Frugal Foreigner: Indian Fashion for Men

If you enjoyed my Frugal Foreigner post on saris, here’s the male version.  Click on pictures to enlarge.  If you’re new to my posts, read all about what we’re doing in here! You can read all previous posts in the series here.

I am not claiming Dalton’s onesies as Indian here; he just happens to be in most of these photos.  In India, it’s the young men who love babies.  Dalton loves them back, and makes a good excuse for me to take photos of people.

Frugal Foreigner: Men's Fashion

Most Indian men wear Western dress.  1970s Western dress.  It’s usually button-down shirts and slacks.  Occasionally jeans.  Once in a while a t-shirt.  Outside of the city, traditional dress is more common.  Traditional dress is also more common in laborers and older men.  Men working in offices tend to have less of a ’70s look to them.  Business casual looks more like American business casual.

Facial hair is extremely common.  I would guess at least 90% of men wear mustaches.  Once again, this adds to the feeling that men’s fashion in India is 4 decades behind.  Earrings are about as common as in the US. A man might also wear a knotted bracelet.

This man has a tilaka on his forehead, indicating that he participated in a religious ceremony that day.

Frugal Foreigner: Men's Fashion

This is our driver.  He has a mustache and poufy ’70s hair.  He’s a younger guy, so he usually wears his button-down shirts with jeans.  Love the purple.

Frugal Foreigner: Men's Fashion Frugal Foreigner

This older man is wearing a traditional kurta (punjabi style, Kannagi tells me).  I actually took this picture because of the young man wearing hot pink polka dots in the background. (Dalton isn’t in this photo, but that’s what they’re all looking at.)

Frugal Foreigner: Men's Fashion real men wear pink

And here is my husband wearing capris. Yay. Do men wear capris? They do in India.

Frugal Foreigner: Men's Fashion real men wear capris Frugal Foreigner: Men's Fashion real men wear capris

This is more men’s behavior rather than fashion.  It’s not uncommon to see men walking down the street with their arms around each other, or even holding hands.  Female friends do this also, though it’s taboo for a couple to touch in public.

Frugal Foreigner: Men's Fashion real men hold hands

Here are some examples of more traditional dress.  These men are wearing lungis.  It’s basically the male version of a sari – a length of material wrapped around the waist.  The hem can be pulled up and tucked in, like on the right.  These are usually white, or blue plaid.  They are not very common in the city, except in laborers and older men.  This is also what priests wear, usually with no shirt.

Frugal Foreigner: Men's Fashion traditionalFrugal Foreigner: Men's Fashion traditional

And if you want to get even more traditional, this is a guard’s uniform at a fancy hotel.  He even has a “military style” mustache that connects with his sideburns.

Frugal Foreigner: Men's Fashion traditional & mustache

I don’t have any photos, but Muslim men wear taqiyah caps, usually just with their regular clothing.


  1. Prachee Deshpande says

    What part of India are you in? If you came to Mumbai or Delhi and even in certain parts of Bangalore, you’d see a completely different clothing style 🙂 I enjoy your posts are lot.

    • Susie Chadwick says

      We live in Bangalore. Indian dress certainly varies in different areas. Even ‘Barbie in India’ has a Rajastani outfit!


  2. Nandhini says

    In central Bangalore, I went to a school called Bishop Cotton and the girls there all wore really westernized clothes- think tank tops and shorts.. so like Prachi said, it does vary 🙂

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