Durga Pujo is right around the corner, and dressing up right for each day can get to be a matter of great confusion. To help me dazzle this Pujo, I asked five beautiful, fashion-forward women, with very different yet unique styles, about their picks for the festive season, and what they think is important when dressing for the occasion. So, here’s a list of their priceless recommendations and tips.
Five Fashion-Forward Kolkata Women Decode Their Looks for Pujo
Dolon Dutta Chowdhury
One of the first beauty bloggers from Kolkata, banking professional Dolon’s blog PoutPretty initially was all about makeup, but over the years, it grew to encompass food, travel, and fashion. I find her style to be a perfect blend of vintage and Bengali classics, with a touch of goth that is oddly appealing. “Pujo is all about going traditional and on those five days, I rarely wear anything other than sarees in natural fabrics," she says. Though she prefers buying sarees from boutiques like Byloom and Rangga, this year, she has also done a bit of online shopping from Instagram sellers like Hastavem and Suta.
Dolon thinks linen (Indian Strings) is once again ruling the roost, and whether plain, printed, or embroidered, these will probably be the most worn during Pujo. "Another saree that has seen a resurgence is the Moirang Phee from Manipur. This woven textile has a specific design called the Moirang Pheejin and is available in both cotton and silk. I have bought myself a silk that I am planning to wear on Ashtami. Ajrakh prints on mul and silk sarees, Begumpuri and Chanderi will also be very popular this Pujo."
Mismatched blouses with sarees and the trend of blouses with embroidered backs doesn’t seem to go anywhere anymore, and for blouses, Kolkata’s blouse queen, Parama, is her choice. "Howrah Bridge (a Kolkata brand making clothes and accessories) also makes some very unique pieces, and I’ve been buying from them for a couple of years now. The trend of quirky sarees and crop tops as blouses worn with pants seem to very popular with the younger crowd who are open to experimenting.”
Amrita is the head of communication strategy and content at Tata Steel and is always seen in elegant drapes. When dressing down, she prefers dresses and stylish flats, with really pretty jewellery. She likes to keep things simple – whether it’s a summer sundress with a short jacket and heels, or a traditional tussar that’s highlighted with tiny asymmetric silver and amethyst drops. “I like to keep my face clean, and only wear kajal and a bindi if I feel like it," she says. "Generally, I prefer a slightly austere or muted style, which works well with my height (she’s 5’8”), and stick to one or two colours. I prefer wearing natural fabrics." However, she says she likes playing with nail paints (she likes dark blue or teal). "It shows off a touch of rebelliousness in my otherwise sober outfit, and is a bit of a conversation starter".
She gets her blouses stitched from Stylist near South City, or buys them from Aranya in Dakshinapan. To accessorise, she likes stones set in silver, or small filigree jewelry. "A considerable chunk of my accessories can be ordered online from Jaypore. Comfortable, good looking shoes are a must, so I often shop from Charles & Keith, Metro, and Inc 5.”
Lawyer by profession and a designer by calling, Parama Ghosh started her clothing brand (Parama) to promote her own quirky style. From blouses to children’s clothes, she fashions fun outfits that resonates with the nostalgia of the days past, and the world of Ray and Rabindranath. It's during Durga Pujo that she can finally show off the stock of clothes that she collects throughout the year. “I generally wear cottons during Pujo. I wear them throughout the day - from 5am in the morning to night-long pandal hopping jaunts, they behave in a way I want them to. Also, because it often rains during Pujo. I love Dhakai Jamdanis (Durga Handlooms) - and in my mind, Vastra Kuttim is the best place for these. Friends often source them from Bangladesh. I generally de-starch them, and they drape like a dream. Balucharis, Begumpuri and Dhonekhali have made strong inroads into my closet, and I am loving Baluchari blouses. Sometimes I also like to customise a traditional Gawrod saree (I often buy these from Khadi Emporium) with block prints and accessories."
Talking about accessories, she loves mixing more than matching and converts a lot of stuff into jewellery. Old wooden combs, masks, block print slabs… the list is endless and most of it is made into neck pieces. "I love silver jewellery, and I source it from Chamba Lama in New Market. It is my go-to place since college, and no other place has been able to replace it.”
Before she was in iDiva, Debiparna was a blogger from Kolkata and a film studies student, enthusiastic about curating cool creations for women. She blogs from Project Curve and her style is rather fun to follow. From round glasses to blue tresses, her style is quite easily adaptable, and she is not afraid of experiments.
“I am slightly obsessed with jumpsuits, rompers and anti-fit dresses (Sheen Studio) at the moment. Fat women are discouraged from wearing these things because it doesn't define the waist and give the illusion of an hourglass figure. But I don't give a damn about catering to mainstream beauty ideals." (Plus-Size Outfits)
She says there's no particular place she prefers shopping at, however, Sarojini market and Janpath in Delhi are some of her go-to places "because you can buy really cool and cheap stuff, especially if you know where to look".
"I also like brands like H&M, Westside, and online stores like Shein and Myntra because they have cool pieces in a variety of sizes. Plus, they aren't too heavy on the pocket. I love dresses with pockets (Perky Pockets) right now, and I am also trying to start on my own saree collection.”
Karishma Siddique Roy
A designer, fashionista, RJ, artist, and music manager, Karishma is known for single-handedly starting interesting new trends that effortlessly blends the orient and the west. She loves fabrics like khesh (Forsarees), and has an entire collection of really minimalistic designs made of the material.
"We all know that what you wear during Pujo is what you have already planned/designed/bought months in advance, because it’s Pujo after all. Since I am #thekheshgirl, so no surprises that I love that fabric, but I also have another favourite in the form of Kala cotton (Love For The Loom), definitely the fabric for me right now, as it’s the purest form of organic Indian cotton, sustainably produced. And it's so comfortable a fabric that you almost forget you’re wearing something, which is a plus when you are pandal-hopping like crazy (which is what I generally do!). Comfy-chic is my style, and for me a midi sheath dress (with pockets) in Kala cotton checks or even gingham, which is so on trend this season is a must. And, I like having flowers in my hair - a burst of white flowers - my favourite white lotuses - because there is life before you wear them, and then, after.”