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She's Best Dressed Worldwide


Evelyn Hannon

At Journeywoman, we believe that the way a woman dresses as she moves around the world is very important. It affects her safety. It affects her social interactions. It can make or break her travel adventure. (And, if she packs too much, carrying her bags can make her very tired, very cranky and very vulnerable!)

How lucky we are to benefit from the experiences of other women travellers in the Journeywoman Network who are willing to share their "culturally correct" clothing tips with all of us...


When travelling in Mexico I learned the hard way. The one thing I regret is trying to wear strappy sundresses to keep me cool. Even though they were knee length, the low-cut necks and armholes elicited unwanted attention and cat calls. Tank tops somehow were better. Not as sexy and therefore less harassment!
Kiki, Seattle, USA

When travelling in Mexico City and/or Oaxaca (interior, non-beach areas) bring long, cool cotton skirts and light pants and if you are travelling with a man tell him to bring long pants, too. No one in Mexico City/Oaxaca wears shorts, except for children and tourists and you feel a bit uncomfortable when you find that you are the only one in the subway station in shorts. It can be hot in longer pants but your body adjusts quite quickly and you will be happy to blend in just a little more.
Ingrid, Seattle, Washington


As an American living in Rome, I always cringe when I see my countrywomen walking around in shorts, tennis shoes and T-shirts. I know this makes them an easy target for pickpockets who can easily spot them as American tourists. (Tourists are known to carry around lots of money; especially, everyone thinks Americans are usually well off). Also most churches won't allow you to enter with shorts, short sleeves, or mini skirts. Wear a longer skirt and a loose top with sleeves.
Melissa, Rome, Italy


Are you a Journeywoman who is heading off into the sizzling Sahara for a camel trek? I suggest you definitely take a bandanna or two along. Try drenching it in water and tying it around your neck. I found that this is a wonderful way to stay cool(er).
Diane, Arlington, USA

Gosh, her collar bone is showing! Western women travelling in Morocco are not expected to dress like traditional Moroccan women, and, indeed, many sophisticated or foreign-educated Moroccan women have now adopted European fashion styles themselves. However, no matter how snug the pants or short the skirt, they "always" keep that collar bone covered up. So pack carefully. Your own V-neck sweaters, even blouses, no matter how chaste you may think them, may be interpreted as risqu�, disrespectful, or inappropriate in Morocco.

Ed. note: Though there are no hard and fast rules, Journeywoman always recommends that you play it safe. Keep your clothes looser and longer especially when you're out shopping in markets, etc.


Dress conservatively if you want to tour the many cathedrals in Spain. I wore a denim skirt, to the knee, with a tank top for coolness. I also had a blouse slung over my shoulders to cover up when appropriate. Nobody ever had a problem with the way I dressed.
Danielle, Miami, USA


In Egypt you should cover your arms and chest. Wear dresses below the knee. Never, never wear shorts or above the knee skirts or dresses in public. Simple cottons in conservative colors will keep you cool and out of the limelight.
Sheila, Tucson, USA

Though Egyptian cities are very modern and local women may appear in public with makeup, jewelry and flowing black hair, they always dress conservatively. They do not show their shoulders or wear tight shirts. Their skirts are always just past their knees, or they wear slacks. It is rare to see an Egyptian woman or man in shorts. In the smaller towns of Egypt, many females will wear the traditional galabiyya (loose gowns) and most will cover their hair.
Johanna Sinclair, Toronto, Canada

Read more about what to wear, where.





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