7 Gorgeous Cultural Dresses Of South Asia

7 Gorgeous Cultural Dresses Of South Asia

Who needs cocktail dresses and mermaid gowns when you can have lehengas and saris?
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Fashion in South Asia has evolved over the years, becoming more westernized in many ways. However, no matter what our ethnic dresses and their beauty will always remain significant and prevalent for years to come. Most of these dresses originated from North India (since they are what I am most familiar with) but there are other beautiful dresses native to South India, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, and more. Fabrics such as silk, cotton, and many other native cloths are extremely popular. So let's have a look at some of the most beautiful dresses in the Indian subcontinent!

Gharara


Ghararas consist of a mid-length shirt, a dupatta (veil), and wide legged pants which are ruched at or right below the knee so that they have a noticeable flare. The gharara originated in the Awadh region of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and during the era of the Nawabs it was everyday wear for Muslim women. I have always loved the way ghararas look because of their dignified and beautiful appearance, but for some reason I have always had such a hard time walking in them...I constantly trip. Practice makes perfect, I suppose!



Lehenga Choli/Ghagra Choli

Lehenga Choli:







Ghagra Choli:

There are a varying opinions about the lehenga choli and the ghagra choli in the sense that many will tell you that they are the same thing except with different names, the ghagra choli being the name for a lehenga in the Indian states of Rajasthan and Gujrat. Others, however, assert that there is a subtle difference in between the two, the lehenga being a supposedly modernized version of the ghagra choli. Both dresses consist of a short shirt (choli), a skirt (lehenga), and a dupatta. The ghagra choli is considered to be more flowy and loosely fitted to be more comfortable for everyday wear, especially in villages in Gujrat and Rajasthan. The lehenga, on the other hand, is considered by some to be a contemporary version of it. The skirt of the lehengas are more fitting, worn at the waist to accentuate the shape or figure of the woman. Then again, lehengas have many different styles with regards to the cut of the skirt, such as A-line (where the skirt is very wide and flowy), mermaid cut (where the skirt is flared out at the very bottom), circular cut (which resembles a frock in some ways), straight cut (where the skirt is basically a straight fit), and many many more. So some lehenga styles could be considered a ghagra choli or vice versa. It depends on who you ask. Either way, however, these are truly beautiful and elegant garments. Bridal lehengas often consist of heavy stone and zardosi work, making them extremely elegant. And my favorite types of ghagra choli have to be the ones with the colorful bandhani prints. Lehengas have a unique and majestic beauty to them which I have always found irresistible. After saris, lehengas are for certain my favorite clothes!




Churidar Pajama




Churidars are a type of pant which tighten at the bottom of the ankle forming distinctive ringlets (hence the name churidar, since the ringlets look like bangles). They are usually worn underneath a long or short kurta (tunic) with a dupatta. Despite the tightness around the ankles, churidars are actually very comfortable and flattering. They definitely rank in the top favorites!




Shalwar Kameez





This suit consists of loose trouser-like pants (shalwar) along with a tunic (kameez) which can be either long (to your feet) or short (up to the knees or right above) and a dupatta. It originated mainly in Punjab, Balochistan, Khyper Pakhtunwala, and Afghanistan. Shalwar kameezes are extremely comfortable for everyday wear, especially when the weather is warm. It is light and breezy, which is why I basically live in them! My favorite material for casual shalwar kameezes would have to be lawn and cotton because they are very light and are excellent for hot summers. Shalwar kameezes have always been my number one choice for causal wear, and I can't get enough of them!


Anarkali




The Anarkali has a long top which looks like a frock with pants which are usually churidars. The name is coined from the legend of the well-known courtesan Anarkali, who was involved in a relationship with the Crown Prince Salim. Anarkalis are another favorite for any festive occasion. They have never appealed to me greatly but they have a great elegance to them which reminds us of a very sophisticated era.


Kurta/Kurti



Very well-suited for the modern South Asian, a kurta is simply a an ethnic tunic that can be worn over any type of pant, especially jeans. They are often loose and comfortable and excellent for casual wear. There are different types of kurtas from different regions of the Indian subcontinent. For example, the city of Lucknow (where my mother’s family is from) is known for a particular type of delicate hand embroidery known as chikan embroidery. It is a very sought-after type of cloth, and on kurtis and saris in particular it is very well done. The possibilities for designs on kurtas are endless, many particular to each region. Bandhani print kurtas are native to Gujrat and Rajasthan, while other regions have their own unique prints and designs. For those who want a modern twist to their ethnic wear, a kurta is an absolute must!


Sari









By far my favorite garment, the sari consists of a drape ranging from five to nine yards of cloth in length with a width of two to four feet. There are countless ways of draping it, many of which can vary depending on the region of the Indian subcontinent (or modern-day India) you are in. The most common and mainstream style is called the Nivi style, which originated in the Indian state of Andhera Pradesh. It consists of making a series of pleats and then wrapping it around the front (the pallu). Saris are considered to be the national dress in India, and even in Pakistan to a certain extent since many women who migrated to Pakistan from India during the partition of 1947 were accustomed to wearing saris more than the shalwar kameez, which is considered to be the national dress of Pakistan today. Plus, the younger generation is now taking a renewed interest in saris. Saris are incredibly elegant and graceful, flattering all body-types. And the best part is that they are one size fits all--all that has to fit is the blouse, most of which are interchangeable. Each region in the Indian subcontinent have their own unique types of saris, whether it is for their pattern or their fabric. The Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is known for the chanderi sari, while Rajasthan and Gujrat are known for their Bandhani saris. But I must say that my absolute favorite is the Banarsi sari from the North Indian state of Varanasi. They are known for their stunning embroidery and zari work, along with their rich colors. They are some of the most sought after saris in the Indian subcontinent. In many ways, wearing a sari is a right of passage for most young girls. It is a sign of transition into adulthood and maturity. Wrapping a sari takes a lot of skill, not doubt, but with practice it can be easily done and they are actually quite comfortable. For me saris have always had a special sentimental value.My grandmother wore them everyday and for my mother they are also usually her first choice. Saris have an royally graceful and classic look which has always appealed to me, so when it comes to cultural dresses, the sari will always reign supreme in my book!


Culture is an important thing to maintain, and our different beautiful clothes are an integral part of it, so we must make sure we continue to wear and appreciate them! These are some of my favorite dresses from our lovely Indian subcontinent. Needless to say there are many I didn't touch upon, especially those from other regions because I am unfamiliar with them. Comment below to let me know what your favorites are and about the ones I've missed!


Cover Image Credit: http://www.outlooktraveller.com/trips/in-search-of-the-real-banarasi-sari-1006487

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20 Small Tattoos With Big Meanings

Tattoos with meaning you can't deny.
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It's tough to find perfect tattoos with meaning.

You probably want something permanent on your body to mean something deeply, but how do you choose a tattoo that will still be significant in 5, 10, 15, or 50 years? Over time, tattoos have lost much of their stigma and many people consider them a form of art, but it's still possible to get a tattoo you regret.

So here are 20 tattoos you can't go wrong with. Each tattoo has its own unique meaning, but don't blame me if you still have to deal with questions that everyone with a tattoo is tired of hearing!

SEE RELATED: "Please Stop Asking What My Tattoos Mean"

1. A semi-colon indicates a pause in a sentence but does not end. Sometimes it seems like you may have stopped, but you choose to continue on.


2. "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."


3. Top symbol: unclosed delta symbol which represents open to change. Bottom symbol: strategy.


4. "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."


5. Viking symbol meaning "create your own reality."


6.Greek symbol of Inguz: where there's a will, there's a way.

7. Psalm 18:33 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights."


8. 'Ohm' tattoo that represents 4 different states of consciousness and a world of illusion: waking (jagrat), dreaming (swapna), deep sleep (sushupti), transcendental state (turiya) and world of illusion (maya)


9. Alchemy: symbolizes copper, means love, balance, feminine beauty and artistic creativity.


10. The Greek word “Meraki" means to do something with soul, passion, love and creativity or to put yourself in to whatever you do.


11. Malin (Skövde, Sweden) – you have to face setbacks to be able to go forward.

12. Symbol meaning "thief" from the Hobbit. It was the rune Gandalf etched into Bilbo's door so the dwarves could find his house.


13. “Lux in tenebris" means “light in darkness."

14. Anchor Tattoo: symbolizing strength & stability, something (or someone) who holds you in place, and provides you the strength to hold on no matter how rough things get.

15."Ad Maiora" is translated literally as “Towards greater things." It is a formula of greeting used to wish more success in life, career or love.


16. A glyphs means “explore." It was meant as a reminder for me to never stop exploring.

17. "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam," meaning roughly, "Either I shall find a way, or I will make one."


18. Lotus Flower. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower's first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

19. The zen (or ensō) circle to me represents enlightenment, the universe & the strength we all have inside of us.

20. Two meanings. The moon affirms life. It looks as if it is constantly changing. Can reminds us of the inconsistency of life. It is also symbolizes the continuous circular nature of time and even karma.


SEE ALSO: Sorry That You're Offended, But I Won't Apologize For My Tattoos


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9 Tips, Tricks And Hacks To Make Your Curly Hair Live Its' Best Life

Let your curls thrive!

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Being a curly headed lady I've had my fair shares of trials tribulations when it has come to my hair. I've had countless bad hair days growing up. You think you've had bad hair days? You should see some of my childhood photos. I went through a phase where I tried to brush my curls out because I wasn't allowed to straighten my hair. Clearly, that was a terrible mistake that I regret dearly.

As I've gotten older I've learned to love my curly hair. I seriously wouldn't want it any other way. But it has taken a lot to get to that point. It's taken lots of tips, tricks, and products to make my hair the best that it has ever been. I believe that all girls with curly hair deserve to fall in love with their curls, and I know how it hard it is to find the right remedy that works for your curls.

Over the years I have found out what works best for me and what keeps my curls strong, healthy and bouncy. Some of these tips will work for everyone and some won't. Figure out what works best for you and your lifestyle.

1. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! 

Anyone will tell you that curly hair loses moisture way faster than any other hair type. It is so important to deep condition your hair once or even twice a week. This will give your curls the extra bounce they need and replenish them. My absolute favorite deep-conditioner that I found in high school is the Aussie 3-Minute Moist Miracle. It's $2.97 at Target and will last you a long time. My favorite "luxury" deep-conditioner is DevaCurl's Melt into Moisture which retails for $36. This may sound pricey, but trust me it will last you for months.

2. Invest in some scrunchies 

Not only are they coming back into style, but they are truly the only type of hair ties that don't rip my hair out. Every other type of hair tie I've owned regardless of whether or not it had metal on it has ripped chunks of my hair out. Scrunchies are relatively cheap, cuter than regular elastics and even look a heck of a lot better when worn on your wrist as opposed to a black hair tie.

3. Do not use a towel to dry your hair 

I know, you're probably thinking "Is this girl crazy?" Well I am definitely not. A few years ago when I was really struggling with my hair I came across a blog with millions of tricks. The one that stuck with me was to not use a towel to dry your hair. A regular towel will cause your hair to frizz, while a cotton T-shirt won't rub against your curls the way a towel will. Since I read that article maybe four or five years ago I haven't used a towel on my hair. Sure you get some funny looks when you walk around with a T-shirt on your head in the communal bathroom, but you'll get tons of compliments when your hair is nice and frizzless.

4. Always ask your hairdresser if they have experience in cutting curly hair 

Nothing is worse than having a bad hair cut experience, and I have had plenty. Too many to even count. I have spent many nights crying thinking about how I was going to get out of school the next day following a terrible haircut. Many hairdressers are experienced in cutting curly hair, but do not be afraid to ask them multiple times if they for sure know how to cut your hair. It's much better to be safe than sorry.

5. Do not let anybody convince you to get layers if you do not want them

Everyone with curly hair has been told at one point or another that their hair would look great with a bunch of layers. This may be the case for some people, but it is definitely not the case for everyone. I've had layers multiple times over the years and have come to the conclusion that I hate them. They always give me major "triangle-syndrome" (when the hair takes on a fluffy, boxy pyramid look) and I end up looking like "Hey Arnold!" So if you know that you don't like layers on you do not let another hairdresser convince you that this time will be different. Chances are they won't be!

6. Skip the shampoo

Say buh-bye to shampoo forever! Well not forever, but for a week or two at a time. Like I said earlier, curly hair craves moisture. Most shampoos have sulfates in them that strip the hair of its natural oils that moisturize the hair. People are now starting to say that washing your hair less is the key to healthy hair and it really is! Most people can go a couple days without shampooing their hair, but girls with curls can go about a week or even two! Curly hair usually doesn't get oily so you can really get away without washing your hair. But, I know what you are thinking? Won't my hair be super gross and dirty? No! Instead of shampooing your hair everyday use just conditioner instead. It will still clean your hair and give it a mega moisturizing boost! Then use both shampoo and conditioner when it is time to wash your hair.

7. Read the labels on your products 

When buying hair products most of us just go with what's cheapest or what has the cutest packaging, which I am totally guilty of myself. Unfortunately, it's not that easy for those with curly hair. When buying products me sure to make sure your shampoo and conditioner is sulfate-, paraben- and dye-free. That may seem like a lot to have to look for, but I promise you it is not. A key tip is to look and see if the first ingredient is water. This means that it will be moisturizing and not dry out your hair. Many brands are actually switching to sulfate-free formulas.

Here are a few brands that are cheap and great for your curls:

Love Beauty and Planet

The Pantene Pro-V Gold Series

Maui Moisture

Organix Brand

8. Put conditioner in your hair before you go swimming

My entire life I always wanted mermaid hair and never had it. All my straight and wavy haired friends always did while my hair just got frizzy. This made pool days and beach days very sad for me. Then one day I just decided to put a whole bunch of conditioner in my dry hair before I went swimming. Surprisingly, this was one of smartest things I've ever done. Say goodbye to frizzy hair and hello to hair like Ariel.

9. Embrace it 

This sounds incredibly cheesy, but it is so true. It is much easier said than done but it is life-changing. Loving your hair is just one step towards being a more confident you. These tips won't guarantee you endless great hair days. You will always have some bad ones. But doing some of these will help guide you to the road of amazing curls.

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