What is an Angrakha?

angrakha dress

Angrakha used to be a traditional top which had an asymmetric opening and was secured by either strings or loops. It was worn by both men and women. Angrakha literally translates into the ‘body protector’. An angrakha was a versatile piece of clothing which came in with a variety of embroideries, sequin work and other embellishments. Since then it has constantly been innovated to suit people’s requirements. Many Indian fashion designers have worked on it to give it a unique touch and style to appeal the masses.

Today it is revived as an Indian ethnic dress which can be paired with any type of bottom i.e. a palazzo, a chudidar, a salwar or a pajama. It is believed that the style actually originated in Rajasthan and was a popular choice of attire within the state as well as the other surrounding regions of the state.  Traditionally Angrakhas came in two varieties. The only difference between the two used to be the length. the one with shorter length is called as ‘Kamari Angrakha’ where as the longer one is the Knee length Angrakha.

There hasn’t been much innovation done in the Kamari Angrakha which ends right at the waist. Kamari Angrakha looks quite similar to a frock in the sense that the bottom half of this garment flairs outwards. The Kamari Angrakha is mostly worn by Gujarati & Rajasthani men during a festival or any celebration.

Angrakha kurtas (the knee length kurtas) are very popular in women’s Indian ethnic wear. However, it is an uncommon garment in a men’s wardrobe. Nevertheless, it is a style that is being brought back onto the ramp by Indian designers.