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zabesca Sep 25th, 2010 10:18 AM

Type of clothes to take to Delhi, India
We are Americans going to Delhi, India for the first time ever, for a wedding in late November. What type of clothes should we take ? Are blue jeans appropriate for men and women for the non-wedding days ? Or do we take slacks and skirts ?

jacketwatch Sep 25th, 2010 12:58 PM

Jeans are fine. We get Indian TV via sat. at home. You should see what the gals wear on music/dance videos. :S- India is not as conservative as it once was, at least as far as urban styles go. You may want to consider getting a suit made in Delhi too BTW or some custom made shirts or pants. Its relatively inexpensive and its an experience too. :-) Cheers, Larry

lcuy Sep 25th, 2010 01:03 PM

What are you wearing to the wedding? Most Indians wear regional clothing (and LOTS of jewelry) to weddings. Watch a few Bollywood movies (eg Monsoon Wedding) to get a feel for the dancing too!

Jeans are fine for touring around, but lighter weight pants (or skirts) might be more comfortable.

Indians will rarely say negative things directly to you, but if you don't want to be gawked at, keep your cleaveage/shoulder/underarms/knees covered.

rhkkmk Sep 25th, 2010 05:51 PM

light weight, certainly not traditional levi weight jeans

Jaya Sep 25th, 2010 06:23 PM

Jeans are fine for daily wear. Lcuy said it well that Indians won't say anything negative directly, but you ARE judged by how you dress. The way the girls dress in India videos and more recent movies is not meant to be copied. Some of the attire in Bollywood movies and among the Bollywood social scene can be just plain trashy (as in slutty).

Think now about what you will wear for the wedding. You'll need to know how many different events you'll be attending and have a different outfit for each. Bring some good quality costume jewelry if you can. It might be much easier than trying to buy it once you get to India. Plus, a lot of the costume jewelry there looks very cheap.

Men wear western suits to Indian weddings so that part's easy. It's what the lady will wear that you have to figure out. You can wear dressy western clothing with sparkles and embellishments. As it's getting closer to Christmas here, more dressy clothing will be available in the stores.

You can wear a strapless long dress with a decorative shawl for example. Whatever you wear, it should not be black or revealing (black is not a good color for events like weddings or Divali). It would be best to wear only outfits that cover your legs for any wedding functions and no cleavage at all.

jacketwatch Sep 26th, 2010 04:44 AM

I would add to wear what YOU are comfortable with. I don't get stressed about what others judge me in terms of my clothes. Too much bother.

lcuy Sep 26th, 2010 03:46 PM

I'm not a "clothes" person either, but at a wedding- especially one in India, where you are going to stand out as special guests- the way you dress reflects on your feelings for the bride & groom.

Cicerone Sep 26th, 2010 06:30 PM

Some random thoughts and suggestions:

1. Late November in New Delhi is going to be cool to cold, much cooler in the evenings and early mornings than during the day. It’s extremely pleasant and dry, but it is not hot (unless you happen to have the odd heatwave, whch is possible). See and guidebooks for an idea of temps to expect. You would want a shawl or a wool jacket for the evenings and possibly during the day if you get a cool day. You could wear a leather jacket, but given the fact that most Indians do not wear calf leather, you may not want to (goat leather is perfectly acceptable except to Jains, and many people have goat leather shoes and bags).

2. For the wedding dinner (which probably is at a completely different time than the wedding ceremony, check your invitation) my guess is that it will be very dressy. If the wedding dinner is at an international hotel, then I would say it is quite dressy. If you wanted to wear a sari or a “Punjabi suit” (loose long tunic with pants and usually a scarf, also called a salwar kameez; the top can also be called a kurta) IMO this would be very warmly appreciated and noticed. You can buy saris and Punjabi suits in New Delhi, see something like the really gorgeous (and farily expensive) Ritu Kumar ( You can find saris and Punjabi suits in all price ranges elsewhere in New Delhi. Try malls like the Crescent Mall or the DLF Mall in Gurgaon, or IMO the retail arcade at the Taj Mahal hotel usually has some very lovely things. FabIndia would also have some, although not jeweled pieces or as dressy as elsewhere, see for locations, they have shops all over Delhi and would be reasonably priced (they also ship so you could buy before the trip). If you are stopping in Singapore on the way out, that would also be a good place to look for a sari or Punjabi suit. (If you wear a sari or Punjabi suit and you have hair which is chin length or longer, try to put it up into a bun or chignon and put a few flowers in it; if it is short, just put a few flowers in it. Aishwarya Rai notwithstanding, for the most part, Indian women do not wear their hair down, and very few would do so when dressed up for a wedding. The flowers are because it is a wedding, which is a festive occasion. ) I would also bring the best jewelry you have, but would not worry overly about this. I am not sure I would wear costume over real jewelry, but that is up to you.

3. For the rest of the wedding festivies, including the ceremony itself, you can be less dressy, a dress, skirt or nice slacks depending on what you prefer. If you know the bride, you can ask about what dress she feels would be appropriate. Without knowing which ceremonies/dinners you are going to, it’s hard to give specific advice. Something like a lunch at a local restaurant I would think would be quite casual, as would something like a polo match. For most events except the wedding dinner, men would generally be in slacks and a dress shirt but no jacket (short or long sleeve dress shirt); a polo shirt is OK for more casual events. My guess is that jeans not would be appropriate for any of these expect perhaps for the henna party and outdoor events like polo. I would err on the side of modest dress if possible, i.e., keep shoulders covered and no short skirts. Young Indian women do wear jeans, and in November, you will not be hot if you wore them. But I would agree that if you can tend a bit more toward the dressy side this may be better, as the older women in any gathering are more than likely going to be wearing saris and will be more dressed up. If for nothing else than a mark of respect to them, erring on the side of dressy is probably better.

4. For just touring around Delhi or India, jeans are fine, just look at temps where you will be to make sure you would not be too hot, esp in south India. I hope you are going to spend some time sightseeing in India, esp as November is such lovely weather most everywhere (the south east coast, like around Chennai, has rain and would be an exception to the generlly pleasant and dry weather elsewhere in India in November.)

jacketwatch Sep 27th, 2010 02:22 AM

lcuy: True. The question I think was in terms of daily wear however. Actually we are leaving next mo. for a wedding in India, our niece and I am thinking to get one of those formal Indian outfits. Cheers, Larry :-)

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