Will I Offend Anyone If I Wear A Punjabi Suit (Salwar Kameez) To Gurdwara? | Sikh Philosophy Network
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Will I Offend Anyone If I Wear A Punjabi Suit (Salwar Kameez) To Gurdwara?

Harkiran Kaur

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I have found since going to the Gurdwara the past few weeks, that western pants (even loose khakis) are decidedly uncomfortable sitting cross legged on the floor for long periods. I mentioned to the people who have been giving me rides (he is a white convert and full Amrit, and she is Punjabi and they have 3 beautiful children! Anyway they have been taking me under their wing) I mentioned to them that I notice that virtually all the women there wear salwar kameez and the men wear western clothing (very weird) but anyway I also mentioned that I kind of envy the women because salwar kameez looks so comfortable for sitting on the floor, not to mention it's a bit more modest when bowing in front of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and having a chunni always at hand as part of the outfit is very practical. (Secretly, I also LOVE the variety of rich fabrics, colours, embroidery, sequins and beadwork)

Anyway, they took me shopping after we left the Gurdwara - her and her sister thought it was a wonderful idea to get me into a salwar kameez. Together we picked out a cream yellow and brown suit - It has patiala style loose pants (brown) and a cream coloured long tunic which has embroidery on the front kind of in a leaves motif in brown and green thread and with some sequins throughout. Along the bottom front of the tunic is about a 2 inch strip of all sequins. The chunni is mostly the cream yellow with brown at the ends and has a thin gold border sewn on. It looks amazing!

Anyway I am worried that wearing it might offend some of the other ladies there... with my not being Punjabi. Obviously it was a Punjabi lady who took me shopping for it, but I don't know if all Indian women think the same. Generally, what do Indian people think of white westerns wearing Indian clothing like Salwar Kameez? I only plan on wearing it to Gurdwara or other Sikh functions for now... but it is beautiful and I love it. And it's so comfortable.

I wish fashion was two ways. Indian women can wear western clothing without any thought.... however I have been told that some Indian women can take offence to a white westerner wearing Indian clothes like a punjabi suit / salwar kameez.

What are your thoughts?
 

Ambarsaria

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Bhain (sister) Akasha ji it is very simple. How you feel and enjoy it will be reflected in how you will see others perceive it. I have never come across people making negative comments in my experience, though I am male.

So enjoy and don't sweat the small stuff,

Sat Sri Akal.
 
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Ishna

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Bhenji, speaking from personal experience, Punjabis just love it when you wear salwar kameez! I was worried it would be pretensious of me to wear a salwar kameez to Gurdwara but I couldn't have been more wrong - even if you buy the plainest one in the shop you're almost guaranteed that aunties will tell you how pretty you look in it. :D Also, it's hard not to look good in one, they are a truly remarkable piece of clothing.
 

Harkiran Kaur

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Even though I'm male I doubt anyone will judge you but also alot of men wear the traditional Kurta Pajama with the long shirt with pants is a traditional clothing worn by men often to the gurdwara.
Hmmm here it's very weird.... the men's side are all wearing western clothing (jeans and tees, or shirt and tie with more business style pants) while the women's aide is a sea of colourful salwar kameez (except for me... I was wearing a conservatively styles tunic top or short kurta from India with loose khakis which I thought would be comfortable - they weren't) So why do the men all seem to wear western clothes (even the older ones recently from India) while the women wear more traditional clothing? I love their clothing however...

Thanks for the responses everyone. The gist I am getting is that it shouldn't offend anyone. If anyone does ask me why I am wearing it, I will simply say for comfort sitting like that since patiala style pants are so loose and comfortable and that taking me out shopping for it was a suggestion by one of the Punjabi women as a kind gesture that I appreciated and it would be shame to not end up wearing it after she made such an effort!
 

hpannu

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Dec 17, 2007
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3 years ago, I was in contact with a Inter Religious group from our area. One of the ladies asked me if they can visit our Gurduara Sahib. My reply was sure, just make sure you wear something appropriate for the occasion, you will be sitting cross legged on the floor like everyone else. When they showed up on Sunday ( 1 Jewish + 1 Christian ) one was wearing dress pants and the other long skirt upto to the ankles. I always wear Kurta Pajama to Gurduara Sahib. My sister assisted both of them. Believe it or not they were there for over 3 hours and left after partaking langar. When i asked them at the end how they felt. There first answer was - Now we know why you wear long clothes like this. We had a good laugh about what's appropriate ? and they enjoyed their first visit.
 

Luckysingh

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I think you fnd more men in western clothing except for a few babaey because most of us can't be bothered to change especially if we were working earlier in the day or are going to go to work after.
The women on the other hand mostly do change into comfortable wear. Some may be wearing skirts etc.. during the day for work and would obviously struggle to matha tek and sit unless they can sit on their knees like muslims!!- Therefore we find more women in traditional wear as this is normally the easiest thing to change into rather than blouse and jeans.

With men, no one really cares what they wear and we are normally comfortable in our regular daily wear.
I mean lately, it's been so hot out here and most blokes are in shorts. For some reason, I felt it not suitable to turn up at the gurdwara in shorts, so I went on a detour to go home first to get changed a few times. Then, I noticed many others in shorts at the gurdwara, so last week I decided to keep mine on and not get changed.
But wearing shorts was certainly not a good experience for me!!!!
-Whilst I was having langar, some very hot daal dripped from my spoon straight onto my bare leg and AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!. - although I tried to act tough!!
 

Harkiran Kaur

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Okay just to give everyone a giggle.... here is the suit we picked out for me... sorry for the really bad pic (it was taken on my friend's crappy older LG phone). So.... are the pants supposed to be THAT baggy? I assume they are from photos I have seen on patiala style... I know they are VERY comfortable! So this is the outfit I will be wearing this coming Sunday... can my pasty white self pull it off?? lol

 
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hpannu

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Okay just to give everyone a giggle.... here is the suit we picked out for me... sorry for the really bad pic (it was taken on my friend's crappy older LG phone). So.... are the pants supposed to be THAT baggy? I assume they are from photos I have seen on patiala style... I know they are VERY comfortable! So this is the outfit I will be wearing this coming Sunday... can my pasty white self pull it off?? lol
Akasha Ji - Baggy pants is Patiala style Salvar. You picked the right one or someone helping you picked the right one. They look good. The colors of the suit give you color too ( atleast in the picture you posted they do ) So there goes the pasty white self ! LOL cheerleader
 

Harkiran Kaur

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surely not the same pasty white self look that is a multi million dollar market in India, that women spend a fortune on?
I never understood that! I would love to be able to even have a little bit of tan! I am so white that people ask me if I am anemic sometimes! I am much more attracted to darker skinned guys... I guess that works since I chose Sikhi as my path! :) I hope to settle down with a nice Sikh Punjabi guy! I think Indian women were blessed with beauty and their darker skin tones are part of that... so why try to get rid of it??

Back to the topic - certain colours do bring out a bit more colour in me though.... PINK (any shade - my favourite) and any golds / bronzes / yellows / browns / tans and I can even pull off oranges in the more rust / sienna tones. Even though yellow and gold are light colours, they are vibrant so it seems to work. Was thinking of trying an airbrush tan though.... haha
 

Harkiran Kaur

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Akasha Ji - Baggy pants is Patiala style Salvar. You picked the right one or someone helping you picked the right one.
I know most of the women had patiala salwar on, but some also had churridars... I might get a churridar set as well to change things up. The big thing is loose (which both are - churridar is only tight at the ankle) and the tunic is long enough to cover my butt! mundahug
 

Harkiran Kaur

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Sat Sri Akal,

I just wanted to calrify now that I have 3 punjabi suits to alternate (and I will probably have more) that NOBODY seems to have taken offense to me wearing them at all at the Gurdwara! In fact, all the Aunties keep telling me how nice I look!! I even had some of the younger Sikh guys come up to me asking me about my choice to be Sikh, they all told me they are impressed, and then they also tell me how nice I look wearing the punjabi suit too!! (Doesnt matter though, my heart belongs to another Punjabi Sikh guy - who also consequently likes me wearing Punjabi Suits!)

Ya know, I secretly wish that this dress would take off in North America for ALL women! It's functional, can range from casual looks to very ornate, compliments just about EVERY body type - it hides the problem areas lol, is modest (looks good without being trashy) and it has to be about the most comfortable thing I have ever worn!!! It can be switched up between salwar pants, churridar pants, and some tunics (the shorter ones) even work well with jeans or khakis etc. The myth purpetrated online of white girls not looking good in Indian clothes I think is more based on people who pick colours that don't suit them. I know that bright geometric patterns do NOT suit me... more solid colours with embellishments work better in the pinks, tans, browns, golds, burgundy etc. ranges... maybe even teal/brown together. It's like anything else... wear what suits your skin tones.


Girls: Those of us in North America... I say we put the bug into fashion designers ears!!! If ppl see it on the runway you never know!!! What do you say? LOL It wouldn't be the first time that international ethnic clothing would have made an influence into new designs!
 

Rory

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It sounds like so much fun. I wish I had a good excuse to own some traditional Punjabi clothes. :(
 

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