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What She Wears Outside North America...


Mauritania, in northwest Africa is a Muslim country but it is tolerant. Dress modestly and very understated. Even the cheapest watch that you own will seem amazing to a nomad child. The women wear brightly colored dresses or long skirts, their heads are covered but usually you can partially see their hair. I bought some cotton skirts before my trip. The heat here is a hot dry heat, so the long skirt kept me surprisingly cool by reflecting the intense heat from the sand and sun. I covered my head with a lightweight scarf to protect myself from sun, but it was also useful to avoid curious stares, as I have blonde hair. Forget about contact lens, there is often blowing sand.
Patricia, France (2007)

Men as well as women dress with careful modesty. You will never see anyone in shorts, even in the heat of summer. As a woman visiting this country, covering your head with a scarf is an option, but I didn't find it necessary (unless you're visiting a mosque). I brought along a few dark-colored, ankle-length cotton skirts, and knit blouses with collars and quarter-length sleeves, which were surprisingly cool and comfortable in the summer heat. Slacks for women are also fine. Though I wore sandals under my skirts the entire two months I was there, and still felt appropriately dressed, most Syrian women keep their feet completely covered with heavy stockings and closed-toe shoes.
Margaret, Dallas, USA (2007)


Spaniards don't wear shorts or sneakers for anything other than sports, so if you aren't planning on working out, leave these at home. Light fabric pants, capris, skirts, dresses are all fine for summer. Daytime and nighttime temperatures can vary by 20 degrees or more, so have a lightweight sweater or jacket on hand for evening (unless you're in Andalucia in July or August). Browns are preferable to black. For walking the many cobblestoned streets, get a comfortable pair of flat sandals or shoes, this is what Spanish women favor. Espadrilles are great, but take a look around and you'll notice that Spanish espadrilles ("alpargatas") have a much lower platform than ones you can buy at home. And for those hot summer days, get a lovely Spanish fan and use it, not only is it a wonderful fashion accessory, it'll also actually work at keeping you cool!
Gira, New York, USA (2007)


Women should cover their heads with a scarf in Orthodox churches, if it is an active church. It isn't necessary if the church has been turned into a museum.
Jessie, Spokane, USA (2007)


I returned yesterday August 4, 2007 from a trip to Japan. As a tourist, it is unnecessary to wear business attire, but dress nicely, as the Japanese women do not dress in grubby clothes. Jeans are seen infrequently, shorts rarely, unless they are longer length walking type shorts. Most women wore crop length pants. The Japanese women do not wear t-shirts as we do in the US. Most wore a nice top, not low cut but many were sleeveless. Most Japanese women wear heels even with casual clothes. I wore Birkenstock sandals and was very comfortable everywhere I went. Take a pair of nice socks with you in case you are required to remove shoes. It is steaming hot in Japan in July and August and they do not believe in cold air conditioning like in the US....dress appropriately for the heat.....linen type, loose fitting clothing is helpful.
Janice, Cleveland, USA (2007)


If you are going to northern Sumatra be sure to wear modest tops that fully cover your arms down to the wrist, and a headscarf or hat. Your legs should also be covered with either a long skirt or slacks. But don't be afraid of colour; Acehnese women love bright clothes. Some light makeup seems to be acceptable; I often saw women wearing lipstick. young women wear jeans and zip around town on their motorbikes. All Acehnese women, without exception, wear headscarfs that entirely cover their hair. Most wear sandals or shoes that can be easily slipped off as the custom is to leave shoes outside when visiting a home.
Katherine, Ottawa, Canada (2007)


I did take a few decent skirt outfits along, but overall I felt way more comfortable in my field clothes -- khakis, safari jacket or windbreaker, long sleeve T-shirt and a cotton cardigan underneath. Of course our tour was very tomb - and temple - intensive, but even shopping in Luxor, I felt like I attracted a lot less attention in my desert gear. You will quickly find out that Egypt is littered with shopfront vendors who are friendly, but who can also be quite aggressive. Therefore it can be a bit of an advantage to blend into the woodwork a bit. Also, for sun-protection as well as fun, I wore a loosely woven cotton headscarf a lot in Egypt. The locals seemed to appreciate this deference to their culture...
Jennifer, New Haven, USA (2007)


I lived and volunteered in rural Uganda (East Africa) for 3 months. In Kampala and most of the big cities including Entebbe, Jinja and Lira, western clothes including jeans and t-shirts are completely acceptable. Tank tops are acceptable, but try to stay away from shorts. Most Ugandans don't wear them. Whenever possible, especially in the smaller cities, wear long skirts. Most of the women in Uganda wear skirts. Also try to stay modest as much as possible. Most places in Uganda are pretty laid back and most types of clothing are acceptable. I would stay away from jeans in the smaller cities though. You will get alot of stares. When traveling in the north, dress very conservatively. It is a highly Muslim area and can be quite dangerous.
Allison, Salt Lake city, Utah (2007)


Viet Nam...
In Viet Nam, women can get away with dressing quite liberally (tank tops, skirts, etc), without much trouble. However, as a foreigner, men will assume you are 'easy', due to the fact that most condom advertisements and foreign pornography feature western women. Usually this is not a problem, as men are quite respectful of strangers (whatever their personal assumptions) -- but if you are taking a taxi late at night, or a motorcycle ride, you are more likely to get unwanted advances and groping if you are wearing a skirt or a sleeveless shirt. You will also be treated by local Vietnamese as a tourist. You will be treated better if you dress as 'respectable' Vietnamese women do -- in a collared shirt that has sleeves, and in pants or at least a knee-length skirt. Ao dai's and pajama suits are also good to wear -- but it's pretty unusual that foreigners wear them, so expect to get lots of compliments on your apparel from locals. You can have beautiful clothes made almost anywhere quite cheaply within 2-3 days, but you'll have bad luck buying underwear, bras, or any pre-made clothes in the market, as Vietnamese women are tiny and a "Large" in Viet Nam is often compared to a 'X Small' in the West.
P.S. Thanks for the cool website.
Danielle, Davis, California, USA (2007)


Sri Lanka...
I lived in Sri Lanka for 14 months. Local women dress very conservatively: long skirts, saris and covered shoulders. Err on the side of respectability or you'll stand out - and I emphasize stand out - and attract all the wrong kind of attention. I frequently saw female tourists shopping in beach towns in bathing suits, which would be offensive to locals. Wear what you like in the confines of a resort, but cover-up when you're walking on the beach or traveling around this gorgeous country. Oh, and showing your legs and shoulders is a no-no when you visit many of the religious sites around the island, including the famous Temple of the Tooth in Kandy.
Jennifer, Kitchener, Canada (2007)





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