Shalwar kameez, also spelled salwar kameez or shalwar qameez, is a traditional outfit originating in the Indian subcontinent. It is a generic term used to describe different styles of dress. The shalwar kameez can be worn by both men and women, but styles differ by gender. The shalwar (pantaloons/drawers) and the kameez (body shirt) are two garments combined to form the shalwar kameez.
- 1 Etymology and history
- 2 Description
- 3 Styles
- 4 Different forms of Shalwar kameez
- 4.1 Anarkali suit
- 4.2 Afghanistan suits
- 4.3 Pashtun suits
- 4.4 Peshawari shalwar suit
- 4.5 Balochi suits
- 4.6 Phiran|Phiran, poots and shalwar
- 4.7 Punjabi suits
- 4.8 Sindhi suits
- 5 Related South Asian outfits
- 6 See also
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Etymology and history
The shalwar (Persian: شلوار), (Urdu: شلوار, translit. shalwar); šalvār (Turkish: şalvar), (Punjabi: ਸਲਵਾਰ also pronounced salwar); sirwāl (Arabic: سروال); salwar (Bengali সালোয়ার); selwar (Sylheti); shalvaar (Gujarati શલવાર), (Hindi शलवार) are a form of baggy trousers.
Shalwar (with Kabuli sandals).
Transliterations starting from Urdu, Lahnda, Persian, Pashto, Turkish languages use "sh". Salwar is the spelling most commonly used in India. Transliterations starting from Punjabi often render the sibilant sound at the start of salwar/shalwar as an "s". Both spellings are found in common English usage. The shalwar spelling seems to be most common in Canada and the United Kingdom, and is the preferred spelling in the Oxford English Dictionary.
The kameez or qamis is a shirt of varying length. Garments cut like the kameez are known in many cultures. According to Dorothy Burnham, of the Royal Ontario Museum, the "seamless shirt," woven in one piece on warp-weighted looms, was superseded in early Roman times by cloth woven on vertical looms and carefully pieced so as not to waste any cloth. 10th century cotton shirts recovered from the Egyptian desert are cut much like the kameez or the contemporary Egyptian Djellaba or Jellabiya. The word kameez is originally an Arabic word and is therefore also spelt with a Q, as in Qameez or Qamis.
The shalwar are loose pajama-like trousers. The legs are wide at the top, and narrow at the ankle. The kameez is a long shirt or tunic, often seen with a Western-style collar; however, for female apparel, the term is now loosely applied to collarless or mandarin-collared kurtas. The kameez might be worn with pajamas as well, either for fashion or comfort. Some kameez styles have side seams (known as the chaak), left open below the waist-line, giving the wearer greater freedom of movement.
The kameez can be sewn straight and flat, in an "A" shape design or flowing like a dress: there are a variety of styles. Modern kameez styles are more likely to have European-inspired set-in sleeves. If the tailor's taste or skill are displayed, it will be seen in the shape of the neckline and the decoration of the kameez. The kameez may be cut with a deep neckline, sewn in diaphanous fabrics, or styled in cap-sleeve or sleeveless designs.
There are many styles of shalwar: the Peshawari shalwar, Balochi shalwar, Sindhi choreno and the Punjabi shalwar.
Although various regions of South Asia wear the outfit in its various forms, the outfit was originally popular on a wide scale in Afghanistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and the Punjab region of Pakistan and India However, the shalwar kameez has now become popular across South Asia.
Different forms of Shalwar kameez
The following are some of the styles of shalwar kameez.
The shalwar kameez known as the Anarkali suit is named after the court dancer from Lahore. The Anarkali suit is a timeless style which has become very popular. The Anarkali suit is made up of a long, frock-style top and features a slim fitted bottom. This style of suit links South Asia with the women's Firaq partug (frock and shalwar) of northwestern Pakistan and Afghanistan and to the traditional women's Central Asian clothing of parts of Central Asia. It also links to the Punjab region where the Anarkali suit is similar to the anga and the Peshwaz worn in Jammu.
Priyanka Chopra modeling an Anarkali suit
As a chiefly rural and nomadic population, the Pashtun dress is typically made from light linens, and are loose fitting for ease of movement. The Pashtun dress includes local forms of the shalwar kameez, which are differently made for males and females. The traditional male dress includes the Khet partug and Perahan wa tunban. Males usually wear kufi, Peshawari cap, turban, sindhi cap or pakul as traditional headgear. The traditional female dress is the Firaq partūg. Women typically wear solid-coloured trousers, a long kamīs shirt with a belt. Sometimes they will wear an encompassing burqa over this outfit or a tsādar on their head.
Peshawari shalwar suit
The traditional dress of Peshawar and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan is the khalqa (gown) which opens at the front or shirt which does not open at the front, and the Peshawari shalwar which is very loose down to the ankles. The Peshawari shalwar can be used with a number of upper garments and is part of the clothing of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Men's Balochi suit
The clothing of Balochistan, Pakistan includes the shalwar kameez which when worn by males consists of a very baggy shalwar using large lengths of cloth. The kameez is also loose, which traditionally is long with long sleeves The Balochi shalwar kameez is similar to the styles worn in Afghanistan. The present Balochi shalwar kameez replaced the earlier version which consisted of a robe to the ankles and a shalwar using cloth of up to 40 yards.
Women's Balochi Suit
The female Balochi suit consists of the head scarf, long dress and a shalwar.
Phiran|Phiran, poots and shalwar
A man from Srinagar wearing Phiran
The traditional shalwar kameez worn in the Punjab region is cut differently to the styles worn in Balochistan and Afghanistan and is known as a "Punjabi suit" with the kameez being cut straight and flat with side slits (which is a local development as earlier forms of kameez did not have side slits). The shalwar is wide at the top but fits closely to the legs and is gathered at the ankles. The Punjabi shalwar is also cut straight and gathered at the ankles with a loose band reinforced with coarse material. In rural Punjab, the shalwar is still called the suthan which is a different garment that was popular in previous centuries, alongside the churidar and kameez combination (which is still popular). In Britain, South Asian women from the Punjab region have brought the dress to the mainstream, and even high-fashion, appeal. The Punjabi suit is popular in other regions of South Asia, such as Mumbai and Sindh. Punjabi suits are also popular among young women in Bangladesh and are especially popular amongst school girls in India. The outfit is also popular in Afghanistan, where it is called the Punjabi.
Miss Pooja of the Punjab region in a Punjabi suit
Another style of the Punjabi suit is the use of the shalwar which hails from the Pothohar region of Punjab, Pakistan and is known as the Pothohari shalwar. The Pothohari shalwar retains the wideness of the older Punjabi suthan and also has some folds. The kameez is also wide. The head scarf is traditionally large, similar to the chador or Phulkari that was used throughout the plains of the Punjab region.
Saraiki shalwar suits
Saraiki shalwar suits are Punjabi outfits which include the Bahawalpuri shalwar suit and the Multani shalwar suit.
Bahawalpuri shalwar suit
The Bahawalpuri shalwar originates from the Bahawalpur region of Punjab, Pakistan. The Bahawalpuri shalwar is very wide and baggy with many voluminous folds. The material traditionally used for the Bahawalpuri shalwar and suthan is known as Sufi which is a mixture of cotton warp mixed with silk weft and gold threads running down the material. The other name for these types of mixed cloth is shuja khani. The Bahawalpuri shalwar is worn with the Bahawalpur style kameez, the Punjabi kurta or chola.
Nawab Sadiq Khan Fifth (died 1966) in the Bahawalpuri shalwar
Multani shalwar suit
The Multani shalwar, also known as the 'ghaire wali' or 'Saraiki ghaire wali' shalwar as it is very wide around the waist, originates from the Multan area of the Punjab region. The style is similar to the Sindhi kancha shalwar as both are derivatives of the pantaloon shalwar worn in Iraq and adopted in these locations during the 7th century A.D. The Multani shalwar is very wide, baggy, full and has folds like the Punjabi suthan. The upper garments include the Punjabi kameez and the chola of the Punjab region.
Suthan and Kurta Suit
An older variety of shalwar kameez of the Punjab region is the Punjabi suthan and kurta suit. The Punjabi suthan is a local variation of the ancient svasthana tight fitting trousers which have been used in the Punjab region since the ancient period and was worn with the tunic called varbana which was tight fitting.
The Punjabi suthan is arranged in plaits and uses large amounts of material (traditionally coloured cotton with vertical silk lines, called sussi) of up to 20 yards hanging in innumerable folds. The suthan ends at the ankles with a tight band which distinguishes the suthan from a shalwar. The modern equivalent of the loose Punjabi suthan are the cowl pants and dhoti shalwars which have many folds.
Some versions of the Punjabi suthan tighten from the knees down to the ankles (a remnant of the svasthana). If a tight band is not used, the ends of the suthan fit closely around the ankles. The Jodhpuri breeches devised during the 1870s by Sir Pratap Singh of Jodhpur offer a striking slim line resemblance to the centuries-old tight Punjabi suthan, albeit the churidar is cited as its source. The tight pantaloon style suthan was popular with the Indian Cavalry during the 19th and early 20th centuries which would be dyed in Multani mutti or mitti (clay/Fuller's earth) giving the garment a yellow colour.
The kurta is a remnant of the 11th century A.D. female kurtaka which was a shirt extending to the middle of the body and had side slits worn in parts of north India which has remained a traditional garment for women in Punjab, albeit longer than the kurtaka. The suthan was traditionally worn with a long kurta but can also be worn with a short kurti or frocks. Modern versions of the kurta can be knee length. The head scarf is also traditionally long but again, modern versions are shorter.
Ancient svasthana and varbana outfit worn during Gupta Empire, the basis of the Punjabi suthan suit
Dogri kurta and suthan
The outfit in Jammu is the Dogri kurta and suthan. When the tight part of the suthan, up to the knees, has multiple close fitting folds, the suthan is referred to as Dogri pants or suthan, in Jammu and churidar suthan in the Punjab region and Himachal Pradesh.
Punjab Hills 1895. Kulu woman in churidar suthan. Himachal Pradesh.
Sindhi kancha shalwar suit
The traditional Sindhi shalwar, also called kancha, are wide pantaloons which are wide down the legs and are also wide at the ankles. The Sindhi shalwar is plaited at the waist. The kancha shalwar is traditionally worn with either the Sindhi cholo (blouse) by women, or a knee length robe which flairs out, by men.
Sindhi suthan suits
Related South Asian outfits
Gujarati kediyu and chorno suit
The men in the rural coastal parts of western Gujarat, including Junagadh district, wear the kediyu and chorno outfit. The kediyu is a long sleeved upper garment, pleated at the chest and reaches to the waist. The prints on the kediyu include bandhani designs which are local to Gujarat and Rajasthan. The chorno, also called kafni, refers to the pantaloons which are wide and tied loosely at the ankles and is based on the styles worn in Iraq which were introduced to the coastal region during the 7th century by traders. The chorno/surwal can also be worn with a jama.
Nepali daura suruwal suit
In Nepal, the traditional male dress which is also the national dress is the Nepali shirt called daura and suruwal (Nepali: दौरा सुरूवाल) or Daura-Suruwal suit. The upper garment is the long Nepali shirt, which is similar to the Guajarati kediyu, but does not have the pleats going across the chest, but has cross-tied flaps. The daura is a modification of the upper garments worn in Rajasthan.
The Nepali suruwa/suruwal is a combination of the churidar and the lower garment worn in the coastal regions of Gujarat, especially Saurashtra and Kutch where the garment is also called suruwal (and chorno/kafni). It is tight along the legs but wide at the hips. However, the suruwa fits comfortably around the legs so that it can be tapered tightly around the ankles.
- Khet partug
- Perahan tunban
- Kashmiri Phiran and poots
- Anarkali Salwar Suit
- Turkish salvar
- European loose trousers
- Central Asian clothing
- "Dialogue Today". Hamari Goshthi Publication Trust. 1 January 1992 – via Google Books.
- Howard, Ross (22 October 2014). "Kafiristan". Interactive Publications Pty Ltd – via Google Books.
- Balfour-Paul, Jenny (2 October 2012). "Indigo in the Arab World". Routledge – via Google Books.
- Jordan, Jeannine (1 August 2010). "On the Heels of an Organist". Lulu.com – via Google Books.
- Mumford, Gwilym (26.10.2014) The Guardian:Homeland recap: season four, episode three – Shalwar Kameez 
- Burnham, Dorothy. 1973. Cut My Cote, Royal Ontario Museum. p. 10.
- Unquiet Pasts: Risk Society, Lived Cultural Heritage, Re-Designing Reflexivity - Stephanie Koerner, Ian Russell - Google Books. Books.google.com. 2010-08-16. Retrieved 2012-06-14.
- Padmavati, B(2009) Techniques Of Drafting And Pattern MakingGarments For Kids And Adolescents 
- Jānmahmad (1 January 1982). "The Baloch cultural heritage". Royal Book Co. – via Google Books.
- Condra, Jill (2013). Encyclopedia of National Dress: Traditional Clothing Around the World. 
- "Social Science a Textbook in History for Class IX as per New Syllabus". FK Publications – via Google Books.
- Sumathi, G. J. (1 January 2007). "Elements of Fashion and Apparel Design". New Age International – via Google Books.
- Rutnagur, Sorabji. M (1996) The Indian Textile Journal, Volume 106, Issues 9-12 
- Condra, Jill (2013) Encyclopedia of National Dress: Traditional Clothing Around the World 
- Condra, Jill (2013) Encyclopedia of National Dress: Traditional Clothing Around the World 
- B. N. Goswamy, Kalyan Krishna, Tarla P. Dundh (1993) Indian Costumes in the Collection of the Calico Museum of Textiles, Volume 5 
- Punjab District Gazetteers - District Attock Year Published 1930 BK-000211-0160 
- Kumar, Raj (2006) Paintings and Lifestyles of Jammu Region: From 17th to 19th Century A.D.
- R. T. I. (Richard Thomas Incledon) Ridgway (1997) Pashtoons: History, Culture & Traditions 
- University, Brigham Young; Learning, ProQuest Information and; Company, ProQuest Information and Learning (1 August 2004). "CultureGrams". ProQuest Information and Learning Co. – via Google Books.
- "Pashtun - Introduction, Location, Language, Folklore, Religion, Major holidays, Rites of passage".
- North-West Frontier Province (Pakistan). Information Dept Yearbook(1955) 
- Peshawar, University of (1 January 1952). "Journal of the University of Peshawar" – via Google Books.
- Captain Hastings, E. G. G. (1878) Report of the regular settlement of the peshawar district of the punjab 
- Masood, Haya (7 August 2009). "Salwar Kameez". Haya Creations. History and Variations. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
- Postans, Thomas (1843) Personal Observations on Sindh: The Manners and Customs of Its Inhabitants; and Its Productive Capabilities 
- "Balochi dress – Male". 12 March 2013.
- Nadiem, Ihsan. H. [(2007) Balochistan: land, history, people 
- DostPakistan.pk  but now can also be knee length.
- Malik, S. And Sahgal. "Gettingahead In Social Studies:". Orient Blackswan – via Google Books.
- Irani, Tannaaz (10 December 2014). "THE ARMCHAIR CRITIC: Chafes and Chuckles". Cresco Books – via Google Books.
- Marwaha, Pritpal (2012) Shakahaari: The Vegetarian Gourmet Fine, Authentic Indian Vegetarian Cuisine 
- Cooke, David Coxe (1 January 1967). "Dera, a village in India". W.W. Norton – via Google Books.
- Madani, Mohsen Saeidi (1 January 1993). "Impact of Hindu Culture on Muslims". M.D. Publications Pvt. Ltd. – via Google Books.
- Kumar, Raj (2006) Paintings and Lifestyles of Jammu Region: From 17th to 19th Century A.D 
- Panjab University Research Bulletin: Arts, Volume 13, Issue 1 - Volume 14, Issue (1982) 
- Mohinder Singh Randhawa. (1960) Punjab: Itihas, Kala, Sahit, te Sabiachar aad.Bhasha Vibhag, Punjab, Patiala.
- Breidenbach, Pál & Zcaronupanov 2004 Quote: "And in Bubby Mahil’s fashion store in London, white socialites and young British Asians shop for the Punjabi suits".
- Walton-Roberts & Pratt 2005. Quote: "Meena owns a successful textile design and fashion business in the Punjab, designing and selling high-end salwar kameez (Punjabi suits) ..."[context?]
- Sheikh, Ibriz (27.05.2015) 'Dress over pants': Rest of the world finally catches on to Shalwar kameez trend 
- Bachu 2004
- Sorabji M. Rutnagur (1996) The Indian Textile Journal, Volume 106, Issues 9-12 
- McGilvray, Dennis B. (2008)Crucible of Conflict: Tamil and Muslim Society on the East Coast of Sri Lanka 
- Saikia, Yasmin (2011) Women, War, and the Making of Bangladesh: Remembering 1971 
- Bakshi, SHri Ram (1992) Struggle for Independence: Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit 
- Alex Newton, Betsy Wagenhauser, Jon Murray (1996) Bangladesh: A Lonely Planet Travel Survival Kit 
- (India), Madhya Pradesh (1 January 1965). "Madhya Pradesh district gazetteers". Govt. Central Press – via Google Books.
- Emadi, Hafizullah (1 January 2005). "Culture and Customs of Afghanistan". Greenwood Publishing Group – via Google Books.
- "Afghanistan Clothing, Afghan or Afghani Traditional Clothes".
- "Culture and Traditions of Kashmir".
- (Firm), Cosmo Publications (1 January 2000). "The Pakistan gazetteer". Cosmo Publications – via Google Books.
- "Current Opinion". Current Literature Publishing Company. 1 January 1899 – via Google Books.
- Prior, Katherine; Admson, John (1 January 2001). "Maharajas' Jewels". Mapin Pub. – via Google Books.
- Extracts from the District & States Gazetteers of the Punjab, Pakistan, Volume 2 (1976) 
- (Firm), Cosmo Publications (1 January 2000). "The Pakistan gazetteer". Cosmo Publications – via Google Books.
- 1998 District Census Report of [name of District].: Lodhran (1999) 
- "The All-Pakistan Legal Decisions". All-Pakistan Legal Decisions. 1 January 1984 – via Google Books.
- "Islamic Culture: The Hyderabad Quarterly Review". Deccan. 1 January 1979 – via Google Books.
- Kumar, Raj (2008) Encyclopaedia of Untouchables Ancient, Medieval and Modern 
-  Sawindara Siṅgha Uppala (1966) Panjabi short story: its origin and development
- Chandra, Moti (1973) Costumes, Textiles, Cosmetics & Coiffure in Ancient and Mediaeval India 
- Chaudhry, Nazir Ahmad (2002) Multan Glimpses: With an Account of Siege and Surrender 
- "Glossary of the Multani Language, Or, Southwestern Panjabi". Printed at the Punjab Government Press. 1 January 1903 – via Google Books.
- O'Brien, Edward (1881) Glossary of the Multani Language Compared with Punjábi and Sindhi 
- (India), Haryana (1 January 1988). "Haryana District Gazetteers: Sirsa". Haryana Gazetteers Organization – via Google Books.
- Aniruddha Ray, Kuzhippalli Skaria Mathew (2002) Studies in history of the Deccan: medieval and modern : Professor A.R. Kulkarni felicitation volume 
- A. V. Narasimha Murthy, K. V. Ramesh (1987) Giridharaśrī: essays on Indology : Dr. G.S. Dikshit felicitation volume 
- "Mārg̲". J. J. Bhabha for Marg Publications. 1 January 1969 – via Google Books.
- Punjab District Gazetteer: Reprint of Ludhiana District and Malerkotla State Gazetteer, 1904 
- Punjab District Gazetteers (1932)Punjab District Gazetteers (1932)
- dept, Punjab revenue (1 January 1876). "Land revenue settlement reports" – via Google Books.
- General, India Office of the Registrar (1 January 1961). "Census of India, 1961". Manager of Publications – via Google Books.
- Singh, Jaisal (1 January 2007). "Polo in India". New Holland Publishers – via Google Books.
- Biswas, Arabinda; Division, India Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Publications (1 January 1985). "Indian Costumes". Publ. Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting – via Google Books.
- "Country Life". Country Life, Limited. 1 January 2001 – via Google Books.
- Carman, W. Y. (1961) Indian Army Uniforms Under the British: From the 18th Century to 1947 
- Ghurye, Govind Sadashiv (1 January 1966). "Indian Costume". Popular Prakashan – via Google Books.
- Yadava,Ganga Prasad (1982) Dhanapāla and His Times: A Socio-cultural Study Based Upon His Works 
- Sharma, Brij Narain (1966) Social life in Northern India, A.D. 600-1000 
- D. N. Saraf (1987) Arts and Crafts, Jammu and Kashmir: Land, People, Culture 
- Umran, Khan (14 February 2010). "Indian Ethnic Wear". ethniccode.com. India: Ethnic Code. p. 9-10. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- Baden Henry Baden-Powell (1872) Hand-book of the Manufactures & Arts of the Punjab: With a Combined Glossary & Index of Vernacular Trades & Technical Terms ... Forming Vol. Ii to the "Hand-book of the Economic Products of the Punjab" Prepared Under the Orders of Government 
- Kumar, Ritu (14 July 2006). "Costumes and textiles of royal India". Antique Collectors' Club – via Google Books.
- Pathan, Mumtaz Husain (1 January 1974). "Arab kingdom of al-Mansurah in Sind". Institute of Sindhology, University of Sind – via Google Books.
- Burton, Richard (1996) Sindh and the Races that Inhabit the Valley of the Indus: With Notices of the Topography and History of [the] Province 
- Kumar, Raj (1 January 2008). "Encyclopaedia of Untouchables Ancient, Medieval and Modern". Gyan Publishing House – via Google Books.
- Reginald Edward Enthoven, Stephen Meredyth Edwardes (1909) Provincial series: Bombay presidency ... 
- (Pakistan), Population Census Organisation (1 January 2000). "1998 provincial census report of [name of province].". Population Census Organization, Statistics Division, Govt. of Pakistan – via Google Books.
- (India), Gujarat (1 January 1975). "Gujarat State Gazetteers: Junagadh District". Directorate of Government Print., Stationery and Publications, Gujarat State – via Google Books.
- "Vachanamrut". ShreeSwaminarayanTemple Bhuj – via Google Books.
- Ahuja, Simran. "Nine Nights: Navratri". Notion Press – via Google Books.
- Murphy, Veronica and Crill, Rosemary (1991) Tie-dyed Textiles of India: Tradition and Trad 
- Gokhale. Surat In The Seventeenth Century. Popular Prakashan. p. 28. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
Islam was introduced into Gujarat in the 7th century A.D. The first Arab raid came in 635 when the Governor of Bahrain sent an expedition against Broach. Then through the centuries colonies of Arab and Persian merchants began sprouting in the port cities of Gujarat, such as Cambay, Broach and Surat.
- Satish Saberwal, Mushirul Hasan (2006) Assertive Religious Identities: India and Europe 
- Bindloss, Joseph (15 September 2010). "Nepal 8". Lonely Planet – via Google Books.
- Nepali, Gopal Singh (1965). The Newars: an ethni-sociological study of a Himalayan community. 
- Croos, J.P (1996). The Call of Nepal: a personal Nepalese odyssey in a different dimension. 
- Tulasī Rāma Vaidya, Triratna Mānandhara, Shankar Lal Joshi (1993) Social history of Nepal 
- "The Muslim World League Journal". Press and Publications Department, Muslim World League. 1 March 2003 – via Google Books.
- Acharya, Madhu Raman (2002) Nepal culture shift!: reinventing culture in the Himalayan kingdom 
- West Bengal District Gazetteers: Darjiling, by Amiya Kumar Banerji ... [et al (1980) 
- Tetley, Brian (1 January 1991). "The insider's guide to Nepal". Gregory's – via Google Books.
- Bachu, Parminder (2004), Dangerous Designs: Asian Women Fashion the Diaspora Economies, London: Routledge. Pp. xii, 196, ISBN 0415072212, archived from the original on December 31, 2008
- Breidenbach, Joana; Pál, Nyíri; Zcaronupanov, Ines (2004), "Fashionable Books", Identities: Global Studies in Power and Culture, 11 (4): 619–628, doi:10.1080/10702890490883885
- Walton-Roberts, Margaret; Pratt, Geraldine (2005), "Mobile Modernities: One South Asian Family Negotiates Immigration, Gender and Class in Canada", Gender, Place & Culture, 12 (2): 173–195, doi:10.1080/09663690500094823.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shalwar kameez.|