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According to the Greek historian Arrian: And this flax is either whiter in colour than any other flax, or the people being black make the flax appear whiter. They have a linen frock reaching down halfway between the knee and the ankle, and a garment which is partly thrown round the shoulders and partly rolled round the head. The Indians who are very well-off wear earrings of ivory; for they do not all wear them. Nearchus says that the Indians dye their beards various colours; some that they may appear white as the whitest, others dark blue; others have them red, others purple, and others green.

Those who are of any rank have umbrellas held over them in the summer. They wear shoes of white leather, elaborately worked, and the soles of their shoes are many-coloured and raised high, in order that they may appear taller. Evidence from the 1st century AD shows some cultural exchanges with the Greeks. Indo-Greek influence is seen in the Greco-Buddhist art of the time.

The main items of clothing were the Antariya made of white cotton or muslin, tied to the waist by a sash called Kayabandh and a scarf called the Uttariya used to drape the top half of the body. New trade routes, both overland and overseas, created a cultural exchange with Central Asia and Europe. Romans bought indigo for dyeing and cotton cloth as articles of clothing. Trade with China via the Silk road introduced silk textiles into India. The Chinese had a monopoly in the silk trade and kept its production process a trade secret.

However, this monopoly ended when, according to legend, a Chinese princess smuggled mulberry seeds and silkworms in her headdress when she was sent to marry the king of Khotan present day Xinjiang. Chanakya 's treatise on public administration , the Arthashastra written around 3rd century BC, briefly describes the norms followed in silk weaving.

A variety of weaving techniques were employed in ancient India, many of which survive to the present day. Silk and cotton were woven into various designs and motifs, each region developing its distinct style and technique. Famous among these weaving styles were the Jamdani , Kasika vastra of Varanasi , butidar and the Ilkal saree. The Mughals played a vital role in the enhancement of the art, and the paisley and Latifa Buti are fine examples of Mughal influence [11].

Dyeing of clothes in ancient India was practised as an art form. Five primary colours Suddha-varnas were identified and complex colours Misra — varnas were categorised by their many hues. Sensitivity was shown to the most subtlest of shades; the ancient treatise, Vishnudharmottara states five tones of white, namely Ivory , Jasmine , August moon, August clouds after the rain and the conch shell.

Integral to the history of Indian clothing is the Kashmiri shawl. Kashmiri shawl varieties include the Shahtoosh , popularly known as the 'ring shawl' and the pashmina wool shawls, historically called pashm. Textiles of wool finds mention as long back as the Vedic times in association with Kashmir; the Rig Veda refers to the Valley of Sindh as being abundant in sheep, [ citation needed ] [b] and the god Pushan has been addressed as the 'weaver of garments', [15] which evolved into the term pashm for the wool of the area.

Woolen shawls have been mentioned in Afghan texts of the 3rd century BC, but reference to the Kashmir work is done in the 16th century AD. The sultan of Kashmir, Zain-ul-Abidin is generally credited with the founding of the industry. The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea mentions mallow cloth, muslins and coarse cottons.

Trade with the Arabs who were middlemen in the spice trade between India and Europe brought Indian textiles into Europe, where it was favored by royalty in the 17th—18th century. To counter this problem, bullion was sent to India to trade for the textiles, a major portion of which were subsequently traded for spices in other trade posts, which then were traded along with the remaining textiles in London.

Printed Indian calicos , chintz , muslins and patterned silk flooded the English market and in time the designs were copied onto imitation prints by English textile manufacturers, reducing the dependence on India. The British rule in India and the subsequent oppression following the Bengal Partition sparked a nationwide Swadeshi movement. One of the integral aims of the movement was to attain self-sufficiency, and to promote Indian goods while boycotting British goods in the market.

Khadi and its products were encouraged by the nationalist leaders over British goods, while also being seen as a means to empower the rural artisans. In India, women's clothing varies widely and is closely associated with the local culture , religion and climate.

Traditional Indian clothing for women in the north and east are saris worn with choli tops; a long skirt called a lehenga or pavada worn with choli and a dupatta scarf to create an ensemble called a gagra choli ; or salwar kameez suits, while many south Indian women traditionally wear sari and children wear pattu langa. Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay, is one of India's fashion capitals. Women wear a sari, a long sheet of colourful cloth, draped over a simple or fancy blouse.

Little girls wear a pavada. Both are often patterned. Bindi is a part of women's make-up. Other clothing includes the churidar , gamucha , kurti and kurta , and sherwani. The traditional style of clothing in India varies with male or female distinctions. This is still followed in the rural areas, though is changing in the urban areas.

A saree or sari [23] [24] is a female garment in the Indian subcontinent. These are usually more dressy with a lot of embellishments such as mirrors or embroidery and may be worn on special occasions.

Women in the armed forces, when wearing a sari uniform, don a half-sleeve shirt tucked in at the waist. Teenage girls wear half-sarees, a three piece set consisting of a langa, a choli and a stole wrapped over it like a saree.

Women usually wear full sarees. Indian wedding saris are typically red or pink, a tradition that goes back to India's pre-modern history. Saris are usually known with different names in different places. In Kerala , white saris with golden border, are known as kavanis and are worn on special occasions.

A simple white sari, worn as a daily wear, is called a mundu. Saris are called pudavai in Tamil Nadu. In Karnataka , saris are called Seere. Mundum Neriyathum is the oldest remnant of the ancient form of the saree which covered only the lower part of the body, a traditional dress of women in Kerala, South India.

It is worn by women of all ages. The bottom portion, draped from the waist downwards is called the Mekhela Assamese: It is in the form of a sarong—very wide cylinder of cloth—that is folded into pleats to fit around the waist and tucked in.

The folds are to the right, as opposed to the pleats in the Nivi style of the saree, which are folded to the left. Strings are never used to tie the mekhela around the waist, though an underskirt with a string is often used.

The top portion of the three-piece dress, called the Sador Assamese: The Sador is tucked in triangular folds. A fitted blouse is worn to cover the breasts. The third piece is called a Riha , which is worn under the Sador.

It is narrow in width. This traditional dress of the Assamese women are very famous for their exclusive patterns on the body and the border. Women wear them during important religious and ceremonious occasions of marriage. Riha is worn exactly like a Sador and is used as Orni. Salwar is a generic description of the lower garment incorporating the Punjabi salwar, Sindhi suthan, Dogri pajamma also called suthan and the Kashmiri suthan.

The salwar kameez is the traditional wear of women in Punjab , Haryana and Himachal Pradesh and is called the Punjabi suit which is most common in the northwestern part of India Punjab region. The Punjabi suit also includes the "churidaar" and "kurta" ensemble which is also popular in Southern India where it is known as the "churidaar". The salwar kameez has become the most popular dress for females. It consists of loose trousers the salwar narrow at the ankles, topped by a tunic top the kameez.

The material for the dupatta usually depends upon that of the suit, and is generally of cotton, georgette , silk, chiffon among others. Many actresses wear the salwar kameez in Bollywood movies. The suthan, similar to the salwar is common in Sindh where it is worn with the cholo [34] and Kashmir where it is worn with the Phiran.

The patiala salwar is an exaggeratedly wide version of the salwar, its loose pleats stitched together at the bottom. Churidaar is a variation on the salwar, loose above the knees and tightly fitted to the calf below. While the salwar is baggy and caught in at the ankle, the churidar fits below the knees with horizontal gathers near the ankles.

The anarkali suit is made up of a long, frock-style top and features a slim fitted bottom. The anarkali is an extremely desirable style that is adorned by women located in Northern India, Pakistan and The Middle East. The anarkali suit varies in many different lengths and embroideries including floor length anarkali styles. Many women will also opt for heavier embroidered anarkali suits on wedding functions and events. Indian women wear anarkali suits on various other occasions as well such as traditional festivals, casual lunch, anniversary celebrations etc.

The kameez of the anarkali can be sleevelesss or with sleeves ranging from cap- to wrist-length. It is a combination of lehenga , a tight choli and an odhani. A lehenga is a form of a long skirt which is pleated.

It is usually embroidered or has a thick border at the bottom. A choli is a blouse shell garment, which is cut to fit to the body and has short sleeves and a low neck. Different styles of ghagra cholis are worn by the women, ranging from a simple cotton lehenga choli as a daily wear, a traditional ghagra with mirrors embellished usually worn during navratri for the garba dance or a fully embroidered lehenga worn during marriage ceremonies by the bride.

Popular among unmarried women other than salwar kameez are Gagra choli and Langa voni. Pattu Pavadai or Langa davani is a traditional dress in south India and Rajasthan, usually worn by teenage and small girls. The pavada is a cone-shaped skirt, usually of silk, that hangs down from the waist to the toes. It normally has a golden border at the bottom.

Girls in south India often wear pattu pavadai or Langa davani during traditional functions. Girls in Rajasthan wear this dress before marriage and after marriage with sight modification in certain section of society.

This dress is a three-piece garment where the langa or lehanga is the cone shaped long flowing skirt. Additionally, recently pants and shirts have been accepted as traditional Indian dress by the Government of India. Kaupin is unsewn and langota is sewn loincloth worn as underwear in dangal held in akharas especially wrestling , to prevent hernias and hydrocele. It is mandatory for Sikhs to wear kacchera. Dhoti is the national dress of India. A dhoti is from four to six feet long white or colour strip of cotton.

This traditional attire is mainly worn by men in villages. In India men also wear long, white sarong like sheets of cloth known as Mundu. It's called dhotar in Marathi. Over the dhoti, men wear shirts. A Lungi , also known as sarong , is a traditional garment of India. A Mundu is a lungi, except that it is always white.

It is usually tucked in when the person is working, in fields or workshops, and left open usually as a mark of respect, in worship places or when the person is around dignitaries. Lungis, generally, are of two types: The open lungi is a plain sheet of cotton or silk, whereas the stitched one has both of its open ends stitched together to form a tube like structure.

Though mostly worn by men, elderly women also prefer lungi to other garments owing to its good aeration. The length is usually just below the knees and the jacket ends just below the knee. The jacket has a Nehru collar , [47] which is a collar that stands up. Churidars are trousers that are loose around the hips and thighs, but are tight and gathered around the ankle.

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