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What Should I Wear?

Georgia

Tbilisi is fairly liberal but extremely hot, I found loose tanks and t-shirts and light knee length skirts were both elegant and versatile. Few women wear shorts so I didn't end up wearing mine. In the countryside and the mountains, loose t-shirts and a pair of cropped cotton or linen pants are perfect. For hiking, the usual, technical tanks or Ts, a long sleeve against mosquitoes and the scorching sun, shorts or long hiking pants. Light hiking shoes for valley and sturdier ones only when at higher altitudes. A pair of comfortable sandals or flip flops are musts. For churches and monasteries, it is useful to carry a shawl to cover your shoulders and wear a skirt! Some refuse to allow in women who are wearing pants!
Rina, Vancouver, Canada

Germany

Go for tailored clothing. Munich is a posh, beautiful city. Tailored clothing seems to fit the scene perfectly. I felt chic in nicely cut clothing. European cut is different than American cut, especially in men's clothes. (notice the lovely fit the European men always wear?) Women travelers can pull that off too with a few key pieces -- slacks, not too long, comfy, stylish shoes (closed toe), white shirt, and a dark jean jacket, or leather jacket that you can tie around your waist when the sun shines (you will see many of the locals doing the same) Forget the jewelry, super high heels, (lots of cobblestone streets -- no fun for the Prada's) Dressing great is part of the enjoyment of being on a city bound vacation. Think chic!
Angela, Houston, USA

No bright clothes and no white tennis shoes is a good rule to follow when packing for Germany. Consider a dark blazer with blouses and sweaters, dark slacks and shoes, dark long comfortable skirt to go with all of above. Add extra comfortable walking shoes, mid-calf length raincoat and small umbrella. Layering is very important due to several temperature variations in the same day. Consider the business woman's approach -- definitely not grunge. Leave that to the very young kids. Look classy.
Shari, Hamilton, Canada

I lived in Germany for 10 years, and I travel there every year. My advice, simple is better. Jeans or casual pants and t-shirt or blouse, with dark shoes is fine for shopping or sightseeing. Not too many women wear short skirts or shorts, unless they are going to a club, but even then it is not that common. Some dark pants with a "hip" top might be a better choice for a club. Keep in mind, that most fashionable clubs and restaurants have doormen who will not let you in unless they like the way that you look. What I do is pack the necessary things, and then go shopping there for fashionable things that I like. Avoid the touristy areas for shopping though! Even if you just walk a few blocks away from the tourist areas, you will find much better deals. Don't worry, in large cities, most people in stores speak English.
Michelle, San Francisco, USA

I lived in Germany for four months, travelling extensively in the neighboring countries. Simple is always best. Plain, muted, solid colors fit in well anywhere and prevent you from looking like a dorky American on vacation.
Anne, Pasadena, USA

Here in Munich, we tend to easily identify (North American) tourists by their white gym shoes. These shoes might be very comfortable for travelling but if you do not want to stand out from the crowd please keep them in darker colours! Be aware that there are informal restrictions for entering some restaurants, music clubs, etc with sneakers.
Karin, Munich, Germany

Ghana

It is very hot and humid in Ghana. I wore cotton and gauze garments from home that were usually two piece outfits with below the knee skirts and loose blousey tops. After a couple of weeks, I sometimes went "native", buying and wearing beautifully printed cotton caftans at various marketplaces. I either pinned my hair back or wore a headscarf; the humidity made this a practical choice for straight, lank caucasian hair. I am 61 years old and plump. Luckily, my African hosts admire both age and female curvaceousness! I found this conservative approach to clothing to be comfortable, respectable, and attractive. Variations of this style of dress can work in many other areas of the world, especially Central and South America.
Lili, Altadena, California

Ghanaian women will be dressed in both traditional and western clothes but no matter what they are wearing there are certain guidelines to what is appropriate. The "secret spot" that should never be shown is the midriff. Showing your belly and upper thigh is inappropriate. In fact a fellow traveler though in her 60s was reprimanded for letting her t-shirt ride up and showing skin by accident. Be sure your shirts are long enough that this doesn't happen. Tank tops are perfectly fine, and in the heat I suggest it.

Tight shirts are fine too. You will see many women openly breast feeding in public so cleavage is not a huge concern. I spent most of my time in a tank. You will see women in shorts but I suggest long Bermuda shorts at minimum. With the heat I was most comfortable in a long flowing skirt and light travel pants. The first thing that Ghanaians will look at is your shoes. Thong flip flops are looked at as shower shoes and should not be worn outside the house. Sandals are fine but the normal rubber soled flip flops are not well regarded.

Just wear some other sort of strappy sandal. Even Birkenstock shoes are better than thongs. If you go to a club there is a good chance that they will have a shoe requirement and that is something with a closed toe.

P.S. If you plan on having clothes cleaned while you are there it is best to pay a small fee and have them wash it. Their washing will get even the bright orange African clay out of your white shirts but they are hard on clothes, so don't take anything that won't hold up to a really hard washing.
Amanda, Los Angeles, USA

Great Britian

I traveled in Great Britain. Make sure most of your clothing is wrinkle-free. Knits are perfect. No matter how limited you are for luggage space, clothing that can be stuffed in tight and be worn with no ironing is the way to always look great.
Dorothy, Toronto

Greece

Wear black in Athens, all the locals do. I was there in March and felt silly in my spring colors.
Susan, Florida, USA

While sailing the Greek islands for the first time, I discovered that, more often than not the only shower opportunities at port were public shower stalls. The floors of these public showers are not regularly cleaned between showers, so wearing a pair of rubber "flip flops" while showering was essential to avoid picking up athlete's foot or other fungal infections.

Also, a mesh bag came in very handy to carry in my change of clothes. The shower stalls are private, but often don't have a dry changing area. There's just one hook for your stuff -- very hard to hang your dry clothes and towel on one hook without a bag!
Barbara, Sacramento, USA

For travelling in Greece, taking along a sarong or large scarf is a great idea. I also packed a couple of those broomstick skirts. They are perfect for hot weather and for covering up in churches, etc. Also they can be dressed up depending on the top.
Laurel, Bonney Lake, USA

In Greece wear long cool pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Not only do they keep you safe from the hot sun but they are culturally correct. Shorts are for the beach, not for the city. Greeks will not look kindly on you if you were shorts in cities such as Athens. Athens is a cosmopoliton town, or so the Greeks like to think, and the dress is casual but uptown.

I traveled in Greece. Knowing that many of the priests and nuns frown upon tourists, particularly women, who enter church sanctuaries in shorts and t--shirts, I brought a large scarf in my pack, which I used like a sarong. I also had a light-weight, long-sleeved blouse that I wore to cover my arms appropriately. When I attended a special church ceremony with a friend's family, I put on the sarong and blouse. Later my friend told me, somewhat proudly, that her older, more religious sister had said I was a classy lady because I showed respect for the church by covering myself in the manner I had. I found the sarong and blouse useful at other church sites I visited, especially at sites where cover-ups were not offered, as is sometimes the case. The two items took up very little space and went a long way toward presenting a respectfulness that was certainly appreciated.
Karen, Boston, MA, USA.

I travelled in Greece for a month in October when it was still very hot. I suggest ultra light packing ..walking shorts,slacks & a full skirt to combine with T shirts & a dressy blouse, sweater & blazer, swimsuit, sandles & a pair of runners & a hat. Dont forget to pack a light robe..for some unforseen emergencies! You can always buy a cheap bag to stash your extra mementos & gifts for the return trip.
Erin, Duncan, Canada

Guatemala

See also Latin America

Wear skirts below the knee, Khakis, comfortable sandals or loafers. Shorts identify you as a tourist. A small, flat purse worn under the clothing. No expensive looking jewelry. Bracelets, necklaces, even earrings can be ripped right off you.
Debby, Gladstone, Australia

In Guatemala, if you buy the colorful clothing of the indigenous people don't wear any of the men's clothing while you're there -- even if it looks really good on you. Save it for when you get back home. In Guatemala, they don't know about uni-sex dressing and they'll think you're making fun of them.
Elsa, California, USA

Shorts for women are frowned upon as street wear and so are long pants in some areas. Also, women should never be noticeably braless.

Doing business in Guatemala? Women should wear blouses with sleeves and skirts that are not too short.
Ruth Halcomb, Editor, Network for Living Abroad Newsletter

 

 

 

 
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