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PACKING FOR CONSERVATIVE COUNTRIES: A LOOKBOOK

EXPERIENCES, INDIA, LIFESTYLE

When visiting conservative countries like India, Dubai, Bhutan – you might want to stay on the safer side when it comes to your sartorial sense. As most of the countries are in the throes of great change, it is best to remain cautious and dress according to their respective cultures.

Some areas might just be tough to navigate through when it comes to what you’re wearing since some people can be super prudish, especially in some of the less metropolitan areas, which also happen to be more touristy.

Like for a recent road trip to Uttar Pradesh, I made sure loads of kurtas and traditional tunics were packed in. And that was the best decision of my life. Moving around in 45 degrees temperature in a pair of tight-fit jeans can be the most horrendous solution! So you don’t really have to stuff yourself into a pair of jeans.

IF YOU’RE LOOKING AT A QUICK AND EASY CHECKLIST TO KEEP YOU SAFE ON YOUR VISIT, HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT AND ADHERE TO WHEN IT COMES TO PACKING FOR CONSERVATIVE COUNTRIES!

FOR WOMEN:

Try to keep most of your chest covered. Cleavage isn’t welcome and is often stared at, which will make you extremely uncomfortable in crowded areas. Divert unwanted attention by taking cues from my visit to Uttar Pradesh, India.

# KURTAS/KURTIS (WITH LEGGINGS, SKIRTS, ETC)

Just PERFECT for your conservative country escapades! These are cool; these are comfy; these are extremely stylish! Team up your kurta/kurti with anything comfortable on the bottom and put your best step foot forward.

This was the easiest look to put together! Hail Kurtis!

#TUNIC AND LOOSE PANTS

A long shirt paired with a nice short jacket or a belt can work wonders as well! I am a big lover of loose pants – I swear by them for summers in India.

Most of the times I pick the ones made of natural fabrics and do not hesitate to wear them during long hour flights as well.

I found the tunic to be a bit boring so added a funky jacket over it

#SALWAR KAMEEZ

An Indian woman staple, salwar kameez can keep you cool and comfortable on the go. Just pair your salwar kameez with a nice dupatta or stole and you are good to travel around carefree.

Or if you do not wish to invest in a salwar kameez, just put together a boho look like me (a Kurti teamed up with loose pajamas and a colorful dupatta I picked up from Jaipur).

Put a boho look together and you are good to go

#GHAGRAS (WHEN VISITING CITIES LIKE VARANASI & LUCKNOW, HECK YES! )

They look and feel every bit of a skirt but have added ghera (girth) to them.

I personally love prancing around in ghagras as they make for one of the comfiest yet stylish Indian traditional attires – just perfect for the conservative societies!

Sitting pretty in a Ladakhi kitchen in a ghaghra

Just perfect for exploring conservative places

# LONG SKIRTS (WITH TOPS, TEES, SHIRTS)

Don’t wear mini skirts or teeny tiny shorts on an excursion in a conservative country! Especially when you’re going around the city, be it any city at that, wearing something that exposes a little too much is not a good option since you’ll be taking it rough and tough while traveling.

Do wear cotton skirts that are long and flowy! Not only do they look uber cool and modest, but they also keep the heat away.

Just perfect for exploring conservative places

# LONG SKIRTS (WITH TOPS, TEES, SHIRTS)

Don’t wear mini skirts or teeny tiny shorts on an excursion in a conservative country! Especially when you’re going around the city, be it any city at that, wearing something that exposes a little too much is not a good option since you’ll be taking it rough and tough while traveling.

Do wear cotton skirts that are long and flowy! Not only do they look uber cool and modest, but they also keep the heat away.

You may pair your long skirt with a chic Shirt to keep it stylish! So don’t forget to add that to your list of travel clothes for women for conservative countries.

Paired my traditional skirt with a Shirt! Couldn’t have felt cooler

#ACCESSORIZE

Sarongs, scarves, and handkerchiefs can be your saviors so make sure you pack those colorful beauties in abundance.

Colorful scarves would surely make you look amazing

FOR MEN:

Men do not necessarily have to conform to a general dress code in conservative countries. But it is still favorable to dress in a relaxed fashion so as no one gets offended. As a general rule of thumb, ensure your shoulders and knees are covered at most of the times. Of course, you can carry separate party clothes for enjoying the bars and night parties. But when it comes to exploring the countries during the day time, the picture is completely different. Here are our recommendations:

#SHIRTS WITH LOOSE PANTS

Keep it light and stylish. Ditch jeans for loose pants and you’ll be able to make the most of your travels in the conservative countries. This is most recommended during the summery days when the sun shines bright and loose clothes let you wander around comfortably nevertheless.

Loose pants can be your ideal pick for conservative countries

You could even wear them with your shirts

#PRINTED COTTON PAJAMAS

Colorful printed pajamas never go wrong

ADDITIONAL TIPS ON PACKING FOR CONSERVATIVE COUNTRIES:

  • Don’t wear clothes that fit too tightly – although this goes for the women as well. Men, leave those super tight skinny jeans back home and spare people the sight of those ill-fitting parts. Besides, most places are too hot for wearing jeans in the summer.
  • Don’t wear shirts or T-shirts made out of flimsy, transparent cloth that makes your insides all too visible to the naked eye.
  • Do remember to carry a handkerchief when visiting holy places, to cover your head. Also, avoid wearing shorts to such places, and go for cotton pants instead.

This all might seem too overwhelming for the travelers as adhering to these ‘rules’ while keeping it stylish can be tough. But there are SO many gorgeous destinations which are way too conservative that it’s not worth missing out on them all because of a dress code.

Just a little bit effort and a tinge of kitschy and quirky travel clothes for women with colorful accessories can add life to your packing for the conservative countries. So put your most adventurous and boho foot forward, go get exploring without anything to worry in the world.

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HAVE YOU BEEN TO A COUNTRY WHERE DRESSING MODESTLY WAS EXTREMELY ESSENTIAL? 

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