Sorry for the delay in getting out Part 2 for my Indian Fashion tutorial! I have been having some technical difficulties with posting the pics. Here goes:
In Part 1, I reviewed the Sari. Today, I’ll be talking about: suits, lenghas, and kurtis.
By suit, I’m not talking about a man’s 3-piece suit, but the Indian version. Like saris, suits are made from various fabrics and can range from casual to so- blinged-out-I-need-my-sunglasses. There are several variations of the suit, but the following two are the most common:
1. Salwar Kameez
The salwar kameez is the archetypal Punjabi outfit. The salwar kameez reportedly originated in Iran, and it was introduced to the Indian subcontinent during the Mughal Empire. Before then, I’m guessing Indian women ran around in saris. Men must have been pretty disappointed by the salwar kameez: no more exposed bellies and backs!
Though the salwar kameez is considered typically Punjabi, it’s worn in regions throughout India. Interestingly, during my travels in south India, salwar kameezes were marketed as “Punjabi suits”, though us Punjabis just call them suits.
Anyway, the salwar kameez is comfortable and can be worn casually or dressed up with lots of embroidery and bling.
Here’s an example of a typical salwar kameez:
The main components of the salwar kameez are:
Baggy pants that are tied be drawstring.
The top that falls anywhere from your mid-thigh to mid-calf. Kameez lengths are often dictated by trend. For example, about 5-7 years ago, kameezes falling at mid-thigh were in style. Longer kameezes, falling at or above the knee, are common now. A knee length kameez is usually the safest bet; anything shorter or longer can look outdated if it’s not trendy at the moment.
The shawl that you wear across your neck, over your arms and around your back (like in the picture above), or on your head if you’re in the temple. You can also sport it o your head 24/7, but then you’d look like a Punjabi grandmother:
- Omg. How cute. One day I’ll look like that, just not right now. I’m not ready to give up my teeth.(Pic from http://www.desiledger.com)
Some more examples of salwar kameezes:
2. Churidaar Kameez
The churidaar kameez is similar to the salwar kameez (it has a kameez and dupatta/chunni). The difference is in the pants: a churidaar is the Indian version of the skinny pant. The churidaar is more stylish right now and is frequently worn by young girls and younger adult women. It’s predominant on the Indian runways. I scoured the runway shows online for a salwar kameez, but I wasn’t able to find any!
Like the salwar kameez, the churidaar can be worn casually or to a fancy/upscale event. Again, it just depends on the embroidery. Here are some awesome examples of churidaars from Lakme Fashion Week held in Mumbai in March.
- L-R: Payal Singhal design; Rocky S design; Rocky S design. All photos from http://www.vogue.in. Photo credit: Manav Manglani
B. Lengha choli
Lengha cholis (I call them lenghas) also have 3 parts: blouse (choli), long skirt (lengha), and a dupatta. Lenghas were also apparently brought to the Indian subcontinent during the Mughal Empire.
Lenghas are commonly worn to formal events, such as parties, weddings, or religious festivals. They are not part of daily wear. I rarely wear lenghas and will usually wear a suit or sari to parties.
There are variations of lenghas, depending on the length of the blouse and cut of the lengha itself. Here are some examples:
- Full blouse with an A-line lengha (Rocky S design. Pic from http://www.vogue.in; photo credit: Vinod Kumar)
- Short blouse with another A-line lengha (Rocky S design. Pic from http://www.vogue.in. Photo credit: Vinod Kumar)
- Short velvet blouse with a fish-cut lengha (Shennai Couture design. Pic from South Asian Bride Magazine Spring 2010 [online version]
I will blog more about lenghas in a future post. I am planning on custom designing my reception lengha, and so I’ve got ideas and pics to share with you!
Kurtis are basically tunics that can be casual or glam. If you’re not South-Asian, kurtis are the easiest cross-cultural option. You can pair a kurti with leggings or dress pants, some Indian-style jewelry, a dupatta/chunni, and voila! You’ve got yourself an Indian outfit. That very same kurti could be paired with jeans, sans jewelry and dupatta/chunni, and you’ve got a nice casual outfit for work or dinner.
Below are some examples of simpler kurtis that could carry you into your brown and not-s0-brown worlds:
And for your visual pleasure, pics of some not-so-typical suits that I am loving:
- Menswear-inspired. Hot!
- Somewhat unconventional. And, yes, all the Aunties would stare at me and whisper loudly in front of my face. I can’t help it–I am so attracted to this outfit. (Payal Singhal design. Pic from http://www.vogue.in. Photo credit: Manav Manglani)
- Hotness. I would rock this without hesitation.