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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 May, 2005, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
Women choose trousers over saris
By Monica Chadha
BBC News, Delhi

Indian women in saris
The sari is still overwhelmingly worn by women
A survey of Indian women's preferred daily clothing has shown that more female professionals are choosing trousers over the traditional sari.

The study results show that sales of women's trousers have surged by almost 10% over the last two years.

It also shows that women are going in for more expensive brands.

The survey was carried out by Images Business of Fashion (IBoF), a retail research organisation that also publishes retail trade magazines.

'24-hour clothing'

"Let's face it, the sari is not an easy garment to deal with. Women find it difficult to work in it with all the pleats and it does tend to be cumbersome," fashion writer Hindol Sengupta told the BBC.

Potential air hostesses and stewards in India
Middle class women are turning away from the sari

The study showed that younger women in the 25 to 35 age bracket were particularly likely to be buying trousers.

Mr Sengupta said that the reason why most women prefer trousers is because they need "24-hour clothing outfits" that get them through the day's engagements.

Designers also say they are being asked to design more trousers for their clients than traditional wear.

Western culture 'imbibed'

Fashion designer Nikhil Mehra says that trousers allow women to mix and match shirts and blouses.

But he also said that the Indian female mindset has changed.

"There are more professional women working now than before," he says, "and since most of them are dealing with international clients, they are bound to imbibe some aspects of western culture.

Women find it difficult to work with all the pleats (of the sari) and it does tend to be cumbersome
Fashion writer Hindol Sengupta

"This shows in their choice of clothing."

Pallavi Batra, a business executive, provides a good example of the new trend.

She says that she almost always wearing trousers to work as they are comfortable and give her a "professional look".

But the traditional Indian ladies' market is still far from dead.

The survey states that it still accounts for three-quarters of the women's apparel market in the country.

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