Five winter wardrobe wonders

This year, eastern wear is about short, boxy kurtas, preferably with a distinctly ethnic feel

Salima Feerasta November 17, 2014


Winter is coming and it’s time to bring your winter wardrobe out of the mothballs. The ideal seasonal wardrobe is a mix of classic items, clothes carried over from last year and new-season pieces to add a fashionable kick to the whole.

With hemlines and silhouettes that are drastically different from last year, you may need to invest more in your winter wardrobe than you usually would. This year, eastern wear is mainly about short, boxy kurtas, preferably with a distinctly ethnic feel.

Olivia Palermo in suede ankle boots, Waistcoat by FnkAsia

Your winter look will depend on whether you live in tropical Karachi, where winter is a few short weeks of mildly chilly weather, or the distinctly colder north of the country. Northerners have more scope for a winter wardrobe, but Karachiites can achieve a fashionably wintry look too, using lighter fabrics.

As always, the key to chic winter dressing is layering. It allows you to play with texture and silhouette. Belt a shawl over a sleek tunic with gorgeous boots or throw an ethnic waistcoat over a short kameez with a shalwar. Choose versatile sweaters that can be styled with both western and eastern wear. Go for vivid, deep colours – navy blue, fuchsia and dark maroon are particularly popular this year.

So, what should you be looking for to add that edge to your wardrobe this season? Here are a few things that can add a chic twist to your winter look.


Velvet is definitely the fabric du jour. It was part of almost every collection at the PFDC L’Oréal Paris Bridal Week (PLBW), but velvet isn’t just for weddings. Velvet adds a touch of glamour to any evening outfit in winter. Whether you opt for a plain velvet jacket for GTs with friends or an opulent velvet kurta for dholkis, it’s a fabric that you should embrace this season.

Burberry Autumn/Winter 2014 shawl with belt, Velvet kurta by Chinyere

A skinny belt

This is the perfect accessory to belt up those shawls and scarves. Shawls are both essential and chic this season. The trendiest way to wear them is wrapped around your neck or draped in front and belted at your waist.

A good pair of boots

Nothing says winter like a good pair of boots. A knee-high pair adds drama to almost any outfit and keeps your legs nice and warm. The Karachi daytime temperature may be too high for anything more than ankle boots, but take heart because ankle boots are super versatile. You can even wear them with a shalwar if you get the styling right.

A cape or kimono

Capes and kimonos are bang-on trend this season. Think of Burberry’s cape coat and the legions of kimonos in every high-street store in the west. Designer Sara Shahid has included some popping kimonos in Sublime’s winter collection, and Afsheen Junejo at Blocked has some beautiful capes in her winter stock. Pair a flowy cut, such as a cape or kimono, with straight or skinny trousers for an elegant twist on fusion winter wear.

Burberry cape, Pashmina by Nida Azwer

An ethnic waistcoat or jacket

Jackets are popular every winter but the trendiest jackets this season are firmly ethnic. Zara Shahjehan and FnkAsia offer embroidered waistcoats this season. Chinyere has some lovely bright jackets while several designers, including Sana Safinaz, paired saris with embellished jackets for their ramp collections.

Do add some western pieces to the mix. Next, Mango and Debenhams have some gorgeous knits, dresses and jackets this season but you can also find edgy western wear at local outlets. Bonanza is known for its knits but Gul Ahmed and other high-street stores also have great western winter collections. Finally, don’t forget to check out your local markets and bazaars. Sometimes, you can find exceptional pieces in places, such as Zainab Market.

Finally, dig out your finest embroidered chaddars. Shahjahan and Nida Azwer are both stocking embroidered pashminas but if that sort of craftsmanship is beyond your pocket, head to the nearest shawl market. Every shawl seller worth the name has an extensive range of embroidered shawls to suit every budget.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th, 2014.

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shazia | 8 years ago | Reply

I like the above dress, but some of them may not be suitable for very cold weather. Chinyere is a good brand.

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