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3 Popular Styles Of Indian Dresses


3 Popular Styles Of Indian Dresses

The country of India is home to one of the most expansive and interesting cultural histories known to us. One needs only to take a single step onto a busy street in Kolkata to see what I mean. But let’s explore this a little further, because when we stop and take a second to examine what we’re seeing on this busy street, in this bustling city, in this bursting country. What we see, put simply: is life! It is a million different people with a million different dreams, all hurtling towards different yet similar goals. It is a thing of profound beauty, that is just aching for one to take a further dive into. In a country with a culture as rich as India’s. You can bet that along with things like music, theater, and cuisine, the world of fashion has developed right alongside India’s other exciting cultural exports. Some of the most beautiful dressmaking on the planet occurs right on this vibrant sub-continent. I was so inspired by these various styles of Indian dress, that I decided to make this guide on some of the most prominent styles of dresses. Because this is something seriously worth celebrating!


The Saree is probably the most traditional version of Indian dresses still being made today. It consists of a three-part construction that is so simple and elegant, it is sure to stun anyone. The saree is made up of a blouse, a skirt, and a third piece which you drape over your inner clothing. The way you drape this final piece of cloth is very important as it can refer to numerous amount of styles. For instance, there exist over 80 variations on the saree with many of those variations being dictated by how one drapes their saree over their blouse. However, that is not to say that Indian dressmaking is stuck in the past. Many sarees now feature a pre-sewn draped piece. Others take inspiration from western styling by incorporating ornamentation into the blouse such as lace, beading, and other materials. This allows the saree to evolve, and maintain its place as one of the first pieces of clothing you think of when you think about dresses.

Lehenga Choli

Next, let’s talk about a lesser-known type of dress. This one is still very welcome on formal occasions and is highly popular in India. It just doesn’t have the same cultural dominance in the eyes of the rest of the world as say the saree. What I’m talking about of curse is the lehenga choli style of dress. Like the saree lehenga choli consists of three main parts. The choli, the dupatta, and the skirt. The choli is your top, it’s what’s worn as your blouse and can be worn in a myriad of different ways. Next is the dupatta, which is the draping piece. This is the piece you drape over your choli and your skirt. This is also something that has seen a ton of variation, with more modern versions of lehenga choli even utilizing a cape instead of a traditional dupatta. Lastly, we have the skirt which is classically a long lengthed skirt that goes down to around one’s ankles. One of the ways fashion has influenced the lehenga choli style of dress is in the length of the skirt. Some choli dresses that are more modern feature smaller skirts that show more of the leg. Others go the opposite way and go for a baggier look. Whichever style you end up choosing you can’t go wrong! 


Now the lancha is a permutation of the lehenga choli, but with some key differences. Firstly a lancha is traditionally worn by older individuals. Primarily women in the second half of middle age. The differences between a lancha and a lehenga choli are in the actual choli itself. You see, the lancha features a longer cut that usually goes over the waist of your skirt. It closes in the front giving the choli a more formal and serious-minded appearance. This is why older women tend to gravitate more toward the lancha. As the lehenga choli is seen as more of a fun and carefree look. Comparatively the lancha is more at home in more serious contexts. 

Indian dressmaking is one of the most profound and beautiful arts in the world of fashion. The skill and craft it takes to create something like a saree, or a lancha is nigh-indefatigable. It is one of if not the most difficult and ornate kinds of dress to develop. I hope that this article gave you more of an appreciation for the art of Indian dressmaking. Hopefully, now, you see it as something vibrant and important, in the same way, that I do. 

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