The traditional lehenga choli remains a staple piece of attire in Indian culture. Yet, there is nothing traditional about the variety of options there are today. Whether you are a bride, or just desire to look festive and authentic on any occasion, there is a style of choli for every season.

Choosing the right fabrics, colors, and accessories will allow you to create various looks and styles with your choli. More importantly, knowing what style to wear at what times will help you remain comfortable regardless of the weather and time of year. 

What is a choli?

A choli is a short-sleeved bodice-like upper garment – essentially a blouse. It is usually cut short to leave the midriff bare and is often worn with a lehenga (skirt), sari (wrap/robe), and dupatta (long scarf). 

Traditionally, the choli is worn by Indian women, mostly brides. The garment requires such intricate stitching that it usually takes about 20 days to complete. If they are hand-stitched or woven, the turnaround is much longer. There are actually communities that devote themselves to the creation of cholis, each assigned to their own specific task as part of the process.

However, more casual cholis are worn at festivals, parties, and holidays all year long. Luckily, the choli is a versatile garment that can be customized to meet any fashion demand.


It all starts with the fabric choice. Traditional cholis were made from cotton, but they can also be made from silk or chiffon, which can also make them more high maintenance. They are not as easily washed as cotton, a more casual choice. 

For occasions in warmer weather, you will want to choose a breathable and light fabric. Cotton is the number one choice for breathability – nothing can beat it. Cotton absorbs moisture, which means you won’t be dripping in sweat. Keeping in mind that any bra you wear under a choli will also cause you to sweat. Consider wearing cotton undergarments as well. Cotton is also lightweight, allowing you to drape on more accessories without adding to the overall weight.

Silk is lightweight and comfortable, but can be deceiving for summer and hot months. Silk is not a breathable fabric – at all. It is an unforgiving fabric if one drop of sweat, water, or perfume should fall on it as it will leave a stain. This is something you want to keep in mind if you are just a guest. Perhaps opt for the less fancy and breathable cotton so as not to cause yourself an embarrassing situation.

For fancy, breathable fabric, choose a choli made mostly from chiffon. It is a cotton fiber, and incredibly soft to touch. There is something flowing and carefree about chiffon and will make a terrific summer choli choice.

Just because cotton and chiffon work best in the summer or warmer months, doesn’t mean they can’t be worn all year long. However, you do want to consider your comfort. 

Georgette fabric is one of the most versatile fabrics used in fashion. It is often used because it is pliable and fluid (similar to chiffon). It is regarded as the best fabric for use in making cholis. 


In addition to the fabric and texture of your choli, you also want to consider seasonal colors. Traditionally, a bridal choli is bright red, and heavily adorned. However, there has been some deviation from this tradition to welcome other colors into the works. 

When choosing a color for your choli, you do want to consider the season. Lighter, brighter colors work well for warmer seasons like spring and summer. Pastels and tie-dye designs are popular, as are combinations of pastels.

Also, consider prints with small flowers or abstract shapes. Keep it light and small for summer months, saving larger prints for cooler months. 

In addition to the traditional red, the color purple is making a mark with modern brides and party-goers. It resembles a royal palette and works well with winter vibes. 

Various hues of blue are an excellent choice for all year round. Choose deeper blues for winter and fall months, and more turquoise or sky blues for spring and summer. This will also work with greens, a versatile earth tone. 

A fiery orange can be a striking and bold color choice. It is also being embraced by wedding designers as it makes such a bold and beautiful statement. It is also a perfect color for fall, especially accented with gold embroidery. 

Metallics, pinks, and golds are also popular choices for seasonal cholis, especially brides. What woman doesn’t want to sparkle on her wedding day?

The classic choli is so versatile, that it can be designed for any season or occasion. Keep in mind fabric and color choices, and the possibilities are endless.