Dhoti Pants !

‘The National Attire of the deep south’, said a friend from Obama land nonchalantly nestling a glass of beer, ‘is wraparounds’ !

Well. He couldn’t be faulted to the full distance. ‘Well, yes, sort of. But no. Don’t call it wrap around’ was a response that quite quite get past his left ear lobe. The pitchers of beer were at work.

Lets set the record straight.

The dhoti ( called ‘Veshti’ ) is the sort of thing that gives a certain impeccable identity to the average man on the South Indian street.

A pointed mention to all North Indian friends here ( and as an average tamil from the deep south will define, ‘north India’ means ‘north of Chennai’ ), the dhoti is principally a different garment from the ‘Lungi ‘

The ‘Lungi’ is akin to pajama wear. Dotted, coloured, checks, stripes etc. Worn to bed. Worn at home. Period.

Multitudes of authentic dhoti wearers have cringed as they enter weddings and such other social events in the ‘North’ only to be complimented with ‘thats a nice lungi’ ! Well, to give it some perspective, imagine going to a wedding in a Armani bespoke suit, to hear compliments : ‘thats a nice pajama’ !

The Dhoti is regal apparel. ( Except seeing ‘dhotis folded at the knee or thereabouts and bristling with striped knee length underwear as seen in tamil movies). Its supposed to give the average male some spirit in his step. Its airy, lose and fastened at the hip by ingenious folding of the garment.

Modern city bred males however require belts and such else as insurance against wardrobe malfunction.

Any visit down south, gives an opportunity to wear the dhoti, brave the heat and walk about with this sense of new found freedom ! At least the proverbial ‘pajama question’ that would reach the ear, when the same is done in any other part of the country, is absent.

It is another matter though, that the dhoti is not part of accepted corporate attire.

Quite obviously seeing this in a big city mall in Mumbai created some flutter in the heart. Like the flutter actors and actresses are shown to have when they find true love, or the brother that they were separated from in the village fair. A combination of a ‘Dhoti’ and a ‘pant’ seemed to be a super deal.

Only to find in a short while later that a ‘Dhoti Pant’ is women’s wear. Some thing that loosely balloons from the hit only to taper at the feet. And could make the wearer look like she is floating on a helium balloon across the road. To a casual bystander.

More authentic explanation is in this link here.

What particularly catches the eye is this statement from a fashion designer : “To get the funky look, a body hugging T-shirt and dhoti pants would make a great combo. To complete the look, illustrative danglers and funky belts would look great.”

Illustrative danglers and funky belts for ‘completion of look’ is an awesome amount of elastic stretch to the simple elegant dhoti !!

Whatsay ?

23 thoughts on “Dhoti Pants !

  1. sujata says:

    I love the classical mundu with its pristine white and the gold border, Its just so perfect for the climate thats prevalent in south India..but dhoti pants hmm and a matching tight tee saying ‘YO!! I have arrived!” should make it big..

  2. I wonder how long this dhotipants euphoria will last . (Incidentally, its a rip-off at 799/-; my daughter got a great pair for 150/-). Looks nice, on her (the operative words being, “on her”)and feels like its ideal for this years terrible summer.

    Just waiting for the time they take inspiration from the nine yard saree, and design a great outfit…though I wont be terribly surprised if it appears as a mens wear item 🙂

    You never know. In the meanwhile I guess marathons have been run in dhotis ?

  3. Insignia says:

    Recycling is the order, take the dhoti, add some extra zing and a couple of accessories and you are a trend setter 🙂

  4. amreekandesi says:

    This was very educational. Now i believe i should be able to distinguish my lungis from dhotis 🙂

  5. Pooh! says:

    Now I am never going to wear my “patiyala pants” again. They were called patiyala pants by the vendors in T-Nagar – call them dhoti pants they lose the charm…

  6. bodaat says:

    i might have to google these dhoti pants! i’ve never heard of them. 🙂

  7. No picture of the traditional dhoti, Kavi? I’m disappointed!

    Never seen these dhoti-pants, though- of course I may not recognise them if I do…:)

  8. Aparna says:

    Looks like another male bastion has fallen, now women wear dhotis too.
    As far as fashion goes, I think I’ll keep quite on this one. Dhoti pants with body hugging T shirt and illustrative danglers are definitely not for me. But when Chidambaram enters the Parliament in his mundu(or veshti?)I can not help getting impressed. Of course he doesn’t wear a body hugging T shirt, thank god for small mercies.

  9. Neha says:

    oh I know how angry one gets when you call dhoti a lungi! my grand father always wore a dhoti..you will see old Gujaratis especially the ones staying in saurashtra and kuch side..

    dhoti pants were in trend (dunno about the present situation) a few years back..I find those quite comfortable to look at; though never tried them 🙂

  10. Swatantra says:

    Quite interesting!!

  11. Smitha says:

    That was very comprehensive 🙂 I guess I can forward your post to anybody who has questions about dhotis and lungis 🙂

    As for the dhoti pants – that sounds very interesting too 🙂

  12. I’d love to wear something that made me look like I was floating on a helium balloon. Cute post.

  13. LOl…Kavi u seem to hav a done a detailed search on dhotis n lungis!! One thing i should say that when ever u come up with a post its always complete and informative :)!!
    Nice to b back to your blog!!! 🙂
    Nice post!!

  14. Ms.Chitchat says:

    Very interesting post,nice read. Glad to follow u :):)


  15. eeps! When you think of an average Indian women with big hips wearing one of those….

    Yes, Northerners definitely deem a dhoti without ‘kuchis’ (gathers and creases) to be a lungi! There has to be a distinction other than just color!!

  16. Can happen only in India- Dhoti pants indeed

  17. Guria says:

    Erm , I think this is actually the harem pants that the Arab(?) women wore, the women who belonged to the Sheik’s harem? Also remember the TV program I Dream of Jeannie… ‘Dhoti pants’ are probably used to help build our ‘concept’. 😉 😀

  18. Kavi says:

    Sujata : Its called the Mundu in Kerela. And the way in which the malayalee actor catches a corner of his dhoti with a lift of the leg, is indeed the best of action elements that would be visible ! 🙂

    Ugich Konitari : The malls charge for everything. From the airconditioning, to the security guard to the experience. And ofcourse, how do MBAs and their marketing degrees get rewarded if not for such rip offs !?! 😉

    The nine yard saree as mens wear…thats a whole 9 yard ! I must say !

    Insignia : Trend setter ! hmm ! 😉

    Amreekandesi : Educational ! LOL ! Well, if you are able to distinguish then this has been some education indeed ! 😉

    Pooh : Oh..are they the same as the Patialas..? I didnt know, nor can i make a difference.. Dhoti Pants are such a riff raff of a name i thought. You are so right with that..

    Bodaat : Well, i did too ! It was such a revelation ! 🙂

    Manju : Well ! Well.. someday, the picture will come in ! 😉 If you spot a pair of helium balloon powered legs helping a lady cross the road…there you see a dhoti pant ! 😉

    Aparna : Ah ! chiddu and his vesshti..! Thank God yes for those mercies. Wonder what he would look like if he wore a T-shirt with a message et al ! Moaist Home or something like that on a T-shirt with the pristine veshti would be ultimate ! Whatsay ?


    Neha : Your comment really tells me how out of touch i am with modern day fashion. Here i was thinking that these came into being day before yesterday. And you state that these were trending a few years back ! Whao ! What a difference ! Thanks !

    Swatantra : 🙂

    Smitha : You make it sound as though the post was as bad or as good as a wiki entry ! 😉 Well, thank you ! Any think for a breezy airy education !

    Christine : I guess its quite a rage out here ! 🙂

    NR : No..no..no detialed search. I have been wearing these for a while, and ofcourse been asked the pajama question too !

    Welcome back !

    Ms.Chitchat : Thank you Welcome here !

    Roshini : I guess it is some wear… ! Across the country. There are other differences too. Technical differences, which i perhaps cannot articulate effectively ! 🙂

    The Holy Lama : 😀 After all the dhoti came from here..! Right ?

  19. Kavi says:

    Guria : Harem pants ! Phew ! That was some name..suddenly Dhoti pants sounds so pedantic !


  20. radha says:

    Dhoti pants? That seems new. All men ( the old ones) from the South swear by the dhoti. And they come with nice zari,silk or ganga-jamuna border too! Traditional wear is hard to beat. And most young men wear it only at their wedding and as you say, with a belt.

  21. Chriz says:

    i have spent 4 years of my life in kerala.. have worn dhoti pants .. but just now came to know that it is a ladies attire

  22. RGB says:

    For the weather down south, nothing like the dhoti (mundu or veshti). Dhoti pants for women? Next thing we hear, chudi trousers for men…I wouldn’t be surprised! hmm…So much for fashion!
    Loved ur post:)

  23. Shaili says:

    now thts some Gyaan Kavi! Thanks.

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