If one Indian outfit could match the popularity of salwar suits and sari, it has to be the chaniya choli. It is the hallmark of the Rajasthan-Gujarat belt. It consists of a choli or blouse; a long skirt like part and a chunni. The choli can be a short one of extend up to the hips. Modern designs like backless, deep neckline cut cholis too are available. However the traditional varieties are more beautiful and the Indian touch is more prevalent in them. Basically, the dancers of Dandiya or Garba in Gujarat consider the chaniya choli a dress specifically meant for the occasion.
A chaniya choli has a flared skirt which is about 8 inches wide. More formal ones have a fitted cut akin to a lehenga. They can have any style of work on them but the patchwork, mirror work and abla works are most popular. The choli may be heavily embroidered or light. However, unlike the lehenga they have a less glossy look. This may be attributed to the fact that it is an item to be worn during Navratri, and not wedding.
Many modern versions are out now which are being used by brides. The duppatta is heavily designed with mirror work. The fabrics used for making these are cotton, georgette, silk and even satin. Wedding chaniya cholis are made from brocade and have an umbrella cut. A chaniya choli can be used for diverse functions by a simple alteration of the style and embroidery very effectively.