Namaste again to all the Desi people out there, as we all know (& take a lot of pride in) India is the land of “Unity in diversity“, it is well known that our colourful land is home to innumerable cultures, countless traditions, religions, castes, languages, races, and ethnic communities. Indian states proudly boast a vibrant list of traditional outfits echoing the rich cultural heritage that evolved over the years.
Cultural Significance of Traditional Indian Outfits
The importance of Indian traditional wear cannot be solely understood by limiting ourselves to individual fashion and style- Desi Indian outfits reflect the unity in diversity of our land and its amazing people. For instance, white is considered auspicious in South India where in other parts of the country it is worn only in funerals.
Bharat a.k.a India, with its colourful and diverse culture, has a countless number of traditional attires and they are famously known for their bright colours, detailed work and embroidery. Our desi attires are a presentation of the art and craft of different parts of the land and its communities. Every piece of clothing has a story to tell, from Kanjeevaram sarees of Tamil Nadu to Punjabi Patiala salwar-kameez to Rajasthani lehenga-choli, each kind of desi Indian wear has its unique and special feature and is figurative of different regions and states of the country.
Recently, traditional Indian wear has evolved and had a massive transformation. It has become more adoptable, trendy, and accessible, catering to the needs of modern Indian clubs. The traditional hemp, linen, and silk fabrics are being substituted by new-age fabrics like chiffon, georgette, and crepe, making desi Indian wear more wearable on a day-to-day basis. Moreover, modern designs and patterns are being presented, making traditional Desi wear more tempting to the younger generations.
There are plenty of patterns and styles that were originated in India and then later with time got popularized globally. Due to its high popularity and excellence, Indian online clothing is very accessible as now one can easily have Indian clothes from any far off places.
Fashion In India: Adoption Of Modern While Preserving The Indian Core
Conserving ethnic Indian wear is crucial to preserving the cultural heritage of the motherland. Every part of our time-honoured clothing has a story behind it, and it is basic to pass on this wisdom to the generations ahead. It is the responsibility of every person to preserve and nurture their culture through the clothes they choose to wear.
The ethical and sustainable fashion movement has given a new purpose to traditional Indian wear. People are now willingly opting for sustainable Indian clothing instead of fast fashion brands. The traditional clothing, which was earlier confined to special occasions and festivals, can now be worn daily.
So guys and girls, go get your chai, sit back, relax and let’s dive into this beautiful and entertaining guide of desi Indian outfits.
Traditional Dress for Women & Men in Indian States
|Indian State Dresses
|Traditional Dress for Women
|Traditional Dress for Men
|Saree, Langa Voni
|Tussar Silk Saree
|Lugda (Saree), Polkha (Blouse)
|Nav-Vari, Pano Bhaju
|Pattu, Salwar Kameez
|Ilkal saree, Mysore silk saree
|Lungi, Shirt, Angavastram
|Mundum Neriyathum, Kasavu saree
|Phanek, Innaphi Shawl
|Dhoti, Kurta, Pagri
|Angami, Ao, Chakhesang costumes
|Angami, Ao, Chakhesang attire
|Sambalpuri Saree, Bomkai Saree
|Salwar Kameez, Patiala Salwar
|Kurta Pajama, Turban
|Ghagra Choli, Rajputi Poshak
|Dhoti, Kurta, Pagari
|Pochampally Saree, Gadwal Saree
|Kamchwlwi Borok, Rikutu Gamcha
|Chikankari Saree, Lehenga
|Kurta Pajama, Sherwani
|Dhoti, Kurta, Topi
|Tant Saree, Baluchari Saree
|Dhoti, Kurta, Alpaca
A Comprehensive Exploration of Traditional Attire Across All Indian States and Union Territories
1. Andhra Pradesh
Kicking off our colorful guide from the Deccan region, Andhra Pradesh introduces us to the glorious traditional outfits. The women of Andhra Pradesh dress in handloom sarees. Most worn sarees are of silk, with a rich feel and texture due to their elaborate weaving. Young women wear the two-piece conventional saree called the Langa Voni. Andhra’s Kalamkari sarees are well known for their floral or mythological motifs, and figures from epics etched on them. The men use the shirt called kurta as the upper garment, teamed with dhoti, lungi, or pajama.
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2. Arunachal Pradesh
Moving to the beautiful northeast, we reach Arunachal Pradesh, from vibrant handwoven skirts to gorgeously embroidered jackets, Arunachali outfits are a reflection of the region’s local diversity and skilled craftsmanship. A full-sleeved coat over a loose chemise is the traditional wear for women. Here, bamboo and silver accessories are worn commonly. The men wear silk shirts and pin the edges around the shoulder to secure. Their customary green lungis have colored stripes of blue, yellow, or white. The Sherdukpen men’s wear is famous for the skull-caps called Gurdam, which are made from Yak hair.
Set in the lush green landscapes we reach Assam that brings to you the beautiful Mekhela Chador. Especially during occasions like weddings or festivities, women take pride to adorn themselves in this attire. This handloom product is woven from durable Muga silk. The men were dhoti and kurta or kameez, often draping the long cloth ‘chador’ from the Seleng region.
Moving forward toward the Ganga plains, Bihar presents the classic Bhagalpuri Silk Sarees. Known for their lightweight and exquisite patterns, Bhagalpuri sarees are a classic presentation of statement elegance. Whether you’re attending a wedding or a traditional festival, a Bhagalpuri silk saree is sure to make you stand out from the crowd. The traditional dress of men from Bihar is the dhoti-mirjai and kurta.
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As we reach the heart of Central India, Chhattisgarh is an abode of the luxurious Kosa Silk Sarees. Woven from tasar silk, these rich feel sarees are light, airy, and come with traditional motifs on them. Excellent for a festive occasion or a cultural event, Kosa Silk Sarees are a perfect example of the state’s skilled craftsmanship.
Taking a vibrant and colourful turn to our journey, we land in the party capital, Goa, ofcourse!! The traditional attire for women in Goa is the Nauvari saree which comes nine-yard long. The expensive Pano Bhaju saree is studded with precious stones and gems. Men wear basic shirts and trousers, often accessorising them up with caps.
And here we come to swirl and twirl in the land of Gujarat! The Chaniya Choli, famous with its mirror work and rich vibrant colours, is the epitome of Indian festive fashion. From Navratri celebrations to functions and wedding, this outfit guarantees you to be the life of the party. In general, men wear a dhoti and a kurta.
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Moving towards northern part of India, we arrive in Haryana, where the women are commonly seen in the Phulkari Dupatta. The colorful embroidered patterns on a beautiful dupatta fabric make this clothing a statement piece. The dhoti is the traditional wear for men. They also crown their attire with the headgear Pagri, particularly in the villages.
9. Himachal Pradesh
Nestled in the heart of the majestic Himalayas, Himachal Pradesh gifts us the warm and cosy touch of Kullu Shawls. Woven with elaborate patterns and gorgeous colours, these shawls are not just winter staple clothes but also a symbol of the state’s rich cultural heritage.
Lets move towards the eastern part of the country, shall we? Jharkhand brings to us the opulence of Tussar Silk Sarees. The glorious sheen and delicate texture of these sarees make them excellent for both casual and formal events, introducing a touch of grace to any wardrobe. The men were a single piece of cloth called the Bhagwan.
In the garden and diverse city of India, Karnataka, Ilkal and Mysore Silk Sarees take center stage. Woven with precise skills and zari work, these sarees are a symbol of luxury and royalty. Whether attending a wedding or a festival party, a Mysore Silk Saree guarantees you make a fashion statement and get hundreds of compliments. The men prefer to wear a kurta and a lower-garment called a lungi or panche.
God’s own country wouldn’t settle for anything less than perfection, and neither does their traditional outfit. Kerala’s most standard traditional wear is called the mundu. It resembles a long skirt and is worn by both men and women. Women wear the Mundum Neriyathum, traditionally a two-piece costume in the style of a saree. Men wear a shirt or kurta as the upper garment and the Veshti, a type of sarong.
13. Madhya Pradesh
Who hasnt heard of chanderi sarees? No one right! The central part of India brings us the soft charm of Chanderi Sarees. Delicate as a feather and with intricate work motifs, these sarees are an incredible integration of tradition and contemporary fashion. Whether it’s a religious event or a get together, a Chanderi Saree is sure to turn heads. The men don the Bandi jacket on top of kurta and dhoti.
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In the soil of Bollywood dreams, Maharashtra showcases the show-stopping Paithani Sarees. These sarees are a kaleidoscope of colours, reciting stories of tradition and style in each thread. The men wear a cotton kurta paired with the dhoti. Their cotton caps are called ‘pheta’ or ‘pagadi’. A sleeveless jacket called ‘bandi’ is often worn.
Coming up in the northeastern corner of our country, magical Manipur. The women of Manipur drape the hand-woven Phanek skirt which is designed with horizontal lines. The women from the Meitai community stitch a cloth full of intricate designs called Kanap Phanek. Two other important cultural costumes of Manipur include ‘Lai-Phi’ and ‘Chin-Phi’. Men wear a simple white turban or ‘pagri’ on the head, and kurta and dhoti.
Arriving at the rolling hills and lush waterfalls, Meghalaya presents us with the Jainsen and Dakmanda. The traditional outfit of the Khasi tribe, these attires are a perfect integration of simplicity and tradition. Whether you are being a part of a traditional ceremony or strolling through the scenic landscapes of Meghalaya, the Jainsen and Dakmanda perfectly capture the richness of the state’s culture. .
The Puan, an outfit consisting of a blouse, leggings, and the dupatta for headgear, is the traditional attire of Mizo women. The two-piece clothing called Puanchei, consisting of a long skirt and a shirt, is worn on special celebratory occasions and at weddings. Oftenly, these are vibrantly colored, with checkered designs. The women have gorgeous blouses and headdresses to wear during performing cultural dances. The men of Mizoram simply put on a long piece of shirt-like garment. During summers they wear turbans, while in winters, they don coats over their layers underneath.
From the land that takes pride in its ancestral heritage and its warrior history, Nagaland gifts us the Naga Shawl. Woven with elaborate patterns and bright colors, this shawl is a living proof of the rich culture of the land. The bangles, necklaces, and tattoos depict the history of war and the sacrifices that the people went through.
Coming to the temple city of India, in Odisha, we are greeted by the famous Sambalpuri Sarees. These sarees are a perfect canvas of folk art, featuring ikat patterns and traditional motifs that tell a tale of ancient civilisations. en prefer to wear shirts and pants.
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Are you ready to set the floor on fire with your bhangra moves? because we’re in Punjab, the house of the lively and colourful Patiala Suit. With its voluminous salwar and short kameez, this outfit is an immaculate blend of comfort and traditional fashion. The turban of the Sikh man is a symbol of honour. Along with kurta, the men wear light and baggy Tehmat pyjamas as the lower garment.
In the land of dunes and forts, the Lehenga Choli reigns supreme. Rajasthan’s traditional outfit is a gorgeous explosion of hues and mirror or thread work, making it an excellent choice for a magnificent affair. The men, on the other hand, wear a kurta, Churidar, dhoti, Angarkha, and Paggar. Their turban-like headdress is called the Safa
Browse through our trendy lehenga collection
Set in the beautiful lap of the Himalayan range, Sikkim introduces us to Bakhu, the traditional dress that is a testament of simplicity and sophistication. This outfit reflects the cultural of the state with its distinctive drapes and patterns. The men wear waistcoats called Jyajya and the shirt called Yenthatse. Shambo is their traditional cap.
23. Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu and Kanjeevaram sarees are almost synonymous with each other. Woven with pure silk and zari work, these sarees are a representation of eternal class of a woman. A Kanjeevaram Saree ensures you drape yourself in the grace and tradition of Tamil Nadu. The men wear kurta-styled Daura and comfortable trousers called Sural.
The popular sarees woven in Telangana include the Pochampally saree and the Gadwal saree. Pochampally weave is usually done in the tie-and-dye technique, also called the ikkat weave. The dhoti worn by men is also called the Pancha. The traditional Sherwani of Hyderabad was preferred by the nobles and the Nizam. Today, it is worn during various festivals and special occasions.
From the northeastern corner of India, Tripura is known for the Riha and Rignai, a visually delightful duo of traditional outfits. Adorned with bright colors and tribal motifs, these attires are a beautiful treat to the eyes. The men usually wear the Rikutu Gamcha along with the shirt called Kubai. They like to accessorize with bead necklaces.
26. Uttar Pradesh
Have we reached U.P now? Oh yes, the people of Uttar Pradesh gift us the delicate magic of Chikankari Sarees. Elaborately embroidered with white thread on pastel fabrics, these sarees are a presentation of infinite grace and style. The men go for kurta, dhoti, or pyjama.
Amidst the regal mountains of Uttarakhand, the Pichora outfit takes center stage. This traditional outfit comes with intricate embroidery and mirror work, representing the rich culture of the state. The traditional bridal costume of Ghagra-Pichora is decked with gold and silver embroidery.
28. West Bengal
The white saree with broad, red borders is an iconic and favorite festive wear for Bengali women. The Salwar-Kameez is also popular alongside sarees. The men traditionally wear the Panjabi, which is a long shirt in the style of a kurta. Their lower garments include cotton pyjama, dhoti, and lungi.
Traditional Dress of Indian Union Territories
The traditional attires for some Indian Union Territories are very diverse and come with multiple variations while not being precisely specified due to the diverse, tourism-oriented and multicultural nature of the place, resulting in varying traditional clothing among different Indian communities.
|Andaman and Nicobar Islands
|Various traditional attires are Influenced by the diverse communities visiting and residing there.
|Due to the multicultural nature of the population, traditional clothing varies among different communities.
|Mostly western- contemporary Clothing. Kurta-Pajamas are seen on both women and men.
|Being a modern metropolitan city, people in Chandigarh primarily wear Western-style clothing.
|Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu
|Men in Dadra and Nagar Haveli are spotted in a waistcoat and a shirt, and a long Dhoti along with a headgear called ‘Varli’. Women of Dadra and Nagar Haveli wear ‘Lugden’ which goes to the length of the knee, ‘Padar’ which is a cloth used to cover the body. Women of Dodhia and Kokna tribe wear sarees of blue and other colours.
|This union territory has a mix of cultures. Hence the lifestyle of the people of Dadra and Nagar Haveli is influenced by Portuguese and European culture.
|Kashti is the traditional attire for men while Libas is the most worn traditional attire for women in Lakshwadeep.
|Kashti for men is a white cloth wrapped around, and Libas for women is a colourful dress with intricate embroidery.
|Modern Western Clothing. Kurta Pyjama and Salwar Kameez are worn commonly.
|As the capital, Delhi reflects a blend of modern fashion trends, with people wearing a variety of clothing styles. Generally, men and women are seen in Western outfits like jeans, tops, Capri’s, long skirts, T-shirts, shirts with waistcoats and other such stuff. The traditional dress of Delhi remains the Salwar-Kameez with a dupatta for women and an equivalent traditional outfit like a dhoti-Kurta, Kurta-Pajamas and Sherwani for men.
|Varied traditional attires. Influenced by Tamil, Telugu, and French cultures.
|The traditional clothing in Puducherry is influenced by its multicultural heritage. The men are commonly spotted in shirts and pants or jeans while the women in Puducherry wear long skirts with a blouse.
Pro Fashion Tips for Buying Traditional Indian Attires
When buying traditional Indian attire, there are a few styling tips to keep in mind for making the perfect outfit.
- Buy matching and complementing Jewellery: Careful thought should be given to the jewelry selections. Indian jewelry is often ornate and colorful, providing the perfect accessories to elevate an outfit. If the attire itself is brightly-colored then more understated jewelry works best so the outfit remains the focal point. However, plain outfits present an opportunity to wear bolder, statement jewelry. The key is finding pieces that are balanced – not too small to be unseen or too large as to overwhelm.
- Play with fabrics: Fabric choices are also important. Lightweight cottons and linens will be comfortable in hot weather, while brocades, silks and velvets are suitable for cooler climates. Embroidered fabrics and ornate prints add flair. When selecting fabrics, personal taste should guide rather than trends, this is a chance for cultural appreciation and self-expression.
- Keep it traditional and trendy: Blending modern accessories like handbags and footwear is a great way to keep traditional Indian styles feeling current. The right contemporary pieces complement without overshadowing the attire.
With some thoughtful styling, traditional Indian clothes can be customized into perfect looks. The culture offers so much variety – endless combinations are possible while still showing respect and honour for the history behind these fashions.