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Şalvar: Those Turkish Baggy Pants

Ken Grubb
  • What are those baggy pants the Turks wear? They're called Şalvar. Besides being a very practical and cool garment to wear while working, they also make a great souvenir or gift.

Şulvar, or shulvar, a lower pants-like garment worn by Turks in the villages.If you've been wondering about those baggy pants a lot of Turks wear, especially in rural areas, they are called şalvar (shahl-vahr). They're a very practical garment. You'll see them worn in every region of Turkey, but each region has it's own style. They can also be styled differently according to the type of work the wearers do.

Before elastic became common in Turkey, a cord was threaded through the waist and ankle castings of trousers to gather the folds of material. The methods used to gather the waste of the şalvar vary according to region. In Alanya, for example, the waist ties are often brightly-colored, striped, hand-woven silk sashes.

The design of şalvar embodies the Turkish sense of thrift and economy. Şulvar typically requires a piece of cloth four meters long and 40 centimeters wide. There is little cutting or seaming. In the Konya style of şalvar, there are no side seams. The material they're made from can be a solid color, or feature attractive and fashionable patterns.

Şalvar is worn mostly by villagers, domestic workers, and some housewives because they allow ample air circulation, making them cool and comfortable They also allow for easy bending and kneeling.

Besides being practical attire for hard-working Turks, they are also popular gifts to take or send home to a loved one, to be worn around the house, or elsewhere!


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