Both words, Kurta and Kurti are derived from the word “Kurtaka”, a traditional upper garment tracing back to ancient India. It has since evolved and adapted to the varying influences that the South-Asian region has witnessed. They have boasted their Persian influence since the Mughal empire and continue to vary in style across regions in modern India. Kurtis have now become the most versatile Indian wear, constantly moving with the fashion trends.
Something about the concept of culture we fail to realise often is its constantly changing nature. Our foods, traditions and celebrations have gone through several evolutions and will continue to do so with the increasingly global exchange of ideas. Among these evolving ideas is fashion - for the sake of this article, specifically, Indian wear. Indian wear, among others has been adopted, admired and applauded across several geographies. However, this changing pace is accompanied by changing meanings, leaving several boundaries blurred.
One such classifications almost lost to time is the difference between two of the most popular forms of apparel in India - Kurtas and Kurtis. Although separated only by a single letter, historical background gives us a few more specifications.
Length - Kurtas are longer, reaching even up to one’s ankle whereas Kurtis are shorter, reaching up to one’s waist or knee.
Gender - Kurtas are worn by both men and women while Kurtis are designed primarily for women
Occasion: Kurtis are known for their comfort making them ideal for daily, comfort wear and regular office wear. Kurtas are in-turn worn more often during formal occasions and festivals. Whether dressing down or dressing up, the look can be elevated with the right accessories (see how to spice up your outfits).
These differences have not necessarily withstood the test of time with the two terms now being used interchangeably. How do you differentiate between the two?