Indian Fashion – Meet Sherry Bassi

Indian Fashion – Meet Sherry Bassi

Sherry Bassi, a 23-year-old Sikh Punjabi Canadian born in Hamilton, incorporates her rich Indian heritage into ceremonial events that she attends with family and friends.


Throughout Indian culture, fashion expresses the importance and values of ceremonies. Certain elements of Indian dress express certain beliefs. For instance, colours are viewed with religious connotations.


Blue is associated with Lord Krishna’s blue skin and saffron is the most sacred colour and is donned by Hindu monks. This colour is worn in robes as the monks have renounced worldly pleasures and are now pure.


Saffron also resembles cleansing fire. To Sikhs, saffron is the colour of joy and bliss.


When planning for an upcoming event, Bassi and her family carefully plan their wardrobe to suit each function they are attending. EMERGE Fashion is grateful to Bassi for sharing family photographs and fashion choices for five special events.


The Event: Maiyan “Pre-wedding” ceremony


What to Wear: Traditional Sikh suits, consisting of a salwar kameez.


The salwar kameez is comprised of baggy trousers (salwar or shalwar) and a long shirt or tunic (kameez or quameez). The salwar kameez is also popularly known as the Punjabi suit. These suits are unisex, but the styles differ by gender.


Three women dressed in punjabi suits


“This is from my aunt’s Maiyan ceremony in India. Maiyan is a pre-wedding ceremony which involves rubbing a yellow paste all over the bride and groom. It consists of turmeric powder, flour and mustard oil. All friends and family take turns rubbing it on the bride and groom to make them more beautiful for the big day. My sister and I are wearing traditional Sikh suits, a salwar kameez. It’s an intimate gathering so we kept it simple but traditional with our choices.”


The Event: Jago night, a festive dance which takes place a night or two before a Sikh wedding.


What to Wear: A traditional Sikh suit, a statement phulkari and a paranda braided into the hair.


Woman in traditional Sikh suit


“This is from the Jago night for my aunt. Again, I chose a traditional Sikh suit, paired with a phulkari and a paranda. Phulkari embroidery is a technique that emerged from the Punjab region, making it a statement Punjabi look. A paranda is a traditional hair accessory braided into a woman’s hair. Both of these paired together make it a perfect look for a night out.”


The Event: Birthday party


What to Wear: Out of the traditional, an anarkali dress paired with churidar “leggings”.


Woman in anarkali dress


“This is called an anarkali dress. It’s a long frock-style (the anarkali) and underneath is what’s called a churidar, closely resembling to that of leggings. I wore this to a birthday party for a family friend. These aren’t ‘traditional’ Punjabi dresses; they come more from the Pakistani side of it but we still wear them to our own parties.”


The Event: Mother’s birthday party


What to Wear: Matching lehengas made up of colorful embroidered crop tops, floor-length skirts and a dupatta scarf.


Four women dressed in mixed Indian fashion pieces


“This is from the birthday bash my sisters and I threw for my mom. We decided to all match and wear lehengas. These consist of cropped embroidered tops with long flowing skirts, paired with a dupatta.”


The Event: Sikh Wedding


What to Wear: Tighter fitting churidar pants and bold reds.


In Indian culture, red is often associated with the goddess Durga, the mother of the universe. It is seen as a religious colour that is often worn in wedding celebrations.



“This is from my aunt’s wedding day. For the bridesmaid dresses, we went with churidar bottoms rather than a salwar. In the centre is the bride herself, wearing a traditional red wedding lehenga. In Indian cultures, red is worn on their wedding day to symbolize love, passion, and commitment.”

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