The traditional garment for men is the lungi, a cloth tube skirt which hangs to the ankles; for women, the sari is the norm. The lungi is worn by most men, however, it is considered inappropriate to wear it outside the house. People from a high social and economic standing also wear loose white cotton pajama pants and a long white shirt. White dress men symbolize an occupation that does not require physical labor. A man with high standing will not be seen physically carrying anything; that task is left to an assistant or laborer.

Saris also serve as class markers, with elaborate and finely worked cloth symbolizing high status. Poverty is marked by the cheap, rough green or indigo cotton saris of poor women. Gold jewelry indicates a high social standing among women.

Jamdani is a hand loom woven fabric made of cotton. The word Jamdani is derived from Persian, ‘Jam’ means flower and ‘Dani’ means a vase or a container. The base fabric for the fabric is unbleached cotton yarn, the design for which is woven using bleached cotton yarns so that a light-and-dark effect is created. Small shuttles of coloured gold or silver threads are passed through the weft. The jamdani dexterously combines intricate surface designs with delicate floral sprays. The Jamdani weaving tradition is of Bengali origin. For more information on Jamdani please read this insightful blog.

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Besides the Bangla mainstream, the plethora of tribal communities in Bangladesh also has their own traditional costumes and dressing sensibilities. Among the Chakmas women traditionally wear Phinon, an ankle length cloth wrapped around the waist, and Khadi/Hadi is a colorful breast-band, wrapped above the waist. The dress is completed by wearing a variety of necklaces, bracelets, anklets, rings, and other ornaments. The Chakma men traditionally wear the Gamchha, and the Dhuti.

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The Manipuri’s have their own unique style of traditional dresses. The women of the community have traditionally worn Innaphi, a shawl like cloth for the upper body, and Sarong. The men usually wear Jacket, Pagri, and Dhuti.

The Tripuri women wear Rignai, which cover the lower half of the body accompanied by Risa, and Rituku for the upper half of their body. While the men wear ‘rituku’ for the loin and ‘kamchwlwi borok’ for the upper part of the body. Some also wear the Kubai, Pagri, and the Gamchha.

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The various other indigenous groups in Bangladesh, like the Santals, Khasis, Murongs, Garos have their own traditional dress. For more information on the tribal dresses of Bangladesh please click here.