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What Should I Wear?


Edinburgh's strong winds and heavy rain make warm clothes and sturdy umbrella a must at any time of the year. July is the warmest month, reaching an average high of 18 degrees C. or 65 degrees F.
J. Ward, G. McLachlan, Edinburgh, Mini Rough Guide

It seems that no one wears anything but dark pants, skirts and beautiful blouses. The young people seem to be "really hip", but the woman dress nicely. Don't wear expensive jewelry and leave your white tennis shoes at home. You may as well wear a huge sign that says tourist if you wear white tennis shoes
Gail, Columbus, GA, USA

Scotland can be a wonderful warm day that turns suddenly cold and rainy. Plan for layers.

I travelled from Glasgow to North Berwick on train and then back to west coast and up to the Orkany Islands by car. My travels included informal visits, shopping, pubbing, museums, galleries, boat tours, hiking and walks, castle and garden tours.

Blue jeans are a must. Everyone wears them. You can dress them up or down. With a nice long sleeve blouse or a tshirt. Black walking shoes also went with my black cotton blend slacks - again dress up or down with a tshirt or blouse. I wore these slacks at nicer restaurants and for a more presentable look. I also brought a pair of beige cotton pants with a matching jacket as at it was spring. I wore this outfit a lot as I could add a scarf or hat to change the look. I chose red walking sandal with a back strap. These went with everything.

Bring at least one sweater (I had a red one) or plan on buying a traditional Wool one while there. I also recommend a sweatshirt or plan on buying a tourist one. I thankfully brought a pair of silk long underwear and matching longsleeve top. These came in so handy for under my jeans as it can and will get chilly. I also wore them as PJs. Of course 4 pairs of undies, 2 bras, 2 camisols or tanktops, and 2 pairs of cotton and 2 pairs of wool socks.

A rain jacket/ wind breaker is a must and bring a compact umbrella and hat. Although a back pack was good if you were hiking not so good for castles and shopping - just too bulky and it radiates "tourist". . I had a large sideshoulder handbag.
Although I brought a simple black skirt I never wore it nor had the inclination to. If you feel you need a skirt there are so many charity shops you can pick one up no problem.

Mix and Matching casual layers is the key.
JudyMarie Cooper, British Columbia



Cover your legs! The quickest way to attract lots of undesirable attention is to wear short skirts or shorts, since legs are considered more erotic than breasts. Slip-on shoes are essential-- it's culturally appropriate to take off your shoes when stepping on any carpeted surface or mat. Pretty much anything else is acceptable. In Dakar, the capital, people tend to dress up more than in the US; older (30+) women in traditional clothes, younger women like they're going clubbing. I didn't choose either of these options; I just wore what was comfortable since I knew I would be easily identifiable as American no matter how I dressed. But no shorts or short skirts!



As a Singapore resident, I just want to emphasize that we are virtually an island on the equator so every day is hot and humid. The only fabrics that make sense here are cotton, linen and lightweight silk. This is not a city for nylon. As a tourist, cotton capri pants and a lightweight blouse with a short or capped sleeve (for Muslim mosques, etc.) will work everywhere. Tank tops are fine if you're not visiting religious centres. A lightweight sweater in your bag is a must, though, as the airconditioning can be fierce in some places. No one wears raincoats; it would be like wearing a portable sauna. Just tuck a small umbrella in your bag if you're visiting in Dec-Jan or August-Sept. No stockings required even for the dressiest of events. Singapore is a fashionable, but informal city. Use sunscreen every day.
Patricia, Singapore

When travelling in Singapore the smartest piece of clothing advice that I can recommend is to pack a pashmina. Watch out for the air conditioning. The local transit system as well as any indoor building blasts cold air onto your body, that has just become extremly hot from the permanent tropical weather. This item of clothing can be worn over your arms in a very fashionable manner, as well as around your waist to add a funky look to almost any pant style. Another huge 'must' is an unbrella. You never know when the rain is going to hit.
Adrienne, Bolton, Canada

I was sent to Singapore for a project, and ended up staying there for more than a year. Singapore is very modern, but, dressing very sexily will not be acceptable in certain places. Dressing less revealingly will get you better bargains and less stares. The locals generally look down on westerners if they're dressed inappropriately, therefore, dress wisely. Happy shopping!
Sara, Illinois, USA

When I travelled to Singapore I found that a light, longish cotton skirt (not very full) and a light blouse (with capped sleeves to cover the upper arms) was very appropriate. In one afternoon, I visited Hindu Shrines, Buddhist Temples, the Moslem areas, the Bird Park, Botanical Gardens and of course, the very English Raffles Hotel. I felt comfortable and correctly dressed everywhere I stopped. P.S. It rained daily (in January) so don't forget to pack your umbrella.
Joan, Ohio, USA



Ljubljana has a "student" feel to it, whereas small towns are more conservative. Plain, dark-colored casual clothes will take you almost anywhere. On a fall trip, I wore twill pants rather than jeans, and a simple black cotton knit jacket rather than a windbreaker, and (to judge from the number of people who addressed me in Slovene) I blended right in! As for dressier wear, many women have their "good" clothes tailor-made, so make sure that whatever you bring is well-made and fits you perfectly. Laundromats are few and far between, even in Ljubljana, and even laundries are rare. Some hotels will do your laundry, but it's expensive. Thank goodness, I'd brought nylon underwear, but next time I'll bring a hand-washable, quick-drying nightgown and a few extra clothes to get me through the trip.
Paula, Santa Fe, USA


South Africa

In South Africa the dress code is generally casual (denims, t-shirts, skirts etc.) when you are not working as the weather is mostly hot. When at work the dress code is more formal eg. knee length skirt, blouse and on cool days a matching jacket. Except for the upperclass restaurants, your casual wear will be just fine in most restaurants. If you intend on going to a club, you should dress hip as the youth are pretty fashion concious. Men are required to wear a shirt (can be casual) with a collar to clubs and for some silly reason many clubs don't allow 'takkies' (running shoes). When on the beach, most women wear one or two piece bathing suits. You can ditch the top if you don't mind the initial mexican wave by the men. Dressing too revealing in any situation though is generally frowned upon as the majority of South Africans are pretty conservative. A last thought - many people believe SA to be a dangerous place to visit, this is only true if you try and 'do your own thing'. As with any country/city it has it's hot spots that you can stumble into if you don't know the area. Always travel with a recognised tour guide, they know where to take you and where not to.
Nolan (an interested male), Johannesburg, South Africa

Do not over dress. Avoid wearing jewelry, expensive watches etc. Be very wary where you go. Most women who live in South Africa do not wear expensive clothing in public, but the majority wear skirts. I seldom saw a woman of any race wearing pants or jeans. I never saw a woman 'of color' wearing pants. Wearing skirts are part of a cultural tradition for Black women. I will return to South Africa, but everyone must be very careful when travelling in that part of the world.
Ellen, Fort Worth, USA

South Africa is a little like countries in Europe - very fashionable. When I visit, I wear Jeans, but always with fashionable boots/shoes or sandals and tailored shirts, or whatever blouses are currently in fashion. Most of the young girls wear jeans, and depending on the season, the older ladies (40s & 50s) wear capris or jeans, but generally, never sneakers. Summer and spring, mostly sandals are worn. Also, for safety, know where you are going. I was born in South Africa, so that is not much of an issue for me. It's a beautiful country, especially the beaches, and the hotels, food and shopping are excellent! And the exchange rate (US dollars) makes it really worth visiting right now.
Debi, Sitka, Alaska, USA

Contrary to expectations many parts of South Africa get very cold and sometimes reach freezing point during the winter months, from the end of May to the end of July. Those who attended the 2010 World Cup will have had a rude awakening. We don't have a particularly strict dress code, jeans are perfectly acceptable casual wear and the most comfortable clothing item to bring with you. Shorts are very appropriate for the summer months between the end of October and mid March.

Generally speaking we have more or less the same shops as everywhere else, as well as some of our own, so anything goes really. For the office keep it formal, a jacket is advisable as we tend to overdo the airconditioning, especially when it is quite hot outside. Unlike in Europe the office buildings tend to be kept at quite a chilly temperature throughout winter as well, so your scarf and all layers of clothing will generally stay on throughout the day.

That said, it's a lovely, easy going, country to visit, lots of fresh air and outdoor activities. DO NOT wear safari clothing, no self- respecting South African does, so we spot you quite easily if you walk around in khaki coloured and cliched safari clothing. We wear jeans and shorts with sneakers and other comfortable walking shoes when we go to the game reserves. Keep your cameras in your bag and your belongings within sight, we unfortunately have a lot of poor local and foreign people that might be tempted to convert them into a family meal for the next 2 weeks by selling them, should you leave them lying around carelessly (as in many cities around the world).
Thuli, Gauteng, South Africa

South America

If you're headed to the highlands around La Paz, think layers. You will experience all four seasons in one day. Fleece is nice, but you can purchase wonderfully warm alpaca sweaters there (called: "chompas").

In the lowlands, in Santa Cruz city, young women dress very stylishly. Short skirts, sleeveless tops, etc. But be aware, you will draw a lot of attention as non-Bolivian. Think hot and humid from Sept-April, then cool and humid the rest of the year. Again, layers are good, also clothing that dries quickly.
Brooke, Cambridge, USA

While in the more remote areas of South America I made the mistake of wearing t-shirts with embroidery and writing across the chest. The embroidery seemed an invitation to touch and the writing had many men (shorter than I) reading my chest. I would have been better off and less conspicuous by wearing clothes more in line with what the local women were wearing. I also found that wearing shorts anywhere (even though people say that shorts at the beach are fine) really was more an invitation than I realized--especially in very religious countries where the only women who wore suggestive clothing got paid for their time.
Dana, Bellingham, USA

I traveled in Central and South America. In these countries--think conservative. In most Central and South American countries, short skirts, shorts and bare arms and shoulders are seen as very provocative, even offensive to local and indigenous populations. You will certainly attract leering glances at the least. Please note that this applies away from the typical "US-like" beach resorts where you can get away with more. Also on the Brazilian beaches and surrounds - you will feel overdressed if you're in shorts and T-shirt! But, in more isolated areas, have some respect for the locals and stick to longer skirts or loose pants and at least short sleeves rather than sleeveless ones.
Charlotte, Sydney, Australia

This what I learned from traveling in Peru and Bolivia. Take khaki pants. Layer your clothing. If you travel to the Amazon, take a lightweight, long sleeved white shirt (like a man's dress shirt) to keep both the sun and the bugs off you. Leave jeans and other denim clothing at home. They're too hard to wash (or rather get dry). Hiking boots are really a life saver. Don't wear form fitting clothing. Women in Peru and Bolivia dress modestly.
Connie, Los Angeles, USA

In some places in Buenos Aires it's safer for a woman not to wear skirts. They're considered to be provocative and men (mostly low class men) could tease us, say embarrassing things when we pass by.
Griselda, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Argentine women, in business situations, dress in a way that would be considered too provocative in the US. However, as a US business woman working in that country, I want to appear professionally "nun-like." Here are my two personal basic rules of dress. Stick with tailored suits with above-the-knee skirts or pant suits. Add one more accessory than you normally would in the US. For example, in the US you might only wear a pin on a blazer. In Argentina wear a pin and a necklace.
P.S. Plan to dress in layers. It can be cool in Buenos Aires especially in the evenings. (And down to the 40s in the winter June-August). Wear a blazer or bring a sweater that you can take off when it warms up.
Lori, USA

Argentina is as varied as the United States when it comes to climate and landscape. However, when you visit Buenos Aires, you will soon realize it's nothing like the rest of the country. The standard attire is neat, fitted clothing, black leather coats, smart boots with heels, small jewelry. You will feel out of place wearing baggy jeans and flannel. Solid, sober colors and earthtones fit in better than bright flashy prints. The key is to be neat and sleek. Outside of Buenos Aires, stick to jeans, khakis, more casual (but conservative in color and cut) clothing, especially if traveling with women only. When traveling the countryside, wear comfortable clothing, layer when possible. Avoid the miniskirt/short shorts, although you will see it occasionally. For dressier occasions, stick to the Buenos Aires look.
Holly, Fargo, USA


South Korea see Korea


South Pacific

I used to live in the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu but have since moved away. If any JourneyWomen are going that way, here is my advice for sister travelers. Vanuatu is a lush, tropical paradise. During summer it is kind of hot and humid but during winter, the weather is just divine. So whatever time you decide to visit, I suggest you pack light clothes - shorts and tank tops are the norm. However, if that is not your style, I suggest you pack a few colorful summer dresses. P.S. A light sweater or shawl will come in handy to deal with any air-conditioned interiors.
Virginia, Tonga

In Solomon Islands, as well as most other countries in the South Pacific, shorts should be knee length at least. Women in this part of the world should not show their thighs. Bathing suits are only appropriate at resorts or public beaches (of which there aren't too many in the Solomons, public beaches that is). Swimming in a bathing suit anywhere else, especially in or around villages, is disrespectful; you must be fully clothed to do so.
Nadine, Vancouver, Canada

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