Traditional Costumes of Kerala for Men and Women


Traditional clothing of Kerala reflects the simplicity and inherent lifestyle of Malayalis. Most of the people of both genders commonly wear white attires. The main dresses which individuals wear are highly traditional. The form of costume worn by the people like Neriyathu and Mundu has a white cloth piece having golden zari borders representing royalty for men and women.

Costumes of Women in Kerala

Mundum Neriyathum is a traditional dress worn by women in Kerala. The traditional piece is Mund that is the lower cloth consisting 2 pieces of cloth. It is worn around hips and below the navel. It is a woven cloth this is completely made of pure cotton. Mund is very easy and comfortable to wear during summer. This is a white or creamy dress with colorful strips known as Kara or border. There is a special kind of blouse which is worn with Mundu covering the entire navel.

The upper part of the garment is Neriyathu which is worn over the blouse. Its ends are instead inside the Mundu. It is worn like a sari in a diagonal manner. The dress worn everyday and during festive seasons women wear some extraordinary outfits with an ornamental Kara or a special type of border which is either golden, copper coated or artificial colored with peacock or temple design.

During Onam, the popular festival of Kerala, women participate in a folk dance well-known as Kalkotti Kalli Dance. That moment they wear saris with lots of accessories such as jewelleries.

Costumes of Men in Kerala

Most of the males are conservative even more than women in Kerala. To keep with their tradition, they wear white clothing which is the universal color for both sexes. The main clothing is Mundu for men, which is a long garment. It needs to be tucked around the waist and reaches to the ankle. There are many men who also prefer to wear it above their waist, but higher caste people drape a cloth which looks-like a towel over their shoulders. This is worn by men of all religions in Kerala.

Hindu men wear Kasavu Mundu, mostly in rural areas. The clothing is made of cotton with a silk border. Kaily or Lungi is informal attire for Keralites. However, when they move out of their homes, they at least put a shirt and Mundu.