Fashion Across India

Indian fashion scenario is known for its cultural heritage, elegance, and colourfulness. We have always been known as the land of colour, and uniqueness is rooted in our very own dressing too. There are 29 states in India and each one of them has a costume peculiar to its origin. These beautifully bring out the subtlety and beauty which has sustained through innumerable decades. Not only is each costume comfortable, sophisticated and aesthetically beautiful but it has also evolved over time. Despite the constant changes in fashion and the effect of the West, what makes Indian costumes stand out are their uniqueness. They are not just simple outfits but stories woven together to make a piece of art. 

Apart from being extremely rich in its culture and heritage, India is filled with immensely talented artisans and labourers in every   nook and corner. Despite living in villages, the talented labourers of cottage industries and handlooms, come together to create mesmerizing weaves: a secret passed down from generations ago.

Each state in India, has its own particular traditional garment that comes with surprises.

  • Andhra Pradesh:

Langa Voni is the staple traditional sari, often worn by the younger women while the older women wear handloom saris often woven in silk while the rich texture and sheerness of the fabric, makes each garment impeccably stunning. Andhra Pradeh is particularly renowned for its Kalamkari saris and the intricacy of the mythological figures that make the outfits come alive as if in an epic! Keeping it simple, the males of the state wear either dhoti or lungi with a kurta. 

  • Arunachal Pradesh:

Known for its striking hued, tribal motif embedded traditional dress, the females wear a full sleeved weaved coat like jacket over a sleeveless chemise while the men wear a riot of colours , green lungis interwoven with red, yellow and white stripes.

  • Assam:  The Assamese women take pride in their graceful attire of mekhela sador that which makes them look ethereally beautiful. Made from lustrous silk variants, muga this two piece ensemble endows a certain grace that which is very fresh and enticing in the very look of it.

Equivalently, Assamese men keep their look toned down with the simple but elegant pairing of dhoti and kurta, complete with a traditional hand woven scarf called the gamusa. 

  • Gujarat:
    Gujarat is another Indian state that embraces colours in its traditional attire called the chaniya choli. These are rich in their weaves and the intricacy is beyond explicable. Finishing the look is the polk also known as the odhni.Keeping themselves as fashionable as the women, the men too wear a variety of costumes ranging from dhotis, churidars, kurtas and bandis to chornos and kediyas while the rich hued headgears and turbans add an extra touch.

  • Goa:

When we think of Goa, the first thing that we think of is beaches and bikinis but the traditional dress of Goa is infact much similar to the others states. The traditional costume for women is called Pano Bhaju that has a sarong or lungi worn under a blouse  while the stone studded nine yard saris called the nav vari are elegantly draped.

  • Jammu and Kashmir:

Apart from its magnificent beauty, the traditional outfits of these states are also spectacular. While the Hindu ladies wear pherans with restricted sleeves and collaborated hood called Taranga, the muslim ladies have flared and extensive sleeves on their dresses. The head gear is known as the Abaya. Men wear pherans supplemeted either by turbans or skull tops while the pathani suits are evergreen.

  • Kerala:

As a state that is highly seeped in tradition while offering a generous does of modernity, Kerala’s ethnic wear still rules the culture and customs of the state. Keralian women wear the traditional off white sari with golden border called the mundum neriyathun. Elaborate in their embellishments, benarasi and Kanchipuram silk saris are also very renownedly worn.

  • Maharashtra:

Maharashtra’s clothing culture is iconic and known all across the country. The traditional nav wari sari or lugda is the patent characteristic style of the state. With a riot of colours and the extra glamorous nathni, this traditional outfit never fails to disappoint.

  • Punjab : 

Punjabis are always known for their vitality and carefree souls.The Patiala salwars and chudidars are the customary dresses while the Punjabi men wear a large kurta, muktsari night gown.

  • Rajasthan :

Filled with a rustic vibe, the Rajasthani women dress up in long skirts called ghaghras with blouses called kurtis or kanchlis while they cover their head with odhnis. Rajasthani women also adorn themselves with jewellery while the men wear dhotis, kurtas, angarkhas and safas as a kind of turban. 

Each state in the country has a unique vibe and when it comes to garments, the traditional outfits of each of them are beautiful in their own way. Fashion across India has evolved tremendously. Today fashion is not just about wearing high-end designer labels but it is about promoting and providing employment opportunities to thousands of skilled and unskilled labourers. When you buy an outfit today, it is not just a random piece of garment stitched together but rather a story of a woman somewhere in a small village, knitting and weaving threads together with a smile on her face knowing she is finally independent. Fashion today has allowed women to stand up for themselves and earn while it constantly strives to promote the message of body positivity. We are often told white and fairness are considered ideal beauty standards but who are they to decide what beauty really is? Fashion in India has revolutionised the standard norms of beauty and breaking barriers we come together to celebrate all shapes and sizes because beauty is about accepting who you are and being happy with the person you see in the mirror.


Virangi Doshi

An artist, book addict, and an impulsive poet on a
pilgrimage to find and write raw unaltered poetry.

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