As a professional who has the privilege and opportunity to travel across the world, I have the amazing opportunity to see the national dresses of various cultures. From the colorful prints in Africa to the gorgeous skirts in Southeast Asia to the sarees, salwars, and lehengas we see in South Asia and that are included on this site, these colorful, decorative, and artistic outfits are fun to wear.

Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, we live in a world where Western fashion has dominated the office scene, and part of my goal in building this site was to begin a global fashion movement where everyone would feel comfortable wearing clothes from anywhere without fear of being socially rebuked.
And many of today’s top designers draw their inspiration from outfits they seen around the world, except they only become trendy when a large fashion name like Ralph Lauren, Armani or Gucci make the clothes trendy; on top of that you will pay top dollar to buy or wear something similiar if you went to the average European or American department store.

Take the tunic, for example. According to Wikipedia, tunics have actually been around since Greco-Roman times, and in the west, tunics are worn among the clergy and other religious leaders. However, as the article so aptly noted,

“Worn in Indian Sub-Continent, including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, [the] tunic is usually referred to as Kurta and is now an emerging women’s top style increasingly liked by many in the West. An Asian tunic is typically adorned with delicate embroidery, bead-work or intricate threadwork as well. Embroidery or thread work on such tunics usually combines threads of many different colors.”

Fashion, like food and music, is often influenced by the interaction of different cultures. So one day, I hope, we can all start to become more comfortable with wearing “ethnic” clothes in the office or outside of the country of origin.

In the meantime, here are some amazing shots of women wearing “ethnic” clothes to the office. And be sure to check out our articles on ways to wear a tunic or a salwar to the office.

The African Shirt Company Blue Lagoon Shirt

Photo courtesy of: The African Shirt Company

This woman is pairing this brightly colored blue African-style print shirt with navy blue jeans and boots. Perfect to wear anywhere and still colorful enough to make you standout from the crowd that are all shopping at the same stores and wearing non-original clothes.


African traditional dress code
Photos courtesy of: Wikipedia commons

More and more in my hometown of Washington, DC, I am seeing women wearing these African-inspired gorgeous paneled skirts all around town.

Local Refugee Art Auction & Fashion Show 2011

Photo courtesy of: Viktoriya Aleksandrov

These Chin Burmese girls, are wearing a colorful short-sleeved top that goes with a matching skirt, for this festive event celebrating refugee women.

Do you have a picture that you can share of you wearing your ‘ethnic’ clothing and rocking it? Feel free to comment on this post or contact us at



Anarkali suits vary in different lengths and embroideries and are kind of a salwar suit. Check out our selection of Anarkalis in our salwar section to wear to your next special event.

Green and Red Color Georgette Floor Length Anarkali Dress
Photo courtesy of Kaneesha USA (

Originating from Lahore, Pakistan and dating back to the Mughan Era, the Anarkali is an elegant 3 piece suit made up of a long, frock-style top, a slim-fitted bottom that is usually covered by the top, and a dupatta.

Anarkali suits owe their name to the fictional courtesan, Anarkali, a courtesan of the court of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, who had an illicit relationship with his son. According to legend, Salim, the son of the great Mughal emperor Akbar and who later became Emperor Jahangir, fell in love with a beautiful courtesan as a young prince. Anarkali, whose title means “pomegranate blossom” (a title bestowed for her beauty) was famed for her dancing skills as well as her great beauty. It is believed that her original name was Nadira or Sharf-un-Nisa. She was supposedly buried alive between two walls by the Mughal emperor Akbar for having the illicit relationship. Today, you can find the possible tomb of Anarkali in Lahore.

While this story  has enamored historians and lay people, the Anarkali dress lives on.

Below are some styles of the Anarkali in different fabrics to show you how elegant these gowns can be.

Cotton Anarkali
Navy Blue Color Linen Cotton Anarkali Suit
Photo courtesy of Kaneesha USA (

Georgette Anarkali
Mauni Roy Red Color Georgette Embroidered Long Anarkali Suit
Photo courtesy of Kaneesha USA (

Georgette Anarkali with a vest-style top
Green Color Georgette Embroidered Long Anarkali Suit
Photo courtesy of Kaneesha USA (

Net Anarkali
Peach Color Embroidered Net Long Anarkali Suit
Photo courtesy of Kaneesha USA (

Raw Silk Anarkali
Beige Color Embroidered Raw Silk Anarkali Palazzo Suit
Photo courtesy of Kaneesha USA (

Satin Anarkali (with full print)
Blue Color Shaded Satin Printed Long Anarkali Suit
Photo courtesy of Kaneesha USA (

Silk Anarkali
Pink Color Silk Floor Length Anarkali Churidar Suit
Photo courtesy of Kaneesha USA (


Some of you might be wondering what is the difference between the salwar kameez, the kurta, the kurti, shalwar kaameez, shalwar quameez and the answer is they are all referring to the same kind of dress- a long tunic top with pants. Depending on what region you are from, you may call it differently but it means the same thing. Salwars are loose pajama-like trousers. The legs are wide at the top, and narrow at the ankle so it can fit any size. The kameez is a long shirt or tunic with different collar styles.  The side seams are usually left open below the waist-line and give the wearer freedom of movement. Usually, a salwar kameez is three pieces– the salwar (bottom), kameez (tunic), and a shawl.

Come check out our wide variety of salwars.


Outside of celebrities and perhaps South Asian weddings, many non-South Asians have anecdotally expressed that while they love saris, salwars, and lehengas they feel foolish or were told they were foolish for wearing saris. I am here to describe some personal accounts of women who have told me how they grew to be comfortable wearing them in the office or for other occasions. We would love to hear your stories too. By the way, all names have been changed in this post to protect these women’s privacy.


Gisele is a woman who works in a multicultural office in international development. She feels she has no issues with wearing a tunic and pants underneath since so many of her colleagues are well traveled. The tunic is a great for office wear because its conservative, clean, and sheik. She even wears a shawl with her tunic to add some style.


Jamirah is a woman who attended a Kenyan wedding where both the bride and groom decided to have a full out Bollywood style wedding. Why? Simply because they liked the culture. The bride wore a beautiful, sequin gown and the groom wore a sleek kurta. Unfortunately, she didn’t want pictures posted to share with the world but they had an incredible time and loved their wedding.


So what is your story? Tried to wear South Asian clothing at other times and got mocked for it? Applauded for it? Be great to hear your stories on what you think.


[ig_row width=”boxed” r_class=”none” t_class=”none” background=”none” solid_color_value=”#FFFFFF” solid_color_color=”#ffffff” gradient_color=”0% #FFFFFF,100% #000000″ gradient_direction=”vertical” repeat=”full” stretch=”none” position=”center center” paralax=”no” relative=”no” video_b=”no” v_mp4 border_width_value_=”0″ border_style=”solid” border_color=”#000″ div_padding_top=”30″ div_padding_bottom=”30″ div_padding_right=”30″ div_padding_left=”30″ ][ig_column span=”span12″][ig_text enable_dropcap=”no” disabled_el=”no” ]Wearing the salwar in the office, what say you? The salwar, also known as salwar kameez, shalwar, or shalwar kameez is a great versatile garment that can be worn in the office. The salwar kameez is usually a top paired with loose fitting trousers and a shawl. Usually salwars refer to the bottom only, but in every day lingo, sometimes instead of referring to the whole outfit as “salwar kameez” or “shalwar kameez”, people will simply say “salwar” or “shalwar”. Salwars are flexible in the fabric, body coverage, and still surprisingly comfortable wear.Here are some ideas of how you can wear a salwar in the office and look stylish:

1. Wear the tunic part with some long pants 

[/ig_text][ig_image image_file=”” image_size=”medium” link_type=”no_link” image_container_style=”no-styling” image_alignment=”inherit” image_margin_top=”10″ image_margin_bottom=”10″ image_effect=”no” ][/ig_image][ig_text enable_dropcap=”no” disabled_el=”no” ]2. Wear the full salwar outfit just like a regular office suit.  [/ig_text][ig_image image_file=”” image_size=”medium” link_type=”no_link” image_container_style=”no-styling” image_alignment=”inherit” image_margin_top=”10″ image_margin_bottom=”10″ image_effect=”no” ][/ig_image][ig_text enable_dropcap=”no” disabled_el=”no” ]3. You can also wear a salwar with a long skirt and look tres chic. [/ig_text][ig_image image_file=”” image_size=”medium” link_type=”no_link” image_container_style=”no-styling” image_alignment=”inherit” image_margin_top=”10″ image_margin_bottom=”10″ image_effect=”no” ][/ig_image][ig_text enable_dropcap=”no” disabled_el=”no” ] 4. Wear it with  leggings, jeggings (jean leggings), or treggings (trouser like leggings)[/ig_text][ig_image div_margin_top=”10″ div_margin_bottom=”10″ disabled_el=”no” link_type=”no_link” image_type_url=”http://” open_in=”current_browser” copy_style_from=”0″ image_container_style=”no-styling” image_alignment=”inherit” image_margin_top=”10″ image_margin_bottom=”10″ image_effect=”no” ][/ig_image][/ig_column][/ig_row]

Check out our collection of new and gently used salwars to add to your office wardrobe.