The Art of Dressing

Screencaps from the colourised version of Piya Aiso Jiya Mein.

Ostensibly about the piya but really an ode to the art of dressing up. Alternatively Meena is Queen of Everything. And has a few helpers.

Another similar song – from Utsav (h/t earth2infini)

Posted in 1960s, 20th century, Actor, Bengal, bindi, Cinema, Costume, costume design, Costumes in Cinema, fashion, film costumes, Film Costuming, Hairstyles, Indian Aesthetics, Indian Costume, Indian fashion, indian style, Indian Women, Old Bollywood, Period Drama, retro cinema, retro fashion, Sari, Sari Blouse, Vintage, vintage costume, vintage hair | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The clean ease and civility of Tagore

Meanwhile the days are heating up after the spell of winter; the sun is getting hot, even as a cool breeze is blowing through the boat window and caressing my back. Today there is no special concession for winter or civilization; my baize chapkan and choga – coat and long coat – hang suspended from a hook. No bell rings to usher in a well-dressed valet, saluting and waiting for me to order. I am enjoying an unclean ease and comfort of incivility. Torn Leaves, The Essential Tagore.

Today is the 156th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore.

In the pics: Tagore’s sartorial style, from the embroidered chapkan and churidar of his boyhood to the long robe and cap towards the latter part of his life (this inspired by the Bauls and Sufis).

The not quite but Victorian suit of pic 2 & 6 is one of few photographs of Tagore in Western attire.  The coat could well be a sack coat.

The kurta-pyjama with a shawl of pics 3 and 4 still persists as the mark of vintage Bengal wear.  Given the sartorial experiments of the time, much of the clothing also expresses existing Hindu-Muslim styles like the headgear of pics 5 and 6.

PS: Also don’t miss the styled locks!

Pics: Are from several sites and I assume in the public domain. If not and any pic needs to be credited let me know.

Posted in 1880s, 19th century, Bengal, Bengali, Colonial, Costume, Culture, Early 20th Century, Hair, Indian Aesthetics, Indian Authors, Indian Costume, Indian Dress, Indian men, indian style, Islamic style, Late 19th century, Vintage, vintage costume, Vintage Dress, Vintage Men, vintage style | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Anklets post.

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[X, X, X and X]

There are a number of Indian terms for anklets (nupura, payal, golusu, painjan) – anklets are often diffrentiated on the basis of bells, strings, solid coils etc. But I can’t find one for the sort in the post today. Different toe rings were commonly worn, here they seem to be hooked to the anklet by means of a single chain or multiple chains similar to the haathphool

Posted in 20th century, Accessories, Culture, fashion, Indian Aesthetics, Indian fashion, indian style, Indian Women, Jewellery, Postcards, Vintage, vintage jewellery | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Contemporary Bindi

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The sticker bindi revolution was probably the last major shift in bindi style.  And they are still around though you are more likely to find women wearing the “neutral” red/maroon/black round bindis on an everyday basis. And often no bindi at all.

One thing that is different in the last few odd years is bindis of a contrasting colour to the ensemble – this has also been a bit of a theme with blouses (see for .g. X and X).  Blue seems to be a favourite though green had a pop culture moment and purple is also around.

And not exactly a contrast bindi, but impressively it is blue kumkum.

Pic sources: Unfair and Lovely, Ankita Sharma, Who Wore What When, Taapsee Pannu.

Posted in 21st century, contemporary fashion, Contemporary Style, Culture, fashion, Indian Aesthetics, Indian fashion, indian style, Indian Women, Women | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bindi Queens

Not every decade has distinctive bindis. And when a decade does its usually easily seen as a trend on an actress.  Here’s how the 50s, 70s and 90s looked!

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Shyama, the bindi queen of the 1950s. Decorative bindis were quite popular in this decade.

Decorative bindis have such a long history. I think a number of these are designs that are painted on but a few look like early stick-ons.

Pics 2,3 via ebay, pic 6 via osianama.

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Queen of the 70s bindi, Mumtaz.

There is a lot of colour in this decade. Its hardly a basic red + black bindi decade for Bollywood. Bindi carousels* meant you could play with colour, even if it was a tiny dot under the main one. There are bindis that exactly matched the sari ( a very matchy matchy decade, from blouses to shoes to  handbags to bangles and flowers in the hair), the white bindi and of course decorative bindis. I think there is a bit of a mix and match of plastic stick-on bindis and liquid colour here.

Last pic from here.

*may have been around prior to this decade, its just in obvious use in this decade.

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Madhuri Dixit – Queen of the 90s bindis.

Though I guess every actress was since this decade could never have enough of those stick-on bindi packets which had entire designs incorporating various colours and gems and required little more than..well sticking it on your forehead (though as in the last pic with a yellow bindi you could still do a bit of “artwork” yourself:)).

The sheer variety of shapes – including super long snaky bindis  – really mark this decade. In many ways a bit of an unsubtle decade – even the zari motifs of this period on clothes tended to be a little less than delicate. But in a way it’s also the last decade of a significant change in bindis since these are still around.

Posted in 1950s, 1970s, 1990s, Accessories, bindi, Bollywood, Culture, Film Costuming, Indian Aesthetics, Indian fashion, indian style, Indian Women, Old Bollywood, retro, retro cinema, retro fashion, Vintage, vintage fashion, vintage style | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Love Post


Madanotsav or Kamotsav was probably today.

The Gujarati inscription on top of the painting: જનમ જનમ કે હમ સાથી (Janam Janam ke hum saathi aka lovers/partners forever).

Pic Source: Jyoti Bhatt, 1967.

Posted in 1960s, 20th century, fashion, Illustration, in Colour, Indian Aesthetics, indian art, Indian Dress, indian festivals, Indian Illustrators, Indian men, Indian Women, Love, Paintings, retro, retro fashion, Romance, vintage art, Vintage Dress, Vintage Illustration, vintage illustrations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Note on comment

Thank you to the person who wrote in regarding the blog and winter clothing in the 18th century. Unfortunately the comment went into oblivion while I was trying to publish it!

Re the old imagery unfortunately it is very difficult to get what common folk wore since most of the old art focusses on royalty, courtesans etc.  Of course these paintings often have “sakhis” or servants etc which gives some clues on differing attire. But it is hard to tell what material is used. Coarse wools and wool-cotton mixes were known so perhaps those would be more commonly used? There was a brisk wool trade between Tibet/Ladakh/Kashmir/Kullu around the time but a lot of this was also complicated by local history and changing fortunes – in any even it does appear that quantities of wool did make their way to North India to be turned into finished garments. The wool and design may not have been fine of course like with Pashmina.

Not specific to the 18th century but I think I have some written notes on wool types in ancient India etc and could dig that up for you.

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