Aaheli by Monica

Summer time means one thing: wedding season. And with so many events and so many weddings, you don’t want to be caught dead wearing the same outfit three Instagrams ago.

Finding Aaheli was a godsent. In the DC area, there are not a lot of places where you can find a variety of good quality clothes for Indian formal events: we usually end up at the mercy of whatever is available. However, with Aaheli, you know that it is actually curated.


Aaheli was started by Monica Kumar and you can tell that she has good taste and knows how to combine modern trends with ethnic style. Her vast collection encompasses all different types of fabrics, allowing people like me who like to mix and match outfits a great opportunity to customize multiple articles of clothing at once.

My main outfit of concern was a lengha I bought from FabIndia last May and was dying to wear at an upcoming wedding. However, the top was quite plain and I knew that the skirt would be of use if I could find a better top. I went to Aaheli with solely that outfit in mind and left with a lot more!

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Monica Aunty showed me how various lenghas can be styled these days and how you could use sari tops or mix and match with other lenghas in order to contrast. I can get anxious when shopping, but Monica Aunty was never pushy or trying to get me to dress a certain way. She gave me ample options and let me try them as many times, so that I would leave comfortable.


I ended up choosing a pink Banarasi dupatta with a blue border to match my blue lengha and an orange Banarasi crop top to match. I also bought a Banarasi green blouse oversized to wear with jeans or a miniskirt for dinners and other special events. Now you may be asking, “What is Banarasi?” That is the other part of Aaheli that I love! Monica aunty always posts her photos on Facebook with a description of the type of style. Before this wedding season, I had zero idea about the various types of styles sold in India. However, after going to Aaheli and following her Facebook page, I learned more about Banarasi silks. Here is what Monica aunty had to say in her latest blurb about the uniqueness of Banarasi fabrics:

Banarasi prints are made in Varanasi (Banaras), silk and gold-wrapped silk yarn with supplementary weft brocade (zari).  Their special characteristics are Mughal inspired designs such as intricate intertwining floral and foliate motifs, kalga and bel, a string of upright leaves called jhallar at the outer, edge of border is a characteristic of these sarees. Other features are gold work, compact weaving, figures with small details, metallic visual effects, pallus, jal (a net like pattern), and mina work.

In the end, the entire experience was fun, memorable and I know I will be back for my next Indian formal event!


Check out Aaheli by Monica on Facebook here! All opinions are my own.