entire face or recede to a little below your forehead. A subtle peek a boo moment for the bride -to-be.
2. Covering the head
Simple yet elegant - you achieve this style by draping the mid-section of the dupatta over your head. It then flows naturally over your shoulder, either cascading down your back or over your arms.
3. Over the head, attached to wrists
Extend the draped dupatta from your back and pin it on your wrists. There are various variations that you can incorporate such as include attaching it to a single wrist or to both.
4. Over the head, above the chest
Extending from over the head, one end of the dupatta in this style is draped across the chest. This look completely hides the bridal blouse but at the same time looks chic and elegant.
5. Pinned to the back of the head
Pinned a little beyond a fabulous hairstyle or a lavish Mang Tikka, Passa or MathaPattii, this style is perfect for a confident bride, who still embraces her traditions.
6. Covering the head with a front U-shape
Cover the head, then drape the dupatta in a deep U-shape across the front. This style is mostly worn when the choli is comparatively plain. Keep the dupatta heavy and match it up with the lehenga.
7. Worn over the chest (U-shape)
Here, the dupatta is carefully draped over the chest in a loose cowl. It allows you to show off your crowning glory and can be used to hide flab over the stomach.
8. Worn over the shoulder
Simply take the dupatta and wear it over one shoulder.
Let it flow naturally or attach the other end on your arm. Let your tresses flow or pin them expertly into a half-up hairstyle.
You could combine it with the other end serving as a head cover.
You can also try attaching (or tossing) it over both the shoulders and then let it flow down your back.
A reverse version of this (seen above) is also very popular.
Double Dupatta styles:
Two's better than one, at least where expert dupatta drapes are concerned. Here are some common styles:
1. One on the head, one like a saree drape
Cover the head simply with one dupatta, while pleating the other, attaching one end to your wrist, encircling it around yourself and leaving it over your shoulder or spead to your wrist. For a great effect, try this with contrasting dupattas or have the two in the same shade - in contrast to your Bridal Lehenga.
2. One on the head, one on the shoulder
Ideally, the one on the shoulder should match your lehenga, while the other can be of a different colour.
3. One on the head, one covering the front
Again, this one requires you to cover your head. The other dupatta fits your front and flows freely. Both the dupattas can be of the same colour. It’s really chic and classy at the same time.
One on the shoulder, one covering the front
Drape one dupatta on your shoulder and take the other one on your front, typically fitting the neck. Both the dupattas can be of the same colour.
How to Wear A Lehenga Dupatta
Styling a Lehenga Dupatta is often in line with what you would choose to emphasize about your Bridal Lehenga. It could be a specific bridal look you're aiming for, an effect - possibly draping a lehenga dupatta to look slim or one that works well with your wedding theme. You could achieve these effects by using a single dupatta or two (in the styles mentioned above).
You can also opt for a saree-like drape (as discussed above) in either style.
Wearing A Dupatta Over A Saree
Think draping a dupatta over a nine-yard drape is over-doing it? It's actually a popular style, that has very practical roots. Imagine if you had to open your expertly pinned bridal saree pallu during one of the many wedding ceremonies! Even if you had expert help at hand, it could mean an unnecessary hassle or worry, when you would rather concentrate on the here and now.
Wearing a dupatta over a saree is akin to styling double dupattas where one could grace your head, while the saree pallu remains pinned in place.
Dupatta Styles on Suits
Bridal salwar suits or not, styling a dupatta over a suit is an important dressing decision and can help you achieve multiple looks with the same set. You could try a single or double dupatta approach here or opt for the more traditional dupatta draping styles discussed below.
Traditional Dupatta Draping Styles
How to wear a dupatta in different styles is a question that's raised when you want to, or need to, do it in a specific, traditional style. Here are some traditional approaches:
1. Khada Dupatta (Also called the Hyderabadi Khada Dupatta)
The Hyderabadi style Khada Dupatta is an expert style, which can be used with a Lehenga dupatta, a Sharara or Gharara design, a salwar suit or alongside a saree drape (though that does make it a little complex).
2. Rajasthani Rajput Odhani
Wowed by the way Deepika Padukone pinned her heavy dupattas to expert precision as the beautiful queen in 'Padmavat'? The bridal look takes cues from the Rajputi Odhani, which is pleated and pinned to the front like a saree, encircles the back and the chest and is then dropped over the head like a pallu.
3. Gujarati front-draping style
Draped over the front and pinned to cover the chest and belly, this style of wearing a dupatta is often associated with Gujarati drapes - especially those with a lot of Kutch-style mirror work, or even Bandhej. The style goes well with any Chaniya Choli style Bridal Lehenga or for a Dandiya-themed Sangeet.
Modern - Fusion dupatta styles
Willing to experiment? With changes in ethnic dressing styles (yes - the half saree and dupatta dresses are a thing now), even the dupatta has become more versatile. Here are some new ways to do drape your dupatta:
- Bengali Knot Style Dupattas
- Belted Dupattas
- Dupattas as dresses
- Dupattas over gowns and fusion Anarkali
- Dupattas over pants
- Dupattas with dresses
The Dupatta is an integral part of Indian attire. It is a versatile piece of clothing that has the potential to amp up even the most mundane of attires. A little tuck at the back of your head or simply taken as a shawl draped across the shoulders, a Dupatta has the potential to up your fashion game quick and easy. Besides owning a dozen pair off Dupattas also comes in handy after your wedding is over. You can just pair them up with your daily wear suits and up your fashion game quick and easy.
We hope that we've helped you understand how to wear your dupatta in different styles. Of course, you can mix and match these styles any way you want! Experiment with the styles, colours, and your hairdo to find the perfect style for your wedding day. And, don't forget to click some pictures while you're at it. Wedding photographs make one hell of a treasure trove of precious memories.
Got suggestions, or things we can add here? Let us know in the comments below.