Salwar Kameez: An Ethnic Attire



Salwar kameez is one of the most popular attires of a number of South Asian countries. It is an ethnic outfit worn mostly by the women.

It is the every day dress of women in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Salwars are loose trousers and kameez is a long shirt. Its legs are wide at the top, and narrow at the bottom.The legs of the salwars are pleated or gathered into a waistband with a drawstring. Wide pleated pants are known as salwars whereas the narrow ones are called churidaar. The kameez is a long shirt or tunic. The side seams of the kameez, known as the chaak, are left open below the waist, to give the wearer greater freedom of movement. Indian tailors and designers often experiment with international styles and western cuts that result into a mix-n-match style of salwar kameezes. These trendy attires are often a happy blend of eastern grace and western style. When women wear the salwar kameez, they usually wear a long scarf around the head or neck. This scarf is called a dupatta. The duppata or scarf is rectangular in shape and worn in front with the sides falling at the back from over the shoulders. The words ‘salwar’ might have origianted from a Persian word that meant ‘pants’. ‘Kameez’ has its roots in the Arabic qamis that means a shirt.

The attire is believed to have come from the Turkic-Iranian horse-riding steppe people of central Asia.

From the 12th century, there were repeated raids and invasions that established Islamic Turkic-Iranian rule in India and its neighbouting countries. The Delhi sultanate and the Moghul empire were founded and along with the rulers, came the unwritten rules of fashion and style of the rulers. Salwar suits became popular in the region.

As a dress worn in the tropical countries, salwar kameezes have many advantages. They are made of cotton, silk, and other fabric available in the region. At times, beautiful patterns are weaved and they sport exquisite designs. Embroidery, mirror work, zari, handpaintings are some of the most common features of salwar kameezes. They are extremely comfortable and graceful, endowing an irresistible feminine charm to the wearer.

This three-piece garment is in high demand in the international market. Now you can also buy a salwar kameez online from many of the Indian outlets and online stores selling Indian attires.

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