The dhoti is a traditional men’s wear attire in India and is worn in many states in across the country. Such is the popularity of this garment, which many states have come up with their own names for it, such as Laacha in Punjab, Mardaani in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, Dhotar in Maharashtra and Mundu in Kerala. Although it is often confused with another similar piece of men’s clothing found in India i.e. the Lungi, it is completely different in its draping style.
The word Dhoti originates from the Sanskrit word Dhauta and is worn by men across the Indian sub-continent, usually below a kurta. The Dhoti is a single, 5 yard long piece of cloth that can be made using either silk or cotton. This gives the wearer the freedom to wear it throughout the year. Usually found in either white or off-white colors, variants of the Dhoti found in South India often have a zari border that make the garment grand and well-suited for formal occasions. The styles of draping the dhoti differ from state to state although largely, there are two styles i.e. pant style or skirt style. The pant style is achieved by tucking the pleats of the dhoti at the back. The dhoti is considered to be a symbol of respect and honor, which is why it should not be folded and should at all times be longer than knee-length.
The color and embellishments of the dhoti that are available today have been largely influenced by global trends. Many grooms are now opting to wear the dhoti below an ornate jacket or kurta. The level of global influence is such, that the dhoti pants have been adopted into the women’s wardrobe as well. Dhoti pants for women are classified as innovative Indo-Western attire and can be paired with kurtas as well as t-shirts, spaghetti tops and other designer blouses.