When my sister got married, she had made one demand and one demand only. And that was to wear our grandmother’s age-old Banarasi sari. Now, my grandmother’s Benarasi is very different from say, my sister’s modern saree collection of chiffons and georgettes, but it is also very different from your grandmother’s Kanjeevaram collection.
So the point is that clothes have not only evolved through generations, they’ve also evolved differently in different parts of India. And that is what makes the variety of clothing such a magnificent thing. Now, let’s go back a little and look at how people dressed centuries back.
Image Credit: India Today
If we try stitching together pieces of history, we will see that stitching and sewing was not a general practice when it came to clothes that people would wear. The men would wear an unstitched dhoti cloth and the women would wear unstitched saris, draped around in simple styles.
If you notice, this kind of clothing is still very much alive, but what has changed is the way people wear them. So you have dhoti pants that are easy to slip on for men and saree gowns that you can just wear like a dress. Apart from this, you have thousands of styles for each and multiple varieties to choose from.
Talking about sarees, you must have seen photos where women would wear them without blouses. Now, if you have to thank someone for the way sarees are draped now, then Gyanadanandini Devi is your lady. She went against the tradition of wearing it as a one piece to wear it with a blouse.
Did You Know?
Salwar Kameez, as we know it is actually shalwar kameez and is the national dress of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
From traditional to churidar to Patiala and anarkali, styles have originated from different regions, but they have all converged into this mainstream high fashion that women swear by now. Whether it’s ethnic occasions like weddings and family functions or even everyday regular office wear, salwar kameez is the perfect mix of tradition and the needs of the modern woman.
Image credit: Nahil Fashions
Did You Know?
The Pagri worn by men during Mughal period used to signify status and giving it to someone else meant relinquishing one’s powers.
The turban has now evolved to even women wearing it as headgear; for example, it works as a style statement and protector from pollution when one is riding a scooty down the lanes of Goa.
Holistically, if we were to compare with our Western counterparts, the changes haven’t been as radical because we still hold on to our traditions and attach value to handlooms and hand-me-downs. Over the years, fashion may have flowed from one form to another, but the poise and elegance of the women feeling beautiful in Indian clothing have remained the same.
Written by Tapoja Roy