Indian clothing for women includes the sari and the salwar-kameez, worn with a choli and dupatta. Men wear a dhoti kurta or western clothes. Jewelry is important for women. Traditional clothing is being replaced by western wear for teenagers and children.
Clothing in India is colorful and varied and varies according to region and religion. The basic Indian dress for women consists of a sari, a long unstitched piece of fabric that is wrapped around the waist and then draped over the shoulder. A typical saree can be up to nine yards (about eight meters) long and can be made from a variety of materials, from plain cotton to silk embroidered with metallic gold.
Saris are worn with a tight-fitting blouse called a choli, another staple of Indian attire. Cholis are cut and have a low neck, revealing the navel and upper chest. Since the traditional choli is worn without a bra, many come with padding or a soft, sewn-in bra for support.
The second most common type of Indian clothing for women is the salwar-kameez, a set of baggy loose-fitting trousers and a long shirt or tunic. The traditional salwar-kameez is cut straight, with a simple cut at the side seams to allow for movement. Modern clothing is much less modest than traditional clothing, and kameez are now being made with plunging necklines and deeper side slits, and even in semi-sheer fabrics. Also typical of women’s clothing is the dupatta, a large scarf that is used as a shawl. Dupattas are worn over the salwar-kameez or used to cover the head for religious reasons.
Typical Indian attire for men consists of a dhoti, which is a variation of the sari. Dhotis are wrapped between the legs, tucked in at the waist and worn with a long shirt, called a kurta, on top. The combination is usually known as dhoti kurta and is worn on all formal occasions and settings. In big cities, many professionals wear trousers and shirts when working in the office.
Many Indian teenagers have moved away from traditional Indian clothing and are now wearing jeans or dresses. Children in general, but especially boys, usually wear western clothes.
Jewelery is an important part of Indian clothing. Forehead ornaments, earrings, nose rings, and ankle bracelets are common for all women, while married women also wear toe rings.