For the international women’s day, I wanted to put Indian women in the spotlight! My intention is not to talk about the place of women in India, but my interest lies in their traditional clothing, which greatly contributes, according to me, to the beauty of this country.

There are many traditional garments in India. We find the Lehnga, the Lancha, the Ghagra, the Punjabi… But the best-known is the Saree, traditional garment of the married woman.

During my trip in the South-West of India in December 2016, I noticed that women wore their saree differently according to the place, and I wanted to focus a little more on the subject showing you their diversity and their beauty.

What is a saree?

sareeA saree is a long fabric 6 meters long. It is often made out of polyester, but can also be found in cotton and silk. The married woman often wear a petticoat and a blouse with the saree. They can be of all colours, and women often chose a dominant color for the day.

The different ways to wear a saree

The technique to put the sari depends on the region in India. Here are a few examples.

Bengali styleBengali style

maharashtrian styleMaharashtrian style

rajastan styleRajastan style

We could compare them to some pictures of women wearing a salvar kammez, another traditional womanswear, I have made on the coast of Karnataka.

salvar kameezsalvar kameez clothes

The colour of the saree

As shown above, women dress with very colorful sarees. But there are some special dresscode in India according to the circumstances. For example, if a woman wears a white saree, it is easy to guess she is a widow. In ancient times, after her husband has died, the woman had to wear white for the rest of her life. Nowadays she only has to wear white during recent times after her husband’s death, and later on she can wear colours again.

The colour of a saree also depicts the religion. Hindu and muslim women rarely wear black as it would be a sign of misfortune, and wear white as the colour of death. On the contrary, the chistian religion favours white as a sign of purity, and black as the colour of death.

wedding indiaThe symbolic colour for a wedding in a Hindu religion is vermilion red. At her wedding, the bride wears a vermilion red saree and carries it with ornaments called “Mangalsutra”. When the bride has her vermilion red saree on and the Mangalsutra, this means that she takes the responsibility of being wife of her husband until her death and even beyond. The guests usually wear a heavy bright saree for a marriage ceremony.

Tips for dressing at an indian wedding

I have never attended an Indian wedding, but they promise to be very colourful. After discussing with locals, Indian weddings are sacred in India and respect the traditions, so here are a few tips on clothing if you’re guests at an Indian wedding:

  • Do not let appear a lot of bare skin
  • Don’t dress too “subjectively”
  • Do not wear black of white clothes
  • If you want to blend into the scenery, you can opt for a saree!

Thank you to my ravishing indian models who have accepted to pose for the photo, as well as to everyone who has helped me write this article: Irene, Fania, mum, and especially Ankit 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Lucy xX