A Glimpse at the History of Traditional Pakistani Dresses

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A Glimpse at the History of Traditional Pakistani Dresses

Fashion is integral to every country’s culture and history, and nowhere is this more true than in Pakistan. In this quick tutorial, we’ll teach you all about Pakistani fashion.

Pakistan has a colorful and rich history when it comes to clothing. By understanding the country’s fashion past, you can gain a much deeper appreciation for where Pakistani fashion is today. This historical overview of Pakistani clothing will show how different aspects of the culture, such as philosophy and economic development, have influenced people’s clothing over time.


Historical findings suggest that Pakistani dresses date back to the Bronze Age, over 7,000 years ago. Cotton was first farmed in the Indus River Valley around 3,000 BC during the Indus Valley Civilization period.

Since Pakistan is strategically positioned, its neighbours greatly influenced its culture. The nation shares borders with India, Iran, Afghanistan, and the Arabian Sea. Throughout history, the Pak country has been an important link for trade and civilization. This has made it a preferred invasion path.

Different foreign civilizations have invaded, occupied, and settled in Pakistan over the years, including the Persians, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, Aryans, Dravidians, Greeks, White Huns, and various Eurasian tribes. In addition to this long history of cultural mixing, religious issues also play a role in Pakistani fashion choices. This explains why Pakistani clothing often seems strange or unfamiliar to outsiders.


Up until the late 1200s, present-day Pakistan was constantly under Mongolian rule. In the 1500s, the Mughal empire took over most of India and Pakistan. The area was prone to attacks and raids as early as 1303. Islam became prevalent in South Asia due to the Muslim Mughals, who also spread Persian arts and culture throughout their regime. Nowadays, a typical Pakistani wardrobe comprises a mix of traditional and Mughal clothing styles, reflecting this past cultural impact.

The Mughal period in South Asia arguably had the most significant impact on Pakistani fashion history. This is evident in current-day Pakistani clothing, from the national garment-the Pakistan Shalwar Kameez- to other articles of clothing such as lehenga, turban, churidar pajamas, etc. Many of these garments can be directly linked to The Mughal Empire; however, they have evolved.


Muslims brought the Shalwar Kameez to South Asia in the 12th century, and when the Mughals took control of India centuries later, various Persian customs became popular there. The Anarkali Shalwar Kameez is thought to be the oldest form of this traditional clothing item.

Mujra dancers first wore the Anarkali, which courtesans allowed into the Mughal palace. These women would dance to entertain the king; therefore, the outfit was called a Mujra dress. 

However, after Lady Anarkali died–a famous courtesan in the palace–the garment’s name changed to reflect her memory. The Shalwar Kameez, worn by both Pakistani men and women today, has remained popular for centuries due to its ability to adapt to changing trends. The shalwar is long and straight, often paired with either shalwar or churidar trousers.

The Pakistani ladies’ national dress has remained unchanged for many years due to its simplicity and comfort. The dress allows for a full range of motion, which is essential, especially when performing daily tasks or participating in sports.


By 1858, the British had removed Emperor Bahadur Shah II from power, officially ending the rule of the Mughal dynasty. This event occurred in the middle of the nineteenth century and caused Pakistan’s social and political landscape to change considerably by the start of the twentieth century.

The British Raj heavily influenced the cultures and fashion of the Indian subcontinent from 1858 until 1947, when India and Pakistan became independent. In the twentieth century, people in this region primarily started dressing according to their customs and culture rather than that of their colonizers.

Sarees, ghagras, and shalwars were popular in the early 1900s. After independence, Pakistani fashion became more open and sophisticated. Dresses got shorter due to Western influence, but half-calf pants and bell bottoms became increasingly popular.

Shirts that were once considered too long for fashionable wear became increasingly popular at the close of the twentieth century.

At the end of the twentieth century, Pakistani ladies re-adopted half sleeves and Bob cuts. Today, they enjoy a wide array of wardrobe options, from cigarette pants to tights, while maintaining their cultural identity. This two-hundred-million-person nation is constantly progressing in its fashion sense, offering something unique for everyone.


The Pakistani fashion scene has become increasingly popular in the United States over the past few years. Many celebs wear garments from famous Pakistani designers like HSY, Sana Safinaz, and Maheen Khan. 

Many online stores have made it easy for US-based people to buy Pakistani clothes online. These stores offer a variety of Pakistani designer dresses, including the Anarkali Shalwar Kameez and its variations, such as Sharara, Churidar Pyjamas, and Gharara. Pakistani brands have also started catering to customers in the US who are looking for traditional clothes at affordable prices. 

Overall, there is something for everyone regarding Pakistani designer dresses. From the traditional Shalwar Kameez to more modern cuts, Pakistani designers offer a range of contemporary styles catering to all tastes and budgets. 

The fashion scene in Pakistan is ever-evolving and has something for everyone. Whether looking for beautiful shalwar kameez or trendy cigarette pants, you can find something that fits your style. Buy Pakistani clothes online today and experience the beauty of Pakistani fashion! 

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