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Indian Skirts and Shirts

Indian Skirt and Top A skirt is a clothing that is worn below the waist and which covers all or part of the wearer's legs. A shirt is a garment worn to cover the upper part of one's body. Although traditionally a shirt is more specifically a garment with a collar, sleeves with cuffs, and a full vertical opening with buttons. This is known as a "button-down" shirt or dress shirt. However, with the passage of time many types of shirts as well as skirts have been invented. Some of these skirts and shirts or tops are inventions from India. Indians have adopted these western dresses to suit to their culture and traditions.

History of Skirts

Skirts are an age old clothing tradition not only for India but for other countries of Asia too apart from western countries. Men and women both had been wearing one or the other form of leg dress such as the lungi, kanga and sarong in countries like China, Thailand, Malaysia and other parts of South Asia and Southeast Asia. In India too, women have been using lehengas which hang down from waistline till ankles. Beginning in1915, western skirts were long enough to touch the ground. The fashionable skirts became short in 1920s and then long again in 1930s. The cycle of skirts becoming longer and shorter kept on going till it became shortest of all during the 1960s. However, the Indian skirts have always favored the trends of being lengthy with a few exceptions in mid 1900s when the Bollywood actors brought the trend of short skirts. However, the common women of India never liked to wear skirts that were shorter than the knee length.

History of Shirts

Historically, a skirt was accompanied by a blouse. Initially, it was a simple blouse with a plain skirt and was mainly liked by the office going women in western countries. Then came the lingerie blouse in the 1900s and 1910s which were heavily embellished with lace and embroidery. Then came the more worked upon blouses with knit tops, and other feminine details like ruffles, a tie or a soft bow at the neck, or embroidered decorations. In the Indian context, A choli, which is a midriff-baring blouse was worn in India and the surrounding countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, etc. The choli has a tight fitting that hugs the upper body and also has short sleeves and a low neck. The Indian ladies shirts or kurties are the refined versions of these cholis that are worn usually with lehengas and sarees. The choli is usually cropped, allowing exposure of the navel where as shirts have a length that either reaches the waistline or below that to cover the upper portion of the skirt.

Basic Types of Skirts

The shapes and cuts of Indian skirts are not very different from western skirts. These basic types of skirts include
  • Straight skirt- also called a pencil skirt, it hangs straight from the hips, is fitted from the waist to the hips through darts or a yoke. It may have some pleats for ease of walking.
  • Full skirt- It has fullness gathered into the waistband
  • Short skirt- It is a skirt having hemline above the knee.
  • Bell-shaped skirt- When worn, it looks like a bell- narrower at the upper portion and wider below.
  • A-line skirt- It has a slight flare at the ankles and looks like the shape of a capital letter A
  • Pleated skirt- It has fullness which is reduced to fit the waist with the help of regular pleats. These pleats or folds can be stitched flat to hip-level or free-hanging.
  • Circular skirt- It is like a kali ghagra, cut in sections to make one or more circles with a hole for the waist. This makes the skirt very full but it also hangs smoothly from the waist without darts, pleats, or gathers.

Types of Indian Skirts

Although, the Indian skirts are also cut and sewn in the shapes as mentioned as basic types, there are certain skirts that can be called typical Indian skirts.

Ethnic Ladies Long Skirts

Jaipuri Bandhej SkirtWomen of India love to wear long skirts that remind of the ethnic lehengas. These skirts are either place specific like Jaipuri skirts from the ethnic city of Jaipur, Rajasthan or culture specific like Gypsy/Banjara Skirts related to the nomadic tribes of Gypsies and Banjaras. More decorated types of these skirts are also used as party wear.

Wrap-around Skirt

Skirts that are not stitched from one side and are wrapped and secured around the waistline- the wrap around skirts- are enormously famous among the Indian women. These skirts are mostly used as casual wear.

Ladies Crinkled Skirts

Crinkled skirts are very famous for the rough looks. Women who want to be casual and trendy both at same time use these skirts that have a crumpled look and need no ironing before wearing.

Printed Skirts

Indian women is a big fan of prints on clothing. Whether it is printed sarees or printed skirts, they are liked by all. Indian printed skirts have all kinds of prints on them- geometrical, block prints, ornamental designs and a whole lot of other prints.

Embroidered Skirts

Embroidery and long skirts seem to have been made for each other in India. From simple running stitch kantha embroidery to more specific Lucknow' chikan embroidery and lavish zari embroidery- all can be found on the skirts meant for daily as well as special wear.

Ladies Denim Skirts

Although denim is more familiar in the family of jeans, Indian skirts have borrowed the comfort and style of denim by adapting the denim skirts according to Indian orientation. The long denim skirts are liked most as office wear but some embroidered denim skirts can also be seen in informal gatherings.

Types of Indian Ladies Shirts

As can be made out from the history of shirts in India, it is quite clear that skirts here are worn mostly with Kurtas or short kurtis apart from ladies tops and T-shirts. Indian Ladies Kurti

Indian Ladies Kurtis/Short Kurtas

Indian Ladies KurtiKurtis are the Indian innovation for skirts and also for jeans and trousers. They are also worn with salwars and churidars by the Indian women. Short kurtis are knee length kurtas or a little above that. Sometimes they are short enough to end at the waistline from where the skirt hangs below.

Indian Ladies Tops/T-Shirts

Trendy tops and T shirts are most liked by the young women of India. There are limitless varieties of these tops in the market in all kinds of fabrics and designs. Indian skirts go well with brightly colored tops, though neutral and dull shades are also liked by the women for their daily wear.

Skirts and Shirts by Fabric

Indian skirts and shirts can also be classified on the basis of fabrics used to make them

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Leading Fashion Designers for Indian Skirts and Tops

Tarun Tahiliani
Ranna Gill
Ritu Kumar
J J Valaya
Neeta Lulla

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