ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design

5. Don't judge an Indian girl by her salwar


There was a time in India when the way you dressed was mean of information about your social status. But then, Salvar Kameez changed everything.
It is one of the most common dress in the subcontinent (along with the sari), worn by women from all regions and beliefs.

 


Salwar kurta (known with many names) is composed of tree pieces: pants (or salwar), a long blouse (kameez, from Arabic, calqued ancient greek and latin; or kurta, the Indian equivalent) and a shawl called dupatta or chunnari.

 


The salwar kameez came to India during the Muslim conquests (around 1.000 a.D.). Moghuls chosen to adopt it as imperial dress and thus it spread all over the country. Emperor Akbar fostered the introduction of Persian and Indian fashion in every aspect of life, and so the ancestor of salwar kameez was born.
The costume worn by Kathak dancers is accurate to the moghul original, and the Anarkali model – inspired by that - is very trendy these days.

 


Since the time of moghul up to the present day, salwar kameez changed many names and many shapes. Formerly unisex, it subsequently became women-only, worn especially in north-western regions by girls of marrying age. Fashion industry made a chic city-dress out of it. Since the 80s, salwar kameez has started to spread widely in shops and markets all over the world.

 


Churidhar (moghul breeches) are always fashionable: they are tightly-fitting and naturally stretchy, usually wide at the top and narrow at the ankles – where they sometimes end with a buttoned cuff.
Patiala come from Punjab. They are loose and durable pants, usually worn in summer. Their distinguishing characteristic is the pleats of cloth stitched together that reunite at the bottom. It is said that the Maharaja of Patiala created them in the name of comfort, and everyone started to wear them.
The most classical model, however, remains the salvar. Comfortable and narrow at the ankles, to be worn draping on the back of your feet.
Each model share the style of the waist-line: never to be shown, donned underneath your mid-thigh-long kameez.

 


Over your kameez you might want to wear a dupatta.
Born from the need to hide a woman’s bosom, it kept its function in the rural India, where it is still worn above the head and pinned at the breast.
During celebrations or in the city, women wear the dupatta around their neck, or leaned on a shoulder.

 



Dupatta is used by Muslim women like a bold substitute to burqa. In northern India even hindu women use it to cover their head (or parts of their faces) while entering a temple or to show respect and hide from the look of strangers.

 


A vast majority of women prefer to buy cloth and hire a tailor to sew their salwar kameez – avoiding ready-mades. A variety of kits are available on market, including cloth and, often, patterns for the neck decoration. A shop assistant will be able to tell you how much cloth you need, if you are not experienced. Tailors are very good at sewing salvars, but don’t expect it to come out in an occidental fashion! Satisfy your own fancy by choosing neck and sleeves decoration, or be ready to sew your own salwar kameez by following the instructions on this video!

 


There’s a salwar kameez for every situation. If you want to go on a party or a wedding, you might want to choose one with rich and posh decorations. Avoid natural materials and simple finishing: you don’t want to be asked “Hey  girl, where did you put your party dress?” (It actually happened to me, and that was awkward.)

 


Feel free to dress according to local’s fashion: Indian people will appreciate. Whence sari is less practical and might cause you some troubles, a salwar kameez is nice and allows you to express your personality. Every place has its customs: look around and take a guess about local fashion. You will quickly figure out the most appropriate style for your age and surroundings.
Salwar kameez is for women of all ages, but for the really young a churidhar is preferred.
If you go in the countryside, remember your dupatta! Mandatory for that place, but optional for the city.

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