The Kurti or Kurta is an outfit that has extended beyond the Indian borders, and has evolved down the ages to suit the fluctuating demands of the fashion forward world. The Salwar-Kurti-Dupatta get-up is comprised of a long top, generally of knee-length, paired with Salwar or Churidar and Dupatta.
Origin and History
Since its creation in ancient times, the kurta has been one of the customary attires for men and women living in countries like India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and even Sri Lanka. Initially, this Indian outfit was a form of clothing specific to men of these countries, but later it became a routine attire for women, for which it has its own feminine phrase known as Kurti. Looking back at the early 19th Century, the Kurta gained recognition as several scholars, artists and poets were famous for wearing this style of clothing. Unlike the various styles and forms found today, then Indian kurti back then was typically very simple with barely any intricate designs. The most common fabric used to make it was Cotton, followed by Silk, which was only used to make Kurtas for special occasions, or for people who were wealthy and with higher social standing.
In addition to that, the hippie movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s also gave the kurtis vast popularity as people wore these loose and comfortable pieces to reflect their laid back and blithe attitude.
The intriguing fact about the Kurti is that it was not confines to any particular state or region, unlike other dress styles that have a fixed identity; it was a mutual form of attire followed by people living in all states and areas.
Style and Varieties of Kurta
Comfort is the first thought that comes to mind when one thinks of the kurti. The high relaxation factor is what makes the Kurti a form of clothing valued by all. The Kurti is a multipurpose piece of clothing that can be designed in order to adapt to any season or occasion. During the severe Indian summers, Cotton kurtis are in everyone’s ‘to get and wear’ list due to its easy style and comfort level. In a similar way, Woollen kurtas are worn during winters.
Women don a Kurti with a fitted churidar or salwar for a traditional look or paired with jeans for an Indo-western look. Men usually wear a Kurta with Pajama for a traditional look.
With massive creativity and improvement in techniques in the Indian fashion industry, the kurta is now available in various varieties. Nowadays, one can pick kurtis with modern art designs that are different than the typical traditional ones. Originally, a kurti was only worn over an Indian trouser called ‘Pajama’, but these days the younger generation often teams the kurta or kurti with jeans and leggings. Collars, stone work, zari work, and tie dye are some of the most usual designs used for kurtas.
Ladies kurtis now come in gorgeous designs and exquisite embroidery and is designed and stitched by expert artisans of India. Every kurti is designed with utmost detail and is meant to compliment the female body.
A Silk kurti with heavy embroidery is a great pick for a wedding or for a party occasion, in which one can showcase Indian ethnicity in an elusive, yet distinctive way. Alternatively, Cotton or Khadi are perfect for office or daily wear.
A kurti looks beautiful if paired with Silver or chunky Gold jewellery. Long tear drop earrings or heavy Silver bracelets add the extra charm to a Kurta and make it look sophisticated and distinguished.
Kurtas have become a trendy form of clothing not only in India, but in countries all around the world like U.S., U.K., France, Italy and the Middle East. From the younger to the older generations, the kurta has created a noticeable place for itself in everyone’s hearts for its comfort and style. It’s adaptability with traditional as well as blending looks has made it a true global fashion choice.
Interesting Facts and Comparisons
• Kurtis designed for the Summer season generally use Chikan embroidery.
• Originally, Kurtas did not have a collar which is in contrast to today’s style and modernism.
• Majority of Indian politicians since historic times have donned on plain white kurtas which have been their conventional style statement.
• Buttons used while making a kurta are typically wooden or plastic.
• Kurta means a ‘collarless shirt’ in the Persian language.