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Salwar or Churidar and Kameez

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Introduction of Salwar or Churidar and Kameez

The Salwar kameez is the second most popular Indian dress and is gaining in popularity fast with the younger generation. The Indian salwar kameez too has had many design changes. The new designers have come up with great variations of the Shalwar kameez. Salwar kurta evolved as a comfortable and respectable garment for women in Kashmir and Punjab, but is now immensely popular in all regions of India. Salwars are pyjama-like trousers drawn tightly in at the waist and the ankles. Over the salwars, women wear a long and loose dress known as a kameez. One might occasionally come across women wearing a churidar instead of a salwar. A churidar is similar to the salwar but is tighter fitting at the hips, thighs and ankles more like leggings. Over this, one might wear a collarless or mandarin collar dress called a kurta.


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Origin & History

The word ‘Churidar‘is a Hindi term, which made its way into English in the 20th century. It is believed that in 19th-century Indian women used to wear a churidar with a bodice and a transparent overskirt. Churidar is a famous dress in Pakistan especially with the people of North Indian origin which includes Pakistani Punjabis and also people who migrated from India to Pakistan in 1947.


Style & Variety

From designer wear to casual wear, from ethnic to Anarkali Churidar there is a huge range to choose from. The churidars are available in fabrics like cotton, silk, brocade silk, and georgette. Churidars are also available in a variety of colors. One can wear them with any kind of kurta, tunic or shirt. Readymade churidars are also available in different sizes.


Cultural significance

The popularity of the salwar kameez among young Indian women is linked to societal changes. Traditionally, Indian girls would switch to wearing the sari when they got married, which was usually soon after puberty. But as women in India began to marry later, they faced a new dilemma of what type of dress to wear while they were still single adults. They could no longer wear the attire of their childhood but did not feel quite ready yet to wear the sari. Thus, they turned to the salwar kameez, which was seen as a suitable outfit that met their modesty requirements.

For many Indian women today, the salwar kameez is regarded as a functional outfit that suits their modern lifestyle needs better than the traditional sari. Unlike the sari, the salwar kameez does not have strong associations with tradition nor does it evoke anxieties of learning how to properly wrap and drape the outfit. In addition, its ease of wear allows women to move about more freely at the workplace.


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