How to wear a Salwar Kameez [Complete Guide]

Today, I was checking on cultures of the different parts in India, and I found something very common among them all… Salwar Kameez. It seemd that it has become a part of India culture. Women wear traditional salwar kameez for weddings, functions, and festivals. In Southeast Asia, I saw there is a wide range of clothing styles in the same category.

How to wear a Salwar Kameez? Wear your inners first, then wear the salwar. Pull on the kameez and then wear your shoes. A salwar kameez could be either a simple, casual, and comfortable wear, or an intricate, elaborate, and decorative ensemble. There are more details to be taken care of such as choice of fabric, styling, neck design, getting the fit right, colour coordination, and other things, which we are going to discuss in this article.

This article is about all the ways women can wear salwar kameez. Looking at a pretty salwar kameez, you may feel that it is easy to wear and just perfect for any occasion. However, you may be surprised that it takes effort to carry the look. From the perfect fitting of the kameez to the salwar fabric and the pattern of the dupatta, there are endless things to consider before wearing the ethnic look.

The best part about wearing elegant salwar kameez is an eternally trendy attire that does not grow out of fashion. Just ensure it looks stylish and fits perfectly. So, how to wear salwar kameez? Is it only about wearing the attire or the choice of style, fabric, and design?

What is a Salwar Kameez?

I would like to keep it simple and short… salwar kameez is a combination of three pieces; Salwar, Kameez and Dupatta.

Salwar is like a loose payjama that is drawn tightly at the waist and it tapers at the ankles. Kameez is the upper part or the dress and it is worn above the salwar and it is of knee-length. The third part of this dress is a supatta (scarf) which is used around the neck or the head. It may be also used to cover the head of women in the presence of elders or while visiting temples.

Let’s learn more about:

  • Choosing the right salwar fabric
  • Getting the correct length
  • Length of sleeves
  • Quality of lining
  • Choice of colour
  • The perfect cut and style
  • Neck designs
  • Getting the best fit
  • Choice of dupatta
  • Choice of footwear
  • Colour coordination
  • Pinning it up
  • Accessorise

Wearing The Salwar Kameez

There are four steps to wear the salwar kameez right:

  1. Wear your inners
  2. Wear the salwar
  3. Pull on the kameez
  4. Wear your shoes

Finally, carry the dupatta to make sure it matches the look your wish to flaunt.

Different styles to wear a Salwar Suit

There are different ways to style your Salwar Suit. Check out this video to know with a visual treat.

Choosing The Fabric

The choice of fabric is important because it determines the look of the attire and, you wearing it.

Select the fabric according to the occasion. If it is casual wear, you can choose cotton or polycotton. However, if it were ethnic eveningwear, you would need a gorgeous, glossy, and rich fabric with designs.

If you want to wear ethnic suits in summers, printed suit sets are the best. Made of cotton, linen, chiffon, rayon, or georgette, these fabrics never go out of trend.

Getting The Correct Length

Depending on your figure, you should get the perfect length and measurements for a suit set. Only then, it would give you the right look.

Usually, the salwar should be ankle-length with or without embellishments or embroidery.

An ankle-length salwar, or a Patiala salwar, or even a narrow trouser with buttons or embroidery looks ravishing. You can pair it with a fitting straight kameez and matching dupatta to wear that glamorous look.

Length of Sleeves

Though it depends on the choice of the wearer, long sleeves are always trendy for a kameez. However, there is no rule to follow any particular trend.

The sleeves should be matching your body type and the cut and design of the kameez. For example. Slim girls like to flaunt their beautiful arms and prefer sleeveless sets, whereas heavy girls like to wear a three-quarter or full sleeve set.

Quality of Lining

Some fabrics need lining. Make sure the lining material matches the colour of the fabric. Ensure it is stitched properly. After all, you would not want the lining to peek out and spoil your look.

Usually, a fine cotton lining goes along with all types of fabric. However, if your suit material is extraordinary, with a lot of embroidery or embellishments, prefer to follow the suggestions of your designer.

Choice of Colour

The colour of the salwar kameez influences the overall appearance and look. If you wish to look smart and slim in traditional wear, choose darker shades of blue, maroon, or green. These are safe colours.

If you prefer lighter hues, shades of aqua, soft green or peach maybe your colours.

The colour of your suit set should complement your skin tone and match the occasion too.

Pastel shades are great for slim and slender women.

There is no denying that size does not dictate your choice of colour, but it definitely plays an important role.

The Perfect Cut & Style

Today, the good old salwar kameez has endless options in cuts and styles.

Designers have come up with different cuts such as A-shape, asymmetrical, Anarkali, straight cuts, Chinese suits, and much more.

Depending on the type of your body, height, and the latest trend, you can choose a cut to flaunt your figure elegantly.

Anarkali suits are for everyone – the ones who want to flaunt and the ones who want to hide their curves. These are more elaborate salwar suits, perfect for traditional functions and weddings.

Likewise, straight cut kameez and kurtis are for all body types. Pair them with a trouser or leggings, and you are good to go.

Neck Designs

Trending necklines are a style statement. While there are some common favourites such as the round neck, square neck, V-shaped neck, and boat neck, you may like to try some bold neckline to wear a different look. Be sure about the design because it makes a lot of difference to your look.

Kameez with elegant neck designs look beautiful. If you love stitch work, you can go for Gujrat karigari or Kashmiri embroidery on the neckline. It gives a dramatic look to the outfit and outshines.

Getting The Best Fit

Kameez and kurtis only look good on you when they fit well, unlike t-shirts and tops. You have to be careful about the fit so that it does not end up making you look clumsy. Nothing beats the beauty of a fitting kameez with a pair of Patiala salwar. Likewise, an ill-fitting kurta could hit your appearance hard, making you look dull and boring.

Choice of Dupatta

Pair your salwar kameez with a spectacular dupatta. It makes all the difference to your final look.

An elegant net dupatta embroidered or detailed with pearls, stones, and laces, paired with a simple salwar kameez gives a very interesting look.

Combine a contract dupatta with an elegant and stylish suit set to hit the spotlight of a party.

A silk dupatta paired with a solid coloured suit set is an eternal beauty.

You may try any colour combination to get that gorgeous and breath-taking look.

Choice of Footwear

Footwear is so important for the final look. You can either choose flats or heels, but make sure it complements your outfit.

Remember, the right choice of footwear is the only way to maintain the continuity and flow to wear that perfect look, including the dupatta and accessories.

The length of the salwar is a determinant factor for choosing footwear. You cannot wear heels with ankle-length pants.

Colour Coordination

Do not overdo this part. Usually, women go overboard in their quest to maintain colour coordination of their outfit and accessories.

Pick your colours wisely for that beautiful and balanced look for an evening.

Pinning It Up

Regardless of the size, length, and fit, you should pin up the outfit in such a way that the bra strap or panty lining does not show.

One of the common problems with salwar kameez is slipping shoulders. Make sure the kameez has a loop stitched in to avoid slipping. To be doubly sure, just pin it up.


For the final look, get some traditional accessories to match your outfit to look dignified.

Pair your outfit with beautiful earrings, choker neckpiece, bracelets, nose pin, anklets, maang tika, or other accessories of your choice. Once again, do not go overboard.

If you want to wear a simple and elegant look, an elegant pair of earrings and a small bindi could do the trick.

Avoid too many accessories or jewellery. Pair them according to the occasion. For small parties and gatherings, wear light earrings and bracelet, hold a clutch in your hand, and do not forget your wristwatch.

It is very easy to overdo accessories in an attempt to look bold, beautiful, and trendy.


When it comes to the choice of the right pair of salwar kameez, you would come across endless options. However, choose your patterns and designs carefully to match your style, body type, complexion, and the occasion for which you are buying a suit set. From over a few hundred options, you can pick the desired set and look ravishing.