Shalwar Kameez – the dress of the East, When I came to Pakistan, I was very confused because of the different shalwar kameez styles that people had. I was not used to wearing the dress and only wore it at events like Eid and weddings. Wearing kurta shalwar on a regular basis was not only quite difficult for me but also impossible. I came from the sort of background where I would only wear high-end designer clothes but my father thought that I needed to be more ‘true to my roots’; which is why he sent me to Pakistan along with my brothers.
The Pakistani fashion designers who I visited were always quite amused at my questions when I would ask them if it were possible for them to put zip and hem into my shalwar design or if they had a ‘Gucci’ or ‘Dior’ fabric to make my kurta shalwar from. They would show me such a huge array of Pakistani dresses that I would end up being very confused.
There were just so many shalwar kameez designs to choose from that I could not choose one at all. I was living with my father’s family in a small town of Punjab, where people would often judge me for not wearing kurta shalwar at all times. Wearing jeans and a tee – that I was so used to, would be considered a taboo and I learned it the hard way that I had to dress as the Romans when in Rome.
I still remember, the first piece of East clothing that I actually wore for an entire day was a black shalwar kameez and let me be very honest it was not too bad. I actually enjoyed wearing the dress because of two main reasons. The first one was the fact that the stares had been reduced considerably and the second one was that I blended in better with my cousins and other family members of the small town. Most people in my family would be really happy to see me in this Islamic dress and my father was thrilled to see my pictures that various family members had sent to him via WhatsApp to show them how well I had blended with the rest of the family members.
Unknowing to all the others, I had improvised something into my salwar kameez design to make it more comfortable to me and that was that I had gotten an elastic band instead of a regular string-tie that all the men had opted for in the region. I could not bring myself to trust a tiny knot of clothing enough to hold up my shalwar, which is why I opted to go for the elastic band. This helped me cope better with wearing kameez shalwar.
One of the things that I realized is that kurta shalwar is quite the modern dress and clothing brands all over Pakistan are now seen creating and endorsing Pakistani dress designs that may be a status symbol for many Pakistanis all over the world. I also noticed that there are many Pakistani dresses for sale online as well that are liked by Pakistanis and overseas Pakistanis as well. There are many that are sold for a price that may be no less than the international huge monster brands that are usually very high end. The costs of some of these shalwar kameez just took me by a shock. Bridal Pakistani dresses retail at prices that may range from 5000-10,000 USD and that came across as a shock for me because that was almost equal to any Armani or Givenchy suit I would not even dream of buying.