What to Wear in Pakistan

Last updated on June 25th, 2021

I’ve found that the best all-round outfit is a Western form of the Muslim Shalwar Khamiz, a tunic top with a fairly high neck (doesn’t need to have a collar) that reaches to about the knees and has sleeves to the wrist, and loose-fitting trousers that reach the ankles. Good walking shoes on the feet and a long scarf that can be draped over the head and shoulders completes the ensemble. The scarf is necessary for Muslim countries. As a feminist, I don’t of course condone the covering up of women, but in remote areas of Pakistan it is a courtesy to those who have not asked Western women to visit. The main thing for women travelers to remember is that correct dress should not be considered an option. In poor countries, where every tourist uses up too much water, electricity, and food, it is the least we can do to be considerate.

Carolyn Clarke, London, England

As is the case in most Islamic countries, it is important for women to cover as much of their body as possible in loose clothing. I’ve found that in Pakistan, people are really appreciative of tourists who wear the traditional punjabi dress, shalwar kameez. It’s basically a long tunic and baggy pants worn with a long scarf draped around the neck or shoulders. You can buy simple, inexpensive cotton shalwar kameezes in any market or clothing store. If you’re going to Pakistan in the summer, they’re the best thing to wear.

Sabiha, Ann Arbor, USA

In ultra-orthodox countries like Yemen and Pakistan, Dress very conservatively. I often felt more comfortable even covering my hair with a long scarf.

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