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22 Apr '16

Pakistani Clothing and Shalwar Kameez

Posted by Laila T in pakistani clothing

Pakistani dresses include a remarkable variety depending upon the regional differences. Most of the dresses are influenced by Islamic values and customs. The most distinguishing feature among Pakistani clothing is the outstanding fabric range, quality and design. Dresses such as Shalwar Kameez, Chooridar Pajama, Lehnga, Achkan, Chador and Sherwani can all be designed in a wide rang of comfortable fabric and alluring style. Shalwar Kameez is a favorite dress in the Indian Sub continent. It is the national dress in Pakistan.

Linen shalwar kameez

Linen Shalwar Kameez is a comfortable autumn dress. Both genders buy and wear it with equal preference. Women wear linen Shalwar Kameez in bright and attractive colors along with a chador, dupatta or scarf to cover their heads. There is a wide range of Linen Shalwar Kameez in Pakistan such as plain linen Kameez with embroidery on front panels, necklines and sleeves paired with a matching shalwar. Glittery linen Kameez paired with a plain matching Shalwar and Dupattas.  Other than this Block- printed linen Kameez paired with matching Shalwar and Chador are considered very trendy. Men wear Linen Shalwar Kameez in black, white or different shades of light blue and gray colors.


Embroidered Shalwar Kameez


Embroidered Shalwar Kameez is yet another favorite. It is available in a wide range in different kinds of fabric such as Raw Silk, Silk, Satin, Crepe, Chiffon, Georgette, Cotton, Lawn and Voile. Usually plain fabric is preferred for embroidery but these days embroidery on slightly printed, striped, and dotted fabric is in trend. For women’s summer embroidery Shalwar Kameez there is soft and light weight lawn and voile with printed Dupatta. Embroidered Shalwar Kameez usually has stunning motifs around neckline, front panels and sleeves. Some dresses have embroidery on the back of the Kameez also which is a very trendy style. In winter women like Shalwar Kameez in woolen fabric with beautiful embroidery, sequins and beads work.

For men also light weight and airy cotton and Lawn Shalwar Kameez are preferred in summer with fine embroidery around the neckline and sleeves. For winters Linen, Cotton and woolen fabric are used.


Banarsi shalwar Kameez

Banarsi Shalwar Kameez is essentially meant for women. It is complemented with a matching Dupatta and is a suitable dress for very formal occasions. A wide range of designs and fabric in shining Banarsi prints are available. Light weight and cool Chiffon Banarsi is a popular summer fabric for Kameez. It is often paired with a matching Shalwar in China Silk or Raw Silk. A luring style in Banarsi Shalwar Kameez is the embroidery in gold or silver thread combined with beads or sequins work. This type of Banarsi wear is designed exclusively for weddings.

Chooridar Pajama

Chooridar Pajama is a traditional hot item in Pakistani and Indian fashions. It is a narrow trouser that is designed to reveal the contours of legs. Chooridar Pajama is worn by both genders, however, it is a favorite among women. Chooridar Pajamas for Men are made in Cotton or Raw Silk, for women they are designed in Cotton, Lawn, Crepe, Satin and Raw Silk. Both genders wear it with long, short or medium length Kameez depending upon the latest fashion trends. According to 2012 fashion trends Chooridar Pajama for women is to be paired with ankle length Kameez. Men wear Chooridar Pajama with Sherwani or Kurta on formal occasions. It is a favorite groom’s wear on Pakistani weddings.


Sherwani is a traditional formal wear for men in Pakistan. This graceful outfit is a symbol of elegance in Pakistani traditions. These days it is a popular fancy dress for grooms. Sherwani is designed in a wide range of quality fabric starting from something simple and comfortable as woolen cotton to something as glamorous as Jamawar, Banarsi and Raw Silk. Sherwanis designed for formal and special occasions such as weddings are embroidered with metallic threads of gold and silver. Often there is beautiful beads work, sequins work or other embellishments on the front panels, neckline, collar or sleeves. Sherwanis for formal occasions are paired with Chooridar Pajamas and Turban or stole.


Dupatta is a Chador for women in Pakistan. It is a long fabric often laced or decorated with ribbons to give it an attractive look. Women cover their heads with a Dupatta for hijab or purdah purpose. A Dupatta also has some fine embroidery work as in Bareeze’ Dupatta trends. Some have tassels or other handmade dangling embellishments prepared in beads work or crochet patterns. Different light weight and thin fabric such as Lawn, Chiffon, Georgette, and Silk are used for Dupatta. Usually a Dupatta is made of complementing fabric, print or design that suits a Shalwar Kameez or Kameez Chooridar dress.


Kurta is a loose fitting Kameez worn by men and women in Pakistan. It can be formal or casual depending upon make, design and fabric. Shorter Kurta is worn over trousers and longer ones are paired with Shalwar. Embroidered Kurtas in glamorous designs are a favorite. Kurta is made in Cotton, Lawn, Voile, and woolen fabric. Women’s Kurta has more variety in design and cut as it may have numerous panels to create flare. Panels can be in contrasting or complementary colors and fabric. Embroidery on front and back panels, chest area and sleeves gives elegance to this dress.

 Punjabi Shalwar Kameez

Punjabi Shalwar Kameez is a symbol of feminine style from Punjab province. It is different from other types of this dress in shape and cut. Punjabi Shalwar has pleats going inwards or outwards imparting flare to the wear more like Patiala Shalwar. Punjabi Kameez in contrast is well-fitted with pleats in the front and back to enhance a woman’s figure. It also can be buttoned from the top front with metallic buttons. Bright and catchy colors are a norm for Punjabi Shalwar Kameez. It is often laced or embroidered coupled with a laced Dupatta. Printed Cotton, Linen, Lawn or voile are preferred fabric for this dress.


Lehenga is a traditional formal wear which brings to mind a fully decorated heavy bridal dress. Lehenga has become an essential bridal wear for Pakistani weddings. It is an A shaped flared skirt designed in Raw Silk, Banarsi or Chiffon Banarsi fabric. Heavy beads work, embroidery in metallic threads, rich work in pearls, diamantes, beads and sequins make Lehenga a traditional marvel for formal occasions. Normally, very bright and catchy colors such as red, brown, and blue, green are chosen for this dress however, white, silver and pastels are also liked. Lehenga is worn with a blouse or a Kameez of medium or small length (depending upon the fashion) trends and a Dupatta. Different styles in this dress are mermaid style, princess style, and layered Lehenga.


Sharara is a traditional formal bottom wear for women in Pakistan. It is a trouser with a lot of flare or one might say a two-legged Lehenga. Sharara is popular bridal dress and just like Lehenga it is often laden with heavy embroidery and embellishments. Sharara is made in Raw Silk, Chiffon, Georgette, Chiffon Banarsi and silk. It is worn with a short or long Kameez and Dupatta which are also embroidered to match up the Sharara. This dress can also be made in pain fabric and be matched with an embroidered Kameez.


Achkan is a popular Muslim men’s wear in Pakistan but such designs are common among lady’s wear too. Achkan looks much like Sherwani but it is different because Achkan is made in much finer fabric than Sherwani. Secondly it is without line. Achkan is a front open buttoned shirt. It is of knee length or in some cases a little longer than that. Achkan is worn with Shalwar or Chooridar Pajama. it is worn on formal occasions, especially in weddings grooms dress up in fine Achkans made in Jamawar.


Chador is a fine open cloak like head gear in Pakistan. Chador is worn over a dress by men and women. For women, it is slightly larger in size than a Dupatta and the fabric used for a Chador is also thicker and finer than a Dupatta. Women use Chador for Hijab or Purdah purpose as part of their modest clothing attire. Men use for traditional reasons in some regions of Pakistan. A famous style in Chador is Ajrak which is a beautiful block printed shawl from Sindh province. Chador is made in Linen, Cotton, and Georgette. Men’s Chador is made in white, black or brown Cotton or woolen material. This is in contrast to the scarf that Middle Eastern men wear on their heads that is referred to as keffiyeh or shimagh.


Shawls a rectangular cloth to be wrapped around ones shoulders or it can also be used to cover head. Both men and women in Pakistan wear shawls especially in winter season. Woolen shawls done in marvelously colorful prints can be very warm and cozy in winter.Kashmiri shawls are the most famous in Pakistan. Knit shawls and Pashmina shawls are very fine and durable. Pashmina shawls are a favorite in Pakistan and the Middle East. Shawls are also decorated with embroidery and beads work. Such shawls can be very useful for formal occasions.


Sehra is a headgear worn by the groom on a Pakistani wedding but Sehra in modern times can only be seen in rural or extremely traditional areas. Sehra looks more like an ornament with lots of silver or golden tassels. It might also be made of fresh jasmine blossoms. It makes a groom stand out among a crowd. It is a very traditional gear in Pakistan.

Sindhi Cap

Sindhi cap is a beautiful cap worn by many Sindhi, Balochi and even Saraiki men. Sindhi cap is embroidered with tiny round pieces of looking glass between the stitches. It glitters and looks lovely in shades of red, black, brown or blue. It is cylindrical in shape with some portion cut out in the front to fit the head and expose some hair. In Sindh this cap is often worn with Ajrak. It is a great representative of Sindhi culture.  This is not the same as the Turkish Kufi worn in the Middle East.

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References and sources

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