I've always been equally enamored with the intricate patterns and vibrant colors of Indian fashion and the sleek, edgy silhouettes reminiscent of classic New York style. Nothing makes me feel more in my element than wearing an ensemble that combines the aesthetic of the two places that most inspired my world views and my personal style: Mumbai x Manhattan.
The Desi Chic series showcases avant-garde ensembles for the modern South Asian woman to highlight her hyphenated identity.
Recently, I was invited to celebrate Diwali at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Brown Girl Magazine. The reception was followed by a private guided tour, led by renowned Curator of the Department of Asian Art, Kurt A. Behrendt, who spoke about the extensive collection of South Asian art and the meaning of Diwali in some of the key pieces at the Met.
While I celebrate Diwali every year, exploring the festival of lights through the lens of art was an experience I will cherish for years to come. What better occasion to whip up a new Indo-western ensemble than celebrating the biggest Hindu festival at one of New York City's most iconic cultural landmarks?
For this particular look, I went with black harem pants and a brocade crop top, styled with a chic blazer.
Harem pants — inspired by the dhoti, traditional Indian pants for men — quickly gained popularity on the western fashion scene for their versatility and comfort. Not only are they a refreshing break from the conventional 'skinny' pant, they're even more comfortable than leggings. I own harem pants in a few different colors, but highly recommend starting with black — there's no doubt they'll become a wardrobe essential. Added bonus: Harem pants are flattering for just about every body type!
I actually bought this ~faux~ brocade crop top from Forever 21 several years ago and rediscovered it in my closet recently. Brocade has been considered a luxury fabric for centuries in the East and was worn by nobility in that region throughout history. Brocade fabric is made up of multi-colored silk threads woven together often with metallic gold threads. The signature feature of brocade is the illusion it creates of having embroidered or embossed fabric on top of the original fabric.
I finished off the look with a black blazer — a New York City staple — to complement the harem pants with the sleek silhouette of the blazer. And tied the whole look together with the perfect array of gold accessories: metallic gold sneakers which have been one of this year's hottest trends, gold chandelier earrings from India and a tiny gold bindi for the perfect blend of East meets West.
Recreate This Look:
Try this beautiful brocade crop top or mix and match the blouse from this stunning two-piece. To all my fellow South Asians, definitely experiment by using an old saree blouse! Get these super comfy harem pants. Top your look off with one of these black blazers. And of course, you can never have too many metallic gold sneakers — these are some of my favorites.
So there you have it! Incorporating Indian accents to your daily ensembles is really just that easy. Restyle some of your wardrobe favorites to create your own Desi Chic look. Make sure to tag me so I can see them too!
Twist: Just buy yourself a brocade blazer ;) P.S. Say hi to my girl, Trisha!
Photos taken by Kamini Ramdeen