Indian clothing has been developing for a long time. In fact, the earliest evidence of weaving and dyeing cotton fabrics dates back to the ancient Indus Valley Civilization around 7,000 years ago. Over the years, its people have left clues to Indian customs, culture and fashion through epic legends like the Mahabharata and magnificent rock carvings including the famous Ellora Caves. In fact, clothing is as much a part of Indian history as food and religion (even cricket!).
Since those early days, the subcontinent has produced a great deal of finely woven clothing, with different styles of men’s and women’s clothing everywhere. Apart from gender and geography, what most defines Indian attire is class and caste. The upper classes of society still wear gold ornaments and fine threads like Munin, while the lower classes are forced to be more refined.
Over time, outside influences such as the Silk Road trade, British colonization and Western homogenization reduced the popularity of traditional Indian clothing. Yet the ancient tradition remains strong across the country, and – even today – the bodies of its proud traditional residents can still be seen adorning it.
Clothing for Indian women
Indian women wear simple but colorful clothing, taking great care not to expose their skin too much, no matter how humid the climate.
The most common Indian women’s garment is the classic and colorful saree. In fact, regional variations of the sartorial archetype can be found in every corner of the subcontinent. Although it looks like a skirt, a sari is actually a long piece of fabric – ranging from 13 feet to 30 feet – that wraps tightly around a woman’s body. Most choose to start at the waist and end at the shoulders to expose the midriff, although each area wraps around slightly differently.
Special occasions like weddings call for more delicate pink or red sarees.
2- Mundum Neriyathum
The original ancient form of saris is Mundum Neriyathum, a similar design just to cover the legs. Mundum Neriyathum, still used today, comes from the hot and humid state of Kerala, where women lived without a trace before the arrival of Muslims from the Middle East. Now, of course, light tops are worn over it.
3- Salwaar Kameez
Another famous dress that attracts Indian women is the Salwaar Kameez.
Although it may look like a saree at first glance, the attire is quite different. This is not a wrapping cloth, but a complete costume. This outfit consists of a salwaar (loose pants gathered at the ankle) and a kameez (richly decorated tunic). To complete the look, many women like to add a dupatta or odani, a unique veil that covers the head and shoulders.
Salwaar Kameez is native to northwestern India, particularly Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.
However, nowadays this popular outfit can be seen almost all over the country and is becoming more and more popular with Bollywood movie stars.
Indian clothing for men
Traditional clothing for men in India is often adapted to the climate. Don’t be surprised to see men wearing what appear to be skirts.
Few Indian garments are as ubiquitous as the dhoti. Considered the national dress of India, its practical use soon led to it becoming the unofficial uniform of countless remote villages across the country.
City smarts also sometimes prefer whitewashed suits, including a long-sleeved shirt and waist apron.
Best of all, the energy efficient design is popular in warmer regions as it provides significant relief from the scorching afternoon sun. Other colors and combinations are often worn for special occasions and occasions.
2- Nehru Jacket
Like Indian clothing, these exotic styles are rarely found in wardrobes overseas. An exception is the Nehru jacket, which has a slim fit much like a western executive suit.
After becoming a staple of men’s formal wear in India in the 1940s, it is finally starting to catch the interest of trend setters overseas.
International adoption hit a fever pitch after The Beatles started wearing the garment after returning from a creative and meditative holiday in Rishikesh at the height of their career. Since then, Nehru has been spotted in everyone from monkeys to James Bond villains. Interestingly, Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, never wore the jacket that would later bear his name. He prefers a slightly different style called sherwani.
3- Achkan and Sherwani
These two staples of Indian ceremonial wear are almost indistinguishable for the layman despite their apparent nobility. The two elegant sets consist of a blazer worn over leggings or a loincloth wrap. The main difference between this jacket and the Nehru jacket is that the former is longer and falls below the knee instead of above the thigh.
First-time visitors to India may be surprised to see so many men wearing white shawls, much like sarongs. However, there are good reasons for this.
Much of India is scorching before the monsoon season. Many men prefer Lungi over pants because of the extra breathability the garment provides. This added convenience has become so popular that this item has also been adopted by neighboring Asian countries.
Accessories and Headwear
Perhaps the most striking aspect of traditional Indian clothing is the many exotic headwear and accessories adorning both men and women. In many regions, men wear turbans that vary in color and style according to religious and cultural preferences.
Women, on the other hand, are known for their fascination with jewelry. The nose, ears, mouth and navel are regularly pierced and encased in various sparkling gemstones and gold chains. But who can forget the bracelet? Some women wear a dozen or more standard Indian jewelry.
You won’t spend a fortune assembling an exciting Indian wardrobe, and you’ll get plenty of smiles and goodwill from the friendly locals you meet along the way.
Jammu & Kashmir
The garments of Jammu & Kashmir are renowned for their intricate embroidery and patterns, reflecting the rich culture and landscape of the region. The shape of the garment is designed to counter the cold climate of the region. Most clothes are made of wool, silk and cotton with intricate embroidery.
Traditional Poots & Pheran is the most popular form of clothing for men and women with Mughal turbans, turbans, taranga belts and colorful scarves.
Kashmiri Women’s Clothing
Pheran is the main garment worn by Kashmiri women.
The pheran worn by women usually has a Zari with embroidery on the hem, around the pockets, mainly in the collar area. Ladies prefer suits and Burghas in summer and Pherans in autumn.
Hindu women in Kashmir wear long pherans which reach to the feet and have narrow sleeves which are rolled up at the bottom. Pherans are often wrapped tightly around their waists with a crumpled cloth called lungi. Hindu women are now starting to wear sarees but according to the culture of Kashmir region, they have to wear taranga sarees on their wedding day.
Headgear – Taranga
Kashmiri women’s headgear is a brightly colored scarf or taranga sewn onto a hanging hat that tapers at the back towards the heel. Taranga is an integral part of Hindu wedding attire.
Earrings, anklets, bracelets, useful for various purposes other than the decoration of clothing. Dejharoos or gold pendants (mangal-sutra of Kashmiri panditani) are worn by Indian women. These Dejharoos consist of two decorative gold pendants suspended from gold chains or silk threads.
It symbolizes the marital status of Kashmiri Pandit women.
For Muslim women
The pherans worn by Muslim women are traditionally characterized by wide sleeves, reaching the knees. Delicate Zari embroidery or floral designs around the neck and pockets are a distinguishing feature of Pheran for Muslim women. Brocade patterns adorn their long sleeves. The pherans are tightly wrapped in a crumpled cloth called a Lungi or Pashmina shawl.
The headgear they wear looks a lot like Talanga. The headdress is red and tied across the forehead like a turban, fastened with silver charms and brooches. The traditional turban is made of fine wool and is thick enough to keep people warm during the extreme Kashmir winters.
is known as Kasaba red headwear and abaya. It is worn by Muslim women as part of their regular attire, and the abaya is also commonly worn by them.
Unmarried Hui girls wear head coverings embroidered with gold thread and are decorated with trinkets, pendants, amulets, etc.
Muslim women are very fond of wearing a chain of earrings. Silver jewelry is popular among Muslim women who adorn themselves with ornate necklaces, bracelets and necklaces.
Kashmiri Men’s Clothing
Kashmiri Men’s Pheran
Kashmiri Hindu and Muslim men usually dress in the pheran, a loose robe that falls below the knees. The men wear tight-fitting shalwar (Muslim) or churidar (Pandit) skullcaps and pajamas.
The traditional Indian male attire, the pheran, is always plain with narrow sleeves, an open collar on the left chest, lapel or lace. The
Phéran is a loose fleece garment using Kangri. Kangri is an earthen jar filled with hot coals. Pathani suits, also known as Khan robes, are popular among Muslim men, especially in Srinagar.
Muslim Men Hijab
It is common for Muslim men to wear the hijab.
Skullcaps are common, especially among peasants and Karakulians. Men’s fur skullcaps with cashmere capes often symbolized royal blood. Muslim men wear slip-on shoes called Gurgabis. Hindu Male Headgear
turban is the traditional headgear of Pandit men in Kashmir, although its use is now very limited. This turban is not much different from the turban worn by Muslims, except that Pande does not wear a turban inside.
The priestly class among the Pandits wore their turbans in an almost Namdhari Sikh style.
People who live in the hilly regions of Kashmir are known as Gujjars. The women of the Gujjar community wear Kashmiri clothing similar to that of women in Turkish villages. Gujjar women wear loose long sleeved tunics (wide skirts) but they prefer loose sleeves and loose salwars. Their faces were also covered with a thick curtain that came to their shoulders.
Gujar women have more than one braid on their hair and they like to hang the braid in front.
is located in the valleys of the state of Kashmir, extending to the plains of Punjab on the southern side. These people are Aryans who usually wear gray wool sweaters and loose pajamas. They also wear a Kamarband or belt. Dogra women wear loose tunics, dupatta, salwar churidars and hats to make their personality attractive.
Similar Dogara men wear fitted pajamas and rather long kurtas. The use of kamarbands and turbans is prevalent among the ancient Dogra.
Punjab – Traditional Punjab Dress
Punjab has one of the oldest and richest cultures in the world, displayed in every possible way. It is filled with bright colors and proud people, who express themselves best through their traditional attire.
Here is a list of traditional Punjabi clothing and their cultural significance.
1. Phulkari – Punjabi Floral Heritage
Phulkari means ‘flower craft’ and its roots in Punjabi culture date back to the 15th century. Vibrant colors are embroidered in a way that speaks volumes about women and their desires in their clothes. It features prominently in Waris Shah’s heartbreaking love story Heer-Ranjha, and the creative art of embroidery has not changed in technique since its inception. Women of all ages and classes wear this fabric to reflect their lives through the various colors it wears.
It can be woven onto shawls, kurtas, dupattas and lehengas with a mixture of intricate designs and is traditionally worn by Punjabi women on all occasions.
2. Jutti – Punjabi Embellished Shoes
Jutti or Punjabi Jutti have been king for 400 years and are traditionally embroidered on leather with real gold or silver thread. One of the unique features of these handmade shoes is that they have no distinction between the left side and the right side and can be worn on any foot you choose. Both men and women of Punjab wear these most comfortable and stylish flats mainly during weddings and festivals.
It is full of charm and exquisite embroidery that epitomizes the Punjabi tradition.
3. Patiala Salwar – Rolled Beauty – Traditional Punjabi Attire These loose pleated trousers originated in the Punjabi town called Patiala and were originally worn by men but later became part of women’s clothing. It is usually combined with kurti and chunni for women and has a pleated design in the back. It incorporates a variety of modern designs, while maintaining traditional ties to its launch.
It is one of the easiest and most comfortable dresses worn by Punjabi women, combining elegance and style.
4.The Jama – Trumpet Cloth Jama is a long cloth worn by men in the Punjab region during the Mughal period. The bodice is tight, flared like a skirt to the ankle or knee, and a turban is worn over the head, embodying the majesty of royalty and kings. It was originally a dress for men, but was also worn by women in tight-fitting nightgowns.
It features long sleeves which are tied at the armpits for freedom of movement and is yet another comfortable traditional Punjabi attire.
5. Punjabi Ghagra – Adds richness to Punjabi femininity Punjabi ghagra is one of the few traditional dresses that has been modernized, it is a quadrangle originating in Punjab but now part of Haryana and Eastern Himachal Pradesh. . This outfit is mostly worn during ‘Giddha’, a famous Punjabi folk dance performed by women, swirling in enchanting colors while singing folk songs reminiscent of their culture.
Parandi – A braided accessory decorated with jewels and colored threads, a Parandi or Paranda is a hair accessory used by Punjabi women. Besides that, it also symbolizes love when the bride receives it from her husband as a form of love. In the past, women wore Parandis to enhance their traditional beauty and make their hair longer in the simplest way by weaving intricate locks together and tying them around thick and long hair. Parandis are available in different sizes and colors and can be adorned with ornaments such as necklaces, tikkas, bracelets and golden sequins added on top. It shows the vigor of Punjabi women and is widely used by women all over India.
7. Kurta Pajama The most popular traditional attire for Punjabi men includes kurta and pajamas. A kurta is a long-sleeved shirt with side slits. Pajamas are loose, puffy pants closed with drawstrings. However, the kurta can be worn with lungi, dhoti or jeans.
Haryana Traditional Dresses
Haryana is one of the most economically developed regions in South Asia and one of the wealthiest states in India. But the people of Haryana are simple, humble and down to earth. Most Haryanvis are engaged in agriculture and are vegetarians. They live a simple life. The same goes for their clothes.
Their clothes are functional and simple. Men wear dhoti kurtas and women wear lehenga kurtas. Communities wear their clothes in different ways. Men generally wear white clothes, while women of different castes wear brightly colored clothes.
Dhoti Men’s Robe
Haryanvi Men wear ‘dhoti’ as trousers.
A dhoti is a rectangular piece of cloth wrapped around the waist and legs, tucked in from the center of the waist. The loose ends are tucked in the back for a better fit. Haryana men wear white dhoti and kurta as white is their status symbol.
Different castes (Rajput, Brahmin, Bania, Ahir and Jat) wear scarves in different ways.
Kurta or shirt
Men wear a kurta or shirt on their upper body.
The kurta or shirt is usually white.
Pagris is a scarf or bandana for men. It is a long piece of cloth that is rolled up and wrapped around the head. Although fully sewn Paglios are now available, it should be as easy as putting on a hat.
However, in recent years only older men have worn Paglios.
Haryana’s traditional footwear is jutti. Juttis are an Indian style shoe similar to mojaris. Juttis are closed shoes that only reach the front half of the foot, so they are easy to wear. The juttis are made of leather in northern India and feature different patterns. Even jute jutti are well known.
Men are sometimes found with a blanket draped over one shoulder, especially in winter. The cover is very light. The most common type of blanket is a dark plaid blanket
Women from different communities wear different types of clothing.
found Jat community women wearing shirts, ghagra and chunder.
Shirt Women wear cotton shirts or kurtas with long sleeves.
Women wear long, loose and flared skirts called ghagra. There are various patterns and designs on Ghagras in very vivid colors. They can also have borders at the bottom.
An Odhni or chunder is a long piece of thin cloth worn by women over clothing. The chunders have colored borders in different patterns.
Women cover their heads with the side of the bat. From the other side to the front waist, the women of the Ahir community wear the angia – lehenga and the chunder.
Lehenga / A petticoat is a long straight skirt. They differ from ghagras because ghagra is more fluid and open.
The Angia is a fitted shirt in which women should cover the upper body.
The shirt only rises halfway up the torso.
Odhni – Women use odhni or dupatta on clothes.
Haryana women, like men, wear traditional Indian style footwear. The traditional shoes are called jutti and are worn in most communities in northern India. The women of these communities work in the fields, especially during harvest time.
Therefore, these dresses are designed in such a way that they are comfortable to wear. Women from Aggarwal and Brahmin communities wear sarees and sarees with kurta and odhni. A sari garment consists of a blouse, a petticoat and a long cloth called a sari.
A wedding is a big party in India. Wedding events are designed to showcase family happiness and prosperity.
According to Indian tradition, women wear brightly colored saris. Many women, especially young women, prefer to wear the salwar-kameez or ghagra with the odhni, which features fine embroidery.
Men wearing headscarves and headscarves. However, the kurta they wear is made of fine fabric with some small but spectacular embroideries.
Haryana women prefer to wear their traditional style of jewelry.
They usually wear small earrings and gold or silver necklaces or chains.
Kathla is the necklace of the Jat community. They wear it on auspicious days. The Banya wear maras, which are long neck ornaments, usually made of gold, of various designs and patterns, and may have a large pendant in the middle. Haryanvis wears expensive jewelry on big days, festivals and weddings.
The ornaments are mainly in silver and gold.
Older women prefer to wear Hanshi jewelry. They have a unique style as they are not bendable like regular collars, but are molded to fit a specific shape around the neck. These are silver and are very heavy. Older and younger women also wear a nose piercing called Nath.
Influence of Western Culture
Due to the influence of Western culture, most men, especially those who travel, have started wearing pants and shirts. Except in big cities, very few women wear suits, pants and tops. Children usually wear tops, pants and skirts. People in Haryana also wear sweaters in December and January.