The Jhumka Diaries: A Guide to Indian Trousers

So a lot of girls don’t know the difference between a churidar and a salwar. Back in college whenever I said salwar or churidar people used to ask me “what’s the difference?” I guess for them ignorance was bliss but for me, it was maddening. So I’ve come up with a post to explain the difference in detail and also tell you what to pair these with, what would be work appropriate and so on. (By the way they are called Indian trousers! Couldn’t think of a better title! :D)
Salwars: Salwars are the most comfortable of all. It is a more sophisticated version of a pyjamas which can be worn outside the house. It is pretty loose in terms of fitting and tapers slightly near the ankle. These kind of Indianized trousers can be worn with any kind of kurta be it short or long but remember, do not pair it with anything too short since it does not have any pleats to hide flaws.
Patiala Salwars: Said to be the royal dress of the King of Patiala in the ancient days, this one works best with just above knee length kurtis. These are extremely comfortable and come with a lot of pleats which camouflage a heavy lower body and when worn with the right top, it looks amazing! When you wear printed versions of these, remember to pair it with a plain top. (Too many prints = DISASTER!!)
Churidars:  Chudidars are generally stitched in such a way that when worn, there are multiple folds around the ankle. Since these folds look like bangles (churi) around the ankles, the name churidar was derived. These make your legs look slender and longer. Generally these come in plain colors and in cotton.

Leggings: Leggings are tight fitting trousers, made from knit which is stretchable. Leggings are usally ankle length and in recent times, there are churidars made from knit material which have folds the exact same way as churidars. These are again, tight fitting and requires no ironing so working women generally prefer these to cotton ones since these are low maintenance.


We’ve seen four different types of “Indian” trousers here and by now you must have an idea of what to pair with what but here is a small “cheat sheet” for those of you who need it 🙂

Salwars: Can be paired with a kurta of any length but remember not to wear something really short.

Patiala Salwars: Best paired with a knee length/just above knee length kurta or a kurti. (Kurtis generally are shorter versions of kurtas, usually upto the hip)

Churidars: Best paired with a long kurta (if you are on the heavier side) and a slightly shorter one (if you have a great lower body). To look taller, pair it with a kurta which just about covers your knees.

Leggings/Knitted churidars: Best paired with a long kurta or an anarkali. If you wear a tunic, team it up with leggings (not the knitted churidars).


  • Do not mix prints. Too many prints will make you the talk of the town in a  not so good way.
  • If you wear a plain salwar and a plain kurta, complete the look with a printed dupatta or a contrasting dupatta. This always makes an otherwise drab plain salwar-kameez, bright and vibrant.
  • Iron your cotton clothes before you wear them Crumpled cotton clothes look shabby especially to work.

That’s it from my side! Hope this post was useful. 🙂 If you have any requests, suggestions or contributions to make towards the Jhumka Diaries segment, do drop in a mail to divassence(@)gmail(dot)com.