Im off to India in a month and just need some advice on what to wear. I'll be visiting Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Varanasi and then travelling north as part of a group. I know I need to be dressed modestly, full length trousers and covered shoulders and that whatever I choose will need to be cool! Do you think it would be appropriate to buy a few items of Indian clothes before I go? I live near Bradford so have access to plenty shops. I was thinking of wearing my own cotton trousers, but then taking a Kurti, Kaftan or a Salwar..... not entirely sure if any of these are appropriate or are they intended only for formal wear? Would I stand out more wearing something like this than if I just wore western clothes? Please give me some advice! Thanks!!
My girlfriend wore trekking style pants and a loose t-shirt or button-up blouse for most of the mountains when it was cooler. In the rest of the country when it was hot, she got some cotton salwar kameez style clothes made or wore an ankle length skirt with the t-shirt/blouse. Buying clothes before you go is not necessary. Clothes are so ridiculously cheap there, that you will save a bundle by buying as much as you can there.
Some western women seem to think they blend in more if they wear local clothes. I think they are just fooling themselves. As a foreigner you will stand out like a sore thumb anyway, and as a women you will attract unwanted attention. But still get some local clothes anyway, for when else do you get the opportunity to wear such different and interesting outfits.
U can buy the local stuff in India itself and it would be much cheaper that buying it in UK. Just remember to bargain if ur buying from road-side vendors and if ur buying them from big malls rates are mostly fixed.
Regarding clothes i would advise u to just avoid anything that attracts too much of attraction. Knee length trousers and tops which dont have a deep cut are okk for most parts of the country except if u go to the interior villages where u have to cover a bit more
Do let me know if u need more info
Wish u all the best
A dupatta or scarf can come in handy for several occasions and reasons. As in any [particularly Asian] country, modesty is helpful from different perspectives - a respect for the country you are visiting and also getting respect in appreciating the social norms. India is a easier country for a traveler and a tough country for a tourist.
Have a good trip!