The Angrakha Silhouette
The Angrakha silhouette refers to the shape of a top for both men or women with an overlapping or asymmetrical opening at the front bodice, secured by loops or knots traditionally. The literal meaning of the word ‘Angrakha’ is something that protects your body. It was originally worn by men of Rajasthan as they needed something that was resistant to heat, absorbs sweat, easy to wear while protecting them from the harsh desert sun.
Later Rajput Princesses across the country started wearing elaborate Angrakhas with long inners to add to their royal look. Women of higher ranks wore them with turbans called ‘Patka’. One can see actress Kangana Ranaut in this look in her upcoming movie ‘Manikarnika’ where she plays the Queen of Jhansi. Children also wore shorter version called ‘Kamari’ style with dhoti pants as they allowed free movement.
The Angrakha is has a very versatile silhouette which has been constantly innovated and worked upon by Indian designers. It was always a popular silhouette in women’s ethnic wardrobe but uncommon in a man’s wardrobe until a couple of years back when designers like Anju Modi, Rohit Bal and Sabyasachi brought them back with a lot of flair and finesse to men’s wedding wardrobe. The garment is also seen globally in many movies depicting pop culture like Dr Strange, The Last Airbender and the popular TV Series - Game of Thrones.
Angrakha can be a great choice for both men and women today for most occasions - Workwear (linen/cotton), casual (cotton), party (silk, georgette, chiffon) and of course weddings. Women can style them with churidar, leggings, palazzo, sharara or lehenga depending on the type of occasion. Shorter casual ones in cotton can be styled with denims as well with a pair of juttis and danglers. Avoid short Angrakha kurtis if you have an apple or pear-shaped body. Longer kurtis suit all body types adding curves at the right places.
- Bhavya Chawla