Indian Outfits for Men & Women

 Assam

Customs of Assam

Customs and traditions play a significant role in the society and the Assamese strictly adhere to the customs laid down by their forefathers, pertaining to their communities. These customs are beliefs that originated in the past and have been followed ever since, generation after generation. The weddings, birth, death and festivals in Assam include many customs that are supposed to be followed by all. For instance, the Assamese use bamboo to welcome guests because of their attachment to the bamboo culture. Known as Jaapi, this is basically known as the sunshade of Assam. It is made of bamboo strips and dried palm leaves locally known as Tokow Pat. There are many types of Jaapi like the Halua Jaapi, Pitha Jaapi, Sorudoiya Jaapi, Bordoiya Jaapi, Cap etc. These Jaapis were also used as headwear back in the olden days, mostly by rich and noble families. They are also used by farmers and peasants as umbrellas in the paddy fields. People of Assam always believed in the joint family system and it is still prevalent among both tribal and non-tribal communities. The rule that was followed for inheritance was called Dayabhaga. This system holds strong even today. The custom is that a child cannot claim his share in the property of the father as long as the father lives. Some of the tribes follow customs like the matriarchal system, which asserts that the mother is the center of the clan and that her property will be given to her daughters. If there are no daughters, it will be passed to the youngest daughter of her sister. The prevalent custom among the Dimasa-Kacharis is that the sons inherit the father’s property while the daughters inherit the mother’s property.

Dhoti and Gamosa

The Dhoti and Gamosa are said to be the native dress of the men of Assam. The Dhoti is used to cover the lower half of the body and is a well-known piece of clothing in other Indian traditions too. Wearing a Dhoti properly is not so easy and carrying it is also one tricky job. The Gamosa is a rectangular piece of cloth that is an important and significant part of the Assam culture.Gamosa means ‘A cloth to wipe one’s body’ and is a white cloth with a beautiful red border on three sides and woven motifs on the remaining one. It is a piece of clothing that has some great significance in this state hence it is also used to felicitate and honor people who achieve some great feat. The Gamosa can be used as a cloth to wipe or can be transformed into a waistcoat which is commonly known as the Tongali. It can also be used as a Loincloth by a Bihu dancer.

 Mekhela Chador – The Traditional Dress of Assam

The Mekhela Chador is the traditional dress for the women of Assam. It is worn by women of all ages except children. This two piece garment has a long piece of cloth that is draped from the waist downwards and is then folded into pleats and tucked in. This piece is called the Mekhela. The upper part of the dress is the Chador that is also a long piece of cloth whose one end is tucked into the Mekhela, and then the rest is wrapped around the body. This Chador is worn with triangular folds the art of which can be mastered only by sheer practice. Wearing these traditional dresses is not everyone’s cup of tea and can be a magnanimous task at times. The run for traditional dresses of Assam does not end here. Assam is a state that houses different tribes who themselves have carried the flame of their tradition for generations. Each of these tribes has their set of unique culture, tradition, lifestyle and clothing. Wandering deep into the state, let us have a look at the artistic dresses of few of the major tribes that reside in Assam.

Traditional Jewelry

The jewelry is usually hand-made, and the designs depict flora and fauna. The people are keen on wearing a beautiful and unique style of ornaments made of gold and silver and varieties of jewels. The jewelry is simple and decorated with ruby or mina. The traditional ones worn by men are called Biri, Magardana, Matamoni, Kundal and Lokaparo whereas the ones worn by the women are Keru, Karphul, Kharu, Aargathi, Nalak, Keyur and Nupur.

Traditional Dresses of Maharashtra – Cultural Clothes of Maharashtra

The Lezim dance, the Marathi folk music, its literature, its cuisine and various festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi make Maharashtra a grand state, not only in its size but also in its culture. When we talk about Maharashtra and its people, an image immediately comes up in our minds of local Maharashtrians in their traditional wears. The clothes or the traditional costumes of Maharashtra are very realistic and practical in its approach.

 The occupation of the majority of people in Maharashtra is agriculture. People living on the Konkan Coast- the Konkanis are involved in fishing. Both of these activities require a lot of labor work. The people are to work hours in the sun and move around from one place to the other. Thus they wear clothes that made it easier for them to do so. In many Indian cultures, we see that women do not work outside the house. However, in Maharashtra, some did participate in various outdoor activities and even helped in agricultural activities and thus, like men, preferred to wear what made them able to move around freely and feel comfortable.

 Following is the traditional Dresses of Maharashtra that the men wear:

 Maharashtrian Attire For Men

Dhoti

The men in Maharashtra usually we a dhoti. A dhoti is a single piece of cloth that is tucked around one’s waist, and it covers the entire leg till the ankle. Dhotis are secured by making five tucks on each side, and then the loose ends are put in at the back. Dhotis are usually saffron or cream or white in color. Dhotis are an unstitched piece of clothing that do not require any proper measurements as one could make it however tight or loose they wished it to be.

 Maharashtrians usually have the same style for everything – work or celebration. Therefore their clothes were made comfortable. Nagpur, a city in Maharashtra, is famous for its dhotis

Pehta

Pehta is the headdress Marathi men wear. It is a ‘topi’, or a head cover usually made up of cotton. Pehta, also known as pagris are small hats that are made to cover the heads so as to protect them from the direct sun rays falling on their heads. Travellers and people working outside, under the sun especially wear this. By preventing the direct sun rays, the individual does not feel drained or tired too quickly or easily.

Kurta / Shirt

Maharashtrian men usually wear cotton tops or Kurtas above their dhoti. The tops are made up of cotton so as to able the garment to absorb sweat since Maharashtra has a warm to a hot environment. These tops are thin and loose, generally white in color.

Waistcoat

The Maharashtrian men occasionally wear waistcoat called Bandi. Bandi is a sleeveless jacket or coat. They are worn above their shirts. Bandi made the Maharashtrian attire look more formal and proper. Bandis are more pragmatic keeping in mind the climate of Maharashtra which did not allow men to wear normal coats or overcoats due to the excessive warmth.

Footwear

The men usually wear simple but sturdy footwear. Their footwears are open sandals making it comfortable for them to wear. The sandals are strong and are made up of leather.

Following is the traditional or cultural costume that the women wear:

 Maharashtrian Attire for Women

Sarees

Women wear sarees that are 9 yards long. The saree is tucked in the middle giving it a similar look to the dhoti. The rest of the saree is wrapped around the upper body of the women. This type of saree is usually called Lugade. There were many variations in how women wear their saree. Some only wear knee length sarees. Some wear it in a skirt manner without the tuck in the middle. But the 9 -yard saree is the traditional costume of women in Maharashtra.

Women wearing Nauvari, Marathi Dress

Head Dress/Cover

Women do not have a separate headwear as the men do. They simply use the end of their sarees to cover their heads.

 Choli

The Maharashtrian women wear choli or blouse underneath the saree. It is the ‘top’ or shirt that they wear to cover their upper body. The choli covers half of the torso. the blouses are short, or half sleeved

that have hooks in the front making it easier for the women to wear them. Similar to men’s clothing, women’s clothing is also made up of cotton and sometimes of silk. The commonly found colors in Maharashtrian sarees are green and red and sometimes even Kesari (yellow) color.

 Jewelry

Women wear nath i.e. a nose piercing. Naths can be simple loops or loops connected with the earring on any one side. They are normally made up of gold. Women are also found wearing other gold jewelry like earrings and necklace (haar) with different coloured stones.Married women wear mangal sutra and also green bangles. The bride wears green bangles as they are said to bring prosperity to the relationship and family. Some women even wear toe rings on their second toe of both of their feet (as the second toe is said to have a nerve that is connected to the uterus and elements from the ring are said to make the uterus strong).

 Footwear

Women traditionally preferred to go barefoot and found it only natural to do so while on occasion would wear sandals.   The   footwear   in Maharashtra   is   famous   for   its   durability and   longevity. The Kolhapuri chappals are open-toed sandals in a t-strap shape that are handmade by the Maharashtrian from leather and are tanned using vegetable dyes. Kolhapuri chappal originated in the Kolhapur District of Maharashtra and are worldly known for its strength and endurance. Maharashtrians seem to have the same style of attire for everything they do – whether it is resting or attending a wedding or traveling. The only thing that differs is the material. Cotton is used for making attires for all occasions and is cheap whereas silk is relatively expensive and used for making garments for weddings, festivals and other such events.

Now due to urbanization, a majority of Maharashtrians have adapted to the western style of clothing and even a merger of the Indian and western style (kurta and pants). But the elderly still prefer to wear this traditional style as they feel comfortable in it.

Tamil Nadu

Traditional Dresses Of Tamil Nadu – Dressing Style and Culture!

Located in the southernmost part of India, Tamil Nadu is a state famous for extravagant temples, delectable food and rich culture. One significant aspect of Tamil Nadu’s rich culture is its traditional clothing, which symbolizes the cultural essence of this south Indian state. A wide variety of materials like cotton, chiffon, silk, crepe silk, organza, georgette, micro silk and patola silk is used in the dresses of Tamil Nadu. Let’s find out more about Tamil Nadu attire.

Traditional Dresses for Women

Sari finds immense significance in the traditional clothing for women in Tamil Nadu. The popular Tamil poetry Cilappatikaram portrays females in a sari. Sari is a dress which women wear in offices, temples, parties and marriages. South Indian saris are famous across India for their intricate zari work. Kancheepuram sari is especially well known for its exquisite style. The color, texture and style of a Kanchipuram sari are quite different from North Indian saris. The length of sari usually ranges from five to six yards.

Pavada is the dress adorned by Brahmin girls before getting married. This half sari dress is the combination of a full-length skirt with a short blouse and a shawl known as Davani. It is the symbol of young age and beauty of the Tamil girls.

These days, Salwar Kameez has also become popular among women of Tamil Nadu. Salwar is a kind of loose trouser combined with a long top, known as a kurti or kameez.

Traditional Dresses for Men

The traditional dress of Tamil men is as elegant as the dress of women. Lungi is the most common bottom-wear for men in Tamil Nadu. It is wrapped around the waist and thighs. Lungi comes in different colors. It is the traditional dress worn by men in marriages too. This rectangular shape cloth is generally made with cotton. It is mostly worn with a shirt or Angavastra. Angavastram is another significant part of Tamil dressing. It is a piece of cloth wrapped around the shoulders. In early days Angavastram was used as upper clothing but now it is used above the shirt.

 Traditional Accessories

The traditional dressing of men and women in Tamil Nadu is incomplete without gold jewelry like necklaces, chains, payals, bangles, maang-tika and earrings.

Tamilians love gold and are known to possess great amounts of gold jewelry. Apart from jewelry, women in Tamil Nadu love to decorate their hair with flower garlands, known as Gajras.

 To complete the look, men apply Vibhuti along with sandal paste on their forehead while Kum-Kum is applied by women on their hands, feet and forehead.

The traditional dresses of Tamil Nadu are famous in the world, for their grace and beauty. In the modern era, Jeans, T-shirts, shirts, skirts and tops have also made their way into the dressing culture of Tamil Nadu.

However, in the time of festivals or celebrations, Tamilians still prefer their traditional dresses.

Kerala

Traditional Dresses of Kerala – Kerala Costumes and Traditional Wear

The traditional wear of the state is called ‘Mundu’ which is worn on the lower portion of the body, from the waist to the foot. It is white and is worn by both men and women. It resembles a long skirt or a dhoti. The upper garment varies with gender and age. This dress is worn in Kerala, Tulunadu region and Maldive islands. Muslim women on the other hand sometimes prefer the black or blue purdah, while traditional Christian women wear a two-piece blouse and a pleated “Mundu”.

When you visit Kerala, you’ll see men and women wearing completely white attires. It depicts purity and elegance. Their warm nature, amicable behavior and simplicity in living welcomes all from around the world.

Traditional Kerala Dress of Men – Mundu or Lungi

The lower garment Mundu is a white cloth wrapped around the waist. It has a border called Kara which can be of any color, mostly golden. Kara renders a style to the Mundu by displaying it on the left or right side of the person. Kara can be embroidered or decorated with ornaments for special occasions. Mundu can be turned into a half skirt kind of a thing by tucking the lower end into the waist. Men prefer to do this while doing any physical activities. The upper garment is called ‘Melmundu’ which is worn like a towel on the shoulders. The white shirt is also worn by many men these days.

In Hindus, men wear a Mundu and a Jubba for special occasions. It can be made of silk and Kara is often embroidered. Muslim men wear a cap called Kulla which differentiates them from Hindus. Muslims may either wear a shirt and Mundu or sometimes a Sherwani or Kurta, heavily embroidered. Christian men may wear a shirt and Mundu at their weddings or maybe a Suit or Blazer. Nowadays the latter is preferred.

Traditional Dress of Women in Kerala – Mundum Neriyathum

The traditional attire for women is called ‘Mundum-Neriyathum’. This consists of a pair of similar Mundus. One of them is worn around the hip on the lower portion of the body, reaching the ankles. The other is worn on the upper part, with a blouse, one end tucked in the lower Mundu at the waist and another is passing through the shoulder and falling to the ground from the back, resembling a saree.

 Hindu women may wear a Mundu or a Saree depending on the occasion and custom. For weddings, they prefer Kanchipuram Saree made of silk and have zardosi or Kundan work on them. The dark colors are preferred, but white and black are avoided. Muslim women wear Sarees or Lehengas for their wedding with a lot of embroideries and golden zari on the veil. Sometimes, purdah is also opted to cover the face, depending on the customs. In Christians, they wear white Sarees and white blouses- complete white attire. Nowadays they’ve started wearing a white gown with a veil.

It’s quite evident that the people of this southern state of India wear a very simple clothing. White is their favorite color as it depicts purity, elegance and simplicity.

Beautiful embroideries and Kara designs are enough to make it an occasional dress for them. Although the basic clothing in Kerala is very simple, it can be worn and designed according to different occasions, such as weddings, family events, regional festivals like Onam and Vishu. Kara can be beautifully designed, Mundus can be made of silk and can be differently styled for women, and blouse can also be woven or embroidered in a particular manner. This varies from community to community, religion to religion.

These days western culture has had a common influence on people not unlike the rest of India and people have started wearing western clothes like shirts, jeans, skirts, dresses, etc. But whenever any religious event or a wedding or any other function is celebrated, they make sure that traditions are followed, and people wear only the traditional attires. The people of Kerala still preserve the culture.