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Afghan National
Clothes of Afghanistan


Pashtun: (pash-toon)

The most elegant women outfit in Afghanistan is the Pashtun garment. The pashtuns use a variety of stitching techniques, which vary from one region to the next. The most elaborate embroidering is done on the bodice of the dress and the sleeve cuffs. The embroidery for the bodice can either be done on the actual fabric of the dress or at times, on a coarser material, which is then stitched onto the dress. The hem of the dress is adorned with gilded brocades and thick gilded thread that is twisted and shaped to form various designs. Contrast colors are also used to add beauty to the skirt and sleeve hems.

The length of the Pashtun dresses vary from ankle-length gowns to shorter dresses that come to mid-thigh. The styles change according to the fashion of the time. This is also true of the length of the sleeves. Although they are never short, the sleeves can either end just below the elbow or continue down to the wrist. The sleeve styles are gathered at the upper arms and either widen towards the cuffs or fit tightly around the wrist.

The fabric most often used to make these dresses is silk and velvet in rich colors. During the warmer seasons the women opt for printed cotton and rayon fabrics in bright colors. The combination of colors is amazingly attractive.

Underneath the dress, the women wear drawstring trousers, which are usually made from a different fabric than the dress and in contrast color. Like the sleeves, the styles of the trousers also vary. Typically, they are loose fitting on the top and gathered firmly at the waist with a string. The cuffs of the trousers can either be made to fit very tight around the ankles or they can fit loosely. Sometimes the same gilded brocades that are used on the hem of the skirts are also used to adorn the cuffs of the trousers.

As All Afghan women, pashtun women cover their heads with colorful silk or cotton garments (Shawls). These shawls have decorative needle work borders sometime adorned with silver coins. Most of them are printed with bright colorful designs. They have different names in different areas. The most common name is Chadar or Sadar. Larger covers are worn outside and smaller lightweight chadars at home.

Pashtuns wear silver jewelry with colorful stones as chokers, wide bracelets, rings, large multi earrings, and beautiful head pieces and nose ring. Also, colorful beads with beautify designs are common among Pustuns.

Blue-Green permanent beauty marks in the form of dots and patterns are tattooed between eyebrows, chin and one cheek when young girls come out of age. This custom was practiced as a belief to protect one from the evil eye. It became a fashion trend later, mostly among Koochees (nomads).




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