India Clothes - A Guide for Women and Men
It can be somewhat confusing to know how to blend in to the Indian way of life and clothing can make a huge difference. There are stark differences between what men wear to what women wear so below is a rough guide to both women and men’s Indian clothing.
Young girls usually wear lengthy skirts and a short blouse then move onto half-sarees (a three piece set) when they reach their teenage years then advance to full sarees when they become women. These outfits are usually bright in colour, sarees being a strip of cloth in a range of lengths that is draped around the body in various styles.
Dressing to blend in is particularly important for women to avoid possible hassles from Indian men. Therefore the more you are covered, the less likely you will attract the attention of the sometimes prying eyes of the local men. This does not mean that you have to wear a sari, loose tights and long tunic top can be sufficient and easily found in any market for less than Rs200 usually.
Most women wear a sari or salwar kameez which is loose fitting pants with a long tunic top and scarf. Although saris are a very different style of clothing, they are great to fit in and are not only available in most shops, they are relatively cheap. They are usually made of cotton to make sure they are cool enough for summer. Salwars are also a great thing to wear, though often people have difficulty with the scarf (a trick is to pin it in place!)
A couple of tips include:
• do not wear the plain coloured, drawstring long skirts that are sold in many places as they are petticoats that are worn under saris.
• avoid wearing a tight sari blouse with pants as this can be misconstrued as a suggestive outfit
• try to avoid wearing clothes for men
Western styled dress is becoming more and more popular with a slight variation on the long pants and shirt combo. Men who choose to try out the traditional dress can be quickly categorised as “hippie” so the basic western wear is best. This means loose fitting cotton shirts matched with cotton pants. If you are purchasing cotton clothing, make sure it is 100% cotton as this will help keep you cool in summer.