From an Indian Wedding to a Movie Premiere – How to Nail the Bollywood Dress Code

From an Indian Wedding to a Movie Premiere – How to Nail the Bollywood Dress Code

When it comes to entertainment, Hollywood simply cannot compare to Bollywood. Not only is Hindi cinema the world’s largest hub for movie production, the movies themselves are gripping from start to finish and have set off a wave of cultural trends that ripple not just through India, but across the globe.  

Bollywood’s influence on fashion, music, dancing and entertainment can be seen in everything from the catwalks of Paris Fashion Week to the latest TikTok trends. Meanwhile, Bollywood-themed parties, movie premiers and even weddings are still some of the hottest celebrations around.  

If you’re looking for the perfect outfit to wear to a Bollywood-themed event, keep reading for our foolproof guide.  

Bollywood Fashion 

The outfits featured in Bollywood movies truly are something else – as anyone who’s seen Rekha’s Umrao Jaan brocade dress up close will concur. 

While you may not have the seamstresses or budget to replicate such an outfit, when it comes to dressing for a Bollywood-themed event, you can’t go wrong with one of the four essential classic silhouettes.  


Sarees are easily the most ubiquitous of outfits for Indian women and have appeared in Bollywood movies since the dawn of the industry.  

With such a rich array of colours, fabrics and embellishments available, sarees are wonderfully versatile and can be worn in several different ways.  

Lehenga Choli 

Himanshi Khurana made our collective jaws drop by donning an elaborate red and gold Lehenga for a recent photoshoot. This three-piece outfit, consisting of a top, skirt and veil is quintessential Bollywood wedding.  

Rather fascinatingly, lehenga were not traditionally worn by Indian women (except for those in North India) Instead, their modern-day popularity is all thanks to the impact of Bollywood.  


Ideal for colder climates or parties with tempting menus, the Kurta-Churidar is a timelessly elegant outfit consisting of a long shirt and flowing or tight trousers, completed with a veil or dupatta.  

As with all Hindi outfits, the kurta-churidar can be made from a wide range of fabrics and finished with embellishments that are as flamboyant or subtle as the occasion calls for.  

Skirt and Choli 

Sticking with a more simple, elegant silhouette, a Skirt and Choli is another easy way to get that authentic Bollywood look but still feel comfortable enough for all-night festivities. Add variation by switching out the skirt for hareem pants.  

Dressing for the Occasion 

From an Indian Wedding to a Movie Premiere – How to Nail the Bollywood Dress Code

The Indian Wedding 

As far as Bollywood-themed weddings go, the only rules are the ones set by the bride. This is an opportunity to have fun with fashion, so, for the engagement party or reception, you can put your own spin on formal wear. 

A taffeta maxi skirt paired with a more ornamental choli results in a fabulously modern look, for example. Just steer clear of red or pink, since this is the colour Indian brides typically wear.  

If you’re attending the Mehendi or Sangeet you will need to stick with traditional looks, but you really can’t go wrong with a jewel-toned saree or lehenga-choli finished with metallics.  

A Night at the Casino  

Featuring prominently in movies like The Great Gambler and Jannat, in Bollywood, the casino is a luxe venue promising glitz, glamour and high-octane gaming. Although today’s casinos no longer have strict dress codes for entry, nevertheless the industry and the world of fashion have a deeply intertwined relationship.  

Elegance is on the menu when it comes to dressing for the casino: ask yourself what would a Bollywood Audrey Hepburn wear? Less is always more if you want to look like you belong amongst the high-rollers, so drape yourself in a kurta-churidar crafted from luscious dark silk. Complete the look with pearls or diamonds to truly make a statement. 

The Movie Premier 

The red carpet is always the place to be and thankfully, the leading ladies of Bollywood know how to make a style statement. Take inspiration from Aishwarya, Priyanka, Sonam and Deepika; these ladies always know how to steal the limelight.  

Remember that the Bollywood red carpet is bigger, brighter and bolder than Hollywood’s so this is the time to unleash your creative flair. 

While you can certainly stick with a more classic silhouette on the red carpet – just make sure it’s flamboyant – Bollywood A-listers have set a new trend for commissioning gowns from leading contemporary designers.  

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