When I think of India I think of its elaborate and colorful clothing. I see women in their beautiful sarees, cholis, and salwar kameezes and men in their sherwanis. Over the past decades the designs, patterns, and even wearing styles of the traditional clothing have changed to keep up with the modern era.
Saree/Sari: Even though the saree has evolved over the past years it still remains the most exquisite single piece of garment for Indian women. The saree is a single piece of cloth, measuring to a length of about 4 to 8 meters and a width of about 120 centimeters, which is draped around the entire body. The “undergarments” of a saree include a blouse that shows the stomach and the petticoat (a underskirt). Most of the fabric is then pleated at the waist and then wound around to make a skirt, with the remaining few yards swept across the upper half of the body, covering the left shoulder. The saree is still the most favored garment worn at most formal occasions or at religious ceremonies, Indian women say it represents their dignity. A saree basically defines a woman. The style of wearing a sari reflects the age, region, religion, status, and occupation of a woman to some extent.
Cholis: A ghaghra is a full flared ankle length skirt and is worn with a choli, a type of blouse that also usually shows the stomach. A choli is incomplete without a odhni, a scarf that ties the entire outfit together.
Salwar Kameez: A lengha is a type of loose trouser/pant that is worn with a salwar kameez, a loose knee-length shirt. This Indian outfit is accompanied by a dupatta, a scarf.
Sherwanis: A sherwani is a long knee-length coat that is buttoned up to the collar. It comes with a man’s versions of a lengha and a dupatta. A sherwani adds to the charm and grace of a man. Indian men spend lavishly when buying sherwani suits for special occasions like weddings.
Kurta: A kurta is a loose knee-length shirt that can be worn with pants, jeans, or legging, depending on the gender. In the olden days it was mostly worn by men, but today woman wear it too. I have seen the style of kurtas brought into American fashion trends this past spring/summer season.