How to Dress in India

Aug 28th, 2004, 04:42 PM
  #1  
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How to Dress in India

Well, it is finally getting close to our trip to India/Nepal/Hong Kong..It is about 6 weeks until we leave (we booked it 6 months ago)so it is time for all the questions..As we have travelled to developing countries before (i.e. Bali, Thailand, China, Egypt and various others) we have come to expect it is best to keep covered up..However, we did wear shorts and tank tops when appropriate..But I am under the assumption that in India, that shorts are absolutely forbidden by men and women...So, are capri pants acceptable (just above the ankle)? Also, what would a man wear (my husband lives in shorts)? Is there any point in packing shorts and tank tops at all? We will be on a tour from Delhi to Kathmandu and stopping at Jaipur, Shekhavati, Varanasi, Ranthambore National Park, Karauli, and Agra..Any comments will be helpful..Thanks..
TracyB is offline  
Aug 28th, 2004, 07:00 PM
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Shorts are fine for men in most places in India. For women very short shorts, hot pants, etc will def attract unwelcome attention so bermuda type shorts or capris are better. U will see few men in India wearing tank tops so suggest for both of u normal tees are better. I would make another comment - even in Oct the sun in many of the places you are covering is strong - temps have dropped w.r.to April-May but Oct is still hot. IMO the best way to avoid sun burn is keep sensitive skin covered up - another reason to avoid too much sleeveless. Finally, days u are visiting temples, mosques, formal hotels you will obv dress differently - try to make sure u know your itineraries for the day in advance to ensure u dress appropriately. In Jaipur the day u go to Amer fort u are likely to go on elephant back and it is, IMO, more comfortable if u are wearing longer pants while on the elephant. Ranth you can pretty much wear whatever you want both on the safaris and in your hotel. U will be removing yoour shoes when u enter temples and mosques so on those days wearing footwear u can easily get in and out of ee.g. Birkenstocks as opposed to laced sneakers may make sense - carry socks if u do not like to be wandering barefoot,
hobbes is offline  
Aug 28th, 2004, 07:03 PM
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"But I am under the assumption that in India, that shorts are absolutely forbidden by men and women...So, are capri pants acceptable (just above the ankle)? Also, what would a man wear (my husband lives in shorts)? Is there any point in packing shorts and tank tops at all?"

Shorts, tank tops, Bermudas, Capris - all are fine in India.
Rajhelp50 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2004, 08:22 PM
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Thanks..I guess I will still pack my capri's and longer shorts..I was beginning to worry that I would sweat to death in long pants for 2.5 weeks..It is beginning to look like India is like everywhere else...Dress appropriately and you will be fine..I will not leave home without my birenstocks either..Anything else I should know??
TracyB is offline  
Aug 29th, 2004, 01:09 AM
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As u have been to Egypt guess much of this is superfluos but will say it anyway! Carry - and wear - a good hat which covers your head (not the only a rim variety as you will get too much sun on your scalp). Carry travel packs of wet wipes and cleansing gel - very useful (available too but are small items so you may as well carry). If your camera needs special film or batteries it is better to carry supply than be looking for them on your halts - tho a safe place to buy them in larger cities is in hotel stores.
hobbes is offline  
Aug 29th, 2004, 01:14 AM
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My husband wore shorts with no problem at all, but I didn't see many women in shorts or tank tops - I would definately advise against these. Have you considered buying some Indian clothes? Many female tourists buy some salwar suits (baggy pants and tunics), which are available inexpensively in a huge array of colors and styles. During our 2 weeks, I wore only salwars and saris (somewhat more complicated to buy and wrap but I think more attractive and festive). Had a great time dressing up and many of the locals were tickled to see a westerner wearing eastern clothes.
rjkritzer is offline  
Aug 29th, 2004, 05:40 AM
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with respect to the last poster, I wouldn't go for a sari. Never seen a westerner look anthing else but out of place in one. But do consider a salwar suite. Amazingly comfortable - much more so than pants and tshirt. And a whole new fashion world.
alice13 is offline  
Aug 29th, 2004, 07:53 AM
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bjm
 
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I believe Hobbes has covered well "how to dress in India." I spent six weeks during the summer in a conservative and/or traditional part of India. Some men did wear bermuda length shorts, but this was the first year that that was so in this small, religious area. (We've been going to India annually for shorter visits about 10 years). In Delhi, it was more common.. Women in this traditional area almost always wore a salwar kameez, occasionally a sari. Most revealing dress I saw were a few sleeveless salwars. On the train, I saw girls, perhaps around 14 -15, wearing shorts (but not short shorts) and nobody was surprised or in any way offended. But I can't say that I saw many in shorts. And yes, I was always complimented when I wore a salwar kameez rather than my slacks and tunic top, although I find the dupatta a nuisance and prefer my slacks and tunic length t-shirt.
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Aug 29th, 2004, 09:10 AM
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Those are some great ideas..I have heard of saris but not salwars..I guess I will have to do a search on google and read more about it..It sounds like a great idea...I am going to try and pack only 12 items of clothes so that I have room to buy things when we get there..
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Aug 29th, 2004, 04:27 PM
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Pull up an earlier post where I have mentioned a variety of places where you can buy off the shelf salwar kameezes quite reasonably in Delhi.
hobbes is offline  
Sep 1st, 2004, 11:21 PM
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Hey, I live in Delhi - shorts are no problems at all. Tank tops are avoidable, but can be worn in cities like Delhi / Bombay, I wud guess that u wud not want to attract undue attention. Actually if u r here during summertime, it is best to cover up or carry a lot of sun bloc with u. I guess u will be here in october so the weather wud be mild (not too hot) tho a bit humid. Capris are absolutely fine. Kathmandu is avoidable, riots yesterday, not worth it anyway. Visit to Temples or Mosques or other religious places will require covering up (carry a scarf with u in case u need to cover ur head and slip on footwear as u will need to leave ur shoes outside). Anything else u want to know, just write ([email protected])
Debub is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2004, 06:49 AM
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I believe, that for women in the tropics of Asia, the best, least conspicuous, coolest, and most comfortable thing to wear is a loose, lightweight cotton dress. Dresses are much cooler than shorts -- provide more ventilation and are more modest. Pair it with some slip on sandals.
diane_c is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2004, 09:50 AM
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For what its worth, I bought a salwar when I was in India & I was so uncomfortable wearing it with the heat. It was MUCH hotter than wearing a long flowy skirt & a tshirt. I agree with the above poster that skirts/dresses will be cooler than shorts or pants. I didn't buy a sari & I regret it. I would love to have one & would have loved to have dressed in one while I was there. Friends with me did & I didn't see anyone reacting funny to them as if they thought they looked out of place. Have a great trip!
sclubb is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2004, 07:42 PM
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The Moral

Wear what you feel most comfortable in. It all depends on how you carry yourself!
At religious places, dress as you would in your own country in such places.
Rajhelp50 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2004, 07:54 PM
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Raj-the problem with that answer is, a lot of people go to church dressed in suits, hose and high heels-hardly a comfortable attire in India!
Spygirl is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 04:57 AM
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"I wouldn't go for a sari. Never seen a westerner look anthing else but out of place in one. "

Does this include Sonia Ghandi?
xgao is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 05:41 AM
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I can't wait to go to India, (which should be in 2005) and when I do, the first place I'm heading is to a good sari shop in Delhi-I've been planning what kind of sari in what colors I want for years now, particularly so after recently seeing the film "Monsoon Wedding" and the women with all their lovely saris!
Spygirl is offline  
Sep 4th, 2004, 04:40 AM
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xgao - Sonia G has learned how to wear one. She's been there a long time.

Maybe you are Indian in which case I must bow to your superior wisdom. If you are not - then how much travelling in India have YOU done?

I stick by my original post. Gorgeous fabrics and difficult to resist. Absolutely fine in an up-market hotel dining room - but on the street? No.
But salwar suite is fine.
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