Pakistani clothing

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Pakistani clothing refers to the ethnic clothing that is typically worn by people in the country of Pakistan and by the people of Pakistani origin. Pakistani clothes express the culture of Pakistan, the demographics of Pakistan and cultures from the Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Pashtun) and Kashmir regions of the country. Dress in each regional culture reflect weather conditions, way of living and distinctive style which gives it a unique identity among all cultures.

Pakistani national dress[edit]

The shalwar kameez is the national dress of Pakistan[1][2] and is worn by men and women in all Five provinces Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa And Gilgit Baltistan in the country and in Azad Kashmir. Salwar refers to loose trousers and kameez refers to shirts. Since 1982, all officials working in the secretariat are required to wear the national dress.[3]

Each province has its own style of wearing the salwar kameez such as Sindhi shalwar kameez, Punjabi shalwar[4] kameez, Pashtun shalwar kameez and Balochi shalwar kameez. Pakistanis wear clothes ranging from exquisite colours and designs to various types of fabric such as silk, chiffon, cotton, etc.[5]

Men's clothing[edit]

Men wear salwar kameez, kurta, Pakistani Waistcoat, achkan and sherwani, churidar or pajama. Other items of clothing include the jama and the angarkha. Headgear includes the Jinnah Cap also called Karakul, Fez also called Rumi Topi and Taqiyah (cap). Peshawari chappal and Khussa are popular foot wear. Other items include traditional shawls made of Pashmina or other warm materials especially in the Northern regions of the country.

Regional clothing[edit]


A Baloch wears a long jama (robe) like a smock-frock down to the heels, loose shalwar, a long chadar or scarf, a pagri of cotton cloth, and mostly shoes that nanow at the toe.[6] The material is thick cloth with very wide shalwar to protect against the hot wind of the dry Sulaiman Range and Kharan Desert.


Sindhi people wear a version of the shalwar called a suthan[7][8] with a kameez called cholo.[9] Other traditional clothing includes the Sindhi cap and Ajrak of beautiful designs which are made locally. Men also traditionally wear the dhoti and the long angerkho.


Punjabi men wear the straight cut Punjabi shalwar kameez, kurta and shalwar, dhoti, lungi[11] or tehmat[12][13] and kurta. Other Punjabi shalwar styles include the Pothohari shalwar,[14] Multani shalwar, Dhoti shalwar and the Bahawalpuri shalwar which is very wide and baggy[15] with many folds. Turban of a thin cloth is also worn especially in rural areas of Punjab where it is called pagri. Footwear include the khussa.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa[edit]

In Pashtun dress, people wear traditional Peshawari chappal[16] as footwear. The traditional male Pashtun dress includes the Khet partug,[17] Peshawari shalwar and the Perahan wa tunban. Males usually wear kufi, Peshawari cap, turban, or pakul as traditional headgear.

Azad Kashmir[edit]

The clothing of Azad Kashmir includes various styles of the shalwar kameez.

Women's clothing[edit]

Shalwar kameez[edit]

Pakistani women wear the shalwar kameez which is worn in different styles, colors and designs which can be decorated with different styles and designs of embroidery. The kameez can be of varying sleeve length, shirt length, necklines. The drawers can be the straight-cut shalwar, patiala salwar, churidar, cigarette pajama, tulip trouser or simple trouser.


The Dupatta is an essential part of shalwar kameez ensemble and is considered a symbol of a woman's respect. Essentially, the dupatta is often treated as an accessory in current urban fashion. Most of women who carry it nowadays, wear it just as a decorative accessory; wrapping around the neck or hanging down the shoulder. Most of the young generation in urban areas do not carry it at all. Dupatta is also used by some women when entering a mosque, dargah, church, gurdwara or mandir, it is the habit in the Indian subcontinent for women to cover their head with a dupatta. It is also widely worn by women in wedding and other parties out of choice. On such occasions it is wrapped round the waist, neck or just put on a shoulder. It is used with different embroidery designs of Kamdani and Gota.

Other traditional dresses[edit]

Pakistani women have a variety of traditional dresses in addition to the shalwar kameez but they mostly wear them on special occasions such as on weddings, engagements, mehndi and other traditional ceremonies.

The dresses include the ghagra choli and saris which are very popular and its each design and color seems unique from the other e.g. lehenga style sari. The lehenga is another popular dress which resembles a skirt but is traditional dress. The gharara and sharara are two similar dresses which are often worn on ceremonial occasions. Farshi Pajama is an old traditional dress which is worn occasionally. Laacha is worn in the Punjab,[18] the lower part of which resembles the dhoti.

Regional clothing[edit]


A typical dress of a Baloch woman consists of a long frock and shalwar with a headscarf.[19] Balochi women wear heavy embroidered shalwar kameez and dupatta with the embroidery utilising Shisha work.[20]


In addition to wearing the suthan and cholo, Sindhi women wear the lehenga and choli known as the gaji which is a pullover shirt worn in the mountain areas of Sindh. The gaji is composed of small, square panels, embroidered on silk and sequins. The neck line of the gaji is cut high, and round on one side, with a slit opening extending the other. Unmarried girls wear the opening to the back and married women, to the front.[21] Sindhi clothing displays embroidery using mirrors.[20]


Punjabi women wear the straight cut Punjabi shalwar kameez,[22], which is most frequently worn. Punjabi women, in villages, also wear the Pothohari shalwar, the Patiala shalwar, the laacha (tehmat),[23] kurti,[24] ghagra,[25] lehenga and phulkari.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa[edit]

In urban areas women typically wear the shalwar kameez[26]. Pashtun women commonly wear shalwar kameez, and in some regions, particularly in Tribal areas women wear firaq partug which is also worn in neighbouring Afghanistan. In Kalash region, women wear embroidered long shirts.

Religious clothing[edit]

By women's religious clothing we mean the dressing in which they try to cover all their body parts except face and hands while going outside from their home.Mostly women fully or partially cover their heads with Dupatta or Chadar in outdoors but religious women prefer to wear Scarf, Burqa or Hijab and wear lose, long full and half sleeve shirts. Religious men wear long tunics.

Wedding dresses[edit]

In Pakistan the traditional wedding ceremony is celebrated by wearing different clothes in each wedding event. Usually, the style and designs of wedding attire vary across different regions from north to the south among different ethnic communities, however, in major urban cities such as Karachi, Lahore, Faislabad, and Rawal-Pindi, on occasion of the Rasm-e-Heena (Mendhi), men wear an embroidered kurta or Kameez in glittering colours with simple shalwar, and a colorful shawl which they put on their shoulders and sometimes round the neck. In some weddings, dress code is decided before the ceremony and all men wear the same color. Up to the wedding day, the bride may wear a yellow[27] or orange kameez, with a simple shalwar, patiala shalwar,[28] yellow dupatta and yellow paranda — more commonly in the Punjab region of Pakistan. However, in other regions customs vary for example in the north-west, particularly in the tribal areas, it is customary for a bride to wear Firaq Partug.

During baraat and walima functions, the groom usually wears kurta shalwar or kurta churidar with special sherwani and khussa, however, in some regions including Balochistan among Baloch and Pashtuns (in the north of the province), and in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, mostly among Pashtuns and Kohistanis, groom customarily wears simple, more often white colour shalwar Kameez and a traditional Baloch Bugti Chappal (in Baloch dominated regions) or Peshawari Chappal in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. During the event of baraat, grooms also wear traditional sehra on their head. In new trend in Pakistan, mostly groom wear sherwani with tight jeans which is look like a churidaar pajama. Brides normally wear an expensive lehenga or gharara[29] preferably in red, maroon and pink colors with heavy jewellery.

Pakistani clothing companies and brands[edit]

The following is a list of notable Pakistani clothing companies and brands.

Pakistani fashion[edit]

Pakistani fashion has flourished well in the changing environment of fashion world. Since Pakistan came into being its fashion has been historically evolved from different phases and made its unique identity. At this time, Pakistani fashion is a combination of traditional and modern dresses and it has become the cultural identification of Pakistan. Despite of all modern trends, the regional and traditional dresses have developed their own significance as a symbol of native tradition. This regional fashion is not static but evolving into more modern and pure forms.

Pakistan Fashion Design Council based in Lahore organizes Fashion Week and Fashion Pakistan based in Karachi organizes fashion shows in that city. Credit goes to Ayesha Tammy Haq, a British-trained lawyer and chief executive of Fashion Pakistan, who came up with the idea for Pakistan’s first fashion week, held in November 2009.[30]

Pakistani fashion industry[edit]

Zainab Chottani with her show stoppers

Pakistani fashion industry is introducing Pakistani traditional dresses all over the world as cultural representatives and becoming a reason to introduce international trends in Pakistan. Pakistani media, Film Industry and Internet has the biggest role in promoting fashion in Pakistan. There are a lot of TV Channels, Magazines, Portals[31] and websites which are working only for fashion industry. Despite the religious boundaries Pakistani Fashion Industry has become recognized all over the world through its models, designers, stylists and fashion shows.[citation needed]

Pakistani fashion designers[edit]

Pakistani fashion models[edit]

The following is a list of Pakistani models.[32]

Male models[edit]
Female models[edit]

Pakistani fashion photographers[edit]

Like other fields of fashion, Pakistani fashion photographers have made their way in the industry. These Fashion Photographers are the eyes of the fashion industry through which they observe and present beauty to the people.

Pakistani fashion stylists[edit]

Pakistani stylists have also a major contribution in giving the celebrities a new look. Their work is also appreciated within and outside of Pakistan. Here is a list of Pakistani Fashion stylists[33]

Pakistani fashion events[edit]

Extensive fashion activities are shown in Pakistani Fashion Events held in different parts of the country as well as abroad in which versatile approaches towards new trends always amuse the spectators. The famous Pakistani Fashion Events are as follows[citation needed]

Pakistani fashion awards[edit]

Pakistani fashion schools[edit]

Here is a list of Pakistani fashion institutes.

Pakistani fashion media[edit]

Here is a list of Pakistani fashion media.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nobleman, Marc Tyler (2003) Pakistan
  2. ^ West, Barbara. A (2009) Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania [1]
  3. ^ Ali Banuazizi, Myron Weiner (1986) The State, Religion, and Ethnic Politics: Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan ; [this Vol. Had Its Origin in a Conference on "Islam, Ethnicity and the State in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan" ... Held in November 1982, in Tuxedo, New York] [2]
  4. ^ Qadeer. Mohammad (2006) Pakistan - Social and Cultural Transformations in a Muslim Nation [3]
  5. ^ Unquiet Pasts: Risk Society, Lived Cultural Heritage, Re-Designing Reflexivity - Stephanie Koerner, Ian Russell - Google Books. 16 August 2010. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  6. ^ Mir Khuda Bakhsh Marri (1974) Searchlights on Baloches and Balochistan
  7. ^ Hasan, Shaikh Khurshid (1996) Chaukhandi tombs in Pakistan
  8. ^ Gera, Nalini (2003) Ram Jethmalani: the authorized biography
  9. ^ Illustrated Weekly of Pakistan, Volume 20, Issues 27-39 (1968)
  10. ^ Census of India, 1901: Baluchistan. 3 pts
  11. ^ Area Handbook for Pakistan (1975)
  12. ^ West Pakistan Year Book (1961)
  13. ^ Pakistan culture (1997)
  14. ^ Mohinder Singh Randhawa. (1960) Punjab: Itihas, Kala, Sahit, te Sabiachar aad.Bhasha Vibhag, Punjab, Patiala
  15. ^ Current Opinion, Volume 25 (1899)
  16. ^ Shah, Danial. "Peshawari Chappal | Flickr - Photo Sharing!". Flickr. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  17. ^ Pathans: Compiled Under the Order of the Government of India at the Recruiting Office, Peshawar (1938) [4]
  18. ^ Focus on Pakistan, Volume 2 (1972)
  19. ^ Dashti, Naseer (2012) The Baloch and Balochistan: A Historical Account from the Beginning to the Fall of the Baloch State [5]
  20. ^ a b Illustrated Weekly of Pakistan, Volume 21, Issues 1-16
  21. ^ Peter J. Claus, Sarah Diamond, Margaret Ann Mills (2003) South Asian Folklore: An Encyclopedia : Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka [6]
  22. ^ Tracey Skelton, Gill Valentine (2005) Cool Places: Geographies of Youth Cultures [7]
  23. ^ Nasreen Askari, Rosemary Crill (1997) Colours of the Indus: Costume and Textiles of Pakistan In the cities, straight-cut shalwars and pants are worn by majority. The females youngsters in the Punjab frequently wear jeans and short shirts or tee-shirts. id=jWRQAAAAMAAJ&q=lacha+punjabi+dress&dq=lacha+punjabi+dress&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CFIQ6AEwB2oVChMI0LODq7KkxwIV7wrbCh16ogS8
  24. ^ Punjab District Gazetteers: Rawalpindi District (v. 28A) (1909)
  25. ^ Chaudhry, Nazir Ahmad (2002) Multan Glimpses: With an Account of Siege and Surrender [8]
  26. ^ Peter J. Claus, Sarah Diamond, Margaret Ann Mills (2003) South Asian Folklore: An Encyclopedia : Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka [9]
  27. ^ Illustrated Weekly of Pakistan, Volume 20, Issues 27-39 (1968)
  28. ^
  29. ^ Malik, Iftikhar Haider (2006) Culture and Customs of Pakistan
  30. ^ In Pakistan, fashion weeks thrive beyond the style capitals of the world
  31. ^ "What is a Portal?". Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  32. ^ "Pakistani Fashion Models Pakistan Female Fashion Models". 15 July 1976. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  33. ^ "List of top Pakistani Fashion Stylists at Fashion Central". Retrieved 14 June 2012.