How to Wear a Salwar Kameez

Updated February 21, 2017

A salwar kameez is a type of garment that is commonly worn by women in India and Pakistan. In fact, it is actually the national garment of Pakistan. Men also can wear this type of garment, but it’s more commonly worn by women. In contrast to the sari, the salwar kameez is easy to style and wear. In addition, it’s usually more comfortable than other types of traditional clothing. The style of salwar kameez that is worn varies by country and region. They are also made in a large variety of colours and in varied fabrics. Also, many salwar kameez are made with elaborate embroidery and embellishment. Salwar is the name of the trousers, which resemble pajama trousers. They are loose and baggy in the hips and thighs and taper down to a tighter ankle. Kameez is the name of the standard shirt worn over the salwar. It is a tunic style shirt. Thus, the way in which you wear a salwar kameez depends on your preferences and the occasion for which you are wearing it.

Wear your salwar kameez with a long scarf draped over your shoulder. The type of scarf that is generally worn with it is called a dupatta. They are scarves that are long, relatively slim and usually sheer. They also come in multiple colours, and you can choose one that complements your salwar kameez. Fold the dupatta in half lengthwise. Drape it over one of your shoulders, with an equal amount of scarf on front and back.

Add accessories to your salwar kameez that will give it more of a formal look. Such accessories could include gold or multicoloured bangle bracelets. This can be worn for a special occasion, such as a holiday or birthday party.

Adapt your salwar kameez for the workplace by wearing it as a suit. One particular salwar kameez that is suitable for the workplace is called the trouser kameez. This style of salwar kameez has a shorter top than the standard tunic style top. In addition, the trousers are a more slim fit, less baggy and look more professional for work.

Purchase an Afghani style salwar kameez for comfort and if you are concerned with concealing extra weight. This style of salwar kameez looks like a maternity dress and also has baggy, tapered trousers.


If you don’t have stores in your area that carry salwar kameez, consider purchasing them online. The salwar kameez are generally worn with flat shoes.

Things You'll Need

  • Salwar kameez
  • Dupatta
  • Bangle bracelets
  • Trouser-style salwar kameez
  • Afghani-style salwar kameez
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About the Author

Yvonne Van Damme is a freelance writer based in Seattle. She has been writing for several years with a focus on criminal justice and legal topics. In addition to various websites, she has been published in several academic journals. Van Damme holds a Bachelor of Arts in law, society and justice and sociology from the University of Washington.