A Salwar is Born
The Salwar was first worn by the desert women as a cover to
shield their legs from the blistering heat. It was made from coarse cotton and
had no aesthetic value whatsoever. It was only during the reign of the Moguls
that the concept of anything like a Salwar came about. It was a time to be
lavish and clothing became a symbol of social status. The fabric employed to
tailor clothes ranged from the finest silks, velvets, chiffons and muslins and
it was at this time that lehenga, the sherara and the churidar also took birth.
The Salwar came to India with the invasion of the Aryans. They
settled in Punjab and the locals adapted the salwar as their traditional dress.
It was in Punjab that the concept of the Salwar as we know it today really came
about. One only has to look at portraits of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, a fearless
Sikh chieftain, to see that the Salwar was popular in the Punjab district.
Hence today when you think of the Salwar you automatically think about Punjab
and Punjabi culture. As symbols of Punjabi culture the Salwar is only second to
bhangra. It is the staple dress of Punjabi women and is worn throughout the
year in various fashions from the simple day to day styles to the more
elaborate styles reserved for celebrations such as weddings and especially
The Salwar Today
It seems that Salwars have only recently been revolutionised.
For a major part of the last century they had little impact on fashion and were
seen only as something worn for traditional reasons. With the rise of Asian
cool however, Indian, Pakistani and British Asian designers decided to embrace
and reinvent the garment and the Salwar gained credibility and fashion cool.
The Salwar has never been so revered as it is now with designers worldwide
exploring its dimensions. It seems every designer in the know wants to give a
new take on the Salwar.
Traditionally the Salwar has been teamed with kurthas of various
lengths, knee length being the length of the season, but the daring have
started teaming it with long shirts and as seen on the catwalks of India
fashion week, bustiers and bandeau tops.
A perfect Salwar should have movement and create a sleek
silhouette. The wearer should feel comfortable yet graceful if the salwar has
been well tailored. That part of the reason the Salwar has never become
outmoded is because of its comfort factor. The transition of the Salwar from a
domestic sphere to a fashion sphere down to the fact that although it is not a
modern garment, it has an ageless appeal and is effortlessly feminine.
Whatever the style of your Salwar you must remember that the
tailoring is the most important thing. Wear the Salwar and do not let the
Salwar wear you.