Don’t let our Instagram posts of weekend brunches and elaborate dawats fool you! Thirty minutes before the picture was taken, I was wrestling with the mile long silk dupatta to iron out the creases while shouting at my husband that he can not wear jeans under his kurta and has to fish out the white shalwar that has gone missing since last Eid! And even though the struggle continues, let me share the five big challenges of wearing Pakistani fashion if you’re living in the west!


Shalwars were not made to be stuffed in snow boots or to endure chilly winds! So we take our Instagram pictures before we leave the house, otherwise we are quite a sight to behold covered in coats, hats and snow boots. I share my comparison picture for your viewing pleasure!


Everything you heard about small houses and tiny closets in the west is absolutely correct! While we love buying latest Pakistani outfits on our trips back home, there is no space to store them except for inside the very suitcases that we brought them in. So they snooze in there till it’s time for the next dawat. Which brings me to my next point!


Inevitably ironing is left for the last minute and the beautiful kameez shalwar comes out all crumbled from it’s two month long slumber from the suitcase. How I miss househelp in Pakistan as I iron my clothes and try to cut corners by leaving out the back (if I can’t see it, it doesn’t count, right?)


My mother mailed me a beautiful silk kurta from the latest spring collection of brand ABC which I decided to wear to the girls’ lunch on Saturday. Guess what? So did Faiza, Ayesha, Mariam and Beenish’s mom! If I had a dollar for every time two girls found themselves in duplicate kurtas at a party and tried to cover their shock by taking a picture together, while everyone played “who wore it better” in their heads!


While I’m all for not wearing shoes inside the house and love this rule in the west, I only dread it when I’m dressed up in my desi best and have to leave my beautiful heels at the entrance (and instantly be at the same height as most people’s not-so-fresh armpits). Hey, I’m short and just like Carrie from Sex and the City’s episode “A girl’s right to shoes” strongly believe that shoes are part of the outfit! But sadly we have to part with our shoes at every party inside a house. While girls in Pakistan are flaunting their slender legs wearing tulip shalwars with heels, we are left looking like the dhobi from the nearest ghaat.

Could you relate to these five challenges of wearing Pakistani fashion in the west? What has your experience been?

Tamania is a Canadian-Pakistani mom sharing her love of Urdu, culture, cooking, food, travel, parenting, books & hacks on so here are the links: and