Traditional Dresses of India

India is the largest democracy in the world with numerous traditions and religions encompassed within the boundaries. Each of these religions have their own unique dressing style, however there are few traditional dresses of India. There are few garments which are recognised by each and every religion and state in this country which helps us in understanding the traditional dresses of India.

The history of traditional dresses of India can date back to the 5th BC where the Indus Valley civilization would make clothes after spinning, weaving and dyeing cotton which was produced locally. With the advancement and new trade routes, the people saw different materials and dyeing colours which was being introduced to them such as trade with China introduced silk textiles.
From history to present, cotton and silk are woven into beautiful and unique designs, each showcasing the peculiarity of the state from which it would be produced. With the Mughals, we got the mordant and resists dyeing, and the Kalamkari technique for developing clothes.

So, sit back and get ready to read all about the traditional dresses of India.


In India, saree is the traditional most attire for women. The outfit comprises of a fabric which is 5 or 7 yards long which is wrapped around the body. The way it is wrapped differs from region to region and on the occasion for which it is being worn. One end of the fabric is tightly secure of the waist while the other is draped over the shoulder while covering the midriff in a subtle manner. It is paired with a blouse and a lungi style cloth which is worn under the saree to give it a certain flow.
It is usually made out of cotton material, but depending on the occasion it can be made out of other materials such as silk, crepe, etc.

Lehenga Choli

The origins of lehenga choli can be pin pointed to Gujarat, Rajasthan and Kutch. Women of these regions were seen adorning the attire in their daily lives. The outfit consists of a long and flared skirt which is known as lehenga. The skirt is paired with a blouse known as choli which is tightly fitted. The designs are borrowed from the Mogul culture and the embroidery done on it depends on the occasion for which you are wearing it. Most of the women pair lehenga choli with a chunri which is a long piece of cloth. The chunri is wrapped around the head and trails down, quite similar to the veil seen in Christian culture.

Salwar Kameez 

Salwar kameez is one of the most basic and commonly worn women attire in India. It started off as a decent wear for women of Punjab and Kashmir and now it is the most common attire. The outfit consists of a pajama like bottom which is called a salwar and a kurta which may differ in the lengths depending upon the region. The kurta worn on top of the salwar is known as kameez, hence giving the combination the name salwar kameez.


Lungis are also known as panche or Sarong which is a long piece of fabric which people wrap around their waist and secure it tightly. The most commonly used material for Lungis is cotton.
It can be worn both by men and women. The most common lungi is the white one with gold borders or subtle colour borders which is worn in the South. Women are mostly seen wearing colourful and flowery lungis. It is a very comfortable attire and is easy to maintain.


It is known as the most basic traditional dress for the Indian men. It is a long-unstitched garment. It is tied at the ankles with a knot on the waist to secure it tightly. In the east, dhotis are paired with a kurta and in the south, it is paired with an angavastram. It is an attire which can be worn for formal as well as informal events. These days, women have also started wearing dhoti’s, but they get it stitched so that it looks like a dhoti.


Bandhgalas are also famously known as Jodhpuri which is a formal suit worn by Indian men. The name gives away its origin – it originated from Jodhpur in Rajasthan and was extremely popular during the British rule.
It consists of a coat, trouser and on some occasions a vest also. Generally, silk material is used for the entire attire. The collar is lined with another material to make it look a bit stiffer than the rest of the coat along with embroidered buttons. Bandhgala is a way to mix western cut with the Indian hand embroidery to give men a perfect attired for a formal evening event.


Sherwani’s are also called Anchkan which is basically a long coat which has buttons on the length of the coat. Usually, sherwani’s have nehru collar which gives it a more royal look to the man. The sherwani’s are paired up with fitting pants called churidars which are loose on the hips to give a comfortable fit and tight on the ankle to give it a neat look.
More often than the other, sherwani’s are worn during weddings by the Groom which are usually in beige, cream, or gold colour. Men also wear sherwani’s during other traditional festivities and events but with a different colour palette.


It is the turbans which are known as Pagri in India. Usually, people wear turbans to symbolize that they practice the religion of Sikhism. In Sikhism, people wear turbans as it represents honour, courage and spirituality. It is worn by the people to cover their long hair which is seen as an acceptance of the will of their holy god.

Pagri is also worn by people living in the Maharashtra region, but most wear them during weddings. On some occasions, people wear white pagri which signifies peace and saffron which signifies honour. In Rajasthan, men wear pagri in various styles and colours which indicates the person’s social class, region and caste.

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