Origin, History & Styles of Salwar Kameez

Aswathi Unni
3 min readSep 26, 2018

The Salwar (also pronounced as Shalwar) Kameez is a traditional outfit that originated in the Indian sub-continent. To be precise, it is also known as the Punjabi suit, as it is the traditional dress worn by Punjabi women. The outfit, primarily, consists of a pair of trousers and a tunic (kameez) and this ensemble is usually paired with a dupatta. The Shalwar Kameez can be worn by both men and women. However, with this particular outfit that women wear, there has been a lot of transformations and alterations of style over time. Today, women wear different variations of the traditional Salwar Kameez.


The Salwar Kameez is believed to have originated in the Mughal era, where the outfit used to be a combination of a tunic and loose pants. One of the most popular styles of Salwar Kameez during that era was the Anarkali suit. It was considered to be one of the most opulent forms of garment in the market. The Anarkali suit is characterized by a long kurta that flares out from under the waistline. It had a lot of rich embroidery work and was always considered synonymous to richness and grandeur. Many Mughal courtesans and members of the Royal family used to wear Anarkali suits because of their strong Persian influence.

This influence is still carried on and today, we can see Salwar Kameezes in various styles and forms. It is the garment that is worn by majority of the Indian women, to casual as well as formal events.


Here are the primary styles of Salwar Kameezes seen in India:

1.Anarkali Suits

An Anarkali suit consists of a long, frock style top that creates a beautiful, flowing silhouette. The bodice is clinched just below the chest and the rest of the kurta is loose and flowy. The Anarkali is usually paired with churidar bottoms. Buy beautiful suit sets online in this style and wear it to traditional occasions.

2. Dhoti Salwars

Dhoti Salwars are a very traditional, yet stylish style of Salwar Kurtas. Although they are seen being worn by men more than women, they still form a very interesting part of the women’s wardrobe. The salwar has numerous U-shaped pleats that goes folding in the upward direction. They are usually paired with short, tight kurtis. You can buy beautiful kurtis online and pair them with matching dhoti pants.

3.Patiala Salwars

As the name suggests, the Patiala pants originate from Patiala, Punjab. They were mostly worn by the women belonging to the royal Punjabi families, but these days, they are worn by every other woman in the country. The pleats in this type of salwar start from the hip and goes down till the end cuffs. These are also best suited with tight kurtis or kurtas for women.

4.Palazzo Salwars

This type of salwar kurta is what is trending today. This is a perfect example of the Indo-western style and is also extremely comfortable to wear. These salwars are very loose and stay parallel to the frame of your legs. These can be paired with almost any type of women’s top wear, including women’s kurtas, kurtis, t-shirts, crop tops and more. Buy suit sets online under this style and look like the modern fashionista wherever you go.

Apart from the aforementioned styles, there are several other styles of Salwar suits like the Aladdin Salwars, Afghani Salwars, Harem Salwars and more. Browse online and find the style that suits you and rock a great, traditional look!