India is a country with more than 1.5 billion people. And one of the most ancient cultural country in the world. In India, there are not just many cultures. Also different geography, food, and much more. Traditional clothes of India are also different, in distinct regions of India. It varies for different religions, and for communities.
From the north of India to the south of India, the traditional clothing changes with slight variations and the fabrics used in them. India is rich in different types of weaving, colours, fibres and printing/embroidery crafts on clothing. The most beautiful thing about India is, they associate certain types of colours and designs of the clothes to the occasion.
In this article, we will share the traditional clothes of India which are still worn by a majority of population in rural, and traditional areas of India.
Traditional Clothes Of India – Women
Saree or Sari
It is the most traditional outfit for women in India. A 6 to 9 metres long fabric draped on the lower part of the body. From Kanchipuram Silk to Banarasi silk, indigo cotton, from heavy embroidery to Bandhej. Also, there are several varieties of the sari. And the way it is draped varies from region to region in India.
Saree, which is mostly worn by women who are married, is a common outfit for women all over India. It’s is worn in 3 pieces namely, Sari, petticoat and blouse. Sari is worn over the petticoat, which is like a plain skirt-like bottom. The blouse is worn over the upper part of the body. They can be matching to the saree, or in contrast. Heavy embellishments, like mirror work, Gota Patti etc. are found on blouses to make them more fashionable.
Here are some beautiful images of Saris.
Salwar Kameez or Salwar Suit
This is another traditional clothing of India for women. In fact, this is a very popular clothing among women in India. Firstly, it is easy to wear. Secondly, it is very comfortable. It comprises of 3 pieces, Salwar, Kameez or Kurti and Chunni.
The salwar is the pants, can be loose or tight in shape and style depending on the overall look. Tight Salwar is also called as churidar pants or leggings. Kurti or Salwar is the main top which can vary in length, sleeves and neck pattern as well. It can be casual wear as well as party wear depending on the design and fabric of the Kurti. Chunni is a long scarf or extra thin layer of fabric which is used to drape on the front of the body.
Ghagra-Choli or Lahenga
Ghagra Choli or Lahenga is more traditional in Rajasthan and Gujarat state of India. Rajasthan and Gujarat are extremely hot in summers. These clothes are not only very comfortable but are also easy to wear. Women also wear them performing some folk dances also in these states.
They are available in plain regular wear and also more traditional with embroidery work and heavy details. Comprises of Ghagra which is a funnel-shaped skirt. Choli is a blouse, similar to the saree blouse, except it is usually the same design as ghagra.
Lehenga is fancy version of Ghagra Choli. A lot of Indian women wear Lehenga for their wedding and for ethnic party occasions. Richness of Indian textiles is highlighted by several designers like Sabyasachi, Abhinav Mishra, Tarun Tahiliani. They are famous for making beautiful Indian Bridal wear.
Here are few amazing and different pieces of Ghagra.
Apart from these mentioned above, there are more traditional clothing of India for women. We will cover that below in the region-wise clothing below.
Traditional Clothes of India – Men
Dhoti or Lungi
India is a tropical country with majority of the year being hot. Traditionally, men in India wear loose clothes in north India as well as south India. Dhoti in few metres of cotton fabric wrapped around the waist. It is held in place with a knot. Or with the help of a belt, ornamental and embroidered or a flat and simple one, around the waist.
This is still worn by the majority of men in rural India. Dhoti is extremely comfortable and airy for men. In south India, men wear something similar to it called Lungi. The difference in them is that lungi can be in multiple colours and designs. But dhoti is usually white or off-white in colour. Also, the way they are wrapped in some cases.
Kurta Pyjama for men is what Salwar kameez is for women. A long shirt/t-shirt worn by men. Pyjama is just loose pants mostly in plain colours. Kurta designs and fabric can vary from silk to cotton. From plain to printed, with different types of collars.
This is my favourite type of traditional clothes for men. Because they are easy to wear and looks super chic and traditional. Also, people in India often use this for religious purposes. And as ethnic wear for festivals.
This is a traditional wedding clothes for Indian men. Though it is not restricted just for the groom. Sherwani is like a knee-length blazer made in designer fabrics. Beautiful embellishments and embroidery over the whole piece makes it more ethnic. Usually, it is worn with some Pyjamas or with a dhoti.
Here are some designer Sherwanis.
Bandhgala is a type of coat worn by Indian men. It is mostly worn in winters with formal pants. Usually, made with two words “bandh” which means closed and “gala” means neck. Bandhgala has a collar similar to mandarin colour except it is little elevated near the neck.
Nehru Jacket is without sleeves Bandhgala famous in India. Famously, worn by former Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. A lot of men, wear this jacket over kurta pyjama to complete their ethnic look in winter.
Traditional Clothes of India – Regional
IndianThere are several unique styles which we might have missed out upon. Also, please let us know if you liked this blog. Or if it helped you to understand indian clothing.
You can check our article traditional ethnic clothes from around the world .