I've been invited to an academic workshop in India. As a North American woman, it is conventional to wear business casual (e.g., pant suit or dress) or even casual clothing to a conference or workshop in my field (geography/health). Would it be appropriate to wear business casual in India or to dress more formally? Are pants preferred over knee-length skirts for women?
This is out of my field as I’m male, but think of the temperature, so next be respectful (not suggesting you wouldn’t...) but a lightweight business suit may be the order of the day.
Any images of last years conference available - may give you a hint...
I don’t think you will be required to wear a sari ... Mind you a colleague went to a conference abroad and made some friends and they went shopping to get her some national dress as a memento .... and some light fun of course.
I think a plain short kurti - preferably one that goes down past your bottom and is not sleeveless - with plain jeans (not ripped or stonewashed or with designs) is perfectly appropriate. I wear this outfit both in India and the US, and it doesn't look out of place in either country, while being extremely comfortable in the Indian climate. In the US, I believe kurtis are called long tunics here and are sold by several major brands.
I don't think there's a need to wear a sari. My friends who work in India only wear saris when they want an excuse to dress up :) For example, weddings, super formal events, etc. Of course my mother and mothers of my friends wore saris almost every day, to go to work. So maybe it's a generational thing.