Salwar kameez is the traditional dress worn by various peoples of south - central Asia. It is the national dress for both men and women in Pakistan and Afghanistan (where they say "shalwar" instead of "salwar"). It is also popular among women in India. Salwar are sort of loose pyjama-like trousers. The legs are wide at the top, and narrow at the bottom. The legs are pleated or gathered into a waistband. There is a drawstring at the top of the waistband to hold up the salwar.
The kameez is a long shirt or tunic. The side seams (known as the chaak) are left open below the navel, which gives the wearer greater freedom of movement. The word kameez is derived from the Latin camisia (shirt or tunic), from which it probably made its way into various European languages (see chemise) and also into Arabic, the likely immediate source for kameez.
The kameez is usually cut straight and flat; older kameez use traditional cuts, as shown in the illustration; modern kameez are more likely to have European-inspired set-in sleeves. The tailor`s taste and skill are usually displayed not in the overall cut, but in the shape of the neckline and the decoration of the kameez.
When girl`s wear the salwar kameez, they usually wear a long scarf or shawl called a dupatta around the head or neck. For Muslim women, the dupatta is a less stringent alternative to the chador or burqa (see hijab). For Hindu women (especially those from northern India, where the salwar kameez is most popular), the dupatta is useful when the head must be covered, as in a temple or the presence of elders. For other women, the dupatta is simply a stylish accessory that can be worn over one shoulder or draped around the chest and over both shoulders.
Salwar Kameez simply looks elegant on girls. It is the called in one sense as the queen of Indian dresses. Salwar Kameez is the dress, which is preferred by all Indian girls. It is tendency seen where fat females generally prefer to wear salwar kameez as they find themselves very comfortable in them.
During a large earlier part of the 1900s, say between the 1920s to the 1960s the women usually wore a short kameez that was somewhere between the hip and the knee. They were generally made from cotton or khadi (jute). Actually the fit resembled that of a long shirt. The difference being that it would be straight with a slit on either side. The salwar then was widely flared with a narrow horizontal band at the end.
Post 1970s the salwar kameez styles seemed to have expanded to uncountable numbers. In fact very rarely would one come across people wearing common designs and patterns. The variations were in the fabrics being used, the kind of work being done, as well as the cuts.
Apart from the straight-cut kameez, there the frock styles of varying lengths - short, knee length, as well as those that flow down to the ankle. In fact, Indian ladies feel that this garment is more comfortable and convenient to wear than the saree. Actually this garment primarily hailed from the northern regions of India where the climate is too cold for the saree. It is also considered the national garment of Pakistan.
First came the Indian sari, which will always be a fashion statement, then came the `Indian salwaar kameez` or Indian salwar khameez. The salwar is preferred and is a favorite among the younger generation, as it is easier to carry out. Indian salwaar kameez is comfortable & fashion clothing for women and so it is worn at home & even outdoors. In other words, it is used for formal and casual occasions.