Gonna Dress You Up in Pattu


People Magazine recently spotted Padma Lakshmi’s young daughter wearing a colorful, traditional outfit. Will celebrity-watching fashionista parents soon be on the lookout for tiny pattu-langas (apparently also called pattu pavada) at their local baby boutiques? Perhaps, though they might have better luck finding these children’s outfits at online bazaars.

I can’t remember my first pattu-langa, but there’s probably a picture of me in it in one of my parents’ photo albums. When we were growing up, my sisters and I, and more recently my niece, were dressed up in these silky, shiny outfits for special events or big family parties. The langa or skirt part of my outfits was longer, going down to my feet. But I also like the style worn by Krishna because in addition to its pretty purple hue, its shorter length looks like it could be easier to wear while toddling around as a baby.

Hit up YouTube for more pattu-langa cuteness.

Photo: desiVastra

12 thoughts on “Gonna Dress You Up in Pattu

  1. Apparently these mini-lehngas are quite the rage in India too. A couple of years ago, a friend from Bangalore gifted my daughters these adorable silk mini-pavadas.

    I wish I had them when I was growing up. In the (north Indian) small-town I grew up in, wearing pattu pavadais clearly signaled your fashion backwardness among my northie friends (who were then into wearing gasp sleeveless kameezes and backless cholis with strings) and somehow I always hated these things then. Of course, now I think they’re several degrees of adorable, mini or maxi.

  2. The shorter length version is quite common in the South, no? It’s called ara-langa (half-langa), at least in Andhra.

  3. super cute. padma and krishna look very sweet together. i am happy to see she seems to have blossomed into the motherhood role and krishna looks like a happy baby.

  4. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like if I was growing up Indian in America now (versus the 70s-80s), it would be a lot more awesome. Then = “Why are you wearing that weird, freakish different thing?” Now = “OMG you look like Padma Lakshmi you lucky girl! So pretty! Want!”

    Still. Glad for my kids.

  5. not “apparently also called pattu pavada”- it “is” called pattu pavadai in TN and pattu pavada in Kerala.

    Before the universalisation of the churidar/salwar, pavadais were the outfit of choice for younger girls- so not sure what mom2 means by saying “they are quite the rage in India too”- they are as much a rage in India as blue jeans are in the US.

  6. My family (4 girls) grew up with these. My family is Tamil-speaking. We called them “pattu pavadais” but we graduated to salwar kameez after about age 10. A shame, as pattu pavadais were my favorite.

  7. In South India not too long ago and perhaps still in the rural areas after pattu paavadai you graduated to wearing a paavadai dhaavani.

  8. nk, WTF? She looks like the nanny because she’s brown and her kid is lighter-skinned? Hello close-minded folks. I’m hoping this isn’t what you meant.

    I’m calling you out because I’ve had people ask me if my kid belongs to me and it drives me nuts. People should just STFU if they feel the urge to make idiotic comments like this, especially in person.

    Rant aside, I love the short form pavadai – had never seen this before! My parents sent a couple of the long ones for our kid, and it sucks for a baby to crawl in those.

    And @Shalini, I hear you about thinking this would be cool if we hadn’t grown up in the 80s. I hear you sister and I too am happy my girl is growing up in a different time and place.

  9. all the hell of pregnancy and childbirth – for what? just to bring another little bhutni into the world? what a disgrace – isn’t this the same “woman” who abandoned the vegetarian ethic and every other virtue and goodness associated with Aryavarta?

  10. Thanks very much to those of you who commented about the pattu langa/pattu pavada(i). I’m delighted to hear that short-form ones are not uncommon, and hope to find one for my niece before her second birthday!