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What to wear to a literary festival

  • Published at 12:18 pm November 8th, 2017
What to wear to a literary festival
Over the past few years, November has pretty much become the month for cultural festivals in Dhaka. From books, to music, to fashion, the spotlight turns to matters pertaining to heritage and tradition, appealing to refined tastes and elevated ideals. While these events draw huge crowds and try to be as inclusive as is possible; make no mistake, there’s an unspoken dress code. This week, we’re focusing on the DLF, but these looks work for pretty much any of these festivals. Here’s how to blend in with the crowd.

Game face

Forget the beating, the baking, the extreme contouring, and the sparkles. The go-to look for the litfest is down to earth and subtle. If you’re not much of a makeup person to begin with, rejoice, because you can totally go bare-faced and no one will raise an eyebrow. But if you’d rather look good for your snaps, vines and grams, the no-makeup makeup look is another winner, particularly for the daytime events. If you have to emphasise one feature, go for a strong brow, and let everything else stay low key. Whether you plan to be a fresh-faced femme, or give Nature a helping hand with a slick of makeup, make sure you slather on the sunscreen. There are plenty of outdoor attractions, and nothing ages the skin faster than sun exposure.

Bling connection

There’s a place for your fancy ice and dawat er gohona. The lit fest isn’t one of them. This is where you display a little ingenuity. Look for artsy, rustic pieces that express some creativity, like bead jewellery, or blend tradition with modern sensibilities, like brass ornaments.


With so much cultural pride in the air, now is the time to dig up your organic cotton and jute, your vegetable dyes, and your deshi outfits. Bangladesh has a rich tradition for handloom and handwoven textiles, and with debates on post-colonial politics and literature on the menu, rocking a Bangladeshi weave is totally an on-topic fashion statement. Saris are definitely the more popular choice, draped in every combination conceivable, with sleeveless halter blouses going side by side with full-sleeve blouses. Kurtas and fotuas are also a popular choice, and this year, the focus is on silhouette, so feel free to play with bell-sleeves, flutter sleeves and asymmetrical hemlines. If saris and shalwar suits aren’t your thing, you can go for casual fusion wear in earthy tones, and eco-friendly materials, and you’ll look just the part.

Happy feet

All three days of the DLF will packed with amazing panels and sessions that’ll have you running from stage to stage all day, winding through the stalls packed with sizzling reads hot off the press, so you want to be kind to your feet. Jootis and sandals and loafers and slides are definitely recommended, not just to complement your ethnic wear, but to keep your feet comfortable.

Carry em all

With so many fantastic new books on display at the many stalls, you know you’re going to pick up a few, or more than. Because you want to keep your hands free for clapping at the scintillating speeches, when picking a bag, choose a nice roomy tote that can accommodate all your lit purchases, and notebooks to take all those autographs in. Organic materials, a nod to tradition, and carefree, casual chic. If you can hit these three notes, you’re ready to rock it at the DLF. See you there! Photos by Sheikh Suraiya Rehnuma
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