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Article: What Type Of Dress Can Never Be Worn

What Type Of Dress Can Never Be Worn

What Type Of Dress Can Never Be Worn

The title is perhaps slightly misleading as there isn’t necessarily a ‘should’ in terms of what to wear in Pakistan.

Pakistan is a country of diversity in terms of terrain and temperature, with a great variation between the cities and the more rural areas, as well the mountains and the plains.

However, and this is a big however, Pakistan is overall a very conservative society. Although laws won’t prevent you from walking around scantily clad, many locals might.

A foreign woman wearing a short skirt in Pakistan probably won’t have any legal issues – but she would create a scandal walking through all except the most liberal neighbourhoods. Local women however understand and respect it. 

In some ways, this makes it even more difficult to decide what to wear – while Iran might not be “free” in terms of dress,

          at least your dress code is being prescribed to you.

In Pakistan, It’s A Judgement Call

After arriving many visiting women invest in a stylish salwar kameez or kurti – they’re fashionable, easy, breezy, and often inexpensive. You will see hundreds of brands selling that but I would recommend quality and reasonable clothes over anything and Jeem is the perfect place for that.

T-shirts are also not acceptable in general, and neither are any type of shirts that would show cleavage or too much body shape. The looser, the better!

As for jeans and leggings, the former is okay in liberal areas within Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi as well as backpacker haven Hunza Valley.

Nevertheless, if you’re headed to a highly populated market area or an Old City that might not necessarily be “liberal,” it's best to leave those at home, too.

Leggings on their own are a huge no-go, BUT they are totally cool if worn under a long kameez that I’ll get into later.

Tank tops? LOL no, unless it's underneath a shirt or worn whilst sleeping in private quarters.

Bathing suits? LMAO! If you do find yourself in a swimming situation, you’re definitely going to want to keep everything on. I swam in a river in Mingora and just kept my shalwar kameez and dupatta on. Men CAN go swimming shirtless however, even in conservative areas.

In short, if your head, hands and feet are the only things visible, and the shape of your body is somewhat concealed, then you’re on the right track.

Men, equally, might buy a traditional salwar kameez or a kurta. But you might not want to wear it all the time, and that still leaves you stuck for the first few days before you hit the shops.

For men, the job is unsurprisingly easier – but not a carte blanche to wear what you like. The shorts and singlet tops you were wearing on the beach in Bali aren’t really acceptable here.

Shorts are extremely rare for men to wear in Pakistan, and I honestly can’t recall seeing them anywhere besides a running park in upscale Lahore.

Jeans are relatively common amongst young guys in major cities like Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi and won’t raise many eyebrows, though they’re far from the most comfortable or practical thing to wear in Pakistan. 

Tank tops are definitely not acceptable for men either, unless you want to be stared at even more than females typically are, that is!

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