Society and Norms: Dress and Appearance - Women's Clothing

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Women's dress ranges from western clothing to the all-covering burka. Clothing is influenced not only by various ethnic styles but also by Indian culture. Traditional women's dress is the shalwar kameez; a loose fitting brightly colored tunic (kameez) over loose fitting trousers (shalwar). Women may also wear churidar pants which are more form fitting than the shalwar. In cities, the Shalwar kameez has become flashier and used as fashion statements [15].

More conservative women may wear the abayah [uh-BY-ya]; a long garment that covers from neck to ankles. The abayah is commonly worn with the hijab [He-job]; a scarf or veil used to cover the head [16]. In general, female dress is conservative compared to western standards because the Qur'an states that women should "cover their charms". In Pakistan, this is often manifested as women dressing modestly.

Pakistani women are fond of jewelry and are often seen wearing rows of golden bracelets. For women, gold is a form of security that can be sold in a time of emergency. It is also common to see Pakistani women with nose piercings. These piercings were originally marks of beauty and status but now could simply be a fashion statement [17].

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