Punjabi Dress Designs Biography
Fashion and clothing have ostensibly been, and still are, the exclusive domain of women. Fashion and haute couture are synonymous, at least in Pakistan, with women. In the Western world, though, men did not spend all that much on clothing till the December of 2001, who unlike their counterparts in Pakistan, were very much fashion savvy. Even in the 16th century men were very conscious of what they wore. Clothes even then were a statement, not necessarily a fashion statement, but a statement nevertheless. The aristocratic class distinguished itself from the common class through their clothes, shoes, hairstyles, and mannerism.
Pakistani men, on the other hand, have been less conscious of their clothes until the media blitz. It was something which men till recently did not take an active interest in. Men throughout time have worn basically the same traditional outfit – the awami suit or the shalwar-kameez as it is popularly known. Gone are the days of being patriotic!
Shalwar-Kameez is a complete dress, like a trouser-shirt combination. Shalwar is a pair of thin cotton trousers, baggy but tapered at the ankles. It has a draw-string at the waist acting as a belt; and a long tunic like shirt down to the knees, which is called Kameez. Nowadays men, too, like the women wear the Shalwar-Kameez in a variety of tasteful colors and designs, making it trendy and in vogue.
Designer Rashid Ali Khan says, “The basic ensemble changed from province to province. In Punjab it is the kurta-shalwar that is dominant, while in Karachi it is kurta-pajama, and in NWFP and Balochistan, it is shalwar Kameez.”
The feudal landlords had theirs embroidered and well-starched while the ordinary man just donned the outfit, even if not properly ironed. He only dared to wear a starched awami suit or even an embroidered one on happy occasions of Eid or his wedding.
The Punjabi natives mostly sport unstitched clothes called Lungis or Dhotis. Lungis or Dhotis are skirt like nether garments, which are wrapped and tucked around waist. It is worn with the Kameez in formal settings, and with a short waistcoat vest-like shirt in informal gatherings. Pathan men also wear sleeveless embroidered vests over the Shalwar-Kameez. In addition, they wear caps of various shapes and designs; the most common being the Pukul Hat which is a flat round wool cap. The Balochis wear Turbans which have the clothes tied in such a way that symbolize their tribal identity. In Sindh highly decorative caps are common. Hats and caps vary in cut and shape, as well as embroidery stitches and patterns, according to the tribe or peoples of the particular area. Their wearers may thus be immediately identified as to their ethnic origin, economic standing and social status.