Significance of Dupatta in Fashion Trending Among the Women

Significance of Dupatta in Fashion Trending Among the Women

R.S. Balakumar
Associate Professor
Dept of Fashion Design & Arts
Hindustan University, Chennai, India


The dupatta is worn in many regional styles across the Indian subcontinent. Originally, it was worn as a symbol of modesty. While that representation still remains, many today wear it as just a decorative accessory among the teens.

Fig: Dupatta

The dupattā is a shawl traditionally worn by women in the Indian subcontinent. The dupatta is currently used most commonly as part of the women’s shalwar kameez outfit, and worn over the kurta and the gharara.

A dupatta is traditionally worn across both shoulders and around the head. But the dupatta can be worn like a cape around the entire upper torso. The material for the dupatta varies conferring to the suit. There are various methods of wearing dupatta. When not draped over the head in the traditional style, it is usually worn with the middle portion of the dupatta resting on the chest like a garland, with the ends thrown over each shoulder.

When the dupatta is worn with the shalwar-kameez, it is casually allowed to flow down the front and back. In contemporary fashions, the dupatta is habitually draped over one shoulder, and even over just the arms. Another latest trend is the short dupatta, which is more a scarf or a stole, often worn with a kurti and Indo-Western clothing.

Fundamentally, the dupatta is often treated as an accessory in current urban as well as metropolitan fashion.

A dupatta used as a covering for the head and face Dupatta is a long scarf-like cloth usually worn by women in Southern Asia. Universally known as the chunnari, odhni and chunni.

Dupatta is reflected a symbol of modesty and compliments the overall look of a salwar kameez or lehanga choli.

A dupatta is an extremely versatile piece of clothing. It can be worn in a number of ways, with a number of changed garments, in a number of styles. The myriad designs, patterns, colors and decorations are awesome with esteem to the dupatta!

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 2.50 meters to around three meters and the cloth width is 36”respectively.

An assorted range slowly bloomed to showcase the inconceivable fairylike of the dupatta, which at one point of time was only an icon on habitual tradition. The variety in Dupatta comes from a number of things that go into creating one – from the basic materials to the texture of the dupatta to its design – everything adds to the final look of the garment. Some varieties of the dupatta are stated as follows:

1. Khara Dupatta: One of the most majestic and elegant types of dupattas is the khara variety, a six yards long dupatta that is a part of the traditional Hyderabadi (Andhrapradesh) outfit. The brides from Hyderabad wear this dupatta on their marriage is well known customs.

2. Bandhej Dupatta: This is the Rajasthan derivation, the bandhej dupatta is one of the most elegant varieties of the garment. Adorned with dazzling embellishments that are embroidered onto it using the traditional mirror work and cikankari embroidery technique. The Bandhej dupatta is settings the fascinating art of the state of sand dunes and as well as camels.

3. Chiffon Dupatta: Chiffon dupattas are at the heart of the fashion industry nowadays. The demand of dupattas made out of this fabric is extremely high since of the comfort of the fabric and its natural flow.

The thumb rule of wearing a dupatta is that if the dupatta is very heavily decorated it is worn with a simple salwar suit. The tremendously decorated lehenga, for instance, will be embellished with a dupatta with a decorative border.

Dupattas have been embellished with weaving and coloring methods and elements like:-

  1. Mirrors,
  2. Beads,
  3. Zari,
  4. Sequins,
  5. Gold or Silver threads,
  6. Precious and semi-precious stones,
  7. Pearls (both real and faux),
  8. Bandhni,
  9. Chikankari
  10. Kantha stitching
  11. Block printing
  12. Kalamkari
  13. Tie and dye.
  14. Sungudi style

The dupatta can become a style statement simply by the way it is draped. There are several ways prevailing from region to region in which the dupatta is worn with lehenga and choli-

  1. The Gujarati way,
  2. The Bengali style,
  3. The south Indian half sari style,
  4. Looped elegantly around the wrist and then some more.

It is an integral part in the classical dance kathak, (Kerala) where the dupatta made of a sheer material is looped around one shoulder going across the body and knotted at the waist as the traditional costume.

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 attractiveness 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 dupatta can be washed with a mild detergent at home in cold water. For multi-colored ones that a part of heavily embroidered ensembles, dry cleaning is advised. Ironing is to be done indirectly.

The popularity of dupattas can be seen in various shopping centers in Delhi and Bombay. Numerous shops in these metros are focused in selling various forms, designs and prints of dupattas.

Like simple printed cottons and chiffons are available in relatively cheap range of Rs.60/- to Rs.80/-.

More the embroidery work, highly priced will be the dupatta. For example, bridal dupattas and brocade are sold at Rs 500/- and above.

One can have amazing types of dupatta provided one is willing to loosen the purse strings.

The Tangails, Kanthas and Baluchars dupattas from the state of Bengal can be found in range of Rs.700/- to Rs.200/-

whereas bandhini and laharia in silk and cotton range can be bought in region of Rs.100/- to Rs.500/-.

Other favourite dupatta is Benares cut-work with zari and embroidered tili which is available in Rs.500/- and above.

Dupattas can be used for a variety of different occasions. While originally worn as a symbol of modesty, the dupatta is now a stylish accessory that can be worn with a number of outfits, including salwar kameezes, kurtis, ghararas and ghagras. A dupatta is an extremely versatile piece of clothing.

Below are some varieties of dupattas on the basis of fabric:

Chiffon dupattas make great additions to spontaneous outfits daily wear during summer months as they are really lightweight. They are also glowing and rarely have any embroidery work due to the fragileness of the material.

Cotton is a fabric that can be worn throughout the year as it is breathable, light and comfortable. Since the fibres are made from cellulose, dye prints and colour will be relatively stable. Cotton dupattas can hence be used on casual wear or at the official outfit.

Georgette dupattas are denser than chiffon dupattas and can be worn with more dressy suits. These dupattas are usually heavy and worn with simple designs as their opacity covers necklines and patterns.

Net dupattas are frivolous but not as light as chiffon, which is why many net dupattas can be seen with gems and sophisticated embroidery work. This material respects both plain dresses and more dressy ones, and can be worn during the summer.

For a more old-fashioned or magnificent look, silk dupattas are great options. They can be worn over simple outfits or more dressy ones as they often carry heavy embroideries. Like cotton, this natural fabric is very breathable and can be used throughout the year.

Also called velvet odhnis, these dupattas are best worn during colder and winter months as they are thick. The material’s resilience allows it to take the weight of heavy embroidery and gems, while the rich look of the material itself ensures that it promotions any outfit it is matching with suitable.

Dupatta – which was originally a wide strip of fabric designed to cover the wearer’s head and bosom, quickly revealed its potential as the perfect finisher of the attire.

Today, you can find numerous types of dupattas, from heavy embroidery dupatta to cotton silk designer dupatta to chanderi silk fancy dupatta to traditional banarasi dupatta, and lot more.

Dupattas are available in various lengths and widths, from classic two-and-a-half meter lengths that can be draped in different ways to slender stoles and scarves shaped versions. There are dupattas for every mood and occasion if you listen closely to your heart.

The style of the dupatta we admire determines our personality. We must therefore accept that there is an intrinsic link between the dupatta style and the personality of an individual. The dupatta’s draping style has evolved from simple to adorable and amazing. The way you wear or drape the dupatta will give an extra sparkle to the outfit you wear.

A Dupatta is not only a piece of fabric clothing, it is also significant and crucial to the culture of India. A dupatta can literally spruce up your outfit in the blink of an eye which is why it’s an essential wardrobe staple.

It is a custom in India for women to cover head by a dupatta (scarf) while entering a religious place like temple, dargah, church or gurudwara. Men also cover their head by a cap/turban or handkerchief or even put their palm on the head in absence of any piece of cloth to cover the head.

Earlier women used to wear dupatta with the traditional ethnic dresses like the salwar kameez, but nowadays with the growing popularity of western dresses, dupatta is not worn. Will this practice of covering head while entering a religious place wane with the adoption of Duppata.

Types of Dupattas

Phulkari Dupatta
Phulkari dupattas are an accurate representation of the liveliness of Punjab. The highly intricate multi-colored embroidery done on either jute, khadi or georgette fabrics are popular everywhere. From street styles to big designer labels, all have suddenly picked this style up. The best part about these dupattas is that you do not need a set pattern, you can mix and match them. Just keep the outfit simple.

Bandhani/Bandhej Dupatta
Bandhani style dupattas go way back in time, and the technique is known to be as old as the Indus Valley Civilization. These are knotted and dyed dupattas that come in a variety of fabrics. Rajasthan and Gujarat are famous for their authentic bandhani or bandhej dupattas. Bandhani style sarees, dupattas or suits never really go out of style. You can simply wear a bandhani dupatta with a black or a white kurta and pair them with tribal jewelry to look effortless.

Chanderi Silk Dupatta
Just a Chanderi dupatta can add sheen and luxury to your outfit and is one of the classiest dupattas you can own. They originate from a small town called Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh and are known for their elegance and simplicity. Chanderi dupattas come in a mix of fabrics and have variants like chanderi silk, cotton, etc. These are lightweight yet celebratory because of the golden zari work. You can wear these with dresses made from cotton, linen, zari, tussar silk, etc.

Banarasi Silk Dupatta
Banarasi dupattas, as the name suggests, originates from Varanasi, UP – a place known for its many wonders. The Banarasi brocade saree was always popular for its rich and heavy duty zari work that exudes grandeur. But the Banarasi style dupatta suddenly found its way back into Indian couture line. If you have not tried one of these, you should. Keep the rest of your outfit simple. A floor length Anarkali dress will be a perfect match.

Georgette Dupatta
We all have them, love them, and cannot do without them. Your average everyday dupatta will more often than not come in georgette because it is light, elegant, and comfortable to work with. There’s nothing more classy than a georgette dupatta if dealt with well.

Mirror Work Dupatta
Mirror work is another style that is equal part contemporary and vintage. It is not specific to a particular fabric; you would typically find these in cotton, georgette, chiffon, etc., which are easy to work with and can hold the mirrors. You can dress up or down when you wear this dupatta, based on the occasion.

Chiffon Dupatta
Chiffon is lightweight and flimsy, but an absolute delight to work with. It’s also very common for both regular and party wear salwar suits. It is soft and smooth on the skin, making it easy to carry around. We all need dupattas in standard colors like black, white, blue, etc., pick them in chiffon and you are sorted.

Ikat Dupatta
We are all going back in time and bringing back all our old traditions again, especially with clothes. Just like the Banarasi and Kalamkari, Ikat is becoming increasingly popular. From sarees, blouses, dresses, one-piece dresses, and dupattas, Ikat is everywhere. It defines Bohemian fashion in the truest sense.

Kalamkari Dupatta
Kalamkari design depicts our culture and heritage like nothing else. Even though it is a technique adapted from Persian culture, the design has been an integral part of our culture for the longest time. It is a handpainted technique that needs a lot of time, precision, and patience – which is what the weavers are all about. Kalamkari dupattas are a classic example of the mix-and-match style. You can wear these with simple everyday kurtas to parties, and work with tribal jewelry to stand out.

Net Dupatta
Net dupattas are majorly used with party wear dresses, lehengas, etc. They are flimsy but hold heavy embroidery and have an inbuilt sheen in them that makes everything pop. They look great with dhoti style, Anarkali, floor-length dresses, and of course lehengas.

net embroidered duputta
Fig: Net embroidered duputta

Zari Dupatta
Pattu/Zari or Silk dupattas are everlasting and look great with outmoded dresses. The biggest designers of our times have collections with just zari dupattas, and they are offering them at fashion week, adding a whole new perspective to this age-old beauty.

Best Dupatta Draping Style Ideas are mentioned hereunder-

  1. Drape Around
  2. Elbow Style
  3. One Arm
  4. High Neck Style
  5. One-Sided Shoulder
  6. Two Sided
  7. One Shoulder-One Arm
  8. Full Open
  9. Saree Style
  10. Pleated Style
  11. Gujarati Style
  12. Wrap Around
  13. over the Head
  14. Cape Style.

Duppatta/Shawl wearing is always protective and shown to their social identity. Clothing is played a very vital role to the human beings and as well as the duppatta will also be the part of it. Olden days traditional and cultural based supported duppattas’ journey is still have the red carpet welcoming among the present generation of the women of all the age groups in recent time. Fashion trending is also be invited the Duppata in modern times due to its utility purpose and social recognition.

Essentially, the dupatta is often treated as an accessory in present-day urban fashion. When entering a mosque, dargah, church or gurdwara, Indian women cover their head with a dupatta. It is also draped around the head, save for the eyes, as protection against pollution or the sun.

The dupatta is worn in many provincial styles across the Indian subcontinent. Initially, it was worn as an icon of modesty. While that representation still remains and many of the women nowadays wear it as just a decorative accessory to the teen aged girls and protectiveness for the old aged women.

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