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).