After dropping our luggage at the hotel, our first stop in Bangalore was a clothing shop. We needed formal dresses to wear to a conference later in the week.
Women’s wear in India is very different from that in America.
Most outfits here are flowing, long and come only in bright colors. In Mysore and Bengalore, many women wear ankle-length leggings and kurti, a long-sleeved dress with high slits up both sides.
Others wear saris, a long piece of fabric wrapped around the body. Saris are paired with a floor-length petticoat and a blouse, which looks like a crop-top.
The four-story cement building we pulled up to in downtown Bangalore had no signage. We were escorted into the structure’s first-story garage and a bellman called an industrial looking elevator.
The five of us could hardly fit inside the small lift. When the doors opened on the building’s third story, we looked out into a long room lined with shelves that were stuffed with pink, red, blue and gold silk fabric.
Salesmen stood behind wooden counters, showing moms and daughters magenta and aqua sari fabric.
We were taken upstairs, where we faced a similar scene, but with different style garments available. After sitting at one of the counters, women began pulling dozens of salwar kameez dresses to show us.
The style is a floor length dress that is worn with thin, drawstring pants underneath and a long scarf around the neck.
The dresses had no size markers, and the saleswomen picked our outfits based on estimates. The garments are meant to hang loose. Each comes with sleeves, which can be sewn on in the shop.
We all left with dresses, which we successfully wore at the conference on Ooty.