How to wear the traditional salwar
Salwar with yoke
- Gathers or pleats go in front! If the salwar doesn't have a yoke (wide band) at the top with gathers or pleats at the bottom of the yoke, go to the next section (simple traditional salwar).
- Pull the salwar on with the pleats or gathers at the front. Tie the drawstring snugly so it won't move up or down. Tuck the knot or bow inside the salwar waist so it won't pouf out.
- The fabric at the top of the salwar will bunch up as you pull the drawstring tight. Pull all of this extra fabric toward the front along the drawstring.
- Adjust the gathers on the drawstring until the main seam is at the back of your leg and the crease in the front of the cuff is at the front of your leg (see first diagram). If the cuff tends to fall to the side, adjust the gathers til it tends to stay straight forward.
- Move the drawstring up or down on your waist or hip to get the right salwar length. For most communities, the salwar cuff should cover most of the ankle and drape a bit over the top of the foot.
Simple traditional salwar
The simple traditional salwar looks absurdly wide If you're used to pants, but it has some real advantages for women with curvy hips. If you sometimes have trouble getting the cuffs of the classic style salwar (shown in blue in the diagram above) to fall straight, it's probably because the pleats or gathers near the top of the salwar aren't stitched in the right place for your body shape. The simple traditional style offers a lot more control over the way the fabric drapes over the hips, so it's easier to adjust for a flattering fit.
- Pull almost all of the fabric along the drawstring to the front. Tie the drawstring securely and tuck the bow inside the salwar waist so it doesn't pouf out against the salwar waist.
- Adjust the gathers along the drawstring until the fold that used to be at the outside of the cuff is now at the front of your leg. The inseam should now be directly in back of your leg.
- If the crease at the cuff (now at the front of your leg) tends to fall to one one side or the other, adjust the gathers at the drawstring until it tends to stay straight forward.
- In most communities, the salwar should be tied long enough to cover the ankle and drape a bit over the top of the foot.
The drawstring for either style of kameez is traditionally worn quite low, where the kameez flares a bit and any bulk around the drawstring will not be noticeable. Tie the drawstring securely and tuck the bow inside the waistband so it doesn't push out against the kameez.
To thread the drawstring into the salwar, put a safety pin on one end and thread it into the salwar, pushing it through the drawstring channel and easing the fabric past the safety pin and over the cord behind.
To avoid losing your drawstring, tie the ends in a half-knot, and then knot the very ends together. You should be able to finish the knot without untying the ends where they are knotted together.