Searching for a dress – India Trip #2


As I walked around Hyderabad, I observed a distinct lack of women wearing dresses and I was stumped.

A little background:

Hyderabad, like all Indian cities has had an increasing number of women wearing western clothes in public places. When I was in high school, few women were walking around in jeans and now lots of them are. When I see people’s photos on Facebook, many women are often in dresses, halter necks etc. They are sitting in cafes and restaurants in dresses or hanging out with friends outside. Even the popular Indian shopping websites have many dresses. I assumed given these observations, many women would be walking around in dresses at least in certain upmarket areas like malls and residential areas.

My observation:

I barely saw any woman wearing a dress. I was standing in a very crowded inorbit mall and looked searched for women wearing dresses.  I saw only 2 on a crowded Saturday evening. One of them was an anchor for some show in the mall. Ditto in residential areas. I waited for over 40 minutes on a busy road in Banjara hills to be picked up by my friend. Why I wondered. Why do I see these people on FB wearing dresses while I cannot spot  one in malls/cafes/restaurants?* Who is buying from online shops, if nobody seems to be wearing them? Also, barely anybody stared at me when I wore a dress in the malls. So, though safety could be cited but I do not see any issue if someone comes and goes in their car and walks only inside the mall or restaurant.

Note to myself:  It is very easy to distort ground reality on FB.

None of my friends gave me a satisfactory answer. Here are some of their replies:

  • They do not like to expose their legs [ Well, what about maxi dresses?]
  • They wear it, take nice photos, post on FB to get likes and go back to wearing jeans ha ha.
  • No idea.

Have anybody else observed this? What do you think are the plausible reasons for this case?

Read about my India trip # 1 here.
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9 thoughts on “Searching for a dress – India Trip #2

  1. @SOS isnt saree a sort of wrap around dress with cut outs especially if u get them prestitched?;) so if they are ok with that dont see why not a maxi dress as u said. But i never understand this foot fetish that they have. Its somehow ok to bare your back and mid riff but then legs are a big NO NO :O seriously

  2. When I was a kid and later a teen growing up in India, the salwar kameez and chudidar kurta hadn’t yet reached south India. All little girls wore dresses and all teenagers who went to English medium/convent type schools wore dresses. You wouldn’t believe it – so many college girls of my sister’s gen (a few years older than me) would wear mini skirts and no one thought anything of it! Only some very traditional teenagers wore the ‘half saree’. Those were the only 2 options for teens and young women, By the time I got to the university, salwar kameez had become ubiquitous. An “acceptable” dress that “fully covers” and is loose and baggy. It was kind of sad to to see those dresses and skirts go. This was 20 years ago.
    But you are right, now I see Indian women wearing dresses on TV and in ads so much that I thought they are making a come back in the urban/affluent areas.

  3. When I lived in India (and was in college) wearing a dress was invariably AN EVENT. A car would have to be somehow arranged – which was not always easy, and only then could final clothing options be decided.
    Also, once I and a cousin said eff it, and took an auto while wearing short skirts. It was a very annoying experience and I never repeated that again. Another thing I have done is wear tights/pants under a dress while using public transport, and removing them once I got to my venue 🙂 All in all, wearing dresses or skirts are definitely something to think twice about if you do not have your own vehicle and are not going to a venue that is ‘upscale’.

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