IFor both men and women, there are many different Indian clothing styles to choose from. More often than not, women’s fashion gets all the attention, but there is just as much variety and beauty to explore in the world of men’s ethnic fashion. For Indian men, today’s dresses are not that much different than the traditional ones which have been worn for many years. They may have evolved over the years to reflect the changing tastes and preferences of the populace, but their traditional flavor remains intact.
The most popular Indian dress for men is the kurta. This is a type of tunic that generally reaches till the knees and comes with a high collar and full sleeves. The shorter version reaches till the hips and is called a kurti. Both kurtas and kurtis are distinguished by their loose silhouette and straight cut design. This is because it is cut from a single cloth and structured to fall straight, without any tapering. Comfortable and versatile, kurtas are typically preferred for casual wear, though you can find certain varieties for special occasions as well. They can be made from a wide variety of fabrics, including cotton, linen, rayon, polyester and silk. Kurtas are usually paired with pajamas (loose Indian trousers) or men’s wear salwars and churidars. Nowadays, with the advent of fusion fashion, the pairing of kurtas and jeans has also become immensely popular.
A men’s Indian dress that achieved international fame is the sherwani. Though this opulent garment shares certain surface similarities with the kurta, it is in fact a completely different outfit with a distinct structure. It was first conceived as an indo-western fusion outfit for the Maharaja of Jodhpur. He wanted a garment that captured all the glory of Indian designs, while also incorporating the elegance of formal western suits. Sherwanis are long, heavy coats that reach till the knees and button till the neck. They are sometimes worn over kurtas though nowadays men just choose to wear it as is, paired with a complementary churidar, salwar, pajama or dhoti. Typically, sherwanis are made from very thick, heavy and rich fabrics, such as sumptuous brocades, embroidered velvets or woven silks. They are further embroidered and embellished with exquisite Indian techniques like zari, zardosi, resham and ek taar ka kaam, which adds to the magnificence of the outfit.
One of the popular bottom wear garments that the sherwani is frequently paired with is the dhoti. It is also called mundu, dhotar and pancha. This is a formal wear dress that consists of a 4 to 6 feet piece of cloth draped in several different ways around the waist. The way the dhoti is draped will depend on the region; different states have varying drapes. The men use them for their festivals, ceremonies and special occasions. In south India, dhotis are paired with a fine silk shawl called the angavastram. This is the preferred outfit for ceremonies and weddings. Dhotis traditionally were draped by the wearer themselves and came in subtle shades of white, off-white and beige. Nowadays, however, men can purchase the ready-to-wear version of this garment that can be slipped on and fastened in place, just like any pair of trousers. It has the same aesthetic as the traditional dhoti but is much more convenient and easy to wear. There is also a greater range of colors, designs and patterns to choose from in contemporary dhoti collections.
There are many other traditional garments from specific regions of India that have not achieved the same level of national or international fame as the kurta, sherwani and dhoti. These include Paithani suits from north India, chornu and kediyu from Gujarat, lungi from Kerala and so on. Such traditional outfits continue to be worn by men of those regions for traditional ceremonies, festivals and traditions.
Besides these traditional garments, there are also many men’s dressing styles in India, which combine Indian and western aesthetics. For instance, the Nehru jacket is a smart, semi-formal jacket that resembles a western suit but incorporates the traditional bandh gala design, which is so commonly seen in sherwanis and other Indian outfits for men. Similarly, there are many varieties of shirts and suits that incorporate Indian designs, embroidery patterns and motifs.
Styles and Trends of Men’s Dressing Styles in India
The way Indian men dress reflects the glorious textile, embroidery and design heritage of India. High fashion designers are today paying a great deal of attention to the traditional garments and techniques of India. This has further enhanced the appeal of Indian ethnic wear for men of the younger generation. Typically, they are worn with traditional accessories to complete the ensemble. For instance, at weddings, sherwanis are often paired up with turbans (head accessories). Kurtas are often paired up with jeans and mojaris or juttis to create the perfect fusion look.