Difference between Salwar Kameez, Anarkali Salwar, and Churidar Kameez

Difference between Salwar Kameez, Anarkali Salwar, and Churidar Kameez

Difference between Salwar Kameez, Anarkali Salwar, and Churidar Kameez

Salwar Kameez is a traditional dress worn by women in the Indian subcontinent. Pakistani and Afghani men too wear a variant of the Salwar Kameez. Churidar Kameez and Anarkali Salwar are variants of the Salwar Kameez. They are similar in many ways. However, they have their differences as well. To understand their differences, you must have a basic idea about the composition of each dress. We shall provide you with the same in the next few paragraphs.

Salwar Kameez:

Salwar Kameez is traditional dress of people residing in the Northern part of India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Both men as well as women wear the Salwar Kameez. There is a difference in the composition. The term “Salwar” refers to the pants/drawers whereas the term “Kameez” is the body shirt. These are two different garments. People wear them in combination. This has given rose to the combined term “Salwar Kameez.”

The Salwar is a type of baggy trousers with a very large hip size. You have to fasten the Salwar to the hips using laces. The Kameez is a long flowing shirt worn over the Salwar. The Kameez extends up to the knees. Many times, it can flow below the knees too. There are many types of Salwar. Some of the most famous are the Peshawari Salwar, Balochi Salwar, Sindhi Choreno, and the Punjabi Salwar.


There are many ways to stitch a Kameez. You can sew it straight and flat. You can have a V-shaped neck. You can sew it with sleeves or without sleeves too. The Kameez worn by the women folk is usually full of colors. The men folk prefer simple monochromatic suits. The sleeveless Kameez is popular among the women only.

Anarkali Salwar Kameez:

Anarkali was a court dancer in the court of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. The crown prince Salim fell in love with her. Akbar did not approve of the relationship and legend has it that the Mughal Empire buried her alive. There are many films depicting this love story.

anarkali-salwar-kameezThis court dancer used to wear a special type of Salwar Kameez, its now known as Anarkali Salwar Kameez. The Salwar has a slim fitted bottom. The Kameez is a long flowing one. The Kameez can come in a riot of colors. These suits have become a rage in the fashion world. This Anarkali suit, as it is called is prevalent in the North Western region of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is also extremely popular in the Punjab region in India.

Churidar Kameez

This is similar to the Salwar Kameez in many respects. It is usually worn by women in the Indian subcontinent. It is a modern design. On comparing the Salwar with the Churidar, you will find that the churidar seems artificial. You will find a difference in the ways of stitching and design. A Salwar is more of a baggy type whereas a churidar is closely fitted at the thighs, ankles as well as the hips.

churidar-salwar-kameez-2016You will also find that the churidar is longer than the Salwar. You have to crink the ends at the ankles to fit in correctly. This folding design resembles bangles. The local term for bangles is “churis.” This probably explains the name churidar.

There are some more noticeable differences when you compare normal salwar vs churidar. The normal Salwar has a wider upper portion as compared to the churidar. The churidar acquires a shape resembling the leg. As far as popularity is concerned, the churidar is more popular than the Salwar.

You can also notice a difference in the pleats. Usually, the Salwar has pleats on the upper portion. This is absent in case of churidars.

We can summarize the differences in the following manner.

  • Salwar is more of a traditional dress. The churidar is at best a modern variant of the Salwar.
  • The Salwar is a loose fitting dress as compared to the close fitting churidar. You can experience this tight fitting in the hips, thighs, and ankles.
  • The Salwar is baggy throughout. The churidar is a little loose at the top but tight fitting from the knee downwards.
  • You can compare a Salwar to a baggy pant whereas the churidar is more of a legging.
  • The Churidar is longer than the Salwar.
  • The Salwar has a wide upper portion whereas the Churidar has a shape resembling the leg in many ways.
  • The ends of the churidar are folded to give the impression of wearing bangles at the ankles.
  • The Churidar does not have pleats at the top whereas the pleats are very prominent in a Salwar.
  • Popularity wise, the churidar is more popular as compared to the churidar.

The Anarkali Salwar differs from the normal Salwar in the following manner.

  • Both men as well as women wear Salwar. However, only women wear the Anarkali Salwar.
  • The Anarkali Salwar is more colorful than the normal Salwar.