Monday, August 14, 2006

Clothes Shopping in India

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I have twice (1, 2) made reference to our layover at Heathrow Airport. My husband and I were en route from India, where we visited his family.

While the sari is the dress most commonly associated with India, younger women are opting for the salwar kameez, which allows for greater mobility. A salwar kameez outfit consists of the kameez, a tunic; the salwar, a pair of loose pants (almost like a harem pant); and a dupatta, a long scarf or shawl. Sometimes, a tight-fitting pant called a churidar is substituted for the salwar.

Salwar kameez

More recently, young women in India have taken to wearing a kurta or short kameez over jeans or other western-style pants. As my niece noted, this outfit has become the working woman's uniform.

Salwar kameez are typically sold as an entire outfit; however, department stores in India such as Pantaloons and Westside sell the individual pieces as separates. As I was frustrated in my search for simple cotton kurtas in the U.S., I picked up a couple of kurtas at Westside.

According to my niece, tailors can sew custom kurtas at a nominal price. At the upper end of the price scale is Fabindia, which does ship outside of India.


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