Where To Find Undershirt From India With Bizarre Belly Pocket

I need your help! Here’s a tough question from a reader asking about a special pocketed undershirt from India that I’m not able to provide an answer for.

First off, I can’t believe I’m actually emailing about this…

But a buddy of mine brought back these undershirts from India that have a pocket that starts in the middle of the shirt over the belly and goes to the left.

The thinking is that the pocket is placed directly between the buttons of a button up shirt and a guy can keep his wallet and other items in said pocket right against his belly and still keep a really easy access.

I want these shirts for my special man friend. Any ideas at all about how to get em’? I’ve looked a little online… (that’s how I ended up here, obviously.)

Thanks,

Elaine

My response:

Hey Elaine,

Thanks for stopping by the site and sending in your email!

That’s definitely a new one for me, but let’s see if we can use the power of the world-wide web to find you those special undershirts for your special man friend. I’ll do a little digging, but I’ll also post the question on the site to see if anyone can help us locate what you’re looking for.

Thanks again & stay tuned!

Searching For Indian Undershirt With Pocket

Since I received the email from Elaine, I’ve done a little digging and found a couple other references to an undershirt like the one she is looking for.

I also put together a little graphic image of what an undershirt with a front belly pocket (based on her description) might look like. It’ll be interesting to see what an actual one looks like.

undershirt-with-front-belly-pocket

From indiamike.com

I used to have an unusual undershirt that I got at the Gandhi ashram shop in Delhi. It had a long deep pocket in the front kangaroo style.

It was a very secure place to keep passport and money. Don’t know what these were called or if they are still available. All their handloom stuff was excellent quality and very comfortable.

Source

From thesmugglers.com

I’m not the only totally paranoid person in India!) He kept this money in a built-in pocket in his undershirt, but they decided that the shirt needed more protection.

As they frantically discussed sewing the shirt shut, Corrina came up with another solution for them. She reached into her bag and brought out some duct tape. She slapped it on his undershirt, pushing lightly on his rotund belly, and voila, the money was safe.

Source

I’ve also sent out some emails to some friends who have friends from India, so maybe I’ll hear back in the next couple of days with some additional leads.

If you know anyone from India who might be able to provide more information about these undershirt or let us know where Elaine could find this particular undershirt, please either email me directly ASAP, or post a comment here!

Thanks for your help!

Belly Pocket Undershirt Update

I got some more info over the weekend via some friends of friends. Although we haven’t found the exact answer on where to get the pocket undershirts in the U.S., hopefully it will help us narrow down our search!

Yes, this design is a traditional design which used to be quite common 50 years back with most of the shopkeepers and people who had to carry money around.

Undershirts made of khadi cloth, quite common in those nationalistic days when calling oneself Indian and patriotic was still considered okay, were usually available at Khadi Bhandars. Similar undershirts, made of ordinary cotton, were also available in ordinary cloth shops. I do not know how popular they are now.

But I guess they must be still available in traditional Gujrati markets in Bombay, like Bhuleshwar or Dadar.

Probably can be found in Khadi Bhandar in Bombay or Gujarati markets

More Updates

This information was just sent to me via a friend in the business whose friend is currently in India.

Yes, that undershirt is pretty common here in India. My dad wears one. Usually they were stitched by your local tailor, but now I think you can buy them ready made.

The sideways pocket is a long staple of the Indian undershirt. It’s called a ‘bundi’ – pronounced ‘bun – dee’ (the ‘bun’ is pronounced as the ‘bun’ in bread). It’s available locally in most older clothing shops not in newer malls here in India.

These are made of woven cotton though not spun cotton. So the consistency of the cloth is more like a cotton shirt rather than soft like a T-Shirt. There may be new designs available in t-shirt like material. I will find out.

I don’t think you could get it in the states, but I could be wrong. A good place to check is the Little India neighborhood in Artesia/Cerritos on Pioneer Blvd. there are lots of clothes shops there and you could get lucky.

Here’s an email response from Beez, the traveler who went to India and wrote about it on thesmugglers.com:

Hello Tug,

My name is Beez, the author of the India adventure tour. When I read your comment about “an undershirt with a pocket” I had no idea what you were talking about. I googled myself with that phrase and lo and behold I DID run into someone with that fine piece of clothing.

Not sure what more I can tell you about it. We were on a train between Delhi and Chennai. There is a picture of the man in chapter 3 of my travel book, and indeed, he is wearing an undershirt that has a pocket.

It is at the bottom of the shirt and it is much like a money belt but built into the shirt.

That’s the best I can do to tell you.

Good luck and if you need anymore info (though I can’t imagine I have much more) write me!

Beez

1 thought on “Where To Find Undershirt From India With Bizarre Belly Pocket”

  1. I myself wore one of these sleeveless ” undershirts” in India in 1971 & 1975-77. and I think its one of the best things invented if your travelling. I kept my money and passport there out of sight and it never left me even when I slept. Pickpockets can’t get into them. Khadi (homespun) is cool , breathes and washes and drys quickly. I spent seven years on the road, Africa. s.e. asia, India etc.
    I’m going to Morocco for two months with a buddy this fall and have been to find the same here in Surrey British Columbia. It’s only the older people who knew what I was talking about. The young ones grew up with polyester and wouldn’t be caught dead wearing homespun, (only village people wear this type of cloth) and Mahatma Ghandi. Surrey has an east Indian population of about 200,000. If you can find an older east Indian tailor he/she should know what your talking about. I found one today who wqill make me two for $20.00 three metres of cloth at only a buck a metre, What more can you ask for?

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