Sherwanis are one of the most recognisable and elegant of traditional Indian outfits for men. This type of clothing has been used for many centuries by men in India, including royalty, for formal and important occasions. This garment has been used as a formal occasion dress by grooms during their weddings and by guests attending formal events.
While the style has undergone changes in terms of the length of the jacket and the style of the pants, the structure of the outfit remains the same - a jacket that is worn over an under-shirt and combined with trousers or pants, and possibly also accompanied by a shawl or dupatta.
The jacket is usually worn fitted and features a stand up collar. The length is usually below the waist or a full length that finishes just above the knees. A formal look is usually defined by a longer jacket and a casual look by a shorter jacket - but these are broad guidelines that are not always true. A shorter length jacket can be more versatile, and can even be work over a pair of jeans.
The jacket can be usually elaborately detailed with embroidery around the front placket, collar and the back. The style of embroidery varies by the region of origin of the garment, but can feature thread embroidery or beaded detailing. The collar, placket, sleeves and the back can all be embroidered. Tone-on-tone embroidery can be a good option in case you are looking for an under-stated yet elegant style.
The pants are normally in the style of fitted trousers that are in the same colour as the jacket. The trousers tend to be simple and straight cut, without much embroidery or detailing. Having said that, we have seen some interesting combinations of pants as well in the form of riding pants or even tuxedo style pants, but these are generally not considered as part of a traditional look.
An undershirt is used with the jacket and this is traditionally in a tone that is neutral like white or cream. But in recent times, more elaborate and detailed shirts are also making an appearance. Bolder colours can be used, but for a more traditional and classic look, stick to the basics. You might want to opt for a stand-up collared shirt as compared to the standard button down collar to complement the jacket appropriately.
Wearing a pocket square is an elegant finishing touch for the sherwani and you can get very creative for the pocket square - printed florals, bold splash of colour or even one printed with the family crest - these are all good options! Try to match with the significant others colour scheme for some extra brownie points!
The style of the sherwani has evolved over many years from the very traditional styles in very neutral colours to the more vibrant coloured ones that are seen now. A cream or light coloured sherwani is a must-have for any wardrobe.
Sherwanis are usually made from silks, but in recent times might also be made from linen. Royalty wore this garment made from luxurious silks and featuring golden embroidery all over. Silks are still used, but golden thread embroidery has been substituted by more humble types of threads. The type of threads might no longer be used to demonstrate the wealth of the wearer, and some of modern sherwanis tend to feature too much embroidered detailing in order to demonstrate wealth.
While an elaborately embroidered sherwani has it’s place, a simple style is perhaps most suitable for most wearers and events. We recommend selecting colours based on your style and the event in question. The level of detailing on the garment should also be another consideration. Our view is that less is more in most cases as long as it is tastefully executed.
Feel free to contact us and speak to our team in case you’d like some advice about selecting the perfect sherwani – we are happy to provide our perspective and opinion!