I am headed on a 2-week trip to India. I want to be comfortable sightseeing and spending lots of time on trains and planes, but still stylish. Any ideas for a capsule wardrobe for keeping cool, covered up, and stylish?
Paraphrasing some of her suggestions: 1. Wear an opaque mumu
We often think conservative in regard to length, but when packing for India, it also means fit. Clothing should cover at least the shoulders and knees and not have low necklines, but pieces should also be loose so the curves of your figure are not on display (loose clothing is also more comfortable in the heat). Consider the type of fabric and avoid those that may be transparent in the sun or cling when you sweat or walk. Cotton or cotton/silk blends are the best for opacity and comfort in the heat.
I wonder whether she has seen an Indian woman in a saree? The outfit of choice of most Indian women; hugs your curves in all the right places, not only gives you an hour glass figure but also leaves your midriff exposed. 2. Find a tailor
If you’re not an off the rack size consider finding a local tailor – pieces can usually be made in a day or two for a very low price.
Good luck with that, if you are in India for only two weeks. Buying the fabric, finding suitable patterns and a tailor and then getting him to finish the job will take at least take a week, if you are lucky. I am assuming you have better things to do with your time than make multiple trips to the tailor. 3. Or dress like a cult member and die of heat stroke
A Western alternative would be a dress that hits below the knee with leggings, a loose blouse with cropped or full length pants, a loose tee with a calf to ankle length skirt. In more rural areas, your bare legs will stand out more, so consider packing a pair of lightweight pants or leggings to slip under dresses to be more modest.
Really, leggings or pants under a dress? 4. Hide behind dark sunglasses and scarves:
Another great accessory to have is dark sunglasses; direct eye contact may present the wrong impression and a pair of shades will let you see all the sights comfortably.
A scarf or dupatta will be your best friend on this trip. It can be worn over your head when entering Sikh temples, as a wrap when you’re wearing a short sleeve top or if you get a chill, and can protect you from the sun.
Scarves in 90 degree plus weather? You have got to be kidding me. I am left wondering whether Ms. Gary has ever been to India herself. India is definitely more traditional and conservative than the United States but it is hardly Saudi Arabia. Second, India is not a monolith, each state is like a country in itself, culturally speaking. There is lot of geographic variation too in a country the size of a subcontinent, so overly broad advice will only get you so far. My advice is simple, be yourself, do some research before you leave, use common sense and dress comfortably. Obviously, don’t wear Daisy Dukes and tube tops but there is no need to dress like a member of a cult either. This trip, I spent most of my time in and around Bombay I wore both knee-length shorts and skirts, as well as sleeveless and short sleeved tops since the temperature was between 90 and 100, throughout my stay, I must have worn pants twice. Needless to add, I would dress differently if I were to travel to another part of India or go during winter.