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My Musings About Work, Culture And Punjabi Suits

posted by Anupriya 6 Comments
Punjabi Suits

I was born and brought up in Chandigarh, the then capital of Punjab and Haryana.  For a long time (to be specific, until I moved out of Chandigarh at 22 years of age), I lived under oblivion presuming that Punjabi  suits were an attire specific to the northern region. I feel like an ignorant idiot now when I remember thinking that we in all of North India were so influenced by the strong dominant Punjabi culture that we embraced their dressing sense too.

When I first landed in Mysore at the Infosys Campus, I looked at the sea of humans aka engineering graduates who had arrived from all over India to join their first job. It was then that I realised that Punjabi Suits were actually a rage among young girls from across the length and breadth of the country. No, I did not see any girls in skirts and blouses, or sarees (like I had seen in movies in various vernacular languages). That’s when the popularity of this super comfortable attire dawned upon me.

Later, as I drifted towards the western formals and business casuals, for my daily office wear, I always kept a couple of Punjabi Suits in my closet to be pulled out on special occasions. I remember, when during my MBA, I wore a rust-coloured suit with a Patiala Salwar for my birthday, the boys amongst my friends gawked at me and couldn’t stop sniggering taunting me if I was trying to impress my professors by taking up the decent Indian girl avatar.  Jokes apart, that particular Punjabi suit had been brought from a retail outlet far away from my hostel campus and it had taken me a couple of hours before I could scroll through all the options and zero in on the one I picked up. Today when I go through the vast collection of Punjabi suits available online on e-retailing websites, I really feel bad about wasting so much time shopping, all those years ago. I would prefer to buy trendy Punjabi suits online now rather than spending hours in a retail outlet.

The importance of Punjabi Suits in my life came face to face with me once again at the time of my marriage.  So the story goes like this – My husband’s father is an extended family of five brothers (I think I will skip the details of the five other first cousins who also stay close by). And combined among these five families there were at least four of my husband’s first cousins who were married. I was left staring at him in shock when he told me that none of his Bhabis’ wore suits. Or rather, they weren’t allowed to (I think I could write a book on ‘Perils Of being married into a Marwari Family’ then. Now nine years later, I can also write about ‘The Fun Part of Being Married Into A Marwari Family’). So getting back to my shock of not being allowed to wear even Punjabi Suits (let alone western outfits), I mustered a lot of courage to ask my mother-in-law if I could be allowed to wear the very-decent-covering-even-my-mid-riff-three-piece-outfit called Punjabi Suits.

My very progressive mother-in-law looked at me amused by the nervousness and laughed out loud, “Of course you can. And you will. I have been waiting for the day when I welcome my daughter-in-law into the family and break all of these rubbish stereotypes. You can wear whatever you wish to, provided you know what you wear where.”

That was some strong support and a lot of relief.

Over the past decade, Suits have gone through various transitions owing to the latest fashion trends. But they continue to remain my favourite comfort attire while dressing up on a regular day, for work,  or for special occasions.

Punjabi Suits

If you want to know about how you could wear your Punjabi suit to look different every time click here

What is your comfort attire? Do share through your comments.

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6 Comments

Rachna Parmar March 19, 2019 at 10:18 am

You know I love salwar kameez, churidar or suits whatever you call them. It is a misconception that they are Punjabi because frankly we grew up wearing those in UP. Of course, I liked churidars more. And even now I love wearing kurtis and churidars though a proper Patiala is rarely brought out. It is so comfy, much more comfortable than saris. But my favourite outfit is jeans and tees. 🙂

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Rajlakshmi March 19, 2019 at 11:05 am

I love Punjabi Suits. They were quite a rage in my college too, in Assam. We used to ask the tailor to stick half-patiala salwar out of 3 mtr cloth and it used to look so good with the kameez. I loved how colorful and vibrant they look.

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Obsessivemom March 19, 2019 at 10:56 pm

In UP, where I come from, they’re not even called Punjabi Suits – their just called salwar-kurtas or churidar-kurtas and we wore them all the time. To me it is one of the most comfortable and versatile dress – it can be casual, dressy, sexy even – you can make whatever you will of it. Over the last decade, however, I’ve all but given it up in favour of jeans and tees – less washing and cleaning, you know :-).

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Vinitha March 21, 2019 at 5:48 am

We call it churidars in Kerala and it has become a staple outfit for us while growing up. I didn’t know about the part you mentioned that it was a Punjabi outfit. Now in Kerala, all different styles of churidars or salwars are available. I’m glad that your mother-in-law was progressive in her views. 🙂

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Parul Thakur March 21, 2019 at 8:56 pm

I am from UP and there was nothing called Punjabi suits. We called salwar-kurta, salwar-kameez or suits. I love chudidars. And I am no fan of patiyalas. I feel I dorwn in them 🙂
I wear kurtas and I love kurtas with jeans. That’s my comfort dressing.

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Faserz June 19, 2019 at 11:58 am

It’s true, Punjabi salwar suits can make you look effortlessly stunning and beautiful because of its trendy cuts, artistic colors and comfy fabrics.
Thank you for sharing this interesting article.

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