Sunday, September 13, 2009

Female Fashion... do's and don'ts for INDIA

What is acceptable for a woman to wear when traveling/backpacking in India? 

Traditional Indian clothing for women are the sari or the salwar kameez and also Ghaghra Cholis (Lehengas).
A sari is a strip of unstitched cloth, ranging from four to nine metres in length that is draped over the body in various styles. The most common style is for the sari to be wrapped around the waist, with one end then draped over the shoulder baring the midriff.
The salwar kameez is another form of popular dress for females. It consists of loose trousers (the salwar) topped by a long loose shirt (the kameez). 

Looking at Journy Woman's travel information on what to wear in India, she had a few posts from previous female traveler's and their advice. 

Remember this hint. Skirts are so much easier than pants if you have to use squatting Indian toilets! 
Megan, Vancouver, USA

Buy a 'Salwar Kameez'. It's a dress-with-pants-and-shawl type of thing, worn by Muslim women, but also by Hindu women. The shawl can be draped around you shoulders and across your chest, saves you some stares, or used as a headdress if you go into temples or mosques. As almost all women in India wear either a Saree or a Salwar Kameez you will be regarded well as you are dressing appropriately. Wearing jeans and a shirt is okay for travelling, but only for that. You can buy a Salwar almost anywhere but the best way to have one that suits you is to buy some cloth at a store and then go to a tailor and have it made for you. 
Bloem, Huizen, Netherlands

Wear black because no matter how posh your accommodation, you will get covered in dust. Wearing black requires fewer trips to the laundromat. I'd recommend a long skirt ...ankle or calf length in a cool fabric with a loose fitting long-sleeved top... that seems to please everyone. Not very exciting but certainly handy. I also found a long piece of dark viscose fabric very helpful - this was wound around my head and shoulders. Even where it's not necessary to do this for cultural reasons, it really is one of the best ways of keeping the sun off. 
Katelyn, Auckland, New Zealand

Be culturally correct and know what you're wearing. Many western women wear sari petticoats and blouses without the sari. This is the equivalent to walking on the street with your underwear on and is considered in very poor taste.
Anita, Toronto, Canada

I went bike riding in India recently. I packed some loose fitting (mens actually!) zip off trousers. When zipped off, they came to about my knees. While bike riding, I got a bit warm so I risked taking the bottom part off and revealing my knees. BAD MOVE. We were riding through rural villages that don't get to see white folk too often (about 2 or 3 times a year I was told) let alone white female knees. I had cars driving really close to me, almost knocking me off, just to cop an eyeful of my lily white legs!!! I found it better to be a little warm than risk being knocked over! I found as soon as I had them full length again, they left me alone.
Annie, Adelaide, Australia


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