“The Indians use linen clothing, as says Nearchus, made from the flax taken from the trees, about which I have already spoken. 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.”
An indo-Western outfit based on salwar kameez, worn by Bhavana Balsavar, and traditional sari and choli, worn by Shubha Khote. (2012)
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. Saris made out of silk are considered the most elegant. Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, is one of India’s fashion capitals. In many rural parts of India, traditional clothing is worn. 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.[Indo-western clothing is the fusion of Western and Subcontinental fashion. 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 rural areas, though is changing in the urban areas. Girls before puberty wear a long skirt (called langa/paawada in Andhra) and a short blouse, called a choli, above it.