Perhaps the most important occasion for an Indian family – besides a wedding – is dinner. You know, that gathering where all your relatives come together, converse in a way that sounds like they’re yelling but that’s just how they talk, force-feed you 22 samosas, get offended when you decline dinner because you thought the samosas were dinner, make you eat more food anyway, then talk/yell some more.

It’s a wonderful chaos and one of the best parts of having a strong family unit. But before you can dive belly-first into the madness, there’s one important question to consider: What do I wear to a family dinner?

This is no easy task for rebels. We live by the motto of staying true to our crazy selves and taking risks with our attire. But do we really want to eat our third plate of dal with a side of mom’s disapproving glare?

The answer to that is no. Those lentils are hard enough to digest, so let’s not make the clothing any more irritable.

I’ve done the hard work for you and tried-and-tested four outfits that will cause only minor judgement from your relatives, but still allow you to infuse some of that rebellious flair that will show them you’re not kidding around. Except when you say you don’t want any more food. Seriously. That’s not a joke. Please. I can’t eat anymore.


What to wear: Those jeans that offer just the right amount of stretch to expand in line with all the food shoved down your mouth. Pair it with a sweet, cutesy top, then eradicate any notions that you’re sweet or cutesy by adding animal print flats.

The rebel factor: Jeans, a blouse, flats… yawn. Sure, you can’t go wrong with that combination, but why be basic when you can add more complexity. To that I say, bring in the army… the army green, obviously. A military-inspired men’s blazer (which I stole from a real-life man!) makes an otherwise foolproof outfit more interesting. Well, I think so anyway, and I never think I’m wrong. The oversized yet structured silhouette adds an unexpected edge to a casual girly look. Plus, you can look even cooler if you half-wear the jacket by putting one arm through a sleeve and letting the other side hang because who really has the time.

What’s the worst they could say:Beti, that looks like a boy’s jacket you are wearing. Do you wear boy’s clothes? Did you get it from a boy? Which boy? Do you talk to boys? What’s his name? Is that who you’re always doing the texting nonsense with on your phone?”


What to wear: So you want to give off an innocent and respectable vibe? Considering my zero years of experience in being innocent or respectable, my best guess is that a midi skirt would be the best way to go.

The rebel factor: An A-line midi skirt is a safe choice, especially for petite girls like me, and the fact that it covers a lot of leg would make your family happy. But that would be too expected. Q: So how do we take it up a notch? A: Easy! Ditch the purse and carry a basket of flowers instead! This trend is going to catch on in no time, I’m sure of it! Is it practical? No. Can it hold your keys and phone? No. But does it look like you just returned from a wonderful afternoon of gardening? Sure, why not! Or you could just contrast the femininity of this outfit with something rocker-ish. I went with studded heels, but you could add some spikes in your flower basket if you want.

What’s the worst they could say: “Wow, that’s so sweet, did you bring those flowers for me?! Oh, you didn’t? Oh, it’s actually your purse for tonight? Oh, that’s a strange thing to do. Never mind then.”


What to wear: These family dinners usually consist of eating everything in front of you. Optional is complaining about the food later. The best way to hide your bloated tummy is to pile on many layers (on your outfit, not plate).

The rebel factor: You know that age-old question – “What do I do with that slutty crop top I used to wear as a dress to the club when I was 15 and thought I was super cool?” Simple! You can sneak it into a family gathering by layering it over a shirt. Add a draped jacket over your shoulders to make you appear high fashion, even though you’ll spend the entire night trying to keep it in place.

What’s the worst they could say: “Why aren’t you actually wearing your jacket? What’s the point of bringing it then? Is it so difficult to slip your arms through the sleeves? Do you want me to help you put it on? I don’t get it.”


What to wear: Anything you want! It’s the fourth family dinner in a week already! I mean, you guys are great and all that but haven’t we seen each other enough?!

The rebel factor: At this point, you’re most likely just getting dressed to live, or living to dress. Or something like that. Wear a belt sideways! It’s weird, but who cares! Put on your craziest fringed heels! Someone might crack a comment about how it looks like there’s hair growing out of your feet, but whatever! You can call your waxing lady to take care of that! Your relatives may look at you funny, but they’ll also be secretly admiring you.

What’s the worst they could say: “This dinner was fun! Let’s do it again tomorrow!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *