What To Wear In India!
Packing for India isn't easy: it's hot, humid, and very conservative. During my three weeks in Rajasthan in October, the temperatures rarely dipped below 34ºc. Trying to pack the right sort of clothes and the right amount of them was a nightmare. What I really needed was a packing list for the chronic over-packer and a list of do's and don't's when it comes to dressing . . .
Well whaddaya know! I've put together a lil packing list for the chronic over-packer and a list of dressing do's and don't's. Don't's? Don'ts? I don't know. Truth is: I hate packing. Okay, maybe 'hate' is too strong. I don't particularly like packing because I lack the self-control to pack lightly, and I'm reluctant to buy proper travel clothing - like lightweight t-shirts and trousers: I'm too stubborn and I love Zara too much. I can, however, proudly say that I packed appropriately for India. I used every piece of clothing (for once!) and I didn't leave anything behind*!
- Cover your shoulders - whilst you're not going to be arrested or anything dramatic for bearing your shoulders, you will be the centre of unwanted attention. We were told countless times on our first day that we should cover our shoulders, especially in smaller towns and cities, or we'd give off the wrong impression. Basically, shoulders = scandalous.
- Gym leggings are OK - I actually changed out of my gym leggings into culottes on the flight over and didn't expect to wear them again in India, but they're actually okay. After a couple of girls wore them without any issues, I followed suit. As long as they cover the knee and don't have any racy mesh parts, they're fine!
- Pack scarves - or buy them whilst you're out there. They're so handy to stuff in your bag and whip out before going in a temple, or whilst you're riding a camel, or even as a protector against the dreaded sunburn. Admittedly mine didn't make me look as chic as I was hoping, but I was usually sweating profusely so 'chic' would never have been appropriate.
- Pack dark - this is definitely contradictory advice because of the heat, but as I mentioned above: India is dusty. You'll be sweating, covered in suncream, travelling on desert trains - it's not the ideal environment for perfect white t-shirts. I did take some white and lighter clothing, but most of my clothing was dark, or at least patterned, to hide the dirt.
The Packing List!
- 5x t-shirts (three regular length, two cropped)
- 3x tank tops
- 1x long-sleeve tops (or 3/4 length sleeve)
- 3x trousers/culottes
- 2x gym leggings (one full length, one cropped)
- 1x jumpsuit (was meant to be cropped, but I am a midget so it was full length)
- 2x scarves
- 1x jumper
- 3x bras (one sports bra at least)
- 7x socks
- 1x bikini (folks on India on a Shoestring, at least 2 hotels will have pools!)
- 3x shoes (trainers, flip flops, sandals)
Whilst yes I could've cut down on what I bought, I wore every item and didn't really regret bringing anything. In an ideal world I would've packed a maxi skirt instead of the jumpsuit or one pair of trousers, but I'm vertically challenged so struggle to find ones that fit :(
I'd been slowly but surely buying my holiday wardrobe over summer, always using the excuse "but I'll need this for India!" or "this'll be so good for India because x, y and z." I just like to shop. Anyway, here are a list of (predictable) shops for all the basics!
- Missguided: they're so good for crop tops! I got my black and white cropped tees from here for the grand ol' price of £6 each. I also got a saucy little swimsuit from here so you could say it was a successful shop.
- Zara: need I say more? What didn't I buy in Zara? I picked up my black and pink culottes from here (£19.99 and £9.99 respectively), two crop tops, and a basic t-shirt. I luv u Zara xoxo
- Hollister: bear with me! The Hollister sales are actually goldmines for bargain tops! I picked up my favourite white camisole and my hilariously educational 'fiesta then siesta' t-shirt from here for next to nothing.
- Forever21: again I got a little sale bargain. My fabulously floral green culottes cost a whopping £9.99 and I also got my white bardot top from Forever21 for less than £20.
- Birkenstock: I splashed out on a pair of Birkenstocks before realising that almost every other brand had a Birkenstock-style sandal available for much cheaper. Anyway, I love them. They're sturdy, easy to slip off in temples, and have that chunky sole to protect your feet from the dirt of Indian streets.