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Introduction of Dupatta

A Dupatta is a long rectangular, scarf-like cloth, worn over the shoulders by the women in India. Generally teemed with the traditional salwaar-kamez, dupatta stands as a symbol of modesty in the Indian society. It is known by various names like Odhni, Chunari, Chunni and even just Unni (called by people of the Gujarati community). Duppata is manufactured in different fabrics, like cotton, silk, georgette, chiffon, and so on. Normally, it is worn keeping in mind the color combination of the salwar-kameez it one is wearing.

There are ample ways you can don the dupatta. It is normally worn across the shoulders and women drape one end of it over their head, when in front of elders, as a sign of respect. Otherwise, when worn over a salwar suit you can wrap it around your neck like a muffler also. Another style of wearing dupatta is to simply let it hang from one side of the shoulder. In the current fashion, it is frequently draped over one shoulder, with the other end balanced in the crook of the other arm.


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Origin and History

The traditional dupatta has been worn in innumerable parts of South Asia since centuries. The people of Vedic India wore three garments – nivil, vasas, and adhivasa. The adhivasa was a garment similar to the dupatta of present times. During the vedic times, the dupatta was worn both by men and women, unlike the present day scenario.

The dupatta with time gradually evolved and went on from being a fabric for practical purposes to something that complimented the overall dressing of a woman such as coordinating suits. The billowing length has been reduced from two and a half metres to around two metres.

At first, the dupatta was used to cover the head and upper body, and was worn with ghagra choli or salwar kameez. The motive was modesty and also a mark of respect towards the family elders. The age old practice of ladies covering their heads while going to a place of worship still exists.


Wearing Dupatta

Since it is worn along with a salwar suit or lehenga or churidar generally, it can be accessorized according to the occasion. A dupatta can on its own add glamor and exquisiteness to an outfit, without the need of too many accessories. Heavily embroidered chunaris can be worn with simple or plain kurtas or cholis. The simple chunaris, however, look even prettier if worn with delicate looking jewelry made out of silver, gold, or bronze. Personalization depends on the color and the fabric of the chunari. The key is to match the chunari according to the fabric and the style of the kurta.

It can be fused with western wear as well as Indian ethnic apparel. It is trendy to team a bright dupatta of a single color to match a kurta with a pair of fitted denim jeans. In contrast, a printed dupatta in darker shades can offset a white chikankari kurta worn either with a churidar or tights that has become popular.


Global Appeal

In the west, the chunari is placed in the same genre as that of a scarf. Women all over the world love wearing Bandhni inspired Chunaris or Cotton woven Chunaris with broad Silk borders. Bright colored designs and motifs are very popular across the globe. Women even wear chunaris with t-shirts and jeans to give their outfits a more Indo- Western appeal. Several fashion designers in India experiment with the chunari styles.


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