Traditional Indian Clothing – Wardrobe Must Haves

With a population as huge as India, any country would present itself in many cultural patterns and physical styles. India is proud of her history and along with it, she gets a catalog of languages, literature, religions, clothing, architecture, cuisines, festivals, cultures, music, traditional dances, visual art forms, sports, and cinema – to mention a few!

Living in India or being of an Indian origin, there are a whole lot of things that entice us – not only the tangy Pani Puris from Kolkata’s streets or the spicy Dabeli from Mumbai’s roadside cafes but also its drapery.

Here are 7 MUST have ethnic wear for you all: 

1. Anarkali suit

Nargis Fakhri in Anarkali suit

Anarkali, originating from the city of Lahore in Pakistan, is a dress that is fitted on the top and gradually flares towards the bottom. It is usually worn with a Dupatta (stole) and a Churidar (fitted bottom). It comes in various lengths, shapes and embroideries. It’s classy and can be worn to work, festive occasions or weddings – but all depending on the grandeur of the outfit.

2. Straight Kurta Palazzos

Deepika Padukone in Piku

Straight Kurta is fitted straight top that comes in medium and long lengths. It is usually worn with Churidar bottoms, leggings or jeans! But after the release of Piku, Deepika Padukone seems to have brought in the kurta-palazzo trend. Palazzos are trousers that are loose and have a wide leg cut. Paired with a long kurta and a fabulous statement piece, the combo is already making head turns!

3. Chaniya Choli

Katrina Kaif wearing Chaniya Choli

Chaniya Choli a.k.a Ghagra (skirt) Choli (blouse) is a three-piece set that comes with a skirt, blouse and Dupatta. It has been a traditional attire in most of the households in Gujarat, Rajasthan, MP, UP and Bihar, among others, for a long time. It is predominantly made out of cotton. As the generations went past, the attraction towards Chaniya Choli has grown significantly. In current day India, It is easily the first choice for all genres for weddings and festivals. It is worn by Brides (to a large extent) or sisters, cousins, aunts, mothers or even much fun! It comes in Velvet, Chikankari, Bandhani, Georgette, Cotton and net, etc..Fun to own a set or two!!!!

4. Pakistani Suit

Kareena Kapoor in Faraz Manan’s Pakistani suits Collection

As obvious as it is, it originates from Pakistan. It is again a three-piece set that comes with a top, bottom and Dupatta. It is difficult to describe how a Pakistani suit varies from an Indian suit, over words. Pakistani suits are frequently full sleeved outfits and the colours are more subtle/neutral/muted. The Churidars in a Pakistani suit more often than not have embroidery or work done on them, and they usually tend to be at the ankle level or slightly higher. Shararas (trousers that flare from the knee) too are of Pakistani descent. In a few of the suits, the kurta and the Dupatta share the same print while the bottoms are plain. Again, if you know Indian wear then I assure you, you’ll know a Pakistani suit when you see one. They are so simple yet beautiful.

5. Saree

Rekha in Kanjivaram silk saree (Limeroad)

A saree is a strip of unstitched cloth, which usually ranges from five to 9 yards in length. It is wrapped around the waist, with one end falling over the shoulder, baring the midriff. It is worn with a blouse that is short in length. Each state has its own traditional saree (or materials). Isn’t this a lovely reason to start collecting one Saree from each state? Like the Chaniya Choli, Saree is also worn for wedding and festive events, and it is also worn by most Brides on their big day!

6. Crop Top-Skirt

Parineeti Chopra in casual Crop top-skirts

It’s pretty similar to a Chaniya Choli minus the Dupatta — a two-piece set. The trend recently came into limelight. The blouse is slightly longer than the one of a Saree. But just short enough so the navel is visible. It’s chic, comfortable and light. Crop top-skirts are worn for lighter events.

7. Patiala Suit

Kareena Kapoor wearing Patiala suit in an event

The Patiala Suit takes its name after a Patiala, a city in Punjab. The suit is just the same as others, except for its bottoms – the Patialas. The trousers are loosely stitched in the form of pleats (on the waist) and gradually tightens as it reaches the ankle – the fall of the pleats isn’t something that all tailors have mastered, yet. It was worn by the royals of Patiala back in the days. Today, it’s worn across all ages and is a huge fashion statement. And a bonus, really comfortable during summers.


Featured image by Sabyasachi’s Collection

About The Author

Ananya Chandra

Ananya Chandra

23 years. 23 countries. 6 schools. 7 languages. Globetrotter. Airports are home. Netflix is life. Food is bae. Sleep is heaven. Too much already? Not really! The journey does not stop here. It has only begun. Woke on a fine Sunday morning and decided I am going to quit my job and focus on moving to my dream country – all in hopes of settling down! Have always believed in getting out of the comfort zone, taking the risk sooner or else one will never know what’s in store for them. Hoping to communicate my interests and journey through my writing! “Life is short. Make each hair flip fabulous. Make each trip memorable. Make each moment worth living for.”

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