Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Little Turkish Man

Salvar, a traditional pant worn by men and women throughout rural Turkey and by rural migrants in the cities, are admittedly funny-looking until you get used to them. Characterized by their low and baggy crotch, they are cousins of the better-known Pakistani Shalwar. I remember my first reaction to them, visiting my now-husband in Turkey for the first time; I'd found them just plain odd, and not at all attractive, especially since men often wear them with a dress shirt, a waistcoat and leather dress shoes.

But şalvar are seen everywhere in our little city, and they've somehow grown on me. I'd been planning to get a pair made for my son before we move to Istanbul this summer, a nod to his birthplace, but hadn't had time to visit one of the tailors in our local çarşı, or market. They wait in their three-metre-square shops, dark and cool despite the intense sun outside. Several pairs of şalvar hang ready made out front, or you can choose your fabric and wait while the tailor quickly stitches you a pair.

But last week, an old friend of my husband's visited us from Urfa, one of eastern Turkey's most historically fascinating cities, and one I'm dying to visit. And with him, he brought a pair of toddler-sized şalvar with beautiful pocket stitching and a matching waistcoat, or vest. I cannot wait for Baby to grow into them; in fact, I may just have to have a smaller pair made after all, so that I can see him in a pair of şalvar sooner!

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