India has a diverse climate from freezing cold in the Himalayan regions in North India and ladakh to the hot desert of Rajasthan and on to the sultry tropical plains of the south. Thus the dress of the people of India in particular the women vary from region to region and area to area.
Starting from the South the women invariably wear a sari and blouse. A sari is a 5 meter wrap around that is intricately tied around the waist and goes up to the ankles. The blouse can have any number of designs. The sari’s come in a wide range of material and cost. You can have plain cotton saris or embroidered silk saris. Some of the gold embroidered saris can set you back by many thousands of rupees.
The sari not only adds grace to a woman but creates an aura of mystery as it reveals very less and promises a lot more. The sari itself is worn in a number of ways. The tribal women of Orissa and Bihar will not wear a blouse and use the ‘pallu’ to cover the upper body. The breasts are just covered by the Pallu. Women from Maharashtra will wear the sari by dividing the pallu through the legs thus adding allure to the wearer.
The north Indian women have adopted the shalwar kameez (shirt). A shalwar is a form of loose trouser that is tied at the waist with a cord. The kameez can have any number of designs from full sleeves to half and low cut to full coverage. The shalwar kameez gives a woman greater degree of freedom and also accentuates her curves. The kameez come in a variety of designs and make. You can wear cotton or silk and the costly kameezs have gold embroidery and can cost upwards of ten thousand rupees.
The women of Rajasthan wear what is termed the Ghagra and choli. A Ghaghara is a loose skirt that goes up to the ankles and choli is a blouse. Even village women will wear enticing blouses that could be backless. The ghagra choli is extremely beneficial in the hot desert regions. These dresses are much in demand at fashion boutiques as well. .
The women of the east wear a shorter version of a sari and their garb is simpler. Perhaps with frequent floods the need for a shorter piece of sari is important. Women from the tribal east like the Mizos and the Nagas have adopted the western dress of skirts and blouses. This is perhaps due to the Christian missionary influence in this area.
The Moslems in India have adopted all the dresses of the region they reside. But in addition they wear the Hijab or burkha. It may have been banned in Europe but in India it flourishes. ZThus the dresses of Indian women are vast and varied. A dress designer can have a field day in the sub continent. It would a great challenge for him to cater to all these designs and dress forms.