Indian/Fashion Terms

A-line: Dress or skirt style flaring gently from under arms or waist to bottom of skirt, resembling the letter A. Fitted at top with a flared bottom.
Badla: Flattened gilt wire used in embroidery.
Bandhani (Bandhej): Tie-dyed work.
Bel: Floral creeping vine design in printed and figured saris.
Bel buti: Tiny vine pattern in printed saris.
Bel phool: Large floral vine patterns printed in the saris.
Bindi: Dot, drop. Small spots created in bandhani work without central dark spot.
Boond: Drop. See bindi.
Buta: Large, usually floral or foliate motif created in corners and endpieces of saris. From Persian buteh.
Buti: Small, usually floral motif created as a repeat against a plain ground.
Capri pants: Also known as cropped pants are three quarter length pants sometimes with a short slit on the outside of the leg.
Chikankari: Whitework embroidery from Lucknow.
Choli: Tight fitting tailored blouse worn with lehanga and most modern sarees.
Chunari: To crimp or fold cloth (which happens when tying bandhani knots). Also called Dupatta.
Cutwork: Wrap or weft floats (as the back of the textile) cut away by hand, so that the pattern may appear as if woven in discontinuous supplementary-weft technique (a more time consuming process).
Dupatta: referring to cloth being folded in two when worn. Veil worn with salwas kameez.
Gajji: Approx. one-yard wide satin-weave cloth once popular in Gujarat, now rarely made.
Ghaghra: Full-gathered sewn skirt worn by nomadic and other ethnic groups in western India.
Gota: Ribbon with badla wrap and silk thread weft.
Jamdani: Fine transparent cotton muslin with discontinuous supplementary-weft motifs woven in heavier cotton threads.
Kalamkari: Painted cloth. A special pen (kalam) in used to draw freehand designs in ink or resist medium (e.g. wax, resin).
Kamdani: Embroidery using fine zari often created on fine sheer fabrics.
Kameez: Cut and sewn top traditionally worn by Indian women.
Kantha: Embroidered quilt made from used clothing.
Lehanga: Skirt or lower wrap, can be of many styles.
Laheriya/Lahariya: Waves. Striped tie-dye pattern.
Mothra: Bundle, fist. Double lehariya forming a chequered design.
Muka: Embroidery using heavy metallic threads that are couched onto the ground fabric.
Odhani: Large approx. 2.7 meters (9 feet) half saree worn as veil in western India.
Paisley print/design: A teardrop shaped design in a fancy fabric often used in dresses and ties.
An Oriental print pattern which is shaped like a teardrop rounded at one end with a point at the other - the inside of the teardrop contains many abstract designs.
Resham: Persian derived word for silk.
Salwar: Baggy trouser, usually worn with a kameez, traditionally by Indian women but now by many urban young women. It is wide loose pants with a reinforced cuff and a drawstring usually worn with a long tunic.
Sari / Saree: A lightweight cloth draped so that one end forms a skirt or pajama and the other a head or shoulder covering.  A piece of fabric about 6 yards (5.5 meters) in length and approx. 44" (1.11 meters) in wide, which worn wrapped strategically around the body over a skirt petticoat and a choli. Generally, saree is worn by Indian and south Asian women.
Zardozi: Embroidery using zari both muka and kamdani.
Zari: Gold-wrapped thread, usually a core silk or cotton thread (asara) around which is wound fine, flattened gilded silver wire.

Art Silk: Early name of fabrics made from synthetic fibers, usually rayon. Term still used in India but may now also refer to acrylic or polyester fabric woven to create fine, smooth-surfaced textiles with a silk-like sheen.

Batik: An Indonesian word commonly used in Europe and English-speaking countries to describe resist dyeing where a resist medium (usually molten wax) is applied to a woven cloth by means of special metal tools, brushes or stamps.

Block printing: Printing dyes, mordants or a resist medium (such as gum) onto textile by means of a relief-carved wooden block (a different block for each colour). In India the blocks are usually 23 or 30 centimeters (9 or 12 inches) square in size but now dimensions have been changed/improved.

Brocade: Figured textiles (specially silk type) with the patterning woven in supplementary, usually discontinuous, weft threads. Brocade is a thick heavy fabric into which raised patterns have been woven A heavy exquisite jacquard type fabric with an all-over floral design or raised pattern.

Chiffon: A plain weave, filmy, fine silk crepe woven with the finest silk singles. They are highly twisted with a thread count of about 43 wrap/43 weft per centimeters. The threads are degummed after weaving.

Chiffon: A soft silk that is a plain woven, lightweight and sheer fabric containing highly twisted filaments of yard. The fabric is used for scarves and evening gowns, but can also be made from rayon and other synthetic fibers.

Crepe (also crape): A textile wherein all or some wrap and/or weft threads are given a high twist, in the same or alternating directions. Consequently, they ‘retwist’ onto themselves when not under tension, giving a crimped texture to the finished fabric. Thin crêpe is called crêpe de Chine ("Chinese crêpe").Refers to a crinkly, crimped or grained surface. It is used to describe all kinds of fabrics-wool, cotton, silk, rayon, synthetics and blend. It comes from the French word creper, which means "to crimp or frizz."

Crepe de chine - A fine, lightweight crepe usually made of silk.

Embroidery: Embroidery is the embellishment of fabric, enriching it with a needle and thread. Fancy needlework or trimming consisting of colored yarn, embroidery floss, and soft cotton, silk or metallic thread. Although hand embroidery is still a widely practiced craft, most commercially produced embroidered clothes are made by machine.

Georgette: A fine, transparent plain-weave silk crepe with a lower thread count than chiffon, about 40 weft/40 wrap per centimeter and 60, 70, and 80 and so they are known as 40 gram, 60, 70 and 80 grams georgette. Both wrap and weft threads have a very hard twist, and threads are woven still gummed; the cloth is degummed after weaving. A sheer, lightweight plain-weave fabric with a fine crepe surface. Sometimes silk, sometimes synthetic. Also called crepe georgette or georgette crepe.

Kashmiri (cashmere): A luxury natural fiber found from the soft fleecy undergrowth of the Kashmir goat, found in Tibet, Mongolia, China, Iraq, Iran and India. It is most commonly used in sweaters, shawls, suits, and outerwear for its warmth and softness.

Polyester : A generic term for a category of synthetic fibers that are lightweight, strong, quick drying, and resistant to creases, stretching, abrasion and shrinking. Fabrics made with polyester require minimum care, and maintain their shape.

Poplin: A durable, plain weave fabric similar to broadcloth, but with a heavier rib and heavier weight. Made of silk, cotton, synthetic fibers, wool or blends.

Raw silk: Undegummed silk; where the sericin has not been removed from the filaments.

Silk: Natural fibre produced by silkworms. Originally cultivated by the Chinese about 2500 BC. Many filaments are used to create a single fine thread, which, when woven, creates a thin, lustrous fabric. Known as one of the finest textiles, silk is strong, soft, absorbent, and has a brilliant sheen. It is the only natural fiber to come in a filament form from silkworms.

Satin: is a thick cloth that has a glossy surface and a dull back. It is traditionally made of silk, but can be rayon or polyester.

Sequin: A general category of flat, ornamental disks applied to fabric as decoration. This is also known as 'Spangle'.

Synthetic fibres: Those fibres created from chemicals based on oil or coal residues, which are extruded through tiny dies (spinnerets) to create long continuous filaments. The most well known are nylon, acrylic and polyester.

Tie-dye: Called bandhani in western India. Resist patterning created on an already-woven textile by tying selected sections of cloth with thread, so preventing the dye from entering the tied areas.
Viscose -

A manufactured fiber made of regenerated cellulose. It is soft, absorbent, and drapes well.
Indian Outfits
Saree / Sari Introduction: The sari is the quintessential Indian female garment. Nothing identifies a woman as being Indian so strongly as the sari, although women also wear sarees in many other countries, especially in Nepal and Sri Lanka. Saris come in all shapes and sizes, from textured hand-woven fabrics created in remote mountain areas to sheer luxurious silks, once exclusively royal. Even today after two centuries of disruption caused by colonialism and industrialization, a multiplicity of traditional sarees still exists, created in a wide range of fabrics and designs, reflecting the subcontinent’ great cultural diversity.
“The saree undoubtedly is the most sensuous garment ever. And the best thing about it is that it conceals as much as it reveals."

What the Saree is: The sari is a length of cloth measuring from about 4.5 to 5.5 meters by approx. 110 centimeters (approx. 18 feet by approx. 4 feet), which is draped around the entire body. Most of this fabric is pleated at the waist and then wound around to make a skirt or pair of trousers, with the remaining few yards swept across the upper half of the body, covering at least one shoulder veiling the head. Hand-woven sarees (or ‘handloom’ sarees, as they are known), are highly prized, and most women can still recognize the finer details of good handloom weaving, although for everyday wear the usually less expensive mill-made saris are now commonly worn.
The common materials for a sari are silks, cottons, chiffons, organzas and georgettes, and the common types of saris are Kanjeevaram (a traditional South Indian sari), Paithani (a typical peacock and parrot motif sari from Maharashtra), Banarasi, Bhagalpuri, Orissa Ikkat, Maheshwari, Chanderi, Gujrati Patola, and Jaipuri Leheriya. "I feel that a chiffon, a georgette and a nice Kanjeevaram is a must-have for every woman." The chiffon is appropriate for a kitty party, lunch or dinner at the club or at the race course, or even for shopping. The georgette can be worn for a cocktail or small party, while the Kanjeevaram can be worn at weddings or extremely formal affairs." Saris are beautiful, and it is up to the wearer to bring out the best in them. The styles of wearing a sari vary according to the region. There are about 10 to 15 types of drapes in India. So, you have the Bengali, Gujarati, Coorgi, Malayali and other styles of draping.

The pleasure of wearing a saree: The personal pleasure of draping this unstitched fluid garment over and around the body, adjusting it with little tucks and pulls to suit one's 

INNER END: The inner end-piece is the most essential part of the saree with which the winding starts. It is the first anchor to the body, tied either with a knot around the waist or tucked into the underskirt (petticoat).
PALLAV (outer ornate end): The outer end-piece is known as the Pallav on which the drape ends in sequential winding, and is usually highly embellished with designs and patterns. The Pallav is a woman's veil of modesty or flirtation as need be. 
BORDER: Borders delineate the upper and lower edges and are thereby crucial to the design, drape and function of the saree. The borders mark the contours of a saree's river-like flow, over and around the body, through the pleats and along the curves, till it climbs the shoulder and falls beyond. 
BODY: The body of the saree is the mass that is found between the borders, inner and outer end of the saree; it sculpts itself into a definite form without breaking the link between one voluminous space and the next. 
Other uses of a saree: Possession of a saree will never be waste. The cloth is convertible to any fancy wear like frocks, skirts, churidar-kurta, sarong and the like. The creatively adventurous can use it as a curtain, a tablecloth, pillow covers, etc., to brighten up that colourless.

Blouse: A blouse most commonly refers to a woman's shirt, although the term is also used for some men's military uniform shirts. 
Blouses are often made of cotton or silk cloth and may or may not include a collar and sleeves. They are generally more tailored than simple knit tops, and may contain "feminine" details such as ruffles or embroidered decorations.

Blouses have buttons reversed from that of a man’s shirts. That is, the buttons are normally on the wearer's left-hand and the buttonholes are on the right. The reasons for this are unclear, however. Some suggest this custom was introduced by launderers so they could distinguish between women's and men's shirts, and could thus charge more for women's blouses, supposing women are more gullible and submissive. Another theory purports that the tradition arose in the middle ages when one manner of manifesting wealth was by the number of buttons one wore. Female servants were in charge of buttoning their mistress’s gowns (since the buttons were usually in the back). Tiring of attempting to button the buttons backwards, they started reversing the direction of the buttons, therefore, easing their jobs considerably.
Blouses are often made of cotton / silk or crepe cloth and may or may not include a collar and sleeves. They are generally more tailored than simple knit tops, and may contain "feminine" details such as ruffles or embroidered decorations.
Choli: The pallu of the sari is often made with extra length. This is meant to be cut off and made into a midriff-baring blouse (called a choli in North India). Blouses may be of contrasting colours as well. The sari is draped over the blouse, covering the front and one sleeve completely. The other sleeve is exposed and shows enough of the colour and design of the blouse to create a pleasing effect in combination with the sari (whether matching or contrasting). Many styles are used today, including halter, open backed and closed backed, etc. They can be embellished with embroidery and beadwork to suit personal taste or traditional style. Basically, choli is used as the lehanga’s top (it is shorter than blouse).
History / Introduction of salwar-kameez: The Salwar was first worn by the desert women as a cover to shield their legs from the blistering heat. It was made from coarse cotton and had no aesthetic value whatsoever. It was only during the reign of the Moguls that the concept of anything like a Salwar came about. It was a time to be lavish and clothing became a symbol of social status. The fabric employed to tailor clothes ranged from the finest silks, velvets, chiffons and muslins and it was at this time that lehenga, the sherara and the churidar also took birth. The Salwar came to India with the invasion of the Aryans. They settled in Punjab (India) and the locals adapted the salwar as their traditional dress. It was in Punjab that the concept of the Salwar as we know it today really came about. One only has to look at portraits of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, a fearless Sikh chieftain, to see that the Salwar was popular in the Punjab district. Hence today when you think of the Salwar you automatically think about Punjab and Punjabi culture. As symbols of Punjabi culture the Salwar is only second to bhangra. It is the staple dress of Punjabi women and is worn throughout the year in various fashions from the simple day to day styles to the more elaborate styles reserved for celebrations such as weddings and especially Vaisakhi.

Salwar-kameez is the traditional dress worn by various peoples of south-central Asia. It is also popular among women in India. Some versions are sometimes called a Punjabi suit, after the Indus valley area called the Punjab. The salwar kameez, or salwar suit, consists of a kameez (shirt) and salwar (trousers). Salwar are a sort of loose pyjama-like trousers. The legs are wide at the top, and narrow at the bottom. The legs are pleated or gathered into a waistband. There is a drawstring at the top of the waistband to hold up the salwar. The pants can be wide and baggy, or they can be cut quite narrow, on the bias. In the latter case, they are known as churidar.

The kameez is a long shirt or tunic. The side seams (known as the chaak) are left open below the navel, which gives the wearer greater freedom of movement. The word kameez is derived from the Latin camisia (shirt or tunic), from which it probably made its way into various European languages and also into Arabic, the likely immediate source for kameez. The kameez is usually cut straight and flat; older kameez use traditional cuts; modern kameez are more likely to have European-inspired set-in sleeves. The tailor's taste and skill are usually displayed not in the overall cut, but in the shape of the neckline and the decoration of the kameez.

When women wear the salwar kameez, they usually wear a long scarf or shawl called a dupatta around the head or neck. For women in India, where the salwar kameez is most popular), the Dupatta is useful when the head must be covered, as in front of God or the presence of elders. For other women, the dupatta is simply a stylish accessory that can be worn over one shoulder or draped around the chest and over both shoulders.


Anarkali suits, the latest fashion trend to emerge in the market for traditional Indian attire, are today seen making their presence felt everywhere, right from wedding parties to jargons to everyday wear. Anarkali salwars are back in fashion trend after a long time. Previously, short cotton kurtis with china collars and three fourth sleeves and tight churidar salwars without dupatta were in fashion.

Anarkali style is now a days becoming very popular and in hot fashion trends in India and the USA. Stylish Anarkali salwar suits are popular among most of the NRI women. Although, we should know the history of how this beautiful gorgeous dress was named as Anarkali salwar kameez.  

History of Anarkali salwar kameez:
Anarkali ("pomegranate blossom") was a legendary slave girl from Lahore (Pakistan) during the Mughal period. She was a RajNartika. She was a dancer at the palace of Great Mughal emperor Akbar. She was ordered to be buried alive by Mughal emperor Akbar for having an illicit relationship with Prince Nuruddin Salim later to become Emperor Jahangir. Due to the lack of evidence and sources, the story of Anarkali is widely accepted to be either false or heavily embellished. Nevertheless, her story is cherished by many and has been adapted into literature, art and cinema.
The dance called mujra or mujara was famous that time. Famous dancers at palace of mughal kings dance for entertainment of Mughal kings. So, the dresses were worn by the dancers while mujra dance called as mujra / mujara dresses. Later they got famous by name Anarkali dresses or Anarkali salwar kameez in the remembrance of a great dancer and a passionate lover Anarkali. Anarkali dresses in bollywood fashion

Anarkali style salwar kameez were very popular in bollywood stars. Anarkali dresses worn by popular celebrities became very famous in 1970's to 1990's bollywood fashion trend

Anarkali salwar suits made popular by Madhubala in the song ‘Pyar kiya tho darna kya’ from ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ and Madhuri in the song ‘Aaja Nachle’ from the movie ‘Aaja Nachle’.

In 1970's or 80's bollywood movies, Rekha, Parveen Babi, Jayaprada, Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit, Neelam and then Divya Bharti brought this Anarkali salwar style trend in bollywood fashion. Bottom of this kameez called as skirt was simple plain umbrella pattern and top of kameez say blouse or choli is made up of same shiny shimmery chiffon or china silk materials as of skirt or contrast colored cotton material with embroidery work and neck designs of choli was popular as stand collar or china collar with full sleeves up to wrist and balloon or puffy sleeves at shoulder.
Anarkali salwar suits are perfect party wears look elegant with heavy embroidery to upper part of dress up to west and umbrella bottom seems as stylish saree petticoat called as skirt is either plan or embellished with contrast color strips or some embroidery work such as tiklis, buttis, mirror and so on.

A perfect party wear - Anarkali style!
Salwar Kameezes in Anarkali style designed as a party wear outfit is undoubtedly different in appearance. This party salwar kameez with embroidery looks amazing. Give rich and exclusive look with high quality fabric of skirt and heavy embroidery as zari, zardosi, kundan, sequins, dabka, aari, mirror, beads to designer choli or yoke of kameez.
Stitching Anarkali style salwar kameez punjabi suits
Latest designs of Anarkali style salwar are popular and in fashion trends varying with different prints, materials, embroidery work, different designer sleeves and stylish necks.
Kameez has heavily embellished yoke. The upper portion of kameez, which could be said as choli, is completely embroidered and its bottom is highlighted with beautiful border. These blouses or cholis are stitched with latest fashion and designs of different styles of sleeves and neck patterns. Hem is decorated with beautiful laces. Embroidery on salwar kurta is highly decorated with sequins, stones and beads. Churidar salwar has beautiful patches on bottom. Dupatta in dual shades of any designer Anarkali salwar kameez with beautiful laces on edges looks amazing.

Patiala salwar
Royal legacy
Yes! Our Patiala salwar has come from none other than the Patiala royalty. Neel Kamal Puri, lecturer and author of the novel, The Patiala Quartet, tells thus about the history of this fascinating garment: “Initially, Patiala salwars were stitched only for the senior maharani by two very special tailors Santok Singh and Pritam Singh. The royal ladies had a distinct liking for Patiala salwars made of crepe.”
In 1960’s the ghagras were replaced by Patiala salwars. That explains the heavy gathers at the back.

Now readymade
Patiala salwars are famous all over India. If you are a Punjaban, Patiala salwars are a must have in your wardrobe. For your trousseau you should get at least two stitched.

Some tips on how to carry a Patiala salwar: If you are slim or tall, Patiala salwars will definitely work to your advantage. But do not worry if you are on the heavy side. Just carry your Patiala salwar with a pair of heels and a lot of confidence. That will do the trick.

A Patiala salwar (also called a pattian walee salwar) is a type of female trousers, which has its roots in Patiala City in the Northern region of Punjab state in India. The King of Patiala in earlier times had its Royal dress as Patiala Salwar. The Patiala Salwar has a close resemblance to the pathani Suit, which has similar loose lowers as salwars and long knee length top know as Kameez. Over the decade, the dress now is not worn by men but has classically transformed itself with new cuts and styling into women's Patiala Salwar.
The reason why Patiala dress is preferred by most of the women of punjab and other regions of Northern India is its comfortability and durability in Summers. Since Patiala salwar is very loose and stitched with pleats, it’s a very comfortable outfit to wear. Its distinguishing characteristic is folds of cloth stitched together that meet at the bottom. Patiala salwars require double the length of material to get stitched. The fall of the pleats of the Patiala Salwar is such that it gives a beautiful draping effect.
Patiala salwar with lots of pleats is also referred to as Patiala "Shahi" salwar since it was worn by the shahi (royal) people of Patiala city in state of Punjab