The Indian market for men’s attire has seen a great surge over the past couple of decades. Gone are the days when men had very few choices for clothing and that too in typically the same two, three colours. With a bollywood icon like Ranveer Singh adorning a floral print Angarakha for his mehndi ceremony, many grooms have started to think out of the box regarding their wedding outfit choices. Moreover, not only is the Indian style of clothing acceptable to the Indian groom, a lot of Indian grooms take inspiration from the Western cultures for their wedding outfit choices. With this we come to the few main categories of Wedding Attires that are being seen to become more and more popular. The upper garments of most attires for men can be mixed and matched with different lower garments. Thus we will discuss the variations of both :
Sherwani and lower garment variants
Dhotis and upper garment variants
Kurta and lower garment variants
These attires have so many variations and styles that saying that there are only a certain fixed types of Indian Wedding attire for men would be an understatement. The variations are influenced by different regional cultures within India and sometimes also present as a form of Indo-Western version. Let's take a look at these in great detail.
Similar to the Western frock coat, or the Lithunian zupan, Sherwani came into India and other South Asian countries around the 18th and 19th centuries. Originally a form of attire worn among the Muslim aristrocracy in the British India, Sherwani found its true form as a combination and renewal of the Persian cape i.e. Balaba or Chapkan, which then took the form of an Angrakha, and finally emerged as the Sherwani with closed buttons down the front, following suit of European Fashion. Originally, more commonly worn by the Mughal nobility and royalty in India, this form of dressing became common among the masses as a traditional occasional wear. It is in fact the national dress of the people of Pakistan. Due to its Muslim ancestory, though the attire was more popular among Muslim men, over time it became a common outfit for weddings among Indian men.
The Sherwani in India, has multiple variations Though these resemble the basic shape of the Sherwani, they have variation in size, length and girth. But depending on culture, while the Sherwani is paired with a churidar or pajama in India, in Pakistan it is paired with a shalwar, which has now become popular in India as well.
A Hindu variation of the Sherwani, more common among Indian men, Achkan is actually shorter in length than the sherwani, i.e. it is a knee length jacket. Worn on both formal and informal occasions, the Achkan is made in many different fabrics and usually features traditional embroideries made of gota and badla. A formal wear more prevalent in the winter season, the Achkan is commonly worn by the people of Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Hyderabad. The latest evolved version of the Achkan is the Nehru Jacket. The basic difference between an Achkan and a Sherwani apart from its length, is the way that the two attires open. While the Sherwani is open in the front, an Achkan typically has a side opening that is tied with strings. Due to this it is also known as Bagal Bandi. While the traditional Sherwani functions more like an outer coat, the Achkan is worn with a sash known as the patka, dora or kamarband that wraps around the waist to keep the entire costume in place. Usually the achkan and the typical sherwani are worn with churidars. a
An Angrakha is an upper body garment that usually has asymmetrical openings in the front region. It usually reaches upto the knees and is secured using strings. While the cut of the Angrakha style remains the same, its style and length vary from one region to another in India. Etymologically, an Angrakha means a body- protector. The various forms of Angrakhas found in different parts of India are:
Jama from Gujarat has an asymmetrical opening, with the skirt region flaring out to cover the hips.
Kediyu from Gujarat is usually long sleeved, pleated at the chest, and reaches the waist. In some designs it may reach upto the length of the knee. This is usually made in Bandhani print design that is the native of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Bandia from Rajasthan, made up of sanganer prints is worn above the waist, and is fastened with tapes over chest or shoulders. It has long and narrow sleeves.
Mirajai from Bihar, similar yet modified version of the Jama is an under jacket with long loose sleeves and open cuffs.
Other variations of the Angrakha style sherwani include Kamari from Gujarat and Rajasthan, Anga or Peshwaj from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal, Kaalidar from Uttarakhand, Angerkho from Sindh and Chamba from Himachal.
Since the Angrakha highlights the upper body physique of a man, most fit men prefer to wear this style.
Fitted closely near the chest, this style of sherwani has a flared bottom hem that ends just above the knee. The designs of the chipkan style are derived from the Mughal era and thus give an impression of royalty. The Chipkan style can be teamed with royal elegant looking jewellery to give it a regal feel.
Also known as the bandhgala suit, it originated in the 19th century. This look usually is accompanied by a trouser and even a vest. The Angrakha is seen to be the predecessor of the Jodhpuri. Jodhpuris are available in various fabrics such as wool, velvet, jute and linen. The material of the Jodhpuri is lined at the collar and at the buttons with extensive embroidery. A Jodhpuri has the option of being a two piece or a three piece dress. Created originally, for the Maharaja of Jodhpur, the attire typically comprises of a thick coat with a closed neck, reaching till the knees, to be worn over a shirt or a kurta that is usually not visible and a pair of matching trouser that are inspired by the fit of a churidar. This is sometimes teamed with a dupatta or a stole. The close fitting cut and the use of thick fabrics around the chest region, give an attractive appeal to the physique of the wearer. The Jodhpuris that are made as groom’s attire have intricate embroidery and extensive embellishments all over the outfit, with designs that are woven into the fabric of the attire. This outfit is made regal, further by incorporating materials such as silk and brocade. Jodhpuris come in many forms of decorations such as zari, zardosi, cut dana, ek taar, resham, crystal, beads work and so on. The fabric may be woven with motifs of trees, birds and flowers.
Originally the Anarkali style was popular as a type of suit, in the Mughal empire, that emerged due to the fashion trend followed by a courtesan named Anarkali. This is now adopted as a type of Sherwani, also known as Manarkali. Just like a sherwani it is a long over coat that reaches upto the knees or even longer, but unlike the straight fit of the regular sherwani, this has the flared shape of the anarkali suit. Fitted at the chest, right upto the waist and the open up in girth to make a flared flowy gown like coat, this style of sherwani has become popular since Ranveer Singh wore his Angrakha Anarkali at his pre-wedding function. Usually paired well with a slim fitted churidar, the Anarkali style is being chosen by the men who don't believe in the rigidity of the gender.
Though usually Sherwani’s are traditionally paired with churidars, the new trends have started pairing sherwanis with pants, pajamas, shalwars, dhoti pants and regular dhotis as well.
Only second to sherwanis in its versatility, Dhotis are a form of attire that is worn in all parts of India, in some form or the other. The styles, shapes, prints available for an ordinary garment like dhoti, is what makes it a special form of attire for Indian grooms.Usually made of a rectangular piece of white cloth, which is 4 metres or more in length, dhotis are one of the most comfortable garments in India. It is a type of sarong that is wrapped around one’s legs, where the lower part is pulled and tucked into the waist from the back. Depending on occasion the dhoti can be paired with a Sherwani, kurta, or a jacket.There are mainly two types of dhotis, namely ektangi (one legged), or duitangi (two legged).
Similar to the regular dhoti, it has a regular pleated end towards the left side and is worn by Bengali men. These days readymade dhotis have become more popular, as men rarely wear dhotis on a daily basis. The waist of the dhoti is thus made up of elastic, to prevent it from falling down. Bengali grooms usually pair the Kochano with a khadi silk or a Panjabi kurta, with heavy embroidery work or self pattern.
A Maharashtrian variation of the Dhoti, this garment is secured by making five tucks on each side, and then the loose ends are put in the back. Usually worn in the colours of saffron, cream or white, many Maharashtrians wear this dhoti both in celebrations and everyday life. This style of dhoti was popularised by the Marathi royals and Peshwas of the golden age. Ranveer Singh can be spotted wearing the Dhotar in Bajirao Mastani.
This is a dhoti style that is common among the men of Punjab. It somewhat resembles the look of a south Indian Lungi. Usually worn by Diljeet Dosanjh , this style of dhoti has been popularised all across India. The Chadra style has 5 to 6 pleats at the centre, in the front and the two sides of the cloth are then tucked into the drape with sides of the waist. The Chadra is usually paired with a long kurta and a pug among the Punjabi men.
Usually worn by the men of the Vaishnava culture, in this drape, one end of the dhoti is pulled behind the legs, folded into pleats and tucked into the waist at the back. The other end of the dhoti is similarly pleated in the front and tucked at the front of the waist. Then the front pleats are picked up and further tucked in upside down to create an asymmetric fall which makes the border or the dhoti fall at the front and centre of the attire. Though more popular among the priests of the Vaishnava cult, Indian grooms can also drape this dhoti for their wedding function.
This dhoti belongs to the region of Rajasthan. In this style of dhoti, one end of the dhoti is asymmetrically pleated and tucked into the front of the dhoti at the waist, while the other end of the dhoti is simple pulled behind the legs and tucked into the waist on the side of the dhoti. Then the pleated part is further pulled behind the legs and tucked in through the legs at the backside of the waist to create a pleated fall in the back side centre. Due to the multiple tucks, this dhoti does not untie easily and can be worn for long hours.
This style of dhoti originates from the state of Karnataka. Usually white in colour with golden borders, the two central ends of the dhoti are crossed over and tucked over one another on the waist. Then one end of the dhoti is pleated neatly and pulled from under the legs, all the way to the back and tucked into the waist. Similarly the other end of the dhoti is neatly pleated and tucked into the centre of the waist in the front. Then the bottom end of the front pleat is further pleated upwards and tucked into the already existing front pleat, so that the border of the dhoti falls at the centre in front of the pleats.
This is the traditional dhoti of the Telugu land, i.e.e Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Similar to the Kacche Panche, the central ends of the two sides of the dhoti are overlapped and tucked over one another, followed by which the outer end of the dhoti is pulled back from between the legs and tucked into the centre of the waist at the back. The back end of the other side is pulled from between the legs, towards the front and tucked into the waist. The leftover end of the other side is gracefully pleated into multiple pleats in the front and tucked in the front at the centre. Then the pleats tucked in the centre are picked up from a little below the waist region and pulled up and tucked on the left side corner of the waist to let the pleats open and fall gracefully in the front, like a tilted fan.
Also known as the Mundu, this dhoti drape belongs to Tamil Nadu. In this drape, one end of the dhoti is folded into half , inwards, and the other end of the dhoti is overlapped across the waist, keeping the folded end at the edge. Once both the edges are tucked in, the entire waist area is folded and tucked twice, to secure the upper end of the dhoti. To make it more comfortable and easy to walk, the men then pick up the drape and further fold it into half and tuck it below their waist to create an illusion of a half dhoti.
Once you know the type of dhoti drape you want to wear, you can team it up with different upper body garments. A dhoti can be worn with multiple things, such as a shirt, and a Nehru jacket; a kurta in any design, that compliments your dhoti pattern and colour; a silk shirt, or a regular shirt. Men with fit bodies can also choose to wear the dhoti by itself, or pair it with a matching stole. A dhoti can also be worn with a traditional shawl that matches the design of the dhoti. For an even more regal look you can pair the dhoti with a sherwani. You can further pair the dhoti with a short kurta or an asymmetrical kurta. For a more funky look, you can team the dhoti with a leather or denim jacket. You can even wear a shirt topped with a blazer along with the dhoti.
Another versatile attire for the Dulha is the Kurta, that can be teamed with so many different lower garments depending on the occasion. Kurtas also come in many designs and each design has a different look to it.
There are two types of short kurtas, one that is longer than a shirt, but shorter than a full length kurta, and other that reaches upto your waist. Short kurtas are a good option for pre wedding functions, as they have a sense of ease and casualty mixed with a pinch of tradition.These kurtas come in different embroidery works such as Chikankari, Zardozi, Aari, Sheesha, Kantha, Banjara, Kashmiri, Toda, Gota, Phulkari, Rajasthani Patch work, Kashidakari, Banni/ Heer Bharat, Chamba Rumal, Karchobi and Kasuti. Further there is no dearth of options when it comes to prints. While different handicraft works in India used to be more common for the women’s wear, many designers have now started incorporating these prints into men’s wear, particularly kurtas, to give them a traditional fun feel. These include Ajrakh , Bagh , Badhani, Buti, Dabu, Batik, Ikkat, Kalamkarii, Khari, Leheriya, Paisley, Patola, Pochampally Ikkat, Sanganer, Temple, Warli, Pichwai and Mural. Men these days can opt for a combination of prints and embroideries to make their kurtas fit for any pre wedding or wedding function. Further these kurtas can be styled with jackets or vests.
Long Kurtas these days have tons of designs to choose from. These include kurtas that have bandh gala, or kurtas that that have collars, asymmetrical kurtas, Manarkali kurtas, Kurtas that have a flowy front that hangs loose, kurtas with different designs such as the Pathani , Kaftan, Frontslit and Trail cut.
Asymmetrical kurtas are very popular these days. They feature a high low hemline or asymmetric cuts that make the silhouette unique.
Pathani kurta or the Pathani suit is a Muslim style of kurta dress, similar to he salwar kameez. It comprises three pieces: a long tunic, a salwar and a vest. This is also popular in India as the Khan suit or the Kabul suit. You may have seen Shahrukh Khan wearing this look in his movie Raees.
Kaftan is a kind of long tunic , with flowy material, usually open in the front, like a coat, with long sleeves and a length upto the ankles. Popularised by the Arab traders in India, the Kaftan style is popular both among men and women. Kaftan is also viewed as a symbol of royalty.
Front slit kurtas, as the name suggests, possess a slit in the front and center of the kurta that reaches from the bottom hem of the kurta upto the waist. Front slit kurtas may have some form of fabric lining attached inside the slit, or it also gives the option of wearing a longer kurta or a shirt in a contrasting combination inside the kurta, making it appear like a lighter version of the sherwani.
A Trail cut is similar to the asymmetric kurtas in that one of the hems is different from the other, but basically in a trail cut, as the name implies, the trail of the kurta is cut diagonally. This type of kurta may also have buttons from the neck down till the point of the trail cut.
While the long kurta has so many varieties in terms of the design it offers, it also has a large variety in the materials that may be used to make them. Materials that are popular for wedding attires include silk, soft silk, tussar silk, cotto silk, organza and satin silk.
Further the long kurtas too can be teamed up with nehru jackets and vests.
Even more versatility can be introduced to a long and short kurta attire by teaming up with different lowers like, pajamas, churidars, dhoti pants, harem pants, dhotis, salwars and slim fit trousers.
A lot of men either feel uncomfortable in traditional Indian attire, or are more attracted to the Western wedding attire, that is the suit. The suit too has a lot of varieties, and over the ages, the wedding suit has seen a lot of evolution.
The most formal kind of suit, this is generally seen in movies, being worn by men for elite formal events. The quintessential evening tail consists of a black tailcoat, worn open, as it fits the body well, a black pair of trousers, white shirt with a detachable collar, a bow tie, a marcella waistcoat and leather shoes. The shape of the tailcoat’s waistline, copies the wearer’s waistline. But the coat’s front and waistcoat end shortly below the waist line There is no room for much creativity as this is a very peculiar kind of elite wear that requires its own do’s and don’ts.
Tuxedo is another extremely elegant form of attire for the grooms. Usually worn for black tie events, a tuxedo can make your wedding look exceedingly superior.A tuxedo differs from a regular suit due to its satin lapel. Proper dinner jackets usually have a shawl lapel or a peak lapel. Tuxedos are usually to be worn in the shades of black or dark blue. Due to them being an after dark formal attire, they are preferred to be worn in colors that look good once the sun is down. Tuxedos should be paired with shirts that have the most formal collars, i.e. the wingtip or the spread collar. It is good to opt for French cuffs, and modest but stylish cufflinks. The material of the bow tie must match the lapel and can be made from the different silk materials such a silk satin, knit silk or silk twill. The inner jacket is usually teamed with a cumerband or a low cut waist coat that covers the waist band.
If you are planning for a casual laid back wedding, you can opt for a two piece. This can include, just a jacket, shirt and trousers, or just a waistcoat, shirt and trousers. This is a good option for men with slim body types, where they can pair a slim fit pair of pants with a blazer or a casual jacket. For this the groom can experiment with colors and print depending on the theme of the wedding. This outfit is perfect for a beach wedding, or a destination wedding. In Fact you can also opt for just a shirt with suspenders, a bow and a pair of trousers for the contemporary chic look. You can also pair this with a hat for the day's wedding look.
With 4 to 6 buttons, this look is better for tall and slender men. These are usually worn with a long tie, but some people may opt to go for a bow tie as well. To quench your taste for adventure, you can pick pastel shades for this type of suit.
Depending on your body type you can pick a single or double breasted business suit, with two or three buttons and a waistcoat. You can team this up with a dressy shirt and a patterned tie. Gray, Navy, black, steel and brown are the shades that will provide the level of sophistication required to carry out the groom’s look in a business suit. Pairing this with a beautiful pair of cufflinks and loafers, will give you a dapper look.
For a shorter groom it is advisable to avoid long jackets, excess fabric, high buttoned looks and pants with more breaks. Make sure that you get the suit tailored to your fit and get rid of excess fabric. Keep the length of the shirts upto the height of your wrists. Keep the lapel sleek.
Various accessories can also be incorporated with your wedding suit. These include flowers, pocket squares, tie pins, cufflinks and brooches to add a bit of glamour and bling to your attire. You can opt for various prints such as checks, floral prints, geometric designs, plaid, windowpane and stripes. You can make your casual dinner jackets pop out with the help of embroidery, or even traditional Indian motifs and designs.
At this point, when it comes to the wedding attire for the Indian groom, sky's the limit, as more and more men are breaking the stereotypes of colours, prints, styles and fabrics that are deemed acceptable for the groom and seen to be symbolic of ‘machismo’.