The ultimate guide to styling a fishtail lehenga for all body types

Reserved exclusively for special occasions and capable of making a woman feel like a royal princess, lehengas are rightful traditional staples in every wedding wardrobe.

A glorious twirl moment in a voluminous lehenga is always a fashionable sight worth beholding.

But wait, the allure of lehengas is beyond their flares. This is why fishtail lehengas are the fashion flavour of the season.

Also called mermaid lehengas, fishtail lehengas hug the wearer from the waist to the knees and then flare out dramatically like a fishtail or a mermaid’s tail. The rising craze for fishtail lehengas is evident at fashion weeks as well as celebrity closets.

Janhvi Kapoor walked the ramp for the label KALKI in an embellished fishtail lehenga at the Lakme Fashion Week 2024. The actress is the ultimate poster girl for fish-cut lehengas and often serves as fashion inspiration for modern brides and bridesmaids. Janhvi Kapoor in a fishtail lehenga by KALKI at Lakme Fashion Week 2024. (Photo: KALKI)

Celebrities like Kiara Advani, Kajal Aggarwal, and Alanna Pandey flaunted the fishtail silhouette during their wedding festivities.Kiara rocked a monochrome gownat her Mumbai reception, while Alanna channeled her inner boho girl in a custom-embellished Papa Don’t Preach set for a pre-wedding brunch. Kiara Advani in a fishtail gown at her wedding reception (Photo: Instagram/Kiara Advani)

Kajal’s golden reception lehenga by Falguni Shane Peacock featured a mermaid-cut silhouette. Kajal Aggarwal in a fishtail lehenga from the label Falguni Shane Peacock. (Photo: Instagram/Kajal Aggarwal)

Fishtail fashion: Myths and mistakes

Fishtail lehengas reflect a contemporary flair, making them perfect for fashion-forward divas with a penchant for experimenting.

A common myth around fishtail lehengas is that they look flattering only on particular body types. While many think it is only suitable for people with an hourglass figure, others believe that it can be challenging for those with a round figure or pear-shaped body to rock this stunning silhouette. Fashion experts don’t agree with this at all.

One just needs to keep a few styling tips according to their body type in mind to rock a fishtail lehenga. Janhvi Kapoor in an emerald green fishtail lehenga by Manish Malhotra. (Photo: Instagram/Janhvi Kapoor)

“With strategic tailoring and accessorizing, it is possible to tailor the look to suit various body shapes and achieve a flattering, elegant silhouette,” says fashion designer Ridhi Mehra.

The Delhi-based designer who is known for her eponymous label’s contemporary take on ethnic fashion suggests avoiding three key mistakes while styling a fishtail lehenga: ill-fitting, overly tight hem, and neglecting balance.

The right fitting is the ultimate essence of fishtail silhouettes. The skirt should fit snugly around the hips and thighs without being too tight or too loose. Even the hem of the fishtail lehenga should not be extra tight to allow movement as well as visual dramatic appeal.

Balance is another key when it comes to fishtail lehengas. “Avoid overly voluminous tops or heavy layers that can overwhelm the sleekness of the fishtail bottom,” says Ridhi.

Styling guide for all body types

In an exclusive conversation with India Today, the director and co-founder of fashion label KALKI Nishit Gupta shared fishtail lehenga styling tips for all body types:

Pear shape

Pear-shaped beauties will find a fishtail lehenga with a slimmer flow at the bottom balances out their wider hips.

  • Choose an A-line or flared top for your choli to draw the eye upwards towards your shoulders and bust
  • Keep embellishments away from the hip area to avoid drawing extra attention there

Round body type

For those with a round body type, a fishtail lehenga is still a great choice. Fishtail lehengas with vertical or diagonal patterns create an illusion of a longer, leaner silhouette (Photo: Instagram/Manish Malhotra World)

  • Look for a fishtail lehenga with vertical or diagonal patterns to create an illusion of a longer, leaner silhouette
  • V-neck or scoop necklines on your choli will elongate your torso
  • Avoid overly tight tops that cling to your curves

Rectangle body type

Rectangle shapes can rock the fishtail lehenga too. To create a curvier look, opt for a fishtail with added volume or layers at the bottom (Photo: Instagram/Sara Ali Khan)

  • To create a curvier look, opt for a fishtail with added volume or layers at the bottom
  • Choose a choli with embellishments or details on the bodice to add definition to your upper body
  • Shapeless tops that don’t define your waist are best left on the rack

Slim figure

Slim figures have the most freedom when it comes to fishtail lehengas. Alanna Panday in a fishtail lehenga by KALKI. (Photo: Instagram/ Alanna Panday)

  • Experiment with bold prints, textures, or embellishments to add personality and create the illusion of more volume

Overall things to keep in mind while finalising a fishtail lehenga:

  • It should fit you well
  • Avoid clashing fabrics. Choose complementary textures and materials
  • Don’t go overboard with accessories; let the lehenga be the star of the show

How to make it look more stylish?

You can elevate the oomph factor of your fishtail lehengas with voguish additions like side-slits and floor-sweeping trains. Bhumi Pednekar and Nora Fatehi in stylish fishtail skirts. Yogen Shah (left) and Instagram/Manish Malhotra World (right)

Are fishtail lehengas timeless or just a trend?

Though fish-cut lehengas appear to have risen in popularity in recent years, fashion insiders say it is more than a passing trend. It was a huge hit in the 90s and before and continues to be relevant today.

“The fishtail silhouette has endured in fashion for decades, making it a timeless classic rather than a passing trend. Its elegant and feminine shape has remained popular in various cultures and occasions, from weddings to formal events. While fashion trends evolve over time, the fishtail silhouette has proven its staying power, suggesting that it will continue to be a staple in many wardrobes for years to come,” says Ridhi Mehra.

So, what’s stopping you from adding a fishtail lehenga to your wardrobe?

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