Travelers often ask what to wear in New Delhi. Like the old saying, ‘When in Rome, do what the Romans do’, when in India, wear clothes that are appropriate to the culture and also being aware of New Delhi fashion.
Ancient Indian fashion generally requires no stitching. Clothes are ready to wear the moment it comes out of the loom. Wearing the traditional Indian dhoti, scarf or uttariya and turban can still be seen worn by locals and is still very much a part of Indian fashion.
The changing trends and styles in Delhi have reflected the also changing lifestyle, economy, taste and social psychology of the people living in the metropolitan city. Recent trends are influenced by the different urban cities in the country. Many students, working professionals, homemakers, and men and women of all ages have embraced the change in recent times and are already getting into up to date fashions trends.
The sari remains to be the clothing of choice among many women in New Delhi. It comes in various styles and colors and is not cut or tailored for a particular size, making it a lasting, economical type of clothing. The manner of wearing the sari and color indicates the woman’s status, age, region, occupation and religion. A fitted blouse called choli is the usual accompaniment of a sari which is worn under it. Bollywood has been a great inspiration for the evolution of saris as modern styles continue to be produced.
The salwar-kameez is another popular women’s attire. This is a comfortable kind of clothing worn by women mostly located in the Punjab regions. Kameez are long and loose tunics worn over pajama-like trousers that are tightly drawn at the ankles and waists called salwar. Some however wear a churidar which are trousers with a tighter fit to the hips, thighs and ankles, instead of a salwar. Kurtas, a mandarin-collared tunic, are often worn over trousers as well.
Indian men wear more conventional western clothing compared to women. They are mostly seen wearing shirts and trousers around. Some men from the villages still do wear traditional clothes such as lungis, kurtas, pajamas and dhotis. Just like in women’s clothing, attires are based on religion, status, age and occupation.
Wearing gold as an accessory never goes out of style in Indian fashion because of the belief that metal brings the power to purify anything that it touches. This is why men and women alike wear gold and other metals adorned with precious and semi-precious stones and beads with their clothing. For women, ornaments given to her on her wedding can become her dowry whereas sons are given land and other properties.
Jewelry has been part of Indian fashion for thousands of years. Wearing earrings and having multiple facial piercings are also popular among women. Girls’ earlobes often get pierced before their first birthday. Bangles are believed to be protective bands that guard a woman over their husbands and are worn by women of all ages. Necklaces are very fashionable accessories worn by women of all ages. The mangalasutra is the Indian equivalent to the western culture’s wedding ring which is a particular necklace worn by married women. This necklace can only be taken off when the husband dies.
The New Delhi fashion scene has come a long way from traditional kaftans and saris. Up and coming Indian fashion designers have converged in New Delhi, making it the nation’s fashion capital. Dubbed as the Milan of India, New Delhi has presented creative, luxurious and cutting edge designs for the clothing and apparel industry much to the delight of many fashionistas not only in India but all around the world. Know though that as a traveler, you may be free to wear something decent and comfortable. However, make sure to take part in Indian fashion by knowing what to wear in New Delhi.