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What Should I Wear?

General Clothing Comments

I've traveled in Asia and Central America. My advice is to forget tank tops unless you plan to wear a shirt over them and always carry a hat. I usually pack 3 piece outfits - a shirt, a skirt and matching t-shirt. In many cultures (ie. Thailand), bare arms are not acceptable anywhere except on the beach. The hat is necessary for respect (as in churches), a sun shade or for warmth. I always pack a wide brimmed canvas travel hat (add a scarf and it can be dressed up a bit). I've been surprised by the number of compliments I have received from locals about my hat.
Barbara, Kitchener, Canada

I always pack fast drying underwear. While these are not the most attractive briefs, they will dry in an hour. Especially while travelling in hot, humid countries, drying cotton underwear can take days. Mine can be towelled dried and hung up or even put on very slightly damp and will dry on the body.
Barbara, Kitchener, Canada

When packing stick with basic, solid colors that coordinate easily. Bring clothing that can be used in layers and can be mixed and matched. (You won't need to pack as much) For Europe, stick with tan, navy and black. For tropical climates, stick with white, tan, khaki. In both cases, use scarves, jewelry, hats, etc. as accent colors. Or perhaps wait and buy those things while you are there.
Sherry, Bristow, USA

I've travelled in many countries. My advice is: long, wrinkled "broomstick" skirts are ideal in almost any situation, including those where pants/shorts are not appropriate. They can be cool in hot climates, or layered with leggings in colder places. Secondly, it's a good idea to wear a light jacket or sweater wrapped around your waist in case you want to enter a church where bare arms are not allowed, or you visit unexpectedly cool places (catacombs, wine caves, over air-conditioned restaurants).
Sally, Fort Worth, Texas

Women of size take note -- When travelling in France or Italy, I'd highly recommend that you bring all of the undergarments and pantyhose that you'd ever need. Trying to find stores that sell plus-sized clothes abroad can be like looking for a needle in a haystack!
Keisha, Philadelphia, USA
Ed. note: Has anybody found good plus-sized shopping anywhere abroad? Click here to send the details. We'd love to know.

I have a plus size shopping tip for London. For large size clothing try Evans Outsize shops. Not cheap, but they have a wide variety and you can get good buys on sales. I have a wool/angora sweater in beautiful shades of blues/greens/purples that is at least 10 years old, washes well and still looks like new.
Susan, Isreal

Travelling in developing countries and not sure what it is appropriate to wear? My advice is try to find two or three different very motherly looking women and ask them what they think is best...and ask several times in several ways as many cultures will not give a direct answer to a direct question because they believe it is not courteous.
Norma, Santa Maria

I pack very little---no more than three to four changes of clothing. However, they're all mix and match, and mostly dark colors to blend in with European locals more. I love fabrics that are relatively wrinkle-free like supplex and microfibres, and try and take garments that will get me everywhere. For instance, lightweight knit pants and a tunic top with a scarf will be perfectly comfortable for a day of sightseeing, but will also get you into St. Peter's Basilica (most churches in Italy require arms and knees to be covered), and take you out for dinner in a nice place. I have one pair of good walking shoes, and a dressier (but still comfortable) pair of flats for evenings. But definitely pack light! I bring one carry-on bag and a small day pack---even when I'm gone for a month. It makes such a difference, especially since I travel solo; I'm the one who has to schlep the luggage around
Mardee, West Chester, USA

In most of the European cities we went to, people dressed fairly well -- casually elegant. I often felt underdressed in my t-shirts or sundresses. Next time, I will take nicer clothes, so I won't look like such a tourist!
Sonia, Victoria, Canada

When planning your travel wardrobe, bring and wear only what you are comfortable in. On a recent trip to Scotland, I brought only slacks because they were significantly lighter than my customary jeans. I ended up borrowing my friend's pair of jeans as often as I could. For me, the little extra weight in my suitcase is worth the comfort.
Fiona, Melbourne, Australia

The first and best thing a woman should buy when travelling in hot climates is a sarong. They're cheap, versatile and beautiful. I use mine to lie on at the beach, use as a table-cloth, sheet, towel, skirt, dress, bag, scarf, headgear and pillow/cushion!
Anna Leger, San Francisco, USA

If you are travelling with a friend coordinate items with each other, so you can swap! It makes for lighter travel, more variety and less laundry when you get home.
Kimberly, Gregory, Australia

If you are travelling light and there is the possibility of having to hand wash clothing -- avoid cotton -- it will NEVER dry (with hand wringing) and will be a sodden mess in the bottom of your suitcase, backpack, pannier, etc. Instead invest in shirts, socks, underwear, etc made of "wickable" materials, such as polypropylene, "Drylene", or other common brand names -- these materials absorb perspiration, wash easily and dry very quicky. Pants, shorts, and even some shirts made of nylon fabrics can also be easily washed and dried, without wrinkling. Cotton is great when you have access to laundry facilities -- otherwise, leave it at home. I recently travelled by bicycle in Ireland for 3 weeks, and didn't need to be hauling around any extra weight -- this was the best tip given to me.
Patti Maguire, Anchorage, Alaska.

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