The long forlorn Indian nightwear for women has always been the good ol’ nightie that they jump into instantly when the night dawns upon them. Thanks to the high humidity and scorching heat weather that India prevails, women are so tied up right from the morning chores to running errands and sending kids to school, clothing staples like sari and salwar kameez are just an overbearing layer of clothes that pile up the pressure to perform and resist skin to breathe. Nighties are hands-down the airiest and breathable comfortable clothing attires that women embrace to keep themselves up and running throughout the day.
The trend is quite popular and momentous especially in the Southern India where coastal lines further the summer quotient and the ladies generally are seen wearing the long gowns with paisley and floral prints with a diaphanous shapeless fit. On an average, about 80% of women in Kerala wear nighties at home and add a dupatta or a cotton towel for outdoor errands or sending kids to school. However, some school authorities deemed nighties to be an irresponsible dressing and banned the nightwear for the women.
Despite such a rage and official abandonment of a nightie in the society, ladies are still seen wearing them. One of the most common reasons can be the fact that embracing this piece of clothing is the strongest way to empower women in the country where sarees and salwar kameez are a norm. The latter ensembles are seen as a traditional Indian woman clothing while nighties are considered to be a western-adopted chemise. To refute this, some social activists ran a campaign to revive the culture of nighties which were globally accepted by women from different parts of the world. While a majority of South Indian women migrated to the Middle East and the West in search of jobs, they also harbingered the native concept of nighties. Nighties were quite a popular form of nightwear for women worldwide, however, the names and styles varied exponentially. In the 18th century in Great Britain, women generally referred nighties as “nightgowns” which were a little bit cropped from the length. The midi-style nightgowns with billowy sleeves or puff sleeves were quite an accepted trend by the women in the West. Also, women in the Middle East have largely embraced the nighties as a regular day wear. Alternatively, women in the North India familirized themselves with maxi dresses and therefore, they got acquainted to the idea of styling long kurtas as maxi dresses which are yet another way to put across "Indian Nighties"
Recently, some designers have introduced nighties with attached dupattas that will not only save substantial time but also make the clothing functional. Nighties with deep dive pockets, airy silhouette, attached dupattas shall pave a way for this cohesively designed functional nightwear. Gone are the days when unflattering boxy garment used to dominate every Kerala woman’s closet, nowadays, the A-line body-hugging maxi type nighties are so much in. Whether it be the teenagers or frail old women, everyone prefers to swear by nightie. In fact, in the earlier time, when men used to travel to Gulf for jobs, they used to stack nighties in their suitcases for their wives. The Gulf was a market for European maxi type floor length fashionable and luxurious nightgowns. Such nightgowns became synonymous with lower-middle-class women who would use them as a daily staple. They are easy to wash and dry, lets the women put forth a fashionable style, henceforth embedding a culture of celebrating womanhood in nighties.
Article By : Ambika Asthana