Clothing and Fashion in India
All About

The hot climate in most areas of India means people here dress to stay cool and comfortable. The style of clothing might be different in parts of India, but almost all clothing is made from cotton because it is light, durable and easy to care for.

Children usually wear the same style of clothing as we do here in North America, but short pants or dresses help stay cool. In school, most children are required to wear a uniform of some kind.

Asari” remains a popular choice for women. Saris of bright colours and intricate designs are worn by fashionable women all over India. A sari has three parts, a blouse for a top, an underskirt that is usually worn down to the ankle, and a long cloth (up to 8 metres) that is wrapped around the waist and then hung over the shoulders. Saris can be plain cotton or highly colourful and made from expensive materials.

Most women wear a small red spot, called a “bindi” on their foreheads to show they are married. In southern India, the
bindi is more of a fashion statement and worn by women and girls.

In rural villages and small cities, men often wear “dhotis.” A dhoti is a piece of white cotton that is wrapped around the waist and legs, then tied into a knot at the waistband.  There are not buttons or any other way of fastening the dhoti. Usually a long white shirt called a “kurta” is worn over the dhoti.

The English word “pajama” actually came from a kind of loose pants that are also worn by men in place of the dhoti. The word pajama actually means “leg garment” in the Hindi language.

Turbans are worn by some men to protect their heads from the sun. A turban is a long piece of cloth wrapped many times to form a hat. At one time, the long cloth was soaked in water before being wound into the turban. The slowly evaporating water would cool down the wearer during the heat of the day. Turbans are also important in the Sikh and Muslim religions.

In large cities and to work, most men wear western style shirts and pants.

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A bindi is a symbol of wisdom and good fortune for the women wearing the small red spot


Shopping for saris in the market means exploring the wide variety of colours, styles and patterns.


Dhoti continue to be worn by Indian men in many rural areas and smaller cities.