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Traditional Asian Attire

Updated on October 28, 2018

Did You Know:

That Sarees are not only worn by Bangladeshi and Indian women but also worn by the women in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal.

Traditional Attire in Bangladesh and India

Although Bangladesh and India have various types of traditional wear particular to its own different regions but Saree or also known as Sari, Sarie or Sharee is the predominant traditional and cultural wear of these two South-East Asian countries. Saree is a six yard long piece of single cloth which the ladies of these regions wrap around their lower anatomy from the waist(on top of a single petticoat of a matching colour) mostly, with about 2 yards covering the upper torso known as the pallu (in India) and achol or anchal (in Bangladesh). Sarees are generally worn with a short blouse covering the female torso but usually not covering the navel. There are however many different ways that a sari can be worn. In fact it was famously stated by the fashion designer, Shaina NC, that she can drape a saree in 54 different styles!

The word Saree comes from Sanskrit which literally means a “strip of cloth”. Saree symbolizes grace and elegance and holds appeal to the females of Bangladesh and India and many other countries due to its timeless beauty. It is one of the main attires worn by the bride on their wedding ceremony in Bangladesh and India. Despite sarees being sensuous and sometimes quite revealing, as it keeps the midriff of the female body bare, are worn to parties, wedding ceremonies and formal meetings and gatherings.

Sarees come in all types of materials starting from cotton, silk, chiffon, crepe, tissue and many more. Sarees can be as simple as just a 9 yard material with no embellishments to gorgeous wedding sarees with gold thread work, kundan, stone work, spring work, embroidery, appliqué, etc.

The traditional Sarees are made more appealing, elegant and stylish by the various different forms of blouse worn with them. To learn more about Saree Blouse Designs please visit my other hubs dedicated to it.

All you need to know about traditional Indian Saree

Photographs of Bangladeshi and Indian Saree

Beautiful Red Traditional Katan Wedding Saree in Bangladesh
Beautiful Red Traditional Katan Wedding Saree in Bangladesh | Source
Lovely Pink Saree
Lovely Pink Saree
Red Net Saree
Red Net Saree | Source

Special type of Saree known as Jamdani of Bangladesh

Bangladesh is renowned for their exquisitely woven sarees known as Jamdani.

Jamdani sarees are one of the most sought after sarees of Bangladesh. Historically Jamdani Sarees were patronized by the Mughal emperors, however, the tradition took a dip when British colonialism was at its full bloom. Nevertheless, in recent years it has been seen that the production and consumers of traditional Bangladeshi jamdani has risen. Jamdani sarees are treated as a luxury item in every woman’s wardrobe in Bangladesh and its popularity has reached beyond its territories due to its exceptional beauty. Foreigners visiting Bangladesh usually opt for Jamdani saris due to its historical significance.

To learn more about Bangladesh and view amazing photographs taken all over Bangladesh visit Travel-O-grapher

Bangladeshi Jamdani Saree

Bangladeshi Jamdani Sharee being woven
Bangladeshi Jamdani Sharee being woven
White Jamdani Sharee, Bangladesh
White Jamdani Sharee, Bangladesh
Beautiful Yellow Cotton Jamdani Sharee, Bangladesh
Beautiful Yellow Cotton Jamdani Sharee, Bangladesh | Source

Did You Know:

Many brides in Pakistan wear Salwar Kameez on their wedding day, although lehengas and ghagras are equally preferred by brides.

Salwar kameez are also worn by women in Bangladesh, India, Sri landa, Mauritius and Nepal.

Traditional Attire in Pakistan

The traditional ethnic wear in Pakistan is Salwar Kameez which is also referred to as Salwar suit or Salwar Kameez Suit. Salwar Kameez is a three piece dress worn by women. Salwar means a form of pant or trousers. There are many different types of salwar worn by Pakistani women, for e.g. Patiala salwar, churidar pajama and straight trousers. Kameez refers to the long shirt worn on top of the salwar. Kameezes come in different length, width, sleeves and shapes. An essential part of Salwar Kameez in Pakistan is the dupatta which is a matching piece of cloth very similar to a shawl or stole which was traditionally worn by the women to cover their modesty but in modern times is worn as part of style rather than to cover up the upper torso.

Traditionally Salwar Kameez suits was a very modest apparel for women as it used to cover up a woman’s body from her neck to her ankles to her wrist with the dupatta used to cover the head and bosom. They also used to be rather loose fitting to hide the female curves. However, with the advancement of time and society, it is now worn by young women as a statement of fashion, class and style and they tend to be figure hugging and some of the styles are quite revealing and downright sexy!

Salwar kameez, like sarees, are made from various types of materials, prints and designs depending on the occasion where it is to be worn and the weather condition. In summer time in Pakistan, many women tend to prefer wearing Salwar kameez made from soft lawn material with chiffon dupatta to keep the body cool and the heat at bay. Whereas in wintertime, materials such as karandi and materials made from wool are preferred. Salwar kameez are made from printed material, plain solid colours, embellished with sequins, stones, embroideries and etc.

Pakistani Traditional Apparel for Women: Salwar Kameez

Blue Kameez
Blue Kameez
Churidar pants with kameez
Churidar pants with kameez
Pakistani Lawn Kameez for summer
Pakistani Lawn Kameez for summer
Pakistani Bride in Bridal Salwar Kameez in Red
Pakistani Bride in Bridal Salwar Kameez in Red | Source

Did you know

  • The male counterpart is called changshan which is like a long shirt with similarities with the female attire.

Material generally used to make cheongsam, the Chinese traditional wear:

  • Silk, Brocade silk, Satin brocade and velour. All these materials are very soft, smooth and slippery to the touch and reflects light and fire in a most becoming fashion.

  • Many cheongsam patterns and colours are specifically chosen to symbolize prosperity and wealth.

Traditional Attire worn in China

The most prominent traditional attire in China for women is called cheongsam, which is also referred to in Mandarin Chinese as “qípáo” and is referred to, in the western world, as “Mandarin gown”. There were many other names by which cheongsam was referred to but the word “Cheongsam”, which comes from Cantonese meaning a long dress, is the name that survived in English.

The traditional Mandarin gown has gone through a marked makeover and has somewhat lost its original purpose and stature. What is now referred to as traditional cheongsam is actually the “modern” version of what used to be the classic version, which was wide and loose in structure to conceal the body of the lady wearing it, irrespective of the wearer’s age, looks or status. The classic Mandarin gown only revealed the head, hands and the tips of the toes of the female body. However, around the 1920s, the traditional Chinese apparel underwent a revolution and became what we now refer to as a very sensuous Chinese attire which is very appealing to the eyes as thee snugly fit the female form accentuating all the feminine curves ending at the neck with an exquisitely sewn high neck. These modern versions of cheongsam come in various lengths, neck designs and sleeves.

Chinese traditional clothing tends to be bright when it comes to its base colour which is further accentuated with the varied decorations of exquisite threaded patterns. Such attires have beautifully and flawlessly crafted dragons, fauna and flowers, butterflies and birds as adornment. Qípáo is now not only worn by the Chinese women but has found place in the wardrobes of many fashionable and prominent women of the world in various form.

Chinese Traditional Wear:

Beautiful woman in white and blue Qípáo
Beautiful woman in white and blue Qípáo
Serene lady in cheongsam
Serene lady in cheongsam
Traditional Chinese Men wearing changshan
Traditional Chinese Men wearing changshan
Red cheongsam
Red cheongsam

Traditional Asian Dresses

Malaysian Ethnic Wear:

“Baju kurung” is the traditional Malaysian clothing for women. Baju kurung comprise of a knee length blouse or shirt which is worn on top of long, usually ankle length, skirt. Women usually don a scarf or shawl with Baju kurung. Baju kurung are usually made with printed material. Soft georgettes and chiffons are usually the material of preference.

The male counterpart of baju kurung is known as baju melayu which is a rather loose fitting shirt or tunic worn on top of pants. Baju melayus are generally worn with a sarong wrapped around the hips of the man wearing it.

Malay Traditional Wear:

Malaysian Bride in white Wedding Baju kurung
Malaysian Bride in white Wedding Baju kurung
Blue Baju kurung
Blue Baju kurung
Musliam Malaysian woman in Baju kurung
Musliam Malaysian woman in Baju kurung
Men in baju melayu
Men in baju melayu
Asian Traditional apparel for women
Asian Traditional apparel for women | Source

Ethnic wear of some other countries:

  • Kimono is Japan’s ethnic wear;
  • HanFu is another Chinese ethnic wear;
  • Hanbok is Korea’s traditional attire.

Which traditional Wear did you like most?

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    • K Kiss profile imageAUTHOR

      K Kiss 

      5 years ago from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

      Thanks a lot Tai Chy for stopping by to read my hub and for the complement. Stay tuned.

    • profile image

      Tai Chy 

      5 years ago

      Comprehensive and commendable piece of work. Insightfully good read!


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