Shalwar are the new onsie


Shalwar Kameez are the national dress of Pakistan. For women this means a tree piece suit with long tunic, trousers and a massive scarf. Definitely patterned. Sometimes sequined. For men you loose the sequins, patterns and scarf. Men also tend to have reasonably drab colours – mainly in the beige family – so my sky blue suit is just a little out there.

I’ve found my Shalwar to be very comfy. It’s like wearing pajamas everywhere you go. The tunic is light and airy and the pants have a billowing Aladdin thing going on, which is mostly hidden because they’re under the tunic. I really feel that Shalwar Kameez are the next level onesie.

There’s also something gratifying about traveling wearing the national dress of your destination. For Fi it’s a bit of a burden because doing so is an expectation, and it means a lot of covering up, including in hot weather. For me, it feels more like wearing a costume, and makes me feel more like I belong, as I might wearing a suit to a job interview. It gives a sense of additional freedom and license to strike the characteristic hands behind back pose of the discerning local when wandering the bazaar. Sadly, however, Fiona has not responded appropriately to the cultural attitudes I have adopted to go with my Shalwar. I am still waiting on her to slaughter me a goat, milk a cow and dry me some apricots. One thing at a time, I suppose.

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