How to pair a belt with ethnic wear

It’s the season of the belt and actresses seem to be pairing it with just about everything. But while Western outfits and belts seem to be the obvious choice, a few tried to pair it with Indian ensembles and failed miserably.

Kalki Koechlin wore a half-sari with a belt at a recent awards function and she failed to impress, while Adah Sharma wore one with an Indian lehenga and it looked out of place.

We speak to designers about the dos and don’ts of wearing a belt with an Indian outfit.

The first thing that designer and stylist Rick Roy says is not to overdo it. “I remember Dipannita Sharma wearing a sari with a belt and she looked really good. Kalki’s was a good try but it didn’t match well. Mixing Indian wear with a belt can be slightly tricky as it can end up being a very confusing ensemble. Always remember to keep a balance. It can’t be that two completely contrasting outfits are put together,” says Rick.

Kalki Koechlin’s combo of a belt with a half-sari didn’t hit the bulls eye

And it all depends on your body shape, says Rick, adding, “You cannot be out of shape and wear a belt with a sari. When you wear a sari, which looks good on all body types, it camouflages all the wrongs. But if you have a bulging stomach and wear a belt, you end up bringing more attention to it.”

Designer Nachiket Barve, too, points out that you need to have a waist to show off if you plan to wear a belt. He adds, “Pairing belts with Indian wear is not an alien concept. Even if you look into our traditional attires, you have the kamarbandh, which is a piece of jewellery that acts like a belt. Sometimes when you try to mix and match, the belt ends up looking like an after- thought. Let the belt have a function in your ensemble, like if it contains the dupatta.”

Belt is also a generic term and while pairing it with Indian outfits you need to be aware of the different kinds of belts that will go with your outfit. “A studded belt will go well with a rock and chic sari; the idea is to have the look of the belt and sari on the same line. A pearl belt will look good with a chiffon sari. You cannot pair a big belt with a very feminine sari or a dainty belt with a heavy sari. Harmony is important. Also, when you have a shiny belt, let that be the only accessory,” says Nachiket.

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