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Find stylish Hindu outfits on the Web for the whole family

By Nilima Srikantha, Nevada, USA

Traditional Hindu clothing has a mystique to it, a flair, a freedom seldom found in conservative Western attire. It expresses a certain spiritual quest for perfection using vibrant colors and dramatic flowing fabrics laced with ornate and intricate embellishments. Up until the advent of the Internet, this was a treasure long held in India that was not easily obtained by people in America or Europe. The clothes were seen in boutiques or on immigrants from India, mostly by Hindu women, who continued to wear the elegant saris of their homeland. Rarely would we see a Hindu man dressed in fashions of the East.

That is all about to change. Western designers began incorporating characteristics of these garments in their fall 2000 collections, causing elite society to become aware of India's dramatic clothing. And, yes, gentlemen's clothing was also shown.

Haute couture designers in India were quick to note the marketing innovation, and to use the Web as a way of exhibiting their glorious fashions (www.fashionindia.net,www.indiafashion.com) including some of India's top designers, like JJ Valaya (www.jjvalaya.com), Ritu Beri, and Rohit Bal. Prices are high at this altitude, as one would expect for superb craftsmanship of elegant clothing.

High fashion menswear is much more difficult to find than clothing for women but not impossible. The ultimate men's clothing website is Diwan Sahib, Traditional Indian Menswear (www.diwansaheb.com). While the site offers several corporate suits of a Western nature, it is largely devoted to attire a Hindu gentleman would wear to formal engagements. Prices seem excellent for the quality of work displayed. You can order safely online; but be prepared to take measurements for correct sizing. This is an especially important feature for American men, who generally require a much larger size than the average Indian size.

Another superior line of clothing is manufactured by Krishna Meta. A woman of great imagination and creativity, Ms. Meta, whose forte is menswear, has devoted time to making the age-old kurta look sharp and fashionable. I was able to find her styles on a site called SaffronStyle (www.saffronstyle.com) which also has links to kurtas done by other well-known designers. SaffronStyle has a retail outlet in California.

Less expensive kurta/pyjama ensembles with a traditional flair can be found atwww.KurtaHouse.comin Massachusetts. These items, too, appear to be quite elegant and well made.

There are many more outstanding sites that carry traditional clothing for the whole family. One of my favorite is Seattle-basedwww.EShakti. com. This Indian Super Store has an extensive collection of reasonably priced clothing for men and women. A close friend of mine who lived in India for several years highly recommends India Silk House (www. indiasilkhouse.com). The owners can make or get almost anything that you would want.

Very few sites I browsed offer children's clothing, though bothwww.indiangarment.comandwww.kurtahouse.comoffer a few traditional clothes for formal occasions. For youth there still remains a need for Indian-style clothes for informal settings, such as for school.

Other Sites to Visit

There were so many more excellent clothing sites that could have been covered. Below are a few well worth checking out:

Punjabi's and exotic Indian shoes:www.emeraldbeachsarongs.com

Traditional clothes for men and women as well as shoes and more:www.ShalinCraft.com

Dressing tips for Indian wedding couples:www.jeevansathi.com/dress1.htm

Choli blouses and petticoats:www.pochampally.com

Paris, France-based store with a "how-to-wrap" a sari page:www.shijucreation.com


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