What should ethnic women living in western countries wear? Whatever they want to wear of course!!!!

But what I’m trying to get at in this article is, if you want to add some of your ethnic colour and flair into your everyday wear (that rhymes) then this is how you can do it, without going full-on with the ethnic garb. Proper accessorizing is the key to add personality and a unique stamp on your everyday basic outfits.

By now you’ve probably realised, I love lists. So here comes another one.

1.Ethnic jewellery

One way to add a touch of home and some personality to your everyday wear (be it work, casual or party wear) is to add some well-chosen, beautiful accessories with an ethnic flair to it. Be careful not to choose extremely loud and large items if you are wearing them to work, as it doesn’t look professional.

Ethnic earrings, necklaces, rings, nose rings, and even ankle bracelets are an easy and wonderful choice. With the nose ring and ankle bracelet though because it is culture-based (if it is not a part of the culture you come from, it’s still ok to wear them if that is your choice) be aware and respectful of the cultural aspect of these items.

Indian earrings
Traditional Sri Lankan Agasti necklace
Bold, large rings with an ethnic touch
Traditional ankle bracelets

Keeping with our declutter and live with less theme from past posts, I would suggest using what you (or your mom) already have or if you need to make a new purchase then choose good quality pieces that will last you a lifetime. Don’t go for cheap costume jewellery.

2. Shawls

Pair a colourful shawl with an Indian or ethnic print as part of your outfit. Drape it around your shoulders, tie it around your waist or simply wrap it around your neck. Do whatever works with your outfit and is comfortable for you.

A colourfull collection of ethnic print shawls

3. Clothing with an ethnic print

Wearing one item of clothing in your ensemble with a true ethnic print is a lovely way to pay tribute to your culture while also standing out for all the right reasons. Better still if it (the material and the garment) was actually designed and made in the country you represent. In this case, I’ve taken the example of a skirt – pair it with a plain top so as not to overpower with too much color and/or a hodge-podge of patterns.

Top and skirt made of
Sri Lankan traditionally handwoven material

4. Shoes and a clutch purse

Traditional Indian shoes are intricate and colourful and come in various styles and patterns. From experience, I can tell you that they are not ideal for walking around in for too long (the soles are flat and hard, no cushioning) but they are beautiful and unique. So you may have to carefully choose the right occasion to wear them.

A colourful clutch purse with a traditional print is another way to pay homage and add some pizzaz to your outfits.

5. Add some colour

If you are not in the mood for prints but still want to represent 😉 – then adding some colour is the easiest way to go. Colour is a very important element of style and fashion (whether its clothing or home deco) in the subcontinent. Once again add pops of colour through your accessories.

Jewelley made from offcuts of Sri Lankan traditional handwoven material (Beautiful, ethical and sustainable. tick, tick, tick. 🙂 )

6. Wearing a bindi

This one is once again culture-based. The bindi is a traditional personal decoration and holds a lot of meaning, history, and culture to people of the subcontinent – specifically our Hindu brothers and sisters. However, it has made its way into mainstream fashion and is now being worn by lots of women. I’m sure you’ve spotted an A-List celebrity or two wearing them as well (go Hollywood). However, if you choose to sport a bindi, be aware and respectful of cultures.

So there you have it, my easy peasy tips for representing your culture wherever you roam – while adding some uniqueness to your personal style.

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