What to Wear: India

Trying to find what to wear in foreign countries can be incredibly hard. This is especially true when you want to make sure you’re being respectful of the culture and not dressing immodestly. Even though—let’s be real—it’d be great to look good for that picture in front of the iconic Taj Mahal.

Here’s a quick guide to our top five tips of what to wear when in India! (Also, dudes, this applies for you too!)

1. Loose-fitting clothing

Modesty in India means not wearing tight-fitting clothes (sorry, girls, no leggings!) or showing shoulders or knees. Following these simple rules will keep you from getting a lot of unwarranted attention on the streets. Also, most of India is HOT. You’ll want to wear looser-fitting clothes to keep you cool in the unforgiving dusty heat.

2. Light clothing

This one is a toss up. Some people prefer the light-colored clothes to keep them cooler in the heat, while others prefer darker because the dust and dirt don’t show, so you can wear clothes longer. Still others embrace Indian cultures and wear colorful clothing everywhere! For many seasoned travelers, the consensus seems to be on neutral-colored, light clothing. If you want tips on how much to pack, head to our article on What to Pack.

preparing for a trip to India

3. Scarves

In India, pashmina shawls are EVERYWHERE and they’re an easy way to add a pop of color to any of your wardrobe! They also makes your photos much more fun. They’re easy ways to cover your head if you’re entering religious areas or trying to escape the heat. They also offer cover for your shoulders and arms if you find yourself in a much more conservative area than you thought. You can bring these with you or buy them locally in the market.

Pro Tip: bring another scarf in your bag if you’re doing a lot of site-seeing! This helps bring some variety to your photos.

4. Walking shoes

India may be a place to choose comfort over fashion. Leave the high heels at home and break out those walking shoes. Be mindful that much of India is D-U-S-T-Y so if Chacos are your go-to, be prepared for dirty feet at the end. That being said, homes and many places of religious worship have you take your shoes off at the entrance, so some people find sandals best. It all depends on how you decide to spend your time. If you have room, pack both! Whatever shoes you bring, be sure you’re comfortable putting a lot of miles on them.

5. Shop local!

There’s no need to pack everything you want to wear in India. Only bring the essentials and fan favorites (like those shoes!) Feel free to buy tunics, saris, and scarves in the local markets. This is a fun way to get practical souvenirs and appreciate the cultures surrounding you.

Shopping for what to wear in an Indian market

If you’re interested in serving among this beautiful culture click here to get started.

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