Answer by Balaji Viswanathan:
Continuing the discussion from here:
- Where they live: In big cities, women tend to be freer when it comes to dress options. Unlike rural areas, where everyone knows everyone else, in cities we become "invisible" entities. This gives women extra boldness in trying out new things without worrying about what the neighbor things [in many instances they might know the neighbor at all]. This is true of all parts of the world. Rural areas forces one to be more conservative as the community influences a big part of you.
- Whether they are immigrants: In India's case, migrants into the cities often dress more freely. For instance, a girl from Manipur or Haryana staying in Mumbai might find more freedom to dress modern more than a local Marathi woman, while at her hometown she might have to worry about mother-in-law, parents relatives, etc.
- The diversity of the cities: In diverse cities, people come across more types of dresses worn by others. There might be multiple business travelers from abroad who might influence the dress choices of the locals. The people around you make you & if you live in a very diverse environment, your dressing might tend to be quite creative.
- Wealth & options: Even if a girl in Ranchi has the freedom and wants to dress modern, maybe there are not enough shopping options to buy the skirts & trousers she wants. There might be just 1 shopping mall in the whole city & that might have Gucci or Prada. Or she might not be wealthy enough to buy some of the dresses. Thus, she goes to the local tailor who gives her the standard salwar set.
- Cultural pride: In India's case, the surrounding culture has a big impact on what you wear. Even in metropolitan Europe it is the same. For instance, you won't go to a Opera in Amsterdam wearing a Jean/T-Shirt. One must buy a Dress/Suit/Tuxedo for wearing to an opera or a ball or a classical concert. In the same way, you don't wear a short skirt if you are going to a Chennai temple. How hard these cultural rules are influenced depends on how proud people are about their culture. The French & Italians are very proud of their culture and have a certain way of dressing to special occassions. In a few other places, people might not care. In many Indian towns where the heritage still retains, the rules get enforced more.