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The Ultimate Guide to Kerala Dressing Style and Onam Dress Code

Last updated :
March 10, 2024
/

minutes read

Kerala, the southernmost state of India, is known for its unique culture and traditions. One important aspect of Kerala's culture is its traditional dress. Kerala's traditional dress is simple, elegant, and reflects the state's rich cultural heritage. In this article, we will explore the different aspects of Kerala's traditional dress and the dress code for the festival of Onam.

Kerala Traditional Dress: An Overview

Introduction to Kerala's Traditional Dress

Kerala's traditional dress is known for its simplicity and elegance. It consists of the Mundu for men and the Kasavu Sari for women. Both dresses are made of cotton and are comfortable to wear in Kerala's hot and humid climate.

Significance of Kerala's Traditional Dress

Kerala's traditional dress is more than just clothing. It is a symbol of the state's rich cultural heritage and traditions. The dress represents the simplicity and elegance of Kerala's culture.

Kerala

Type of Simple Gown Description
Straight Gown A simple gown with a straight silhouette, usually knee-length or ankle-length. It is often made of cotton or silk and can be plain or embellished with embroidery or prints.
Anarkali Gown Anarkali gowns are long, flared gowns that have a fitted bodice and a flowing skirt. They are usually made of silk or chiffon and are adorned with intricate embroidery or embellishments.
A-line Gown A-line gowns have a fitted bodice and a flared skirt that forms an A-shape. They are versatile and can be worn for both casual and formal occasions. They are often made of cotton or silk and can be plain or embellished.
Maxi Gown Maxi gowns are long, flowing gowns that reach the ankles or floor. They are usually made of flowy fabrics like chiffon or georgette and can be plain or printed. They are comfortable and suitable for both day and evening wear.
Cape Gown Cape gowns have a cape-like overlay attached to the shoulders, giving them a unique and stylish look. They can be plain or embellished and are often made of silk or chiffon.
Jacket Gown Jacket gowns have a fitted bodice and a separate jacket overlay. The jacket can be long or short, and can be plain or embellished. They are often made of silk or brocade and are suitable for formal occasions.

Kerala's traditional dress is an integral part of the state's culture. It is worn on important occasions like weddings, festivals, and cultural events. The dress also plays a role in Kerala's tourism industry, with tourists often buying traditional dresses as souvenirs.

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Evolution of Kerala's Traditional Clothing

History of Kerala's Clothing

Kerala's clothing has a long history that dates back to ancient times. Cotton and silk were the main fabrics used. Men wore the Mundu, while women wore the Sari.

Changes in Kerala's Clothing over Time

Over time, Kerala's clothing has evolved. The Kasavu Sari, the traditional dress for women, has become more elaborate and ornate. The Mundu, the traditional dress for men, has remained relatively unchanged.

Factors Influencing Changes in Kerala's Clothing

Globalization and the influence of media and fashion have played a role in the changes in Kerala's clothing. People have become more aware of different cultures and fashion trends, leading to a fusion of styles.

Traditional Dress for Women in Kerala

Kasavu Sari: The Pride of Kerala

History and Significance of Kasavu Sari

The Kasavu Sari is the traditional dress for women in Kerala. Made of cotton with a gold border, it has been worn for centuries and is an important part of Kerala's culture.

Types of Kasavu Sari

There are several types of Kasavu Sari available, including the Onam Sari, Wedding Sari, and Festival Sari. Each type has its own unique design and pattern.

How to Wear Kasavu Sari

The Kasavu Sari is draped around the waist and over the shoulder, with the pallu (loose end) draped over the shoulder. It is usually worn with a blouse.

Other Traditional Dresses for Women in Kerala

In addition to the Kasavu Sari, there are other traditional dresses for women in Kerala. The Mundum Neriyathum is a two-piece dress consisting of a Mundu (plain white cotton cloth) and a Neriyathu (cloth with a gold border). The Set Mundu is a more elaborate version of the Mundum Neriyathum. The Kerala Christian Wedding Saree is a white Sari with a gold border worn by Christian brides.

Traditional Dress for Men in Kerala

Kerala Mundu: The Pride of Kerala Men

History and Significance of Kerala Mundu

The Mundu is the traditional dress for men in Kerala. It is a plain white cotton cloth worn around the waist and has deep cultural significance. For Onam, men often opt for Onam special shirts that complement the traditional Mundu.

Types of Kerala Mundu

There are several types of Kerala Mundu available, including the Veshti Mundu, Kasavu Mundu, and Pattu Mundu. Each type has its own unique design and pattern.

How to Wear Kerala Mundu

The Kerala Mundu is wrapped around the waist and tucked in at the back. It is usually worn with a shirt.

The Onam dress for men typically involves wearing the Mundu, a traditional white cloth wrapped around the waist, paired with a festive shirt.

Other Traditional Dresses for Men in Kerala

In addition to the Mundu, there are other traditional dresses for men in Kerala. The Melmundu is a two-piece dress consisting of a Mundu and a Mel. The Shirt and Mundu is a more modern version of the traditional Mundu. The Dhoti is a plain white cotton cloth worn around the waist.

Jewelry and Accessories in Kerala's Traditional Dress

Importance of Jewelry in Kerala's Traditional Dress

Jewelry adds to the beauty and elegance of Kerala's traditional dress. Kerala's traditional jewelry is known for its intricate designs and patterns.

Types of Jewelry and Accessories in Kerala

There are several types of jewelry and accessories that are worn with Kerala's traditional dress. These include necklaces, earrings, bracelets, bangles, anklets, toe rings, waistbands, and hair accessories.

Necklaces and Earrings

Kerala's traditional necklaces and earrings are made of gold and are studded with precious stones. They are known for their intricate designs.

Bracelets and Bangles

Kerala's traditional bracelets and bangles are also made of gold. They are worn on the wrists and add to the beauty of the dress.

Anklets and Toe Rings

Kerala's traditional anklets and toe rings are usually made of silver. They are worn on the ankles and toes and add to the beauty of the dress.

Waistbands and Hair Accessories

Kerala's traditional waistbands and hair accessories are made of gold. They are worn around the waist and in the hair, enhancing the overall look.

Footwear in Kerala's Traditional Dress

Importance of Footwear in Kerala's Traditional Dress

Footwear is an important aspect of Kerala's traditional dress, completing the overall look. Kerala's traditional footwear is known for its comfort and simplicity.

Types of Footwear in Kerala

There are several types of footwear that are worn with Kerala's traditional dress, including sandals, slippers, traditional leather footwear, and Kolhapuri chappals.

Sandals and Slippers

Sandals and slippers are the most commonly worn footwear with Kerala's traditional dress. They are comfortable and easy to wear.

Traditional Leather Footwear

Traditional leather footwear, usually made of buffalo leather, is also worn with Kerala's traditional dress. They are known for their durability.

Kolhapuri Chappals

Kolhapuri chappals, made of leather, are also worn with Kerala's traditional dress. They are known for their unique design.

Onam Dress Code: Kerala's Famous Festival

Introduction to Onam Festival

Onam is the most famous festival in Kerala, celebrated in August or September. It is a harvest festival and is marked by enthusiasm and zeal.

Traditional Dress Code during Onam

The traditional Onam attire is a reflection of Kerala's rich cultural heritage, with both men and women donning specific outfits for the festival. During Onam, people often look for the perfect Onam special dress to celebrate the occasion. People in Kerala wear their traditional dress during onam.

The Onam dress code for ladies typically involves wearing the Kasavu Sari, a traditional white sari with a golden border, while men wear the Mundu. The traditional dress adds to the festive atmosphere of Onam.

The Onam festival dress is a significant part of the celebrations, with both locals and tourists donning traditional attire to partake in the festivities.

Significance of Onam Dress Code

The traditional dress code during Onam is an important aspect of the festival. It symbolizes the unity and diversity of Kerala's culture. The Onam celebration dress is all about showcasing Kerala's rich traditions and vibrant culture, with everyone, from children to elders, participating with enthusiasm.

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Modern Adaptations of Kerala's Traditional Dress

Changes in Kerala's Traditional Dress Over Time

Kerala's traditional dress has undergone several changes over time. The Kasavu Sari, the traditional dress for women, has become more elaborate and ornate. The Mundu, the traditional dress for men, has remained relatively unchanged.

Modern Adaptations of Traditional Dress in Kerala

In recent years, there has been a trend to modernize Kerala's traditional dress. The Kasavu Sari and the Mundu are being adapted to suit modern tastes. The fusion of traditional and western clothing creates a unique and modern look. The modern Onam dress often involves a fusion of traditional and contemporary styles, appealing to the younger generation.

Every year, designers come up with an Onam new dress collection, blending traditional motifs with modern designs, catering to the diverse tastes of the populace.

Fusion of Traditional and Modern Dress in Kerala

The fusion of traditional and modern dress is becoming increasingly popular in Kerala. People are experimenting with different styles to create a unique look. This fusion reflects Kerala's openness to new ideas and cultures.

Simple Gown Models in Kerala

Introduction to Simple Gown Models in Kerala

Ah, the elegance of a gown! In Kerala, the land of coconut trees and backwaters, gowns have found a special place in the hearts of fashion enthusiasts. From weddings to parties, the simple gown models are a blend of tradition and modernity that reflects the rich culture of Kerala.

Types of Simple Gown Models in Kerala

Bridal Gowns

Imagine walking down the aisle in a stunning bridal gown, adorned with Kerala's traditional golden embroidery. Kerala's brides are embracing this Western attire with a local twist, making it a popular choice for the big day.

Evening Gowns

Whether it's a starlit dinner by the sea or a glamorous event in Kochi's top hotels, evening gowns in Kerala offer a variety of styles and fabrics. From silk to chiffon, the choices are endless, and the elegance is timeless.

Traditional Gowns

Traditional gowns in Kerala are a fusion of Western designs with Indian fabrics like Kasavu. These gowns are a hit during Onam celebrations and family gatherings.

How to Choose the Right Gown in Kerala

Choosing the right gown is like finding the perfect dance partner. Consider the occasion, your body type, and the season. Don't forget to add a touch of Kerala's tradition with golden accessories!

Where to Buy Gowns in Kerala

From bustling markets in Trivandrum to chic boutiques in Kochi, Kerala offers a plethora of options to find your dream gown. Online platforms like Myntra and local designers are also at your service.

Children's Traditional Dress in Kerala

Introduction to Children's Traditional Dress

Children dressed in traditional attire are the stars of any Kerala festival. Their innocent smiles and colorful dresses are a symbol of purity and tradition.

Types of Children's Traditional Dress in Kerala

Boys' Traditional Attire

Little boys in Mundu and shirts, especially during Vishu, are a sight to behold. It's not just clothing; it's a rite of passage, a step towards embracing their culture.

Girls' Traditional Attire

Little girls dressed in miniature versions of their mothers' Kasavu saris are the epitome of cuteness. These dresses are often passed down through generations, weaving stories of love and tradition.

Significance of Children's Traditional Dress in Kerala

These dresses are more than fabric and thread; they are a connection to roots, a celebration of heritage, and a way to instill cultural values in the young hearts of Kerala.

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Dressing Etiquette in Kerala

Formal Dress Code

In the corporate hubs of Kerala, the formal dress code is a blend of Western suits and traditional Indian wear. It's a dance between modernity and tradition, reflecting the progressive mindset of Keralites.

Casual Dress Code

From the beaches of Kovalam to the streets of Calicut, casual wear in Kerala is all about comfort and style. Don't be surprised to see a mix of jeans, kurtas, and even the traditional Mundu on a casual day out.

Dressing for Religious and Cultural Events

Respecting the diverse religious landscape, dressing in Kerala is a thoughtful process. Modesty and adherence to cultural norms are key, whether visiting the ancient temples or the serene mosques.

Dressing for Festivals and Celebrations

Onam, Christmas, Eid - Kerala is a land of festivals. And each festival has its unique dress code, filled with colors, joy, and a sense of unity.

Sustainability and Ethical Considerations in Kerala's Dressing

Sustainable Fabrics and Practices

Kerala's handloom industry, with its organic cotton and natural dyes, is a beacon of sustainability. Brands like Taanbaan are leading the way in eco-friendly fashion.

Ethical Fashion Brands in Kerala

With a growing awareness of ethical fashion, brands like SeamsFriendly are offering fair trade and ethically sourced clothing, reflecting the conscientious spirit of Kerala.

Impact of Fast Fashion in Kerala

The fast fashion trend has touched Kerala too, but there's a growing movement towards slow and sustainable fashion. The youth are leading the charge, choosing quality over quantity.

Conclusion

Kerala's Dressing Style

From the simplicity of a Mundu to the elegance of a gown, Kerala's dressing style is a symphony of tradition and modernity. It's a reflection of a rich culture that embraces change while honoring its roots.

The Future of Traditional Dress in Kerala

The looms are still weaving, the needles are still embroidering, and the future of traditional dress in Kerala looks bright. It's a legacy that continues to thrive in the hands of skilled artisans and proud Keralites.

Embracing Diversity and Tradition in Kerala's Fashion

Kerala's fashion is a celebration of diversity, a melody of fabrics, and a dance of colors. It's a fashion that tells stories, connects generations, and welcomes everyone with open arms.

Key Takeaways

  • Kerala's traditional dress, consisting of the mundu for men and the kasavu sari for women, is a testament to the state's rich cultural heritage.
  • Jewellery and accessories play a pivotal role in complementing the traditional attire, adding a touch of elegance and grandeur.
  • Modern adaptations of Kerala's traditional dress showcase a blend of age-old traditions with contemporary fashion sensibilities.
  • Dressing etiquette in Kerala is a harmonious blend of modernity and tradition, reflecting the state's progressive yet rooted nature.
  • Onam, Kerala's harvest festival, sees a resurgence of traditional attire, with both locals and tourists donning the state's iconic dresses.

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Shuaib Azam
Shuaib is a Marketing & Growth lead at Hubble. When he isn't working on growth initiatives, Shuaib writes fiction and doodles space monkeys.

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