1. Traditional way
The traditional way the women dress here is in the Sari same as the rest of India. But Maharashtrian women wears a distinct type of sari which is nine yards in length. The method of wearing the same varies from community to community.
2. Brahmin Women's Clothing
1. Nauvari/ 9 Yard Sari - This is the characteristic traditional attire of women in Maharashtra. The sari is an unstitched garment, 9 to 11 yards in length, and the width being 50-52 ''. It is called 'Nauvari ' or 'Lugade' .The sari has beautiful lengthwise borders in different pattern and colour running on both sides of the plain, small checkered, or coloured background. Also the last 1 yard of the sari, the part which hangson the body from the shoulders, is decorated horizontally in coloured motifs and patterns matching the border . This part is called 'Padar' or 'Pallu'.
The sari is worn in a characteristic way, wherein the pleats from front are taken in between the legs towards the back and tucked at the back waist. The Padar covers the front bodice completely to give a modest and rich look.The style gives its wearer, the freedom of movement. The Padar hangs at the back from the shoulder. It is not compulsory in Brahmins to cover the head with Padar. For Brahmin widows in early 19 th century it was mandatory to cover the head with the Padar completely.
2. Choli - This is a bodice similar to those seen elsewhere in India. The length of the bodice is such that it leaves much of the upper abdomen bare. the Padar of the sari however provides complete concealment. The Bodice is a short sleeved blouse, which has buttons or hooks in front.In earlier times, the front of the bodice had ties, and a knot used to be tied in front to keep the bodice in place. The traditional fabric used to make the bodice is known as ' Khann', which is an extra warp figured fabric, having silk like appearance and woven with small attractive motifs.
In modern times Brahmin ladies wear a 6 yard sari which is worn in round fashion, and not tucked at the back. Sari is a popular dressing style among women in Maharashtra till date.
3. Shela - This is a decorative scarf like fabric thrown around the shoulders over the sari.This was more in fashion among the ladies from royal families in earlier times. Today it is only used by the Bride in marriage ceremony. The traditional Shela is a highly decorative fabric having intricate designs woven for body and borders.
3. Maratha women
The attire of Maratha women is almost same as that of the Brahmin women.That is a'Nauvari' , Choli and Shela. The way the Nauvari is worn is a little different. It is worn in such a way that the calf of the legs is not left bare at all. The Padar is invariably taken over the head and is tucked in front at the waist, or held in the hand in front covering the head completely.
4. Koli Women/ Fisherwomen-
A 9 yard sari is worn again by a Koli women. But the style of wearing varies a little. Thesari is firmly tucked around the waist with proper pleating and its height is worn just till the knee.The sari is tucked till the end of its length, and is not left loose to cover the upper body. This style of wearing allows a great comfort of movement, just like wearing a trouser.
The upper garment is a long length blouse covering the body till the waist or a little shorter sometimes, called 'Kacholi' . This is knotted in front to get the right fitting. Over the Kacholi, an'Odhani' or 1.5 mts. long cloth is draped in a very distinct style, to cover the front properly.
Saris are either plain or printed. Koli womens attire is always very bright and vibrant in colour combination , having bold and colourful prints on the fabrics used.
5.Other Nomadic tribes
Women in these communities also wear similar clothing as explained earlier. A 'Nauvari ' and a 'Kacholi ' is worn by all. The type of Sari and Blouse material differs from place to place depending upon local production of handloom fabrics.