Menswear preserving the traditions of India

Fashion classics from the past


April 19, 2017

/ By / New Delhi

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Indian history has had men clad in fancy and heavily embellished attires and also the most cool and comfortable of apparels. Distinct from world fashion, these traditional clothing for men have always been a part of the Indian culture and continue to be so.



With an asymmetrical opening, knotted at the top by colourful threads or fastened by buttons, intricate prints all over, kadhai or embroidery done on some, the angrakha is a lightweight upper garment. Traditionally worn in the western Indian states of Rajasthan and Gujarat, its designing and construction is suited for hot and humid climates. Usually made of cotton, it is a slightly loose-fitted garment and can be paired with any of the traditional Indian pants or even with trousers or jeans for a more Indo-western look. Its variants include the knee-length angrakha and the kamari angrakha or waist-length, frock styled pattern. Often designed using the tie-and-dye bandhani technique,  elaborately embellished versions of the garment are worn on special occasions or festivals. A variant of the garment is the ensemble of kediyu and kafni pajama worn during garba and dandiya dances. It is believed that the garment was a court outfit in ancient times and also gave birth to the bandhgala, which is another of its variants. Rehashed variants of it are now curated by designers  for their labels.



A regal clothing inspired from the courts of the Mughals, sherwani used to be a dress of the royals and the nobles. A sign of their wealth and prosperity, sherwanis usually would be heavily embellished, at times with real gems. Much admired by many, gradually they made their way into wardrobes irrespective of any social standing. A knee-length and closely-fitted garment, sherwani is worn over a kurta, a lightweight traditional garment also worn solely. Mostly designed of silk in order to stick to its regal appearance, sherwanis are now designed in cotton, brocade and jacquard to cater to the modern needs. Often adorned by a groom in many cultures hailing from the north of India, sherwanis are most commonly cream and deep red and green in colour. The garment goes very well with any traditional Indian lower.



Popularly worn by men across different cultures in India, kurta-pyjama is a comfy, easy-to-wear, lightweight ensemble comprising of a knee-length upper garment and a trouser to go with it. Silk or cotton are the most popular fabrics of choice and it is constructed with no seams when it comes to creativity or design and style innovations. Simply plain or crafted with intricate embroidery work such as the chikankari, kurtas are fondly worn by men and boys of all ages. Traditional kurtas are also teamed with jeans.



A popular regular wear in the north Indian state of Punjab, pathani is a variant of the kurta-pyjama but unlike the latter’s proper fitting, this one is a rather loosely-stitched garment. Customised for heavily built men, it is without a proper silhouette, has deep pockets, a big collar and a long frame for buttons just below. A pair of jutis is what men cover their feet with mostly when adorning a pathani.



A daily wear for men in rural India, a dhoti is an unstitched garment which is artfully draped around one’s waist in order to be worn. Usually plain white in colour, it is intended to cater to a simple lifestyle. It is known by different names in different languages like mundu in Malayalam, dhotar in Marathi, panche in Kannada, to name a few. The dhoti is worn almost all over India but the manner in which it is draped may differ. Stitched versions of the dhoti are now available, taking care of the ones who find it a hassle to wear it authentically.

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