Little India Guide: Clothes Shopping
<My comments>This is written by Rachna long time ago. Women love to search for this especially if they are not local or Indian. Should we write it according to location instead of type – high end to affordable? I was thinking maybe make it a walk down from Selegie Road. Selegie Road (High end) – Jinders, Stylemart Selegie Road (Middle range) – India Saree Emporium, Anaarkali & Kucch keep walking down…. Serangoon Road (High end to Middle Range) – Amba Ji, Angkara Serangoon Road (Middle Range) – Little India Arcade Serangoon Road (Budget) – Tekka Centre 2nd level Buffalo Road (Middle Range) – Nalli’s keep walking down… Campbell Lane (Middle Range) – Appollo Sellappas / Colours Boutique keep walking down…. Serangoon Road (Mustafa Centre) Saree Being the most popular Indian clothing for women, any clothing store in Little India is a safe bet. There are two must-sees along Buffalo Road. I grew up hearing about Nalli’s, but even without my second-hand knowledge, I’d know Nalli’s Silks as an international brand. Their saree collection used to be found only in India, but they’ve expanded here with a large and versatile collection of sarees – not just silk, but cotton and chiffon, in a variety of styles, for a range of occasions. Buffalo Road is also home to Jewel Palace, which has both simple sarees and sarees with incredible detailing and embroidery. Jewel Palace looks modest, but don’t let that fool you – in my opinion, the outfits here seem to be the closest to India’s current styles. They also fall within my desired price range and my tastes: they look classy and rich without being overly pricey or heavy-handed. Serangoon Road is home to Haniffa Textiles, which is practically a local institution. Established in 1962, it’s got a good reputation for a reason: it’s been the center of Indian shopping activity for years. Sarees here come in an incredible range of prices, colours, and most importantly, materials – giving you something for every occasion. Their saree blouse pieces are varied, making it easy to find a blouse that matches a saree you own or bring in. Don’t forget to ask around about their prized Japanese saree collection, too. These sarees come in beautiful patterns that are neither Indian nor Western, so they look unique – something I’ve never found in India. These alone would be well worth your time. Walking straight down Serangoon Road in either direction will get you to two other great saree stores. India Saree Emporium lies on Selegie Road, tucked into a little corner between a mall and a hawker centre. Their sarees tend to be much more formal, good for special occasions – wedding sarees, reception sarees, and so on. Walking in the other direction takes you to Mustafa Shopping Centre, which hides a little-known secret – there’s a unique, special line of sarees printed in beautiful Korean and Western designs, a rare find, and a favourite for my aunts who visit from India. Mustafa’s saree collection also has a large variety, but I’d recommend it for its everyday wear – the sarees made of crepe are relatively cheap, and incredibly durable. Salwar Kameez / Churidaar The Tekka Centre seems like it’s just a wet market, but its second floor is full of stalls that have inexpensive but beautiful salwar kameezes, so it’s easy for you to find something that suits you! In fact, many of these stalls also offer tailoring and alteration, in case the clothes you like the most are a little too baggy or tight. Tekka Centre also sells salwars and kameezes separately, at great prices. Kameez tops (also known as kurtas) can be bought at $10-15 and will look great with a pair of jeans – culturally in-tune, but also casual and modern. They also sell $10 salwars, which are simply loose, baggy pants – great for wearing around the home, for sleepwear, or for exercising. You can find other stores that sell tops and loose pants separately – Jothi’s along Campbell Lane also has a nice range at affordable prices, as does Nalli’s on Buffalo Road, and Jewel Palace, also on Buffalo Road. They also have the benefit of having both readymade, tailored clothes, as well as materials that you can buy and send for tailoring yourself. Nalli’s is my personal favourite for this: I bought a churidaar kurta set in India last year without trying it on, and the churidaar ended up being too tight. I brought the top to Nalli’s, and they found me a churidaar that was a perfect replacement, right down to the exact shade of the colour that I needed! A walk down Selegie Road will take you to a range of salwars that are a little more branded: Anarkali & Kuchh sits right next to the Indian Saree Emporium, with bright colours and the latest styles. Further down the road you’ll encounter Amba Ji and Jinder’s, stores that are large and packed with the latest fashions. The prices of their clothing tend to be a little higher, but all of it is well-made and beautiful, making it well worth the money. Designer sarees are a particular specialty here, as well. That said, Jinder’s currently has a pre-festive season sale, with clothes being sold at up to 50% off – a steal for your pre-Diwali shopping! Amba Ji’s clothes collection is beautiful, but it looks to me to be especially useful for putting together fully accessorised outfits: they sell bags, bangles, and other things in a wide range of colours, suitable for whatever salwar kameez you decide to buy. Paavadai / Dhavani / Ghagra Choli / Lehenga The second floor of the Tekka Centre has several small stores that sell lehengas and ghagra cholis, and a quick walk through them should get you something of a lower price but bright and fun to wear. I only have one ghagra choli, myself, and it’s one I bought years ago at Tekka Centre. I wore it so often that the stitching on it should probably have come loose, but it stuck with me for years! Selagie Road’s Amba Ji and Anarkali & Kuchh both have higher range clothing. Anarkali & Kuchh in particular, while it may seem small and is relatively new, has grand clothes in the latest fashion. Paavadais and paavadai dhavanis are harder to find, and may require stitching, especially since they accommodate still-growing children. What I suggest is finding material at a textile store, and getting it stitched at one of the tailoring services we list here! Hanifa on Serangoon, and Nalli on Buffalo, for example, are both full of lovely silk patterns and work on their materials. Both of them are well-established and cater to a strong South Indian clientele, and employees there will be happy to direct you towards materials made specifically for younger girls. Appollo Sellappas along Dunlop Street is something to take note of, too: it may seem to be a department store on first glance, but its second and third floors are packed with materials that can be used for salwars, sarees, and paavadais.