A sari or saree is a South Asian female garment that consists of a drape varying from five to nine yards (4.57 metres to 8.23 metres) in length and two to four feet (60 cm to 1.20 m) in breadth that is typically wrapped around the waist, with one end draped over the shoulder, baring the midriff.
The sari is usually worn over a petticoat (called 'parkar' (परकर)in Marathi) or lehenga in the north; pavadai in Tamil, pavada (occasionally langa)in Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu, chaniyo, ghaghra orghagaro in the west; and shaya in eastern India), with a fitted upper garment commonly called a blouse (ravika in the south and choli elsewhere). The blouse has short sleeves and is usually cropped at the midriff. The sari is associated with grace and is widely regarded as a symbol of Indian, Nepalese, Bangladesh, and Sri Lankan cultures.
Lehenga or lehnga or Ghagra or Pavadai in Tamil or Langa in Telugu and Kannada is a form of skirt which is long, embroidered and pleated. It is worn as the bottom portion of a Gagra choli or Langa Voni. It is secured at the waist and leaves the lower back and midriff bare. In North India and Pakistan a lot of embroidery work is done on a lehenga and is popular during the festivals and weddings.
The ancient version of skirt or Ghagri evolved from Bhairnivasani, which in turn evolved from the Antariya when stitched on one side became tabular and was worn gathered together at the waist, and held by a girdle. This was one of the earliest forms of a stitched skirt. It was worn using drawstring or nada.
The ghagri was a narrow skirt six feet long the same length as original antariya. This style can still be seen worn by Jain nuns in India.
In Andhra Pradesh it is called as Langa and part of the dress Langa Voni.
In modern usage, a short kurta is referred to as the kurti. However, traditionally, the kurti refers to waist coats, jackets and blouses which sit above the waist without side slits, and are believed to have descended from the tunic of the Shunga period (2nd century B.C.).
Kurtas worn in the summer months are usually made of thin silk or cotton fabrics; winter season kurtas are made of thicker fabric such as wool or Khadi silk, a thick, coarse, handspun and hand-woven silk that may be mixed with other fibers. A very common fabric for kurta pajama is linen, or linen cotton mix ideal for both summers and winters.
Kurtas are typically fastened with tasseled ties, cloth balls and loops, or buttons. Buttons are often wood or plastic. Kurtas worn on formal occasions might feature decorative metal buttons, which are not sewn to the fabric, but, like cufflinks, are fastened into the cloth when needed. Such buttons can be decorated with jewels, enameling, and other traditional jewelers' techniques.
South Asian tailors command a vast repertoire of methods, traditional and modern, for decorating fabric. It is likely that all of them have been used, at one time or another, to decorate kurtas. However, the most common decoration is embroidery. Many light summer kurtas feature Chikan embroidery, a specialty of Lucknow, around the hems and front opening. This embroidery is typically executed on light, semi-transparent fabric in a matching thread. The effect is ornate but subtle.
In the Punjab region, the kurti is a short cotton waist coat which is buttoned down the front to the waist. In the past, women wore a chain of gold or silver called zanjiri around the buttons. Men wore the zanjiri on the kurta in the Punjab region. Another style of Punjabi kurti is a short version of the anga (robe). The kurti can also be half or full sleeved and hip length with no front or back opening. Men's kurti is called phatui or wastkot in Punjabi. The kurti of South Punjab, Pakistan is referred to as the Saraiki kurti.
Shalwar kameez, also spelled salwar kameez or shalwar Kameez, is a traditional outfit originating in South Asia and is a generic term used to describe different styles of dress. The shalwar kameez can be worn by both men and women, although styles differ by gender. The shalwar (pantaloons/drawers) and the kameez (body shirt) are two garments which have been combined to form the shalwar kameez outfit.
Another style of the shalwar kameez is the Anarkali suit named after the court dancer from Lahore. The Anarkali suit is a timeless style which has become very popular. The Anarkali suit is made up of a long, frock-style top and features a slim fitted bottom. This style of suit links South Asia with the women's Firaq partug (frock and shalwar) of northwestern Pakistan and Afghanistan and to the traditional women's Central Asian clothing of parts of Central Asia. It also links to the Punjab region where the Anarkali suit is similar to the angaand the Peshwaz worn in Jammu.
The traditional shalwar kameez worn in the Punjab region is cut differently to the styles worn in Baluchistan and Afghanistan and is known as a "Punjabi suit" with the kameez being cut straight and flat with side slits (which is a local development as earlier forms of kameez did not have side slits). The shalwar is wide at the top but fits closely to the legs and is gathered at the ankles. The Punjabi shalwar is also cut straight and gathered at the ankles with a loose band reinforced with coarse material. In rural Punjab, the shalwar is still called the suthan which is a different garment that was popular in previous centuries, alongside the churidar and kameez combination (which is still popular). In Britain, South Asian women from the Punjab region have brought the dress to the mainstream, and even high-fashion, appeal. The Punjabi suit is popular in other regions of the subcontinent, such as Mumbai, Sindh and Bangladesh. It is especially popular amongst school girls in India. It is also popular in Afghanistan, where it is called the Punjabi.
The modern Punjabi shalwar kameez is the Patiala salwar which has many folds and originates in the city of Patiala.
This is worn by the Rajasthan females and is long skirts that touch the ankle. These have narrow waist while flare at the base. not like the normal skirts, the fabric at the end of the skirts is not folded but is a wide colored cloth which is called sinjaf that is sewen with an intention to make it strong. Ghagra’s width and no. of pleats is meant to be display the wealth of the wearer. Just like the pagari, this ghagra is available in different colors, prints and styles.
The blouse which is worn with the cholis and ghagras are generally short blouses which are below the bust while the kurtis unlike blouses are short enough reaching the waist.
This odhni is one of the special attire in Rajasthan and is just like duppatta that is ten feet long while is five feet wide. One end of the odhni is conventionally tucked in the ghargra at the waise and the other end is taken over the right shoulder covering the head. The motifs and colors whioch are found in these odhnis display the economic status, occasion and caste. One generally prefers tie and die, mirror work and gota work on the odhnis that have different colors like pink, yellow, red and orange. Like an odhni which is yellow in color will have red motif while at the center shall have a pila. This is said to be gifted by the parents when a girl gives birth to a son. When dressing style of females in Rajasthan is spoken, one can now say that the entire wardrobe has revamped. The women in rural as well as urban areas have changed the dressing style, grabbing the modern clothes. There are assorted variations in the attire of Rajasthani females like new fabrics, accessories, and prints.