Indo-Western clothing

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Indian actress Yuvika Chaudhary wearing a choli that resembles a sports bra, along with a lehenga. There is no dupatta here.

Indo-Western clothing is the fusion of Western and South Asian fashion.[1]


In the 1960s and 1970s, at the same time as Western fashion was adopting elements of Indian dress, Indian fashion also absorbed elements of Western dress.[2][3] This practice of mutual appropriation continued throughout the 1980s and 1990s, as multiculturalism in fashion design took hold, with Western designers incorporating traditional Indian crafts, textiles and techniques at the same time as Indian designers allowed the West to influence their work.[2] While middle-class Indian women in migrant communities originally tended to favour Western styles for all occasions in the 1960s and 1970s, they gradually began to wear stylish Indian dress for special occasions as a status symbol equivalent to chic Western fashion.[4] One example of a traditionally Indian garment that has been heavily influenced by Western fashion is the kurta suit, a reversal of the established tradition of Western fashion being influenced by Asian design.[3] Geczy noted that an Indian woman wearing traditional clothing might find herself said to be "imitating" Western fashion, and that the boundaries between East and West in fashion were becoming increasingly blurred.[3]

21st century[edit]

Kelly Gale models lingerie while wearing traditional-styled Indian clothing at Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in London, 2014

By the first decade of the 21st century, Western styles were well established as part of Indian fashion, with some professional Indian women favouring Western-style dresses over saris for office wear.[4] Fashionable Indian women might take the traditional shalwar kameez and wear the kameez (tunic) with jeans, or the pants with a Western blouse.[4]

Among the youth, there appears to be an enthusiastic approach to combining traditional clothes with a western touch.[5] With increasing exposure of the Indian subcontinent to the Western world, the merging of women's clothing styles is inevitable. Many Indian and Pakistani women residing in the West still prefer to wear traditional salwar kameez and sarees; however, some women, particularly those of the younger generation, choose Indo-Western clothing.

The clothing of the quintessential Indo-Western ensemble is the trouser suit, which is a short kurta with straight pants and a dupatta. Newer designs often feature sleeveless tops, short dupattas, and pants with slits. New fusion fashions are emerging rapidly, as designers compete to produce designs in tune with current trends.

Additional examples of the fusion that Indo-Western clothing represents include wearing jeans with a choli, salwar or kurta, adding a dupatta to a Western-style outfit, and wearing a lehnga (long skirt) with a tank top or halter top. For men Indian traditional Kurta with sports shoes and scarves.

Popular styles of women's Indo-Western clothing[edit]

  • Indo-Western kurtis are available in various styles and silhouettes, such as A-line, Angrakha, Anarkali, C-cut, trail cut, shirt-style, tail cut, asymmetrical, and so on.
  • Indo-Western evening gowns are one of the most popular choices for women of all ages at festivities and social gatherings.
  • Palazzo pants are a Westernised form of the salwar and similar Indian trousers.
  • Indo-Western tops include Indo-Western styles of kurtis and tunics, various colors, prints, patterns and styles. They may be paired with jeans, leggings, jeggings and various other women's bottom wear.

Popular styles of Men's Indo-western clothing[edit]

  • Indo western Jodhpuri Suit set is the modern version of traditional men's jodhpuri suits and it is an ideal outfit for festivities
  • Indo western Angrakha kurtas are not just available for women, you can find a various version of this clothing for men as well. Ideal for casual family gatherings and small functions.
  • Indo western kurtas with jackets can be paired with various lower body clothing to achieve a different look every time. One can find various colors, shapes, prints and patterns of this style of Indo western clothing.
  • Indo western Achkan looks quite similar to traditional sherwanis but, they are completely different. Good style of achkans could be paired with jeans and other men's bottom wears.

Distinctive elements in Indo-Western fashions[edit]

  • Sleeve length - The traditional salwar has long or short sleeves. An Indo-Western design might forego sleeves altogether, or replace the sleeves with spaghetti straps, resembling the style of a tank top or halter. There are also poncho-styled tops and one-sleeve designs that follow contemporary Western trends.
  • Shirt length - Indo-Western kurtas and salwars tend to be much shorter than those traditionally worn, so that they resemble Western-style blouses.
  • Necklines - Some Indo-Western tops are available with plunging necklines, in contrast to the traditional styling of salwars and kurtas.
  • Color - Traditional salwar and sari include bright and bold colors and patterns. New Indo-Western designs choose lighter and more subtle colors and patterns. The traditional patterns are less in use, and colors like soft pastel colors, and plain patterns with statement jewelry is more in use.

Popular brands of Indo western clothing[edit]

There are various brands popular for manufacturing indo western clothing for men and women. The most recognized brands are Saffron Lane Co, Manyavar, Masaba Gupta, Rahul Mishra, Manish Malhotra, Nicobar and Anju Modi. For a budget friendly option one can shop from Global desi, Missprint, Jaypore, Bunaai, S&F and Utsav Fashion.

Well known wearers of Indo-Western fashion[edit]

A few who are well-known enthusiasts of the hybrid fashion are Indian actress Shilpa Shetty,[5] English actress Dame Judy Dench, Bollywood actresses Aditi Rao Hydari and Sonam Kapoor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Comparative Study of Historical Women clothing In North of India and North of Iran Literature Review
  2. ^ a b Craik, Jennifer (2003). The Face of Fashion: Cultural Studies in Fashion. Routledge. p. 38. ISBN 1134940564.
  3. ^ a b c Geczy, Adam (2013). "Postwar Revivalism and Transorientalism". Fashion and orientalism : dress, textiles and culture from the 17th to the 21st century. London: Bloomsbury. p. 185. ISBN 9781847885999.
  4. ^ a b c Lakha, Salim (2005). "The state globalisation and Indian middle class identity". In Pinches, Michael (ed.). Culture and Privilege in Capitalist Asia. Routledge. pp. 252–277. ISBN 9781134642151.
  5. ^ a b Bollywood Vogue July 8, 2014 Indo-Fusion Look and Bollywood Prapti Bagga Arora

Further reading[edit]