According to the Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide publisher in the world, Pakistan’s tourism industry is evolving into the ‘next big thing’. Amongst many other offerings, the traditional Pakistani dress has been influenced by a variety of cultures, and this exotic fusion has led to the creation of a diverse range of clothing. As a tourist you will be encouraged to purchase the goods being sold and you are also expected to bargain!
These “Pakistani Wardrobe Essentials” are affordable and unique. These are our top ten favorites below. Which would top your list?
The Khussa is a handmade shoe, crafted from vegetable-tanned leather and decorated with reflective mirrors and artistic beads. The shoes are comfortable enough to be worn daily, and are the perfect accessory to enhance any outfit.
The Ajrak is a shawl created using tree cloth and natural dyes. It is commonly associated with the Sindhi culture and is an amalgamation of unique and colorful block prints. Both men and women can wear it, as a turban or as a dupatta, respectively.
8. Peshawari Chappal:
The Peshawari Chappal is named after the city of Peshawar, located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Pashtuns of this region commonly wear this open-toed sandal, because of the comfort it provides. A famous English designer, Paul Smith, was inspired by this Peshawari Chappal, and sold his version for £300. Fortunately, in Pakistan the sandal costs as little as £15!
Bangles are bracelets usually made from metal or plastic. It is a common culture for a woman to wear glass bangles on her wedding day, but according to tradition, a woman mustn’t buy the bangles she wears. In this case, they are a perfect gift, since they can be found in a vast variety of colors and sizes, appealing to everyone’s taste!
Mehndi is a paste made from a powdered shrub, which is used to decorate the body, most commonly the hands and the feet. It is now a part of the wedding culture to embellish the bride’s hands with elaborate henna designs, adding to the timeless bridal beauty.
5. Pashmina Shawl:
The Pashmina Shawl is hand spun in Kashmir, and directly translates to ‘Soft Gold’ in Kashmiri. This scarf is made from priceless cashmere fibers, creating a soft and lightweight wrap that will spice up any outfit.
4. Shalwar Kameez:
The Shalwar Kameez can be worn by both men and women, and is recognized as the national dress of Pakistan. The Shalwar is an airy, loose and comfortable trouser, stitched to fit firmly around the ankles. The Kameez is a long tunic, which can be worn both casually and formally. This combination is favorable all year round, as during the summer months lighter materials like chiffon or georgette can be used to create a modest yet unique outfit. During festive occasions, women especially enjoy flaunting Kameez’s with detailed embroidery and sequence work.
3. Sindhi Cap/Topi:
The hand woven Sindhi Topi is a representation of the hard work and creativity involved in producing a unique masterpiece. The cap is commonly worn by Sindhi’s, but has also been embraced by the Baloch people.
2. Waistcoat/ Sherwani:
The Sherwani is a long garment, which resembles the Achkan. The Sherwani was originally worn by the Mughal royalty, and later adopted by Mohammad Ali Jinnah. He was known to frequently wear the Sherwani, and consequently made it the national dress of Pakistan. In today’s day and age, it has become a tradition for grooms to wear a Sherwani on their wedding day. Different variations of this jacket include intricate embellishments and embroidery.
1. Jinnah Cap/Karakul Hat:
The Jinnah Cap has acquired its name from Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. He frequently wore it, and consequently made the cap a part of the national dress of Pakistan. It is commonly known as the Karakul Hat, made from the soft fur of a Karakul.