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What to wear in India!?!?!

Travel Forums Travel Gear What to wear in India!?!?!

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1. Posted by annavict82 (Budding Member 47 posts) 10y

hi everyone!im off to india in a couple of wks and am having a dilemma over what to pack in my oh so small backpack. has anyone been to india that can give me advice? I know you have to cover up but the clothes i have at the moment are skirts/shorts and vest tops!!girls- whats ur advice if u have been?did u feel uncomfortable if u didnt wear long sleeved tops/trousers? ive got a few linen trousers etc and one kaftan but am wondering if its poss to buy stuff like that on the road when im out there?i am totally panicking as to whether or not ive got the right gear!!also....a topic thats come up a few time...do u reckon i should take hiking sandals?they look so ugly (ok im vain with big feet ) but do u tyhink they are a necessary purchase?thanks, all comments gratefully rcvd :) :) anna x

2. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 823 posts) 10y

What footwear you wear depends on what you plan to do. If you plan to do lots of walking, be it in cities or in the countryside, then maybe hiking sandals are your best bet. If you are planning on doing some treking up in the mountains, then boots would probably be advisable. But no matter what activites you do, make sure they are confortable both for long periods of time, and in intense heat. Even if you don't intend on walking alot, you'll probably be on your feet a good part of the day just sightseeing and what not, so you want something confortable. For me, I found flipflops just fine. I wore hiking boots up North when I was hiking, and I usually wore them when I was carrying my backpack, but day to day, I just wore flipflops.

As for what to wear, since I'm a guy I can't give you the best advice, but I can speak on behalf of my girlfriend. She, like most girls, found that the more conservative you are the better. Dont' wear tank tops, shorts, or short tight skirts. You don't have to wear long sleeves, but covering your shoulders at least is advised. T-shirts work good, as do dress shirts with the sleeves rolled up. For bottoms, a long skirt is good, or long loose hiking pants. My girlfriend got a couple pairs of light cotton pants made for her there which is quite common. Any tailor in India can quickly make up some clothes for you, and there is loads of premade stuff to buy, especially in touristy areas. I'll warn you now though that no matter what you wear, be it a bikini or a burka - In India you are Western, and therefore clearly want to sleep with every guy you see. Covering up will make you more respectful, but won't stop creepy Indian men from molesting you.

3. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 823 posts) 10y

What footwear you wear depends on what you plan to do. If you plan to do lots of walking, be it in cities or in the countryside, then maybe hiking sandals are your best bet. If you are planning on doing some treking up in the mountains, then boots would probably be advisable. But no matter what activites you do, make sure they are confortable both for long periods of time, and in intense heat. Even if you don't intend on walking alot, you'll probably be on your feet a good part of the day just sightseeing and what not, so you want something confortable. For me, I found flipflops just fine. I wore hiking boots up North when I was hiking, and I usually wore them when I was carrying my backpack, but day to day, I just wore flipflops.

As for what to wear, since I'm a guy I can't give you the best advice, but I can speak on behalf of my girlfriend. She, like most girls, found that the more conservative you are the better. Dont' wear tank tops, shorts, or short tight skirts. You don't have to wear long sleeves, but covering your shoulders at least is advised. T-shirts work good, as do dress shirts with the sleeves rolled up. For bottoms, a long skirt is good, or long loose hiking pants. My girlfriend got a couple pairs of light cotton pants made for her there which is quite common. Any tailor in India can quickly make up some clothes for you, and there is loads of premade stuff to buy, especially in touristy areas. I'll warn you now though that no matter what you wear, be it a bikini or a burka - In India you are Western, and therefore clearly want to sleep with every guy you see. Covering up will make you more respectful, but won't stop creepy Indian men from molesting you.

4. Posted by mossyjuice (Budding Member 4 posts) 10y

Yeah, don't wear anything that doesn't cover your shoulders, your legs, your chest, obviously you don't have to go around wearing thick pants and woolly jumpers, Tshirts are fine as long as the shoulders are covered. And linen trousers are good. But seriously, if you show your legs it's a bit like an invite for sex. When you so much as look a man in the eye there, they take it as a come on, so just be weary. But don't worry lots, when I went I wore shorts a couple of times and bathing costumes on the beach - in a private resort a bikini is fine, but id probably wear an all in one swimsuit on a beach, if it isn't very touristy - and yeah, people do stare, but that's also partly because if you're western they stare anyway.
Just try and respect their culture a bit and you'll be fine.

5. Posted by aprilsgal (Full Member 161 posts) 10y

Hey,

I am Indian - and i dont agree with a lot of what you are saying.

firstly , where are u going to within india - if u are in a city like delhi or mumbai or bangalore, u'll find india women sporting spagetti tops and skirts too. chennai is slightly more conservative than the rest, but nothing to worry about. - if u are planning to stay in a decent hotel and use autos for travellign u shd be fine - i wud suggest pants, skirts/cutoffs which come below the knee and short sleeves or sleeveless...to be on safer side, dont wear clingy tops. plus if u have company male or female - dont worry so much.

Take some pants when u go to towns and smaller locales - and mebe yea long sleeved shirtd wud do u fine.

Right now, its raining in lot of parts of the country - and the north will get quite cold during nights - so be prepared for that.

India is quite cheap for clothes and stuff- Lots of westerners, buy clothe on the way and use and throw them - cos they like to dress in a bit of local attire and they get some indian "kurtas" ( sort of like tunics) - so buying shdnt be a problem at all... and if u want to stay "in fashion", nice sarongs, flowy skirts are quite happening!

i suggest u get some comfortable pair of flats- u will need these as u will walk quite a bit - then again, u can get footwear also for as cheap as Rs.40 -

and if u plan to hit a pub anytime - do get a nice short skirt - cos the party people here are quite "the rage"

[ Edit: Edited at Oct 26, 2006 10:49 PM by aprilsgal ]

6. Posted by Clarabell (Travel Guru 1696 posts) 10y

I wouldn't have felt comfortable wearing anything above the knee in India except maybe beach bars in Goa. But loose cotton pants and long skirts are good in hot weather. Long loose skirts are really comfy, and in a lot of ways, they can be more convenient than trousers. One example is using dirty toilets (if you've ever tried to use a squat toilet in Thai fisherman pants you'll know what I mean) and also if you need to go to he toilet by the side of the road, eg bus journeys, and still retain a little modesty!

Short sleeves are fine, but I'd keep shoulders covered.

You can buy quite a lot of really nice stuff there incredibly cheap, and you'll want to buy lots! but its not always easy to find what you want, so I'd try to make sure you have just enough before you go.

As for shoes, I had hiking sandals, but I wore my flip-flops a lot more. If you can't wear flip-flops, (some people hate them) I'd consider hiking sandals, they are really comfy and tough and in some places you appreciate the extra thickness between you and the street!

7. Posted by rovi123 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 8y

India is changing fast, especially the urban landscape in big cities. There are many people from western companies now working in big Indian companies, or subsidiaries of big multinational companies.
You can get away with pretty much anything, but better covered you are, the better. At least that will make you feel comfortable, and will keep unnecessary attention off (if thats what you want). Trousers and long skirts are always good. You can find some cool skirts that will gel well at local stores like Urban Outfitters or online stores like thelittlebazaar.com

[ Edit: Link edited. ]

Post 8 was removed by a moderator
9. Posted by scando15 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 7y

Hi, I'm going to Calcutta in April and I was wondering what clothing would be accepted there for a guy. Running shorts? Jeans? Cargo Shorts?

10. Posted by tleb (Full Member 117 posts) 7y

You will want to wear long pans and cover your shoulders in most places., for your own comfort.
I did go to a bar in Kolkata where the girls dressed in a more "western" club way. I also had a couple girls buying me drinks there, which was weird and awesome.

In most places in India you will be stared at. I think alot of female tourists take it as oggling when it is not necessarily. Otherwise I gotta say, Indian men find me very attractive, cause I turned heads everywhere I went. Really all it was is that I am 6'2" and can go really blonde when I spend a summer outside. Sometimes we tourists are spectacles ourselves.

Now if you aren't traveling with a male, and you find yourself in a mass of people. You may get a little uninvited pinch, squeeze or tickle. Both my aunts and my mother had that happen at least once when they weren't with a guy. Chances are it's not going to go any farther than that, but don't be nervous about sending a cold glare or a sharp elbow out behind you.

Or just enjoy the attention!