Punjabi Dress – The Exquisite Punjabi Clothing

A dress isn’t only about putting on your clothes; it’s an artistic way of showing your personality, what you think, what your customs are, and how civilized you are. Your dress speaks about you and your culture; it gives you a chance to show off your traditions. So is the case with Punjabi dress, which accurately depicts Punjab’s beautiful culture.

Punjabi dress is one of the world’s most popular and beautiful traditional attire. It is not only comfortable but also stylish and colorful.

Punjabi Culture is one of the oldest and richest cultures in the world, exhibited in the most beautiful ways; this is no doubt the most colorful and funky culture until now.

The Punjabi Culture is enveloped with bright colors and high-spirited people that are best expressed through their traditional garbs.

Apart from their colorful dresses, Punjabi women also wear a lot of jewelry to enhance their beauty.

The Punjabi dress has a long and rich history. It is believed that the Indian Punjab influenced the Punjabi dress before partition. The Punjabi dress is also said to be affected by British Rule. During British Rule, the Punjabis were required to wear Western-style clothing. However, after the independence of India, the Punjabis reverted to their traditional dress.

Let’s get into the detail of this article to explore more interesting facts and figures about the traditional Punjabi dress.

History of Punjabi Dress

The Punjabi dress has come a long way as it has evolved with time. As a result, the Punjabi dress in ancient times differs from what we see Punjabi’s wearing today. In the earlier days, men and women wore cotton clothing.

Men and women used to wear knee-length tops with a scarf that they dropped over their top from the left shoulder under the right shoulder. They also wore Another sheet over one shoulder, and it would hang loosely towards the knees. Both genders wore a dhoti around the waist.

The authentic Punjabi dress is still the same; only some modifications and changes are made, with other attires added to the traditional Punjabi dress’s definition.

The history of Punjabi traditional dress dates back to the time before the partition between India and Pakistan. The Punjabis of both regions used to wear similar clothes. The women’s clothing, Shalwar Kameez with Dupatta, was the same for females of both areas and religions.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, a significant industry in Punjab manufactured different fabrics and cotton clothes like Khes, Lungi, Chadders, Shirting, and Coasting. These clothes were mainly manufactured in Hoshiarpur, Peshawar, Lahore, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Ludhiana, Jhang, Delhi, Gurgaon, Panipat, etc.

After 1947, when the two countries gained independence, some changes got made in the dressing of Punjabis. The women started to wear more loose and comfortable clothes in Pakistan with a dupatta draped over their heads. However, the men’s clothing remained somewhat the same.

With time, the style of the Punjabi dress changed, and people started wearing more comfortable clothes. So the ‘long shirt’ was replaced by a shorter one along with the Dhoti. The Dhoti was a long cloth wrapped around the waist and legs.

Punjabi men still wear the Dhoti on special occasions, or you can see it more in rural areas than in the cities. But today, the Punjabis residing in cities wear modern clothing, and they’d be seen wearing traditional dress only on special occasions.

The traditional Punjabi dress at weddings is worth having in your wardrobe. The colors are vibrant, and the fabrics are exquisite. If you plan to attend a Punjabi wedding, ensure a deep Punjabi dress is in your wardrobe.

Traditional Punjabi Dress

Punjabi dress is colorful and vibrant, with hundreds of designs and fabrics used in traditional Punjabi attire. The traditional dress of Punjab is the Shalwar suit for women and men.

Women’s Shalwar Kameez consists of a loose tunic top, called a Kameez, and loose pants, called Shalwar. A Dupatta, a long scarf, is also worn with the Shalwar Kameez. The Dupatta covers the head and chest, but women can wear it around the neck like a scarf.

The traditional Punjabi dress, an essential part of the culture, has seen some changes in recent years. Punjabis in Pakistan wear modern clothing, which looks like the Shalwar Kameez but has been manufactured with top-notch fabrics.

Modern Punjabi women wear tight-fitting pants with long loose frocks called Angrakhas and Anarkalis. The traditional dress (Shalwar Kameez) has maintained its place in the culture, but there are so many changes that you’ll be amazed to see the difference.

The Dupatta is no longer always worn over the head and chest but can be worn around the neck like a scarf. In addition, the traditional Shalwar Kameez is often replaced by the more modern and stylish Salwar Suit.

Similarly, men’s traditional dress has seen some modifications. Men wear Shalwar Kameez in monochrome shades rather than the old Dhoti and Kameez styles. Also, they wear these Shalwar Kameez only on special occasions or in official meetings; they wear T-shirts with Jeans in regular life. However, many people wear Shalwar Kameez regularly in remote areas of Punjab. 

Men’s Punjabi Dress

The Men’s Punjabi dress underwent many changes with time. In earlier times, men’s Punjabi dress consisted of Dhoti and Kurta, which the Shalwar Kameez replaced in later years. Men also wear turbans or Pagris on their heads. However, Punjabi men’s most common dress nowadays is the Shalwar Kameez.

Punjabi men also wear Khussa, which are traditional shoes made of leather. However, these things have changed or been replaced by modern clothing, which is still prevalent in rural areas.

However, we’ll have a look at all things included in men’s Punjabi dress here:

1.     Dhoti

The Dhoti is a long piece of cloth wrapped around the waist and legs, usually 4 meters long. It is generally white or off-white. Older men or men of a higher social status in rural communities typically wear the Dhoti. Dhoti was a part of old Punjabi traditional dress and is rarely seen in rural areas.

Dhoti and Lungi are similar, and Laacha is also used for the same term. However, the Laacha, unlike Dhoti or Tehmat, has more than one color with a border. In addition, Laacha and Dhoti can be long, reaching to the heels, or they can also be shortened to just below the knees.

2.     Kurta

Punjabi men’s most famous traditional wear includes the Kurta, which is still prevalent in the Punjab regions of India and Pakistan and even in other countries where Punjabis live.

The traditional Kurta is a long shirt that reaches down to the knees with its sides slit. It is usually made of cotton and comes in a variety of colors. The Kurta is traditionally worn with loose-fitting pants called the Shalwar. However, one can also wear it with Suthan, Tehmat, Dhoti, Lungi, jeans, or Punjabi Ghagra.

3.     Pagri (Turban)

The Pagri or turban is an essential part of Punjabi dress for men. The turban is usually made of a long cloth wrapped around the head. It is typically white or off-white. The turban is worn for protection from the sun and as a sign of respect.

Pagri is also called Dastar and is worn by Muslim and Sikh Punjabi men; however, the Sikh pagri looks slightly different.

4.     Tehmat

Tehmat had the utmost importance in the Punjab of older times when older men considered wearing it an important ritual. It’s a Punjabi-style lungi with folds at the front.

In the current era, Tehmat is seen as very rare, and you might see it worn by the Punjabi cultural dancers who tie the Tehmat for their performance. So it’s now considered the dance costume of Punjab.

Men in lower Punjab still wear Tehmat with a kurta and Pagri. So you might see some older men wearing it in villages.

5.     Shalwar Kameez

The Shalwar Kameez is the most common dress in Punjab for men and women. It consists of a long shirt called the Kameez and a pair of loose-fitting pants called the Shalwar.

The Shalwar Kameez is usually made of cotton or light wool and is often in black or nude shades. Previously Punjabi men used to wear colorful clothes, but now the trend is more towards wearing sophisticated colors and clothes.

The origin of this dress dates back to the Mughal era when the Mughals invaded the subcontinent and introduced this dress to Indians, which is now the national dress of Pakistan.

6.     Khussa

Khussa is a type of flat shoe that is made of leather and has intricate designs on it. It is an essential part of the Punjabi dress worn by men and women.

Khussa had more importance in historical times and was very popular from the 1940s to the 1980s, but now it’s replaced with sandals.

However, on festive occasions like Eids, you’ll see Punjabi men wearing Khussas and Shalwar Kameez; that’s how Khussa has retained its importance.

In rural areas, older men still wear Khussa with Dhoti and Kurta. However, Khussa looks elegant when worn with Shalwar Kameez and completes the authentic Punjabi look.

Women’s Punjabi Dress

Punjabi women are probably the only women in the world who wear the most colorful and funky clothes as their traditional dresses. If you’ve not seen an authentic Punjabi female look, you’ll surely fall in love with it the moment you see it.

The women’s Punjabi dress is the Shalwar Kameez, just like men, but it has some modifications in colors, fabrics, designs, and patterns.

The Punjabi female attire in Pakistan consists of Shalwar Kameez with a Dupatta and Jutti. Let’s see what these things are:

1.     Shalwar Kameez

Shalwar Kameez for women is different from that of men. It is a three-piece dress with a shirt, trousers, and a dupatta. The shirt is knee-length with beautiful patterns which are printed on the fabric. The Shalwar is wide and loose-fitting. The Dupatta is an essential part of the Shalwar Kameez, which covers the head and chest of the woman. It is usually made of Chiffon, Georgette, or Cotton fabric.

The Shalwar Kameez of Punjabi women for weddings is adorned with heavy embroidery and mirror work. The fabrics used in making Shalwar Kameez are Cotton, Silk, and Georgette.

2.     Dupatta

The Dupatta is a long scarf that is worn with the Shalwar Kameez. It is usually made of the same material as the Kameez. The Dupatta is worn over the head and shoulders. It can be worn in various ways, including draped over the head or wrapped around the neck.

3.     Jutti (Shoes)

Juttis are traditional Punjabi shoes that are made of leather. They are comfortable and easy to wear. Juttis are available in a variety of colors, designs, and sizes.

Jutti has a royal background as it dates back to 400 years ago when Punjabi kings and queens used to wear it. The unique feature of this traditional footwear is that it has no difference in the right and left sides and can be worn on any foot of your choice.

The shimmery embroidery and colors of this footwear make it even more beautiful. You can wear Juttis with Punjabi suits and Jeans and a Kurta.

4.     Jewelry

Punjabi women love to wear jewelry. They adorn themselves with beautiful necklaces, earrings, bangles, and nose rings.

Gold and silver jewelry is trendy among Punjabi women. They also wear gold bangles as a sign of being married.

In Punjabi Culture, it’s a trend to gift gold jewelry to the bride and relatives. Punjabi men also wear turbans decorated with precious stones and jewelry.

Punjab Culture Day Dressing

Punjabis celebrate their culture day with full zeal and enthusiasm. For them, it’s a way to showcase their culture to the world. So today, people dress up in traditional Punjabi clothes and dance to the beats of dhol (Punjabi drums).

Culture Day is an important event, just like the other festive occasions for Punjabis, and they take much interest in the day with their preparations. Punjabis are the most concerned people in dressing; they can’t give up on their ethnic wear, especially on festivities and cultural days.

Punjabi culture day is celebrated on 14th March every year. Punjabis celebrate it by wearing traditional clothes, eating traditional Punjabi cuisine, and arranging plays or dramas related to Punjab’s history and culture.

Punjabi take great pride in their clothing and dress up as much as possible to celebrate their big day, Punjabi culture day.

The dress code for men is Kurta-Pajama or Dhoti-Kurta with a Pagri (turban) on their head. Mostly, they wear dull shades, but the cultural day marks wearing bright-colored Shalwar Kameez, even by men.

Women wear Shalwar-Kameez with a Dupatta (veil) on their heads. They also wear traditional Punjabi Jutti (shoes) and jewelry to complete their look.

The Punjabi Cultural Day is not complete without a Bhangra dance. It is an integral part of the Punjabi Culture and a fun factor. Therefore, Punjabis consider it necessary to perform Bhangra whenever they wear Shalwar Kameez (their traditional dress).

Punjabi Wedding Dress

Weddings are an essential and lavish affair for Punjabis. No Punjabi wedding is complete without the women wearing full-flared Ghagras and lots of makeup and jewelry.

Punjabi take great pride in their weddings, and the dress code for a Punjabi bride is usually a red or maroon Gharara or Lehenga with a heavy Dupatta draped around the head and shoulders.

The wedding dress is so vital for Punjabi women that they start planning it six months before their wedding and even place the order for their clothing almost two months before the actual affair. That’s because the dresses are adorned with heavy embroidery, and it takes time to prepare a bridal gown.

The bride’s makeup is fundamental, including using a lot of Kajal, Jewelry, and Henna on their hands and feet.

The groom usually wears a Sherwani or an Indo-Western suit. The groomsmen also wear Sherwanis or Suits.

Punjabi weddings are usually very colorful, and guests dress up accordingly in their best ethnic clothes.

Punjabi wedding dress plays an essential role in the Punjabi Culture and differentiates it from other cultures. Punjabi culture dress is very different from Western clothes, one of the world’s unique cultures.

Significance of Punjabi Traditional Dress

Punjabi dress has been an integral part of the culture for centuries. It’s not just a way of dressing but a reflection of the region’s rich cultural heritage. Moreover, the traditional dress symbolizes Punjab’s distinctiveness and is vital to the regional identity.

Punjabi dress is also significant because it is a part of the regional culture and heritage. It’s been worn for centuries, and the tradition is passed down from generation to generation. The Punjabi culture dress shows the rich taste and love for the colors of the people in the previous centuries. It is a part of the regional identity and helps to keep the culture alive.

Another critical factor is that the Punjabi dress makes Punjabi people feel confident and self-sufficient. In addition, they feel a sense of pride when they wear their traditional clothing and express their love for the Punjab region.

The traditional dress is significant for the Punjabi people and the tourists who visit the region. It’s a way of learning about Punjabi Culture and heritage. The dress also helps create a sense of belonging among the Punjabi people.

Punjab is a land of colorful festivals and fairs, and traditional dress plays a vital role in these celebrations. The dress brings out the spirit of the Punjabi people and helps them connect with their roots.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Punjabi suit made of?

The Punjabi suit is usually cotton, silk, or other light fabrics. Although thick fabrics are also used in Punjabi dresses worn in winter, the more common ones are cotton, silk, and other delicate materials.

Punjabi suits can be plain, but they are mostly made of printed fabrics or have embroidered work. The patterns are intricate and beautiful, adding to the beauty of the dress.

Who invented Punjabi dress?

There is no definite answer as to who invented Punjabi dress. However, it is believed that the Mughal Emperor Akbar was the one who popularized this style. Therefore, the traditional Punjabi Shalwar Kameez is believed to have originated from the dressing sense of the Mughals, who were the rulers of India.

The dress has undergone many changes, but the basic design and style remain unchanged. It is because it has been a part of Punjabi Culture for centuries.

Is the Saree a part of Pakistani culture?

The saree is not a part of Pakistani culture. It is believed to have originated in India. The saree is a popular dress among Indian women and is worn by women from other countries such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal.

The saree is a long piece of cloth wrapped around the body. It is usually made of cotton, silk, or other materials. The saree is a popular dress for special occasions such as weddings and festivals.

Although it’s not a Pakistani dress, it’s rapidly catching popularity in Pakistan, and you’ll see women wearing it at different festivals and weddings.

In conclusion, the Punjabi dress is a traditional dress worn by both men and women in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan. The dress is made of cotton, silk, and other fabrics. The Punjabi dress is often worn on special occasions such as weddings and festivals. It has significance in Punjabi Culture.

The Punjabi dress is also becoming popular in other countries where Pakistani women wear it to celebrate their Eids. So, try this traditional dress, if ever in the Punjab region!