Kate Middleton recently arrived in Pakistan wearing a blue ombre shalwar kameez by Catherine Walker.
If you’re wondering, What is a shalwar kameez? you’re not alone. So, we did some research on the traditional Pakistani garment and learned that it’s a go-to item for women throughout Asia. Here’s what you need to know:
Shalwar kameez are worn by women within the culture of Pakistan. “Kameez” refers to the dress-like garment, which comes in a variety of colors, neck designs and sleeve lengths. “Shalwar” means “loose trousers”—they are worn under the kameez and typically match in fabric and color.
The combination dress was first introduced to South Asia in the 13th century. Since then, it has become a staple wardrobe piece for women and has been dubbed the national dress of Pakistan.
Pakistani women sometimes accessorize the shalwar kameez with a dupatta, which is considered a symbol of self-respect. The scarf-like piece can be worn as a headdress, around the neck or draped over the shoulder, though some women choose to forgo the item altogether.
Middleton’s shalwar kameez was designed by Catherine Walker. It features long sleeves, a draped neck and subtle ombre that gradually gets darker toward the bottom of the gown. We couldn’t help but notice that her outfit bears a striking resemblance to what Princess Diana wore when she visited Pakistan back in 1996.
The more you know.