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What Should I Wear?

Jamaica

Anything goes. It's hot here so pack light. If you spend time on the beach topless seemed to be acceptable.
Jean, Ames, USA

I disagree with Jean. There are some culturally correct rules. I've been to Jamaica many times and westernized clothing is the norm. I lived in a t-shirt and jeans. However I won't recommend parading around in shorts (except on the beach) especially in restaurants or in the countryside. You'll draw a lot of unwanted attention from men and glares from women.
Shala, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad

In Kingston, women are very proud. I suggest wearing dresses and suit -- dresses mostly to visit and suits if you're going to work. If you wear jeans the locals will look at you like you're a "bad girl from downtown".
Marie, Moncton, Canada

Since I am Jamaican I would suggest being moderate in dresing. Though one can wear anything I would suggest being more covered up than not for less unwanted attention. We tend to wear Jeans and T-shirts or skirts, whatever we wish to. It is terribly hot at times though so keep that in mind as well as the fact it rains almost everyday in some parts of the country.
Monique, Montreal, Canada

Be culturally correct. I've made many trips to Jamaica, mostly staying in rural areas and I have three recommendations for other women: (1) pack lightly (2) dress conservatively and (3) have a sun lotion with a minimum SPF35. I've learned from experience that local women wear skirts and blouses or dresses (sleeveless is ok). If you wear tight or revealing clothing the men will proposition you; the women will glare and, possibly, lecture you very loudly. Most embarassing! Pareos are great because they're light-weight, pack easily, and are versatile (becoming a skirt, shawl, head covering). Loose light pants that can be rolled up work well and don't draw unwanted attention. Ditto for flip-flops, sandals, or flat-heel shoes. Please leave the fancy "bling" (jewelry) at home. If you like jewelry, help the Jamaican ecomony and buy from a local craftsperson.
Deb, Kentucky, USA

Japan

I returned yesterday August 4, 2007 from a trip to Japan. As a tourist, it is unnecessary to wear business attire, but dress nicely, as the Japanese women do not dress in grubby clothes. Jeans are seen infrequently, shorts rarely, unless they are longer length walking type shorts. Most women wore crop length pants. The Japanese women do not wear t-shirts as we do in the US. Most wore a nice top, not low cut but many were sleeveless. Most Japanese women wear heels even with casual clothes. I wore Birkenstock sandals and was very comfortable everywhere I went. Take a pair of nice socks with you in case you are required to remove shoes. It is steaming hot in Japan in July and August and they do not believe in cold air conditioning like in the US....dress appropriately for the heat.....linen type, loose fitting clothing is helpful.
Janice, Cleveland, USA (2007)

It goes without saying that you should always wear clean socks when visiting someone's home as you will be taking off your shoes at the door and be given a pair of house slippers. At an onsen (public bath) it's best to wear clothing that is easily removable and not fussy as you will often be changing in a communal area. If you're working in Japan many companies require that all females wear pantyhose even on the hottest, muggiest days. Also, any tattoos or multiple piercings should also be covered or removed.
Leslie-Anne, Vancouver, Canada

Wherever you travel in Japan, business attire should be conservative. A suit or suit coat paired with a just above knee length skirt /long flowing skirt or slacks in dark colors like navy or black work well. Avoid low cut blouses and try to wear a camisole or slip under clothing which is of sheer,translucent materials. BTW, the latest fashion craze here for professionals is wearing scarves and tying them into interesting shapes.
D.M.K., Tokyo, Japan

When I travel in Japan I never wear anything too tight or clinging. To make sure that my figure is not too pronounced I wear small lightweight vests over t-shirts and blouses. One of my favorite travel outfits is a dark colored skirt and blouse set, where the oversized blouse is worn on the outside of the skirt. We have to remember that traveling in Japan, we stick out, as foreigners, (gaijin) and the lighter our hair color the more we stick out.

Japanese is a very subtle culture, where for many years the sexiest part of the body was thought to be the back of a woman's neck, so you can imagine what a Japanese man thinks, when he sees a Western woman wearing skin tight, "leave nothing to the imagination" clothing.

When I travel on trains, I usually wear my skirt and blouse, non-wrinkle, with leggings, to be even more sure I will not end up in a compromising position. As journey women we are dealing with two major cultural issues -- the Japanese perception that Western woman are promiscuous and the tremendous curiosity about us. If we use a little common sense about our dress and lots of good will and humor, we can have a really wonderful time with the extremely interested and polite Japanese male.
Vicky Mills, Miami, USA

Take an umbrella or buy one at the airport. It can rain often in Japan, especially in June.

Bathrooms are different in Japan. In private homes, inns and upscale restaurants look for toilet slippers--and don't wear them in any room but the toilet.
Marion Goldberg, Japan National Tourist Organization -NY

If you are wearing sandals, carry a pair of socks in your day pack. If you have to sit on the floor to eat, your dusty, bare feet can be uncomfortably close to the food.
Elizabeth, Toronto, Canada

As a woman who works in the Japan National Tourist Organization, I'd like journey women to know the following: In Japan, Shoes are considered dirty,and you should take them off when you enter most private inside spaces. Whenever you see polished wooden floors or tatami (straw mats),take off your shoes.

In winter time wear slacks rather than skirts, and take along thick socks since you remove your shoes when entering temples and shrines, which are not heated.

Pack lightly. Trains have no porters, no checked luggage, and there is little overhead space for carry-on items. Use "Forward Luggage" (takkyu-bin) to send all but an overnight bag to your next major stop. This service is available from airports and hotel front desks. Small bags usually go overnight; larger bags may take up to three days, but the cost is only about $13.00.
Mary Findlay, The Japan National Tourist Organization

Make sure your feet are well-kept, especially in the summer months because you will need to take your shoes off constantly. When invited to take part in a tea ceremony, it is best to dress neatly, in plain colors, with pants or a long skirt because you will be sitting on the floor for a long time. Also, if it is uncomfortable to kneel on the floor, as a foreigner it is socially acceptable to sit with your legs bent under one side of you, allowing you to shift your weight to avoid 'dead legs' at the end of the ceremony.
Colleen

Avoid showing cleavage
Japan is famous for its fashion-forward clothes and people here (especially in cities) dress up to an unbelievable degree. Yet we are also used to Western tourists wearing sneakers and casual clothes and we're not bothered by that. The big no-nos in this part of the world are showing cleavage, and allowing any parts of your breasts to show through tight tops. All the Japanese bras have a layer of foam to prevent this. I suggest visitors wear a double layer or a bra with a tiny bit of padding or a heavier sports bra. That should do the trick.
Jen, Tokyo, Japan

Jordan

I got tons of different advice before going to Jordan. I ended up bringing long-sleeved loose shirts, which covered my hips and behind and baggy pants. I brought a long loose black skirt for "dressier" occasions and that was fine. No flashy colours or flashy jewelry. This was fine and I gathered no unwanted attention. I went to a camping store and bought a few men's shirts made of quick drying material which made it easy to hand wash them and they would dry overnight. It's also good to keep your hair tied back if it's long. Except when I entered some religious sites. There was no need to cover my head.
Francoise, Montreal, Canada

I live in Israel and I traveled in Jordan and Egypt. My advise when travelling to this part of the world is TRAVEL LIGHT! 2 pair pants, 1 skirt for evening, (all light weight, long, loose) 1-2 short sleeve tops, 1-2 long sleeve tops, 1 sweater. Jacket only if going in cooler seasons. Light weight rain jacket with hood is ideal. The key is layering. When it is cool - short sleeve + long sleeve + sweater + jacket, and peeling layers as it warms up. Take clothes that are dark and you can mix and match. Walking shoes or sneakers for day, cheap, light weight flip flops for showers, beaches, etc. and nice closed shoe or sandal for evening. If you are going on a short trip 1 pants, 1skirt, 2-3 tops are enough.
Susan, Haifa, Israel

While travelling in Jordan, I was most comfortable, and least vulnerable to stares and comments (while under the male microscope) when I kept my arms covered with long sleeves and always covered my chest with a Bedouin kaffiyeh (scarf/shawl). No cleavage, please! I lived in big comfy skirts hemmed at mid-calf. Avoid pants in Middle Eastern countries. The more your body is outlined, the more you'll stand out -- remember that tight clothing on women is a rarity in the Middle East. Sandals are fine -- bare toes don't seem to attract much attention. When it feels right to do so, tie an attractive scarf around your head. You'll know when the situation warrants it (i.e. when entering a mosque). When communing with local women, dress like they do; they'll love it and think you are being respectful. I never once covered my face in Jordan and saw few women who did, although I did brush my hair in public once and created quite a stir!! Blend in and have fun!
Lisa Phipps, Bramalea, Canada

In Petra, wear comfortable clothing that you can climb or hike in, and shoes with traction. Many people think that wearing shorts and tank tops are the best way to stay cool but, in fact, protecting your skin from the direct heat of the sun is much more effective. I recommend loose linen pants, a cotton shirt, a hat and sunglasses.
Brianne, Houston, Texas

From experience I recommend wearing sturdy walking shoes completely covering your feet. The rocky Siq (long path into the city) is very uneven with lots of old flat rocks. The city itself is a mixture of sand, grit and very high steps especially to the temples or king's tombs, and a long walk to the Monastery. Reddish dirt everywhere. So don't wear black. Khakis, greys and blues are fine.
Cecile, New Brunswick, Canada

This is what I observed regarding dressing appropriately. For the most part Jordan is socially conservative and Jordanian women typically wear hijab (headscarf) and modest clothing. I found the Jordanian people very accepting and accomodating so I felt free to wear colorful and hip clothing as long as it was respectful. For example, I wore skinny jeans or slacks with a tank top and a cardigan or jacket and that was considered acceptable. Long dresses and skirts are a fun alternative to pants, and I would recommend quarter-sleeve or long-sleeve blouses. In the summer you might try sleeves that are a bit shorter, but I would not recommend wearing anything that reveals your shoulders.

In Abdoun, an upscale residential area of Amman you can wear short sleeves or tank tops to restaurants as long as you bring a jacket or cardigan or even a shawl to cover up with while you are getting there or leaving. It is acceptable to take these things off once you are seated and having dinner. It is always a good idea to dress in layers wherever you are in Jordan because you will find that depending on where you are different things are appropriate and you can adjust your clothing to the setting you are in. Look around at what the women around you are wearing and then you can gauge what is appropriate or not. Not to mention, it is chilly in the evenings and often times you will want that extra cardigan or shawl.

In more conservative parts of the country (like rural areas and downtown Amman) be sure that your legs, arms, and chest are covered for the most part. And finally, if you do not observe hijab, there is absolutely no reason for you to cover your hair unless you want to.
Brianne, Houston, USA

For clothing I took 6 shirts, mostly longsleeve and linen and 4 pants, light Columbia travel material. Pray that your luggage doesn't get lost in the Amman airport and have a fabulous time.
Sherry, Vancouver, Canada

 

 

 

 
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