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...
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
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.
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
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
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