What to Wear in Bangladesh

Last updated on March 16th, 2021

It is advisable to bear in mind that when Bangladeshi women go out they generally try to look their very best. Wearing old or torn clothing is frowned upon for foreigners who obviously have enough money to replace them. Formal events tend to be quite formal — when attending weddings, cultural events, or even visiting friends for dinner, makeup and jewelry is definitely not out of place.

Karen, Calgary, Canada

In Bangladesh cover up as much as possible. Younger women will definitely have problems. Even my elderly mother who was covered up everywhere but her legs was groped . Wear baggy clothes. Buy a shalwar kameze from a local shop. You’re going to get hassled anyway if you’re female and white, but if you show legs, arms, cleavage, etc., then you’re inviting problems. Outside the major cities, people are more relaxed, but it’s difficult for women to travel independently. If they’re inappropriately dressed, it’s even more difficult.

Antonia, London, England

Foreign women are far from a common sight in Bangladesh, even in the capital city of Dhaka. While it’s unlikely that anyone will ever directly tell you that something you have chosen to wear is inappropriate, you will likely find that you experience much less harassment if you try to dress in a manner similar to that of the local people. I would highly recommend investing in shalwar kameez – it’s cool in the hot months, suitably modest, and easily purchased in any of the local markets. If you do not want to go this route, try for light, loose-fitting clothing — no shorts, miniskirts (or really skirts that show any leg), or sleeveless tops. This is particularly important in areas where foreigners are less common.

Karen, Calgary, Canada

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