The state of Manipur commonly referred to as the ‘bejeweled land’ will definitely catch your fancy with the serene and virgin beauty of its surrounding nature and quaint, uncomplicated lifestyle. The traditional Manipuri attires make an integral part of the Manipuri lifestyle which prioritizes on the functionality and comfort factors. The beauty of the traditional Manipuri dresses lies in its simplicity. The creative way in which patterns and designs are used on these garments accounts for their immense popularity worldwide.
The major types of traditional dresses of Manipur are-
Manipuri dresses for women
The traditional dresses of women in Manipur consist of some major components such as Innaphi, Phanek, Mayek Naibi, Kanap Phanek. Innaphi is a typical Manipuri shawl worn by the women of Manipur. Phanek is a kind of hand woven wrap-around skirt quite similar to the very popular ‘Sarong’. Traditional wear Phanek comes in stripes and block colors. Daily wear phaneks are usually devoid of bold prints and floral prints. Apart from the daily wear Phanek, there are other types such as Mayek Naibi and Kanap Phanek. Mayek Naibi comes in bright colors and is adorned with attention drawing horizontal stripes. Women flaunt these gorgeous Phaneks to look mesmerizingly beautiful. Kanap phanek, a kind of skirt stitched out of the traditional Meithei Community cloth. Women also wear dresses such as Chin phi and Lai phi during rituals. Lai phi is a beautiful white piece of cloth bordered most intricately with yellow while Chin phi is a dress paired with an intricately embroidered phanek. Manipuri brides don’t forget to flaunt the muslin Innaphi woven out of delicate cotton yarns.
Manipuri dresses for men
Manipuri men wear jacket, turban & dhoti. A special kind of ritual dhoti referred to as Khamen Chapta is worn by men belonging to the upper strata of society. In the yesteryears, the king often awarded khamen chapta to a handful of people. Manipuri grooms usually wear dhoti-Kurta and pagri. The royal costume worn by the king of Manipur was referred to as Ningthoupee. Warriors wore an attire called Zamphie.
Manipuri festival dresses
The true beauty of Manipuri costumes may be reflected through the various festival attires. During the Raas leela festivals, attires like Potlois and Kumins are flaunted. Also, during the various festival-related dance performances, costumes like Koks and Phuris are worn. Furthermore, there are some distinguished tribal costumes of Manipur such as Ningthoupee, Lmaphie, Saijounba and Phiranji.
Related: Festive Season of Ethnic Wear
Manipuri patterns on costumes
Related: Major Types of Manipuri embroidery
Modern Manipuri dresses
The traditional attires of Manipur have yielded place to modern attires under the influence of the changing times. Spread of Christianity and westernization has made Manipur people quite fashion conscious. T-shirts, shirts, jeans, jackets and skirts are very much in vogue nowadays in the state of Manipur. Also, many modern versions of traditional attires have come up today. For instance, these days Innaphis are often paired with the trendy modern skirt.
Handloom Manipuri dresses
Handloom weaving is an innate skill that inhabitants of almost all Northeastern states possess and Manipur is not an exception in this respect. Handlooms often make family business in the state of Manipur. Commercialization of Manipuri handloom has caused a spurt in its demand. Women are mainly engaged in the tasks of weaving and the materials used for weaving include cotton as well as kabrang.