Indian Bangle Shopping – Doing it right for real

2011 Feb 24 - by Preeti
This was originally written in Swedish by my friend, Sabina @ Orientalista, who attended my wedding. An excellent perspective of a foreigner shopping in India. I think she hit it spot on.

bangles galore!!

I have new respect for Indian bangles, bracelets, that is. They are hard rings and Indians often wear many on both wrists. Sure, I have previously bought a few in an attempt to "keep up" but they seem the most poor and stupid looking.

During my first shopping day in Mumbai a few of weeks ago I went into a larger bangles shop but it was not better, I felt mostly lost amongst the sea of color. There were so many colors and varieties that covered the walls from floor to ceiling that even when I asked to look at some bangles, I was still unsure and overwhelmed about what I wanted.

But when I followed a while later with Preeti into another store, I had an epiphany. One should not look at the selection without knowing exactly what you want or better, have a sample cloth to match the bangles. Preeti had her sari and after only a quick look, the guy behind the counter began picking up boxes, cans, and stacks of bangles in different sizes and varieties.

A short while later, he held up a stick with a combination of narrow and broad, simple and decorated bracelets in different colors to match her sari. After a couple of comments from Preeti, he took yet another turn through all the boxes and bundled together a new combination. And so he kept on until she was satisfied.

At the same time I found myself a pair of thick bracelets which was supplemented with simple gold rings. A week later when I bought myself some Indian dresses, I could also bring color samples and get help finding the right bangles. Fourty minutes later at a bangle shop, success! The result was the two second bracelet combinations and two combination contains four different types of bracelets that matched to suit me and my beautiful dresses.

While we were there we also found stylish hair clips and bindis. And you might even match a barrette so perfect for a dress that I even got comments about at the wedding reception. There are a lot of those stores, but you have to let the guys do their jobs of digging in the crates and bottles.

Collection of kamerbands, Indian waistbands, part of the special solah shringar for a bride.

And so it is always a new and unusual an experience to have up-to four men running around and selecting jewelry for me. Unusual but nice.