WHAT TO WEAR ON YOUR NEXT TRIP TO INDIA? Here are my tips…
While in India try wearing traditional clothing. Sari or salwaar kameez and shawl or dupatta for women. Kurta top, long pants or dhoti for men. What are these I hear you ask? A sari is a long piece of material wrapped around the body and worn over a blouse and petticoat. A salwaar kameez is a dress/pant combo. A dupatta is a shawl (often cotton). A kurta is a long line shirt and a dhoti is a long piece of material tied round the waist. (Instructions on how to tie the sari and dhoti can be found below)
Why wear these? Well India has a culture of being much more covered than we do. Wearing shorts and a tight-fitting t-shirt will make you stand out like a sore thumb and may attract unwanted attention. There are many positives to the traditional outfits. You will feel comfortable as Indian clothing is not tight and restrictive. Despite being more covered you will feel cooler as clothing is light and looser in fit. You will blend in more and feel more part of the whole Indian experience. You will receive heaps of compliments about your respect for the local culture. Also most importantly it’s fun. I feel like I’m at a dress up party that doesn’t end for three weeks.
Where can I buy these outfits? Well you can buy them before you leave. However they are much, much cheaper to buy in India. Shops such as Fabindia www.fabindia.com and Anokhi www.anokhi.com are in most major cities and have a huge range for you to choose from. Sari shops are everywhere. They usually have tailors who can make up your matching blouse quickly and easily. Also if they have a tailor ask about having your sari sewn into a ready-made sari which is a lot easier to tie.
Footwear is also something to consider. I always wear brightly coloured rubber thongs or sandals. They are easy to remove when entering shops (a custom in many parts of India). They are fine when you experience a monsoonal downpour. Also everyone else is wearing them and so when you leave them outside a temple no one is tempted to take your shoes! Remember cows are sacred in India and many frown upon leather shoes.