Saturday, August 29, 2009

Salwar Khameez

Indian dressing styles are marked by many variations, both religious and regional and one is likely to witness a plethora of colors, textures and styles in garments worn by the Indians. Apart from this, the rich tradition of Indian embroidery has long been made use of by fashion designers from other countries.

To a foreigner, the powerful attraction is the colorful attire of the people in India. With globalization, dresses are also getting westernized. Though the majority of the Indian women wear traditional costumes, the men seem to be more comfortable in western clothing.
Salwar kameez is made of a long tunic called a khameez and pyjama-like trousers drawn tightly in at the waist called salwar. Salwar kameez originated in northern India, but soon spread across the country.
Today the salwar kameez stands as the second most popular women’s dress in most parts of India. The popularity and comfort of the salwar kameez has reached such stupendous heights that most of the new breed designers have started channelizing a major portion of their creative abilities to give this ensemble a new look. Varying from the ethnic touch to the cocktail look, the salwar kameez has come to suit all occasions and what could be better and more creative than adaptation of embroideries of various countries on salwar kameez.
Salwar kameez has many different names. Call it Kurta churidar or Punjabi suit

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.

India has been known to have wonderful dresses and costumes specially Salwar Kameez. Though the majority of Indian women wear traditional costumes, the men in India can be found in more conventional western clothing. Tailored clothing is very common in India, as women's blouses have to be made-to-fit. Clothing for both men and women has evolved and is keeping designers busy. The shalwar khameez can be richly decorated or simple for everyday use. Other styles are closely fitted and almost like leggings. The tunic can also vary: long and flared or short and straight. Women today often wear some version of the salwar kameez when relaxing at home, since the costume is very comfortable and practical for daily use.

When women wear the salwar kameez, they usually wear a long scarf or shawl called a dupatta around the head or neck. For Muslim women, the dupatta is a less stringent alternative to the chador or burqa. For Hindu women (especially those from northern India, where the salwar kameez is most popular), the dupatta is useful when the head must be covered, as in a temple or the presence of elders. For other women, the dupatta is simply a stylish accessory that can be worn over one shoulder or draped around the chest and over both shoulders.

Salwar Kameez helps keep cool on those hot sweltering days, as it doesn't cling to the body.



In the 1960s, the most sensational fashion discovery of all times hit the West - the mini. The skirt went an inch above the knee and then higher and higher till there was nothing left to the imagination. The Indian woman was not as daring, but the kameez did sneak up quite a few inches above the knee.

The salwar kameez adapted to fashion changes in the West in terms of cut, length and hemlines. It was a long journey for this peasant attire from the fields of Punjab to the fashion capital of India, Mumbai.

The kurta by now had reached just below the hips. Other innovations that followed the churidar kurta were the lungi kurta and ghagra choli. Sometimes the kurta was worn with bell-bottoms or denim pants. All these innovations that revolved around the kurta made it the most versatile garment of the 1960s and 1970s. By the end of the 1970s the salwar kameez and churidar kurta learnt to co-exist with variations.

Types of salwar kameez
  • Indo-western salwar kameez
  • Casual wear salwar kameez
  • Party wear salwar kameez
  • Printed salwar kameez
  • Kurta churidar
  • Short kurta pant
  • Indo-western salwar kameez:

 The fusion of styles in Indian clothing and western clothing resulted in Indo western salwar kameez. These lady’s salwar kameez suits are specially designed to give western look with Indian tradition. An Indo western salwar kameez suit may have a sleeveless top and a salwar. Indo western salwar kameez suits also come in spaghetti straps instead of sleeves.
Designers have pioneered the concept of blending ethnic ethos and international trends to give a modern and trendy look to contemporary Indian women

The cliché that dressing is done to please others has become passé. Today's generation wears clothes to please themselves. Even designers belonging to the younger breed carry the same chip on their shoulder. 

Miss Universe 2000 Lara Dutta won the award for the most outstanding evening gown designed by Ritu Kumar. Author of a well-received book Costumes and Textiles of Royal India, she is considered a pioneer in Indian fashion. Her Indo-Western fusion wear has trappings of block prints, embroidery and craft inputs.

 Casual wear salwar kameez:



The casual salwar kameez are wonderfully comfortable, ideal for the long hot Indian summer. Available in designs ranging from ethnic chic to traditional, to modern prints, in a wide range of fabrics. Many kurtas are free size, and with their flowing lines, are wonderfully flattering for the fuller figure. Women of all sizes can wear these outfits with confidence, knowing they will turn heads everywhere they go.

Cotton is the best salwar kameez as casual wear. They are cool, flowing and elegant. Fancy shalwar kameez are suitable for any occasion, casual or formal. Traditional salwar kameez are the ideal dress for going to temples, birthday parties, and eveningwear, while working at home or office.

Party wear salwar kameez:


Party wear salwar kameez are made up of a silk, satin, crepe and georgette fabrics, can be worn on festivals or other celebrations. Feminine and graceful, the Indian Party wear salwar kameez is decorated with embroidery and mirror work. The dupatta is also in festive colors and has gorgeous embroidery. Indian Party wear salwar kameez suits come in many different styles. People prefer Party wear salwar kameez in silk, satin, crepe and georgette fabric embroidered with as many as eighty panels with ornate embroidery and mirror work. Many could afford more intricate brocade, tanchoi and heavy satins even with real gold and silver embroidery, studded with precious stones.

Embroidery beautifies salwar kameez. Embroidery, like every other art form, needs to be understood to be fully appreciated and enjoyed. Insight of the principles not only creates the urge to "paint" with needle and thread but also gives one the knowledge that enables a more keen perception of the old masterpieces as well as modern day pieces. There are no fix shapes and sizes of embroidery. It may vary from inches to feet.

Printed salwar kameez:

Indian salwar kameez suit is one of the most successful evergreen attire of Indian sub-continent. Indian salwar kameez suits are available in many types. One of the famous types is Printed salwar kameez. Different type of printing is done on fabrics like cotton, crepe and chiffon. These fabrics are very comfortable for daily use.

  Printed salwar kameez looks very pretty. It is not necessary that both salwar and kameez have to be printed. Most time it is the kameez, which is printed, and the salwar is in contrast color.

Generally printed salwar kameez are available in sets. The sets consist of kameez, salwar and dupatta.


 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. The churidar is longer than the legs. Their extremes are crinkled and crumpled to fit. Creases thus developed resemble 'churis' or bangles, hence the name churidar kurta. Kurta churidar is very popular in the north especially Punjab hence is it also know as Punjabi suit.

The next innovation to salwar kameez after churidar was the short kurta pant. With westernization the salwar kameez adapted to fashion changes in the West in terms of cut, length and hemlines. The kurta did sneak up quite a few inches above the knee. And instead of the salwar, pants were worn, making it ideal for office and formal wear. The short kurtas came in different styles, some embroidered some plain. The pants came in parallel, capris and bell-bottom styles.

Short kurtas are also called as kurtis.

The salwar kameez seems to offer limitless design possibilities.


 Designer salwar kameez:

Designer salwar kameez are designed by professionals keeping in mind the changing trends. Fashion savvy people always keep themselves updated on the latest designer salwar kameezs.


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