The Indian salwar kameez is a world-famous Indian outfit that has gained a lot of popularity among the masses and the classes in recent times. This outfit is worn by women of all ages and cultures across the Indian sub-continent though it is particularly common in the northern regions of India. Both traditional and modern style salwar kamez are available today; with the latter in particular finding many loyal customers amongst the young crowd.
The appeal of this garment is no longer limited to the Indian audience as even internationally, many India-loving celebrities have flaunted this garment at multiple occasions. Even reputed international designers are finding a lot of inspiration in Indian salwar suits and you can find elements from their design incorporated into western outfits and vice-versa.
The Indian salwar suit is basically a three piece outfit composed of a long shirt or kameez, loose pants called the salwar and an additional scarf called a dupatta. The kameez typically lands just above the knees. The Indian salwar is unique in its design and is one of the most comfortable bottoms around.
It is loose and baggy around the thighs and then tapers down towards the bottom; it is fastened using a drawstring or nada. Thus it is both flexible and comfortable, offering a lot of room for movement. Amongst Indian dresses, salwar kameez are considered the most versatile, since they can be adapted into formal, fashionable, high-end garments as well as simple, every-day items.
Variety of Colors, Fabrics & Styles
Plenty of variety and a plethora of choices in colors and designs are the defining features of Indian fashion; salwar kameez are no exceptions. There are a lot of different styles in the kameez as well as the salwar. Straight fitting kameez are the traditional favorites while the empire waist anarkali is a current fashion favorite.
A new favorite style is the floor length kameez; these can be either abaya style kameez inspired by the abaya or part of the Pakistani churidars. In terms of salwars, churidars and pajamas are popular alternates with a slightly different fit. While churidars are closer to tights, pajamas are more loose-fitting. Patialas are enjoying a renaissance at the moment, with this traditional Punjabi style being seen more and more frequently in trendy casual wear wardrobes.
Like any type of Indian suits, salwar kameez come in bright colors like saffron, green, maroon, turquoise, magenta, fuchsia and yellow. All the different styles of embroideries and embellishments can be found as well as a wide range of prints, both hand done and machine made.
These include western prints like dots, stripes, geometric shapes and abstract designs as well as ethnic patterns like Batik, Madhubani, Warli, block print, gold print and Ikat. While daily wear salwar kamiz come with simpler thread embroideries and patch border work or may even be plain, salwar suits for parties, festivals and weddings are more richly decorated with exotic Indian work including zari, booti, aari, dubka, gota patti, cut dana, mirror, dori, kasab and much more. Each of these has a unique appeal and they can be combined to make a variety of exquisite designs.
Though they are considered an Indian dress salwar kameez can in fact be quite modern, utilizing contemporary materials like sequins, stones, beads and zircon to create attractive patterns. This also goes for the types of fabrics used; while popular Indian textiles like silk and cotton may be the most common, modern fabrics like rayon, polyester, crepe, organza and georgette are also frequently seen.
Only the most striking and expensive suits, usually seen in designer salwar kameez catalogues, will make use of luxurious fabrics like brocade, lace, satin, net and velvet. This is mainly because a lot of costly techniques and labor goes into the creation of these outfits and the type of fabric used has to match their decadent style.
Accessorizing your salwar kameez
When properly accessorized, one can look stylish and on-trend in a salwar kameez no matter what the occasion. For parties and weddings, the latest Indian salwar kameez with floor-length kurtas are the best choice. These look similar to an evening gown and will look fabulous when paired with a pair of dazzling dangling earrings, a Kundan necklace and a gold embroidered potli.
Cotton printed salwar kameez with off-beat designs like geometric, abstract and regional prints or stripes patterns are very popular amongst young girls and working women. They are great for summer days and can be paired up with colored jutis and colorful shoulder bags or Indian handbags for a relaxed yet vibrant ethnic look. A new trend is to pair up a plain kameez with a printed salwar or Patiala. This look is best completed with some oxidized jewelry or terracotta necklaces.