Navigating the world of Indian garments can be quite intimidating. There’s a wide range of Indian styles appropriate to wear, and they're not all called sarees! Here’s a list of the different types, and when they’re most appropriate.
What is a Lengha?
A lengha (pronounced leng-ah) is typically a 3-piece outfit composed of:
- Skirt (lengha)
- Cropped blouse (choli)
- Scarf (dupatta)
The lengha has a similar look to a sari because of the draped fabric but is much easier to wear. (And dance in!)
Embellished and elegant, lenghas are delightfully universal. They can be worn at weddings, engagements, sangeets, or receptions. Whether you're the bride or a guest — a lengha will make any mom proud.
How to wear a lengha:
What is an Anarkali?
An Anarkali (pronounced uh-naar-kuh-lee) is a combination of:
- Long flowing top (kurta)
- Leggings or Pants (churidaar)
- Scarf (dupatta)
Because they’re so versatile and low-maintenance, an Anarkali is a good choice no matter the weather or occasion.
Legend has it that Anarkali suits originated back in the Mughal Era. These suits are named after Anarkali (which means pomegranate blossom), a famous courtesan of the Great Emperor Akbar’s court.
How to wear an anarkali:
What is a saree?
The most traditional Indian garment, a saree (pronounced sah-ree), consists of three pieces:
- Petticoat skirt
- Cropped blouse
- Six-yard fabric
The saree itself is pleated, wrapped, and elegantly draped across your shoulder. With dozens of different ways to style it, sarees can look different depending on their region of origin — or even the type of function you’re attending.
The saree can be an heirloom passed down through generations, or a purely functional garment worn every day. It’s seen on streets and runways and has influenced fashion designers across the world.
What is a sharara suit?
A Sharara suit has a pair of wide-leg, flowy pants that are distinctive to this piece. It consists of three parts:
- Wide leg pants
- A blouse (varying in length)
- A dupatta or vest
The Sharara outfit is a fun and playful option. It is best for a Sangeet, Mehndi, or Wedding event.
What is a kaftan?
While a kaftan is not traditionally South Asian in origin, it has been adopted as an appropriate dress for Indian events. A kaftan is traditionally an oversized floor-length blouse that is embellished with details. It would be most appropriate for a Sangeet, Mehndi, or Wedding event.
Traditions of formality and colors vary by family and region of India. If a dress has more embroidery, it is usually considered to be a fancier dress. Bright colors are usually encouraged as a sign of prosperity. To compare some do’s and don'ts based on events, read our Indian Dress Guide.
Do you need style advice on picking the perfect dress? The stylists at LUKH are great at helping choose dresses that are appropriate for any Indian wedding occasion, and it’s completely free! Request a consultation.