Monday, 29 December 2014

Brief History of Henna

History shows ‘henna’ or ‘mehndi’ is over 9000 years old and that the art of henna art has been practiced for over 5000 years in South Asia, Africa, and Middle East. Henna has natural cooling properties; therefore, people in the warmer climates used to put henna paste of the palm of their hands and soles of their feet to get an air conditioning affect. Later on making decorative designs with the paste came in to effect.

The poor wore henna as a sort of jewellery in those times as they could not afford the gold and silver to adorn themselves; whereas, the rich wore it for decorative purpose.

Henna has been used for centuries to dye skin, hair, and fingernails but also to dye fabrics like silk, wool, and leather.

Medicinal Properties

Henna is a plant, is considered an herb, and has long been known to have healing properties. In ancient times it has been used to cure headaches, stomach pains, burns (including sunburns) open wounds, as a fever reducer, and to prevent hair loss. It is also a natural sunblock and is still used on animals’ noses to prevent them from getting sunburn.


Henna holds special traditional significances and practices in cultures around South Asia, Africa, and Middle East. A common practice is to decorate the hands of the bride with henna. In South Asian culture, adorning the hands of a bride or a married woman is a sign of prosperity and success but most importantly a sign of her “Suhaag” – of her being married. Also traditionally, it was believed that as long as the henna colour appears on the bride’s hands, she doesn’t have to do house work.

There are many superstitions attached to henna when it comes to a South Asian married woman. And although many people don’t believe these superstitions, there are many that do.

For example, the darker the colour of henna on the bride, the better the marriage; the darker the stain on her feet, the better the mother-in-law will be; and the darker the colour on her hands, the more loving husband she’ll have.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Touch of thread and a Dash of beads

This week at Oriental Costumes, we’re displaying different types of Karahi and how it can be paired with different materials.

There are many different types of karahi in South Asian culture, from simple thread work to zari work to salma work to beadwork to mirror work. Each type and form has its own beauty and each one adds a unique touch to an outfit.

People and designers experiment with different karahi everyday. They mix thread work with beads, crystals, zari, salma, gota, mirror, and many other works to create something stunning and unique. Each outfit is a piece of art and; therefore, should be adorned.

Mixing different karahi looks gorgeous but mixing different materials with karahi also adds an extra punch and distinctness to an outfit.

Here are some of our models displaying different materials with several different karahian.

The artist of this black dress has taken silver and pink thread to do a karahi in a patchwork form. Instead of putting the karahi patches on the front, the sleeves are given definition making them more prominent and the centre of attention in the outfit. However, at the same time the artist has made the four studded rhinestone flowers equally prominent and centre of the attention. This combination of the patchwork karahi and rhinestone flowers brings uniqueness to an outfit instead of clashing with each other.

In this Pink hued dress a combination of beads, rhinestones, and thread is paired with a wide dark pink lace. The front top of the kameez is beautifully adorned in golden row of beads paired with an equally beautiful beaded pattern. The gold compliments the light pink colour of the fabric but as the eyes follow the design towards the bottom, they see this simple but beautiful thread work lace at the bottom.

And in this simple yet picturesque dress several sorts of materials are mixed in with plain thread work. And while one may think that so many different forms of work will be too busy, when done in the right manner, you can’t help but admire the beauty of the outfit. The designer of this dress mixed the plain thread work with gorgeous and sparkly rhinestone buttons. Adding stripes of black and white block print lace creates an illusion of heavy falls in the dress. The net lace added at the bottom finishes off the dress with a soft look.

To see these beautiful pieces visit us at 3180 Ridgeway Drive, Units 39 & 40, Mississauga, ON or visit our website:

Also, check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; and hashtag us using #orientalcostumes to share your creations – be it clothes or home décor.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Lace and it’s Uses

When we think of lace the most common use of it comes to mind. What’s that use you ask? It’s adding the lace to our outfits to make them more beautiful.

Laces come in all sorts of materials, from net to banarasi to zari work to simple pearl strand, and they can be used to adorn all sorts of clothing and crafts.

The most common and usual way of using lace is to put it on the border of your dupatta or the border of your kameez. But a lace can also be used to enhance the beauty of a saree or a lenhga or other party and casual outfits.

Sometimes lace is even used to make the outfit or an article in an outfit a bit longer. For example, if you don’t have enough material to make your kameez to your desired length, all you need to do is add a beautiful wide-make lace at the bottom of your kameez. The lace not only makes your kameez look amazing, it also adds the desired length to it; without having you to worry about looking for the same or similar print or colour for your kameez.

Some other uncommon uses of lace are related to craft around your house. To spice up your sofas and your sitting room, just add some banarasi, net, or zari work lace to your cushions. You will change the look and add accents to your sitting room with just a simple use of lace on your cushions. Some other items lace can be used on are: lampshades, curtains, table covers, place mats, bed sheets, pillow covers, and so much more.

So next time you’re in store looking at laces or are thinking of spicing up your home, don’t think of the common use of lace and think outside the box.

To see our collection of laces visit us at 3180 Ridgeway Drive, Units 39 & 40, Mississauga, ON or visit our website:

Also, check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; and hashtag us using #orientalcostumes to share your creations – be it clothes or home décor.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Your Mayon, Your Way By Oriental Costumes

Mayon is the first event and the start of a traditional South Asian wedding. There are many colours and styles people wear at the Mayon, including the Dulhan – the Bride. But traditionally the colour worn in Mayon is yellow.

This tradition continues but instead of just wearing yellow; bride, her friends, her cousins, people invited mix yellow with other colours, patterns, and embroideries.

In the world of brands and designers, people buy elaborate, intricate, and extravagant suits for the Mayon. So in this world of ornate and rich Mayon outfits try something different and be different.

Instead of buying a lavish outfit designed by someone else, be your own designer, be simple, be unique, and be your own creation at your own or a friend’s or a sister’s or a cousin’s Mayon. Be the person everyone will be at awe with.

Wondering how? Oriental Costumes can help you with that.

Follow these easy steps:

1. Pick a type of clothing you want to wear, as in, do you want to wear a lehnga or a gharara – these two are more traditional outfits for the mayon.

2. Pick the colour of your lehnga or gharara – yellow, green, blue, purple, red, pink, or multicolour.

3. Pick the material of the lehnga/gharara – banarasi material is usually the best for this.

4. Now pick the material and colour for your kameez (top) and dupatta (veil) – preferably in a different colour than the lehnga/gharara.

5. Then select the colour of gota or any other more traditional work to adorn your outfit with it – Gota is more traditional choice.

6. Last but not least get it stitched and tailored to your liking and be the talk of the Mayon party.

Our models are showcasing these beautiful, simple, and elegant creations of Oriental Costumes this week. We provide you with all the materials, ideas, tips, and colours to make your Mayon masterpiece.

To see these beautiful pieces visit us at 3180 Ridgeway Drive, Units 39 & 40, Mississauga, ON or visit our website:

Also, check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; and hashtag us using #orientalcostumes to share your creations – be it clothes or home décor.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Dinner in Style this Holiday Season

“I always put in one controversial item. It makes people talk” by Dorothy Draper.

How about giving your guests something to talk about on your dinner table?

When hosting a party, of course we make delicious food that everyone is going to talk about. Or like Dorothy Draper, some of us put in a controversial dish in the menu that will get people going.

How about giving them something other than food on the dinner table? How about the table, the setting, the place mats, the candleholder, the napkins, and the over all presentation?

As a host we should make the guests feel like they’re having dinner at an expensive restaurant. Beautiful table and food presentation increases one’s appetite and makes the guests enjoy the food, the company, and the atmosphere all that much more.

Set the table with beautiful place mats and a runner; add stunning candle stands with the candles, of course; spice up the table further with soft napkins and exquisite napkin rings; place the food on the table and make it look picturesque. The magic is done; now let the magic unfold on the guests as they praise your table and the food with awe in their eyes and a flavour in their mouths.

Sharing is caring, so once you know this magic, pass on this magic to your family and friends and have them cast a magic spell on you next time you go to have dinner with them.

At Oriental Costumes we hold the secret to this magic. Visit us to see our new Home Décor line. While shopping for clothes for yourself, shop for your home at the same time. Or buy them as gifts. With Holiday Season upon us, these Home Décor items make great gifts and stocking stuffers.

To see these beautiful pieces visit us at 3180 Ridgeway Drive, Units 39 & 40, Mississauga, ON or visit our website:

Also, check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; and hashtag us using #orientalcostumes to share your creations – be it clothes or home décor.