Long, fluidic and regal, Anarkali Salwar Suits are among the most worn traditional garments in India today. What makes them a favourite among women is their flattering silhouette that suits a wide range of body types. Given the sheer range of fabrics and embellishments that they come with, you can pick them up for daily use, formal occasions or even weddings. In fact, owing to their popularity, today, there is an Anarkali suit for every occasion.
With origins dating back to the Mughal era, the Anarkali suit derives its name from the eponymous legendary nautch-girl who supposedly fell in love with the crown prince. An Anarkali suit set includes a long and fluidic top or kurta that is paired with churidar pants and an optional dupatta.
The beauty of an Anarkali kurta lies in its silhouette. It is fashioned in a frock-like way such that it hides any imperfections and accentuates just the right curves to give you an unmatchable grace! The bodice of the Anarkali kurta is typically well-fitted. In ready-to-wear Anarkali suits the kurtas feature tie-ups at the back that can be adjusted to fit you like a dream. On the front, almost every Anarkali kurta will have an embellished yoke. Appliqué embroidered patterns, zardosi work, mirror work, beads and sequins are popular embellishments in Anarkali suits. Very luxurious kurtas can have embellishments over the entire bodice and are predictably heavy as well!
The kurta of an Anarkali Suit can be sleeveless, half or full-sleeved. When it comes to neck designs, there is a whole gamut of choices ranging from high necks, collared necks, plunging V necks, boat necks to U necks.
The unmistakable indication that a salwar suit is of the Anarkali kind is the ‘ghera’ of the kurta. It is nothing but the silhouette of the kurta waist-down – a wide umbrella like skirt that often spans over 50 meters in circumference! The silhouette is achieved with the help of kalis(hence the name kalidar kurta) – long strips of cloth emanating from the fitted bust or waist-line that are stitched together to give the flowy silhouette. The more the number of kalis, the larger the ghera or the circumference. Opulent Anarkali suits that mirror the resplendent grace of the past boast of umpteen gheras. Such Anarkali suits are a favourite with the designers as they provide a rich canvas to show off exquisite craftsmanship. You’ll find that they feature a heavy border at the hemline of the floor-sweeping kurta. While such Anarkali suits are just perfect for weddings and festive occasions, they tend to be difficult to carry on a daily basis. So for day to day wear, one can pick Anarkali suits with kurtas that fall below the knee and well above the ankle.
Anarkali kurtas are paired with only well-fitted churidar pyjamas. No other kind of bottomwear can be worn with an Anarkali kurta given its breezy silhouette. Modern women prefer to replace the churidar pyjama with cotton or lycra leggings, since they are easier to wear and maintain than churidar bottoms, even though purists cry sacrilege. While a dupatta completes the traditional look of an Anarkali suit, it has become an optional accessory in daily-wear Anarkali suits. Ornate dupattas in festive Anarkali suits are perfect to be draped over one shoulder, like the pallu of a saree.
An Anarkali suit is a versatile garment that can be worn for any occasion depending on the kind of suit that you pick. Rich silk, brocade and georgette Anarkali suits adorned with exquisite embellishments can be a great choice for weddings and festive occasions. You could pick elegant and sophisticated Anarkali suits in muted colours and gentler fabrics for semi-formal occasions and dress them up with a string of pearls. What’s more, if you want to throw together a casual look, simply pair a soft cotton Anarkali kurta in block prints with a pair of leggings and breeze through your day! We’d recommend wearing an Anarkali suit with accessories like dainty jhumkas and bangles and completing the look with an Indian clutch or sling bag for a truly traditional appeal.