Corporate Chic for Diwali


So, the email invite is out, and the boss’s secretary has called to seek your confirmation of attending the party. You inform your spouse to block the date, make arrangements for the kids to be left with your parents or friends, buy a befitting gift for the hostess, and then the million dollar question strikes. The party outfits for both of you ?

You receive another mail from HR, announcing the last working day before Diwali as “Traditional Day”, and maybe a contest to infuse spirit in the Laxmi Pooja and luncheon party.

You need to strike a balance between your corporate and festive avatars. You need to be seen as traditional and fun-loving, keeping up with the bonhomie, but not frivolous or OTT. If you are visiting customers with Diwali gifts, it makes sense to tilt towards the conservative corporate code, with a small traditional touch. Wear your best smile, and an unusual accessory to liven up the look.


  • A saree can never go wrong, be it a classic silk, French lace, half-and-half or a traditional cotton. Ensure that the blouse is decorative, but not too revealing.
  • Churidars are best worn with straight kurtas. Avoid anarkali kurtas and palazzo pants. The Begum Saheba look can be reserved for the evening.
  • Trousers or a long skirt with a traditional top are fine. Go creative with borders, embroidery and embellishments.
  • Jewellery should be traditional, but not dangling. Subtle makeup is recommended, with either the eyes or lips being the focal point. No glitter on the face. A slight sheen with an illuminating moisturizer, crème blusher or a lip gloss is fine.
  • Your back will be on display while performing the Aarti or the Puja. So, take care what people see is within the norms of elegance and corporate codes.
  • Your hands are also on display. Ensure manicured hands with a French polish, red or pastel nails. Reserve the nail art for the evening.
  • Sheer clothing, inflammable fabrics, mile-long dupattas or trailing sari pallus are to be strictly avoided. Tame the loose ends with brooches, pins or decorative knots.
  • Bling should be minimal. Copper, matte gold and silver tones are preferred to glittering golds. Bright colors minus the bling also lends the festive touch.


The makeup can be louder, the hairstyles can be experimental, the garments can be a little more flowy, but by and large, stay within the norms mentioned above. Indian evening gowns, or fusion outfits are acceptable. But skin show should be minimal. All precautions  should be taken to avoid wardrobe malfunctions.

maroon saree long skirt




  • Nothing beats a kurta with a narrow-bottomed pyjama or churidars.
  • Wearing a stole is optional. The color and fabric should be as discreet as possible.
  • A Jodhpuri jacket looks elegant, but avoid the bling.
  • A matte-finish silk shirt with formal trousers is also fine.
  • A colourful khadi jacket worn over trousers and shirt, lends a traditional touch.
  • Paisley prints or polka dots on a shirt or tie will add a traditional touch to Western wear.
  • Dhoti-pants and Pathani salwars are ruled out, unless you are competing in a Fancy Dress competition.
  • A neatly shaved or trimmed beard look is needed. Your face is in focus with the vermilion tikkas. Use the latest craze in face-washes to keep the skin looking fresh.
  • A good deodorant and fragrance is non-negotiable. Be prepared for some bear hugs in effusive greetings.
  • Footwear should be easily removable (loafers or sandals), as you move towards the Pooja area. A neat pair of matching socks, or trimmed toe nails and pedicured feet are essential. Your feet should support you, not let you down.


  • Add velvet suits to the repertoire of evening wear.
  • Brighter colors like maroon and copper are acceptable for the dinner party.
  • Cream or beige bandhgalas with a pocket-watch look classy. A thin gold chain can also be worn around the neck.
  • Wear a cravat with a suit, instead of a neck-tie. Neckties appear to be on the way out, other than officewear.
  • A pocket square will also look good on a Jodhpuri
  • Accessories can play a larger role, but avoid dangling jewellery like bracelets and earrings. A good watch, finger rings, cuff-links and tie-pins are good enough.
  • The options for daywear will also be applicable here.
  • beige jodhpuri
  • bandhgala

khadi jacket

velvet blazer


  • Dress as per your temperament, body shape and personal color. You are expected to look like a merrier version of yourself, not a model or actor.
  • Couples may co-ordinate their outfits.
  • Clubs, hearts or diamonds on outfits can be a theme for a card party.
  • Experiment with patterns, but do not go overboard. It should not take away from the formal theme.
  • Dress for comfort, keeping long hours in view.
  • You may ask the boss’s secretary for details of the venue ( if it is a poolside or lawn party, wooden dance floor etc). It helps in choosing appropriate footwear, to avoid accidents.
  • Dress safe to protect yourself from the firecrackers and strings of oil lamps and candles. Fabrics in fire-proof and spill-proof finishes are available for sarees.
  • An ice massage preceding makeup for women is advisable, keeping the long evening and warmth generated by firecrackers in view. Alcoholic drinks too, suffuse the skin with a warm glow.
  • If the size of your clutch permits, carry a facial mist. It refreshes the skin, and sets the makeup. Powder touch-ups may not be needed. But lips need to be touched up, as and when needed.
  • Alcohol consumption should be kept within limits. Moderation in behaviour adds to your grace, and social quotient. You have to face the same colleagues in a formal setting, later.

Wishing you all a happy and power-packed Diwali !


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