What Is the National Dress of Trinidad and Tobago?

The national dress of Trinidad and Tobago includes several distinct garments: women wear saris, shalwar or lenghas, while men dress in either a white kurta and paijamas or a dhoti. The traditional dress of Trinidad and Tobago includes gender-specific styles commonly found across the Indian subcontinent. Some, such as lenghas, see use primarily in formal occasions, like weddings, while others appear in parades, festivals and other cultural events.

These styles of traditional dress differ from one another and contain several variations, creating distinct styles within the same category. Of the types of traditional dress, the sari ranks among the most common and popular. This garment comes in a long wrap, deriving from cotton, silk or other materials. It features a secure but comfortable fit, draping around women’s bodies and securing around the head with a hood. Saris, like many Indian garments, indicate social and economic status. The type of material comprising saris, along with the border around their edges, indicates class affiliation. In addition to the sari, many women wear a dressy blouse, called a choli.

Shalwars hail from East India. Women there dress in these two-piece garments, which feature wide trousers with elastic ankle bands and a matching flowing tunic top. For men, kurtas and paijamas feature a collarless top and matching loose trousers, while dhotis wrap around the waist and legs, resembling saris.