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VN - appropriate clothing for 11 - 14 year old girls

VN - appropriate clothing for 11 - 14 year old girls

Old Feb 24th, 2012, 07:18 AM
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VN - appropriate clothing for 11 - 14 year old girls

Hi all,
We'll be in Vietnam for the second half of March. We start in Ho Chi Minh City and end in Hanoi & HaLong Bay. Our trip is a mix of sight-seeing in Ho Chi Minh, HoiAn & Hue & Hanoi. Also some bicycling, perhaps into more rural areas, visiting markets, etc.

Can girls in the early teens wear shorts, or will I need to get them some capris? Also, are jeans OK for this age group? Can they wear sleeveless tops?

Many thanks again
And thanks to all for your suggestions to date!
ready2go4 is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2012, 10:44 AM
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VN is not Egypt. Pretty much "anything goes".
sf7307 is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2012, 10:48 AM
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I'd suggest capris. VN is becoming more and more touristed, but locals still, for the most part, consider shorts and sleeveless tops as beach wear, not city wear. They are too polite to say anything, but your daughters will be more comfortable covered up more.

You will see plenty of tourists inappropriately attired.
Kathie is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2012, 11:24 AM
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With all due respect, I disagree. This isn't a matter of respecting someone's religion. I went to Egypt with four 20-somethings, and they didn't cover up as much as I thought they should. They weren't the slightest bit uncomfortable there, and they would be even less uncomfortable in Hanoi or HCMC. Would your daughteres wear shorts in Manhattan in July? If so, they can wear shorts in VN.
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Old Feb 24th, 2012, 11:50 AM
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Kathie, bless her, worries much more about this topic than the locals. Remember, there are three sexes in Asia: men, women - and tourists.

The tourists always dress inappropriately - the stereotype is well established. Vietnamese society has not crumbled. The few, always women, who try to dress like the locals look like they are off to a fancy-dress party.

Here's a clue: let your daughters wear what the are comfortable with - taking into account that they are not on a beach in California. Walk several paces behind them. If you notice packs of leering men, women tut-tutting or old ladies fainting, then change the clothes.

Yes, you buy clothes in VN.

Second clue: observe the locals. If they are not hurtling around dressed in a g-string and singlet, best you don't either.

Third clue: dress well, just as you would at home. Travel isn't an excuse to drag your old clothes around the world. You'll be amazed at the different way people treat you.

Fourth clue: No, you are not on safari. No need for the khaki jackets with many pockets, no need for stupid trousers that zip apart at the knees, no need for dumb floppy hats.

Fifth clue: don't walk around with one of those Vietnamese conical hats on your head. Just don't. Don't buy them and, whatever you, don't attempt to bring them home. They won't fit in your suitcase and you'll wander airports looking like a refugee from the rice fields.

Sixth clue: no matter how much they wail, do not let your daughters have their hair braided and threaded with beads.
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Old Feb 24th, 2012, 11:57 AM
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I can't speak to the rest of Vietnam, but we were in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in late March last year, and I wouldn't exactly call it shorts weather (and we're from Chicago). The two Hanoi Kids volunteers who took us around one afternoon were all bundled up, with gloves, and complaining about how cold it was (60s maybe; it wasn't that bad). Ha Long Bay was misty and cool. My slightly older teenage daughter did not wear shorts.
ms_go is online now  
Old Feb 24th, 2012, 12:04 PM
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lol, dogster, I'm not a "go native" advocate, but rather, notice what locals cover and uncover. The issues around modesty in SE Asia are much different than the issues in Egypt, for instance. And dogster is quite right that as tourists, you are given a lot of latitude in dress.

The reactions you want to look for are not packs of leering men, women tut-tutting or old ladies fainting (though if you get any of those reactions, wrap a sheet around your daughters and get them back to the hotel to change!) What you are much more likely to notice is that all of the men in the restaurant are quietly staring at your daughters.

Note that people who live in hot climates tend to cover up to keep themselves cooler, while westerners tend to bare more skin, I don't know where you are from, but the sun in southern VN is very direct and it doesn't take long for fair-skinned people to burn. Your daughters will literally be more comfortable (in terms of the heat and the sun) baring less skin.

Jeans are certainly ok - but make sure they are very light-weight, otherwise, your daughters will broil.

PS, I have no objection to your daughters getting their hair braided and beaded, but then all of us have different issues.
Kathie is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2012, 12:11 PM
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I'm with Kathie on this one. One of the things I really disliked when I went back to Luang Prabang (Laos, but similar issues) last year was all the young tourists swanning around in short shorts and tank tops. When I first went the tourists took account of local sensibilities and kept their knees and shoulders covered. Would you rather look clueless or respectful?
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2012, 12:18 PM
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lol. It's too late ladies. Game over. You are outnumbered. Nobody cares.

While tourists bring money, they can dress like Barbarella and the locals will just smile and pocket the cash.

As for the braided hair - if you want your daughters to look like a gay octopus fell on their head, so be it.
dogster is offline  
Old Feb 25th, 2012, 04:33 PM
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My main concern about covering up the shoulders and being less revealing would be to protect your daughters and yourself from the brutal sun. In past years I always wore sleeveless shirts in hot climate, however, since traveling to Asia I like to cover up a bit more due to the sun. Be sure all clothing is loose and breathable for maximum comfort.
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Old Feb 26th, 2012, 05:29 AM
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I've been in VN most of February. I agree with ms_go that it's likely to not be shorts weather in Hanoi or Halong Bay. If u go on a junk in Halong Bay and if u happen to get lucky enough to have warm weather shorts would definitely be fine. locals in Hanoi said its not until April or May for hot weather.

We have seen many people, Vietnamese and foreigners, wearing shorts in Hue, where it was 95 degrees and Hoi An. we are now in Saigon and there are lots of people walking around in shorts. It's in the 90's. Have seen some people in jeans, but way more shorts, capris etc given the heat.

Have a great trip!
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Old Feb 26th, 2012, 09:49 AM
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Shorts will be fine if they are sensible. Just leave the "daisy dukes" at home.

T shirts rather than tank tops would be more practical to protect them from the sun.

Comfortable shoes with good grip to combat wet slippery conditions.!
shanek is offline  
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