How to Dress in India: the Ultimate Dos and Donts

When I left for India, long before I knew about travel blogging, I had to ask “Does anyone know someone who backpacked India?” around a lot. I had so many questions! I didn’t know how to dress in India at all.

Whether it was doing yoga, going hiking, walking around markets, I wanted to know what to wear in India. Fast forward five years later, and I’ve traveled the jungles, cities, mountains, beaches, and more – all while trying to do it in in style. Here’s all that I’ve learned on what to wear in India to be most respectful and stylish.

Is India Conservative?

Yes, India is conservative. However, there are so many different style icons and types of fashion here just like anywhere else. Not all popular styles keep the woman covered up as you would imagine as a traditional dress in India.

Some saris cover everything up nice and neat while some let it hang out. Some are super sexy, and some more conservative.

You might see the lower half of a bunch of women’s boobs. Truly. In Rajasthan, I saw plenty. I’ve been told it’s just normal to air out and keep cool. And no, it’s not the young women who do it; it’s their great grandmas. No one stared or thought it was strange.

You’re definitely going to see some big ol’ round bellies sticking out from saris, as well as open backs due to tiny blouses under the sari. The wrap part of the sari actually shows off quite a lot. I mean, have you seen a Bollywood film?

how to dress in india saris

Do women just wear saris all day?

Definitely not! The younger (and sometimes more privileged) kids here in India are the ones dressing more “westernized. It’s not because of Bollywood either. It’s Hollywood, Victoria’s Secret models, and Vogue India showing ads of westernized fashion. It was bound to happen as Western life has become intriguing to India’s young women. Lots of more wealthy kids go abroad for university, so they obviously blend their lifestyles.

In Mumbai and Delhi, girls are wearing club dresses at night and clothes they get abroad from Urban Outfitters or even unconventional, more modern Indian designers. Even in the far Northeast of India, the girls there were in skinny jeans. (Try some Levi’s!)

With H&M, Forever 21, Zara, Fossil, and more Western stores opening, the fashion here is changing and evolving. I’ve met loads of unique, local designers. Some of my favorites:

  • Tia for a beachy, European style
  • FARA for boho-chic pieces
  • Doe Designs for modern Indian pieces

There is this idea that Indians all dress traditionally all the time. Only a small percentage don’t- but the reason it seems that way is because India has such a MASSIVE population. Most working city girls dress just like you or I do.

What to Wear in India | Exact Outfits and Where to Buy Them

We shot this in Udaipur for TIA’s newest collection at the time, shop here for more.

What’s the dress code in India for tourists?

As a westerner, you have a fine line to straddle. You don’t want to dress like a “backpacker” with cargo pants or a stereotypical Ali Baba pants (although let’s be real, they are awesome and I totally did a few years ago).

On my first night out in Mumbai, I put on a past-the-knee skirt, a t-shirt, and Chacos. Meanwhile, the other Indian girls put on high heels and short tight dresses! I sighed thinking, “Crap, I did NOT pack right for this trip”.

You also don’t want to dress in a way that would offend. While short, tight dresses are fine for going out at night in the city, they’re not appropriate for places like the Taj Mahal or even walking around the markets during the day.

Overall, dress like you’d normally do, while erring on the side of conservative. I find that because I don’t dress in typical tourist clothes, people assume I live in India, and I am not ripped off or left dealing with negotiations. The list of dos and don’ts below will help you pick out what to pack.

If you want to know where I shop for my travel clothes, I have a post on that you can read here. If you want to see sample outfits to wear in India, here are the 13 exact outfits that I wore on my last trip to Rajasthan. In the meantime, here are some brands I’ve worn all the time in India and more conservative countries!

Clothes to Wear in India: My Favorite Brands

Urban Outfitters – Over all they have a really great selection! I often browse their pants, maxi dresses, tops, and jumpsuits sections since a lot of the styles work perfectly for India. (Here’s another jumpsuit I love)

TIA – You can check out my post to learn more about her or check out her Etsy page here.

FARA – I also wrote a post about them, and they’re on Etsy as well.

Free People – Free People is my favorite brand, but, of course, they can be kind of pricey! I always keep an eye on them for sales and such since their clothes are so beautiful. If you’re not familiar with US department stores, Free People is stocked in many of them as well, and they often have their own, separate sales. Check out Nordstrom, REVOLVE, and Shopbop if you have specific pieces in mind.

Top Shop Jamie Jeans – I have these in ripped black, indigo, and green. They are the best fitting high rise jeans I’ve ever found. Check out their whole selection here. 

Chacos – As far as shoes go, these the best if you’re traveling and doing a lot of different activities. You can check out my full buying guide here.

How to Dress in India: the Dos and the Don’ts

Keep in mind, most of this won’t apply to Goa. There’s a reason I think of Goa as its own little island! You can wear what you want here.

Also, this list is my opinion based on 5 years of traveling around the country. Plus I have plenty of Indian girlfriends who have helped me with what’s “okay” and what’s not!


Wear your yoga pants out in public unless you are wearing a long shirt to cover your bum.

That’s just too much curve. It’s the LEGS that Indian women traditionally cover, so this will really put men into a tizzy and make women give you disapproving looks.  I have to say I do this now in Goa and at airports- but do as I say, not as I do haha

Villa Sungai Bali Pool VillaThis is from my Bali trip, but you get the idea with the stylish pants!


Wear stylish harem pants.

They hang low on the butt and are really comfortable. After a couple of times wearing them, they feel normal instead of odd. Go for solids like black, khaki, and green then maybe throw in one pair of crazy ones.


Allow barely-there cleavage.

As in barely ANY because if you show too much you’ll be stared at and offend other women. But keep in mind that Indian women ARE showing cleavage. Many saris bring attention to the boobs and are low cut. I don’t have the problem of having giant knockers, but if you do, don’t pop them up higher.

What to Wear in India | Exact Outfits and Where to Buy Them


Be afraid of a shirt that swoops down in the back or has an open back.

Women in India often show their backs in saris, so an open back shirt won’t draw you any attention and can add to your packing options.

Where to Next? My Upcoming Travel Plans for Summer/Fall '18


Go ahead and wear v-neck shirts.

Indian men are not animals, regardless of what the media says, and a v-neck usually isn’t much lower than another shirt! I love the v neck’s from ASOS, my favorite online shop.


Wear jeans.

There was an Indian politician that basically said that girls who wear jeans are “asking for it”, so yes there is this mentality with old traditional people. However, all my girlfriends and even my housekeeper wear jeans all the time. Girls here DO wear skinny jeans (the young ones), and I have seen this in bustling Delhi or in rural Arunachal Pradesh. Here’s the 411 on Levis.

I go for high-waisted and usually wear something that has a long back to it to cover my bum if the jeans are really tight, like a baggy sweater or hi-lo t-shirt. I either wear my black high waisted “Jamie” skinny jeans or my Levis constantly.


Wear mini-skirts (but it doesn’t have to be to the ankle either).

You can wear skirts that go to the knee, as long as they aren’t tight pencil skirts paired with a tiny top too. That’s a little much. If you want to wear a skirt that goes to the knee, keep it loose, and wear a decent top with it.


Wear shorts unless you’re in Goa.

I’ll be the first to admit my Indian girlfriends do wear them all the time whenever they want even in Delhi but off the main streets. They are Indian and get fewer stares in general, and can also tell someone in Hindi to eff off for bothering them. I wear shorts in Goa just like everyone else, but nowhere else in India.


Wear shoes with platforms.

This will help keep your outfits cleaner at the bottom.

These are from James Smith


Wear maxi skirts!

They work so well here. I always travel with one cotton one (you know the cheap ones from H&M that come in every color) that is thick and not at all see-through. Places like Kohls and Topshop should also have some affordable options.

They are comfortable for travel but can be dressed up with gladiator sandals and a crop top is need be. I also take a few adorable Free People style maxi skirts. Although dresses are easier to travel with, I like that with skirts you can mix and match and wear little tops you buy on your travels paired with them. I love this Sabo skirt!


Wear tank tops.

There are traditional Indian tops that are shoulder-less but girls wear a scarf with them… the thing is the scarf draped around their neck, still leaving shoulders bare. I don’t find this to be a problem. Indian friends assure me that traditional salwar or churidar’s can be sleeveless and it’s the all the same in their eyes.


Combine all the “barely appropriate” items into one outfit.

Now you’ve gone too far.


Take a scarf.

If you wear a tank top and you realize maybe it is showing more than you thought, cover up. Even better, always cover up until you get to your destination then take off your scarf.


Realize crop tops are totally ok!

That belly of yours? It can be shown to anyone! I see 100 Indian bellies every day in every city in India. Fat ones, skinny ones, in between. Doesn’t matter; they’re showing them off! Keep in mind, all the big bellies will make you feel skinny. They’ll make you think you can eat way more than you should. When you get back to your home country, you’ll realize “shit, I’ve put on some weight!”


Layer on the jewelry!

Gold is your new best friend and gemstones are abundant. Unlike the US or UK, you don’t really pose any risk of looking gaudy. Here are some of my fave gold earrings! Did you know Indian Housewives own 11% of the world’s gold!?

I love to buy travel jewelry on Etsy. It’s one of my favorite online shops & I search for things like coordinate jewelry, travel quote jewelry, etc and layer on leather bracelets and anklets!


Realize that this is based on visiting tourist cities in India.

From Udaipur to Mumbai, and Bangalore, to Calcutta. You can dress how you wish. In Goa, anything goes. BUT in tiny villages where they NEVER see a westerner, even Indian city girls would never go in dressed showing skin. Most likely, you won’t go to these places. These are the kind of places that wouldn’t even have a hotel or restaurant, not typical “off the tourist trail places”.

I hope this can help you plan to pack a little bit and prepare for your trip to India!

If you are gearing up for your big trip, please check out my ebook which is 100,000 words long (basically a novel) about the A to Z’s of traveling India. It’s 6 years of experience traveling here all wrapped up – with itineraries, maps, and tips on where to shop, eat, and chill in all the coolest towns in India.

Best, it has an FAQ section for everything from Uber to Visas where you can see around 50 reader questions, answered. You can buy it here or you can click here to read more about the book and a breakdown of the chapters.

DO NOT FORGET the two most important things to prepare for India which are 1. Travel Insurance and 2. Visas. I prefer World Nomads insurance (cheapest and Lonely Planet supports them) and for visas check to see what you need to do. If you are looking for a group tour to take I recommend the India tours on G Adventures.

For more on preparing and packing for India please check out these articles:

If you will be spending a week or more in Goa (which I highly suggest) then do check out my $25 e-book. The Insider’s Guide to Goa is 170-pages long and will guarantee you have the best time in Goa, meet other travelers, and chill at all the coolest places. Click here to purchase.

Pin “How to Dress in India” for Later!

Wondering how to dress in India? Here are all the dos and the don'ts!


About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Hippie in Heels, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Shalu Sharma May 27, 2014 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    I think the saree should be a no go area if you don’t know how to wear it. The best thing would be kurtis over jeans. Great post.

    • Deborah March 10, 2016 at 11:06 am - Reply

      I’m living in Bangladesh and am told rock the saree. The secret (from an upper class Bangladeshi friend) is to have it wrapped and pinned at a salon to get a Bollywood “mermaid” type line. Also you need a slip cut that way. Its cheap and even those born here do it for special occasions. Have them do your hair, makeup and nails while you’re at it!

    • Amelie August 28, 2016 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      I really enjoyed your blog on how to dress when traveling to India. I am planning my first trip to India in March and as a fashion lover myself I needed some tips. I am super happy to know that Indian women do wear high heels and that I will be able to bring my high heels! Can’t Imagine not being able to wear them.

    • Riya Chalil March 14, 2019 at 4:13 am - Reply

      I advise for all non indians travelling to India, no to wear Indian clothes. Locals consider it rude and annoying. And dress modest. This is coming from an Indian woman

  2. Karyn @ Not Done Travelling May 27, 2014 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    This may be fodder for another post, but what about tattoos in India? I love the look of tops with open backs (I used to be a bellydancer, and the influence of Indian fashion on the tribal-style bellydance scene is huge. We wore open back tops all the time). However I have a huge tattoo covering the entirety of my upper back. It’s nothing offensive, just a horse and a poem, plus I have a very large grapevine on my lower back. But I have wondered how these tattoos would be received in some parts of the world. So far I’ve had no problem throughout the touristy areas of Asia or the South Pacific. But how do you think these would go down in India?

    • Rachel Jones May 28, 2014 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      That’s a good question. You see a bunch of tattoos on westerners in Goa and maybe some alternative Indians that are musicians and such, but it isn’t popular. It doesn’t have a connotation that would make it different between females and males- but it would make them think you are a big hippie! haha. You would get stares I think. Every massage or even airport pat down leaves women touching my belly button ring asking why it’s there… so I think a back tattoo would be quite funny for them to see!

      • Karyn @ Not Done Travelling May 29, 2014 at 3:52 am - Reply

        Cool. I might err on the side of caution and leave it then covered then! lol

        • Allyce January 26, 2016 at 1:40 pm - Reply

          I’ve lived in Punjab, in an area with almost no other foreigners, for the last year. I see Indian girls with tattoos all the time. I wouldn’t worry about it unless it’s Hindu iconography.

    • Sanskriti March 7, 2016 at 12:34 pm - Reply

      indian women get tattoos of God’s names, their husbands names, etc mostly in the villages and the modern girls get (according to me) cooler tattoos, so your tattoos are not going to be a problem in any part of India :D but yeah, even though I am an indian, i haven’t been to a lot of areas so u might wanna consider other people’s opinions also…moreover, there is no need to think so much, be confident in whatever you are wearing or however big your tattoo is and you’ll have a lot of fun on your india trip! :D

    • Rupaali Ramesh April 10, 2016 at 11:36 pm - Reply

      Karyn, Indians do approve of tattoos and it isn’t an issue at all. In fact you might find my Indians having tattoos too as the concept of tattooing has been in for ages.

    • Liser July 21, 2016 at 4:23 am - Reply

      Not to beat a dead horse, but do you think this applies to all tattoos? I have full sleeves on both arms. I’m bringing clothes to cover them up just in case, but I’m curious if this will even be an issue. I will be in Rajasthan if that makes a difference

      • Rachel Jones July 21, 2016 at 10:02 pm - Reply

        Liser, I don’t think this will be a problem at all!

      • ... March 24, 2019 at 3:16 pm - Reply

        i wouldn’t worry because i was in Delhi last year with a guy with face tattoos and nobody really seemed to mind. Some people stared a little but that would be the same in other places.

  3. Amanda June 2, 2014 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    Really useful post for any woman going to India!

  4. Jenna August 5, 2014 at 11:45 pm - Reply

    This post was really helpful to me because I am about to leave for Udaipur for 4 months and I’m really struggling with what to pack. My site team was really stressing being culturally appropriate, and swooping backs or showing shoulders didn’t seem to be what was considered appropriate. I am working with female migrant workers on sexual health and sexual harassment and how to deal with it/talk about it. What would you suggest as appropriate? Also, as far as crop tops, are they okay if they are tight? No cleavage but I wouldn’t say I have the smallest chest in the world and I just want to make sure that I am not offending anyone that I will be working with! Thanks!

    • Rachel Jones August 6, 2014 at 6:27 am - Reply

      Considering what you’re doing there I would go more conservative than usual. If you’ve got a huge rack I wouldn’t go too tight! lol I can get away with it because I don’t at all, but you don’t want it to look scandalous. THe women here who are “larger” wear clothes that are WAY too tight on them, so it wouldn’t be a shocker but just because you’re a westerner you’ll get stares. Remember with a crop top, to wear loose trousers so your bum isn’t too noticable!

  5. Glamourous Traveller August 20, 2014 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    Yeah, I always found it odd that they’re perfectly fine having women in low cut tops, and crop tops showing their belly, but anything above the knee! Egads!

    Good tips. I deff would say I felt comfortable wearing sleeveless tops, but nothing spaghetti strap like (that’s too much)

    • Rachel Jones August 22, 2014 at 2:10 pm - Reply

      Yes, and they love a chubby belly showing through too ;) haha. I do wear spagetti straps in some areas. In Bombay and the nice areas of Delhi, but not in the smaller towns.

  6. Michelle September 14, 2014 at 6:07 am - Reply

    This is incredibly helpful! I’m at such a loss as to what to pack for a business trip next month. We’ll be making corporate presentations in Chennai and attending some formal dinners as well. I’ve heard the south is more conservative…is this true? I’ve got the daytime business suits covered, but I have no idea what to wear to dinners. Are strappy heels appropriate if worn with silk pants and a blouse? I have some flowy cocktail dresses that come to my knees, but they are sleeveless. I’m just so lost as to what might be misconstrued as inappropriate. Any suggestions?

    • Rachel Jones September 14, 2014 at 3:44 pm - Reply

      In my experience, the south is more conservative. Yes, strappy heels are fine and I think that the cocktail dress sounds okay- just take a silk scarf to drape over just in case no one else is showing shoulders. There are traditional blouses in India that are sleeveless, but it just depends how form-fitting your dress is. India women wear thick fabrics that don’t show off their figure during the day time, then at night they might wear more form-fitting dresses, but nothing like the states! Flowey=good

      • Michelle September 14, 2014 at 7:37 pm - Reply

        Thank you so much! Really appreciate your response

      • Sanskriti March 7, 2016 at 1:28 pm - Reply

        i have worn revealing clothing in miami and new york and got stared at and wore revealing clothes in india and also got stared but just for like a second. And women in india do wear form-fitting dresses- a lot in the big cities especially. i do get a tourist’s point of view but at the same time, i don’t wish to propagate the school of thought that- “india is conservative” or “Dress appropriately at all times”. u do need to be conservative and appropriate at religious places and villages but other than that- please feel free to wear whatever you like and not conform to any ‘restrictions’.. people will not DO anything :P staring is like the maximum thing and that too for a small amount of time. people are becoming more desensitized to revealing clothing.

  7. Nicole October 17, 2014 at 7:23 am - Reply

    I have read many travel blogs and I have only just started to devour yours, but this is by far the best page on what to dress. I am a very visual person and love that you placed photos to help give me an idea of what to wear!

  8. Nicole October 17, 2014 at 7:24 am - Reply

    I forgot to ask! Can I purchase skirts like the ones in the photos easily is Delhi? Or should I bring them from home.

    • Rachel Jones October 17, 2014 at 1:48 pm - Reply

      No, you can’t purchase them easily at all and actually western style wear in India is much more expensive than the west. Best to bring everything! THe only thing you’ll be able to buy non-indian and good rates are tourist ali baba pants (which can come useful) and other tourist type clothing.

  9. Marina February 13, 2015 at 8:19 am - Reply

    Awesome post! I’m loving your blog. One question though…I know you say no shorts, but how about “boyfriend shorts” that are pretty loose and go about mid-thigh? I really suffer from the heat, and I will be traveling through Rajastan in march. What would you recomend?

    • Marina February 13, 2015 at 8:20 am - Reply

      Ooo and one mroe question…how about a long flowy skirt that is kind of transparent towars the bottom (but has a slip mid-thigh length)?

      • Rachel Jones February 15, 2015 at 3:57 pm - Reply

        That would be ok for Goa for sure and Bombay nightlife, as well as Delhi nightlife if you go with a group via cab. a slit to mid-thigh though wouldn’t be ok most places in India

    • Rachel Jones February 15, 2015 at 3:58 pm - Reply

      You can get away with shorts in tourist areas that are longer and loose as you’ll see other tourists with them – BUT you might get some mean looks from India women and I suppose it’s not “okay” even though people do it.

  10. Liz February 16, 2015 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    Rachel, your blog is literally the only thing that I’ve read about India that has made it feel approachable–probably because I can relate to you as a curious Western woman. I stayed up all night reading your many posts and I’m very excited for my trip now! I know I am going to love India.

    & my question for you:
    My husband and I are staying in Jodhpur for 2 nights. I am taking a sunrise yoga class with Karan Singh. Have you ever met this man and do you know of him? (I ask because he is the #5 attraction in Jodhpur on TripAdvisor.) Also, wondering if it is ok to wear stretchy yoga pants in the context of doing yoga… What do you think?

    • Rachel Jones February 17, 2015 at 2:20 pm - Reply

      awesome! so happy to hear my posts helped you plan your trip! I haven’t met that man you mention or heard of him- but i wouldnt wear yoga pants if you have to walk through the streets to get there. maybe ali baba pants would be better.

  11. Liz February 17, 2015 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    Thank you Rachel! You’re so helpful. I hope you are having the time of your life in Goa :) Namaste.

  12. Lari March 9, 2015 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,
    I’m planning on doing a 4 week volunteer trip in April (so before the monsoon), but I don’t really know how to dress when I’ll be there.
    The volunteer work will be in a rural area in Northern India.
    Great blog btw! :)

    • Rachel Jones March 9, 2015 at 12:51 pm - Reply

      Hi for volunteer and rural, you should dress completely covered! to make it easy, you could buy Indian clothes like a kurta with jeans or actual indian slacks. But you can also wear not tight fitting jeans with tops that are long enough to cover your bum. no tight shirts or low cut ones! but a t-shirt (like a gym work out shirt) with loose jeans should be ok. you can even do a baggy maxi skirt with a t shirt.

  13. Nichole March 14, 2015 at 4:33 am - Reply

    Hey Rachel! I am loving this blog and it’s doing a lot to prepare me for my India trip in May. I’ll be traveling with my boyfriend, and I was wondering if there is anything that he should take into consideration when packing his clothing. I just read a website that cautioned more conservative dress for both men and women, so I wanted to know if it would it be weird for him to wander around India in cargo shorts?

    • Rachel Jones March 14, 2015 at 12:16 pm - Reply

      cargo shorts will be fine for him! my byfriend hasn’t worn jeans here in years except the occasion fancy dinner

  14. Menka Saha March 25, 2015 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    Although India is my country I’m also ashamed of the misbehaving Indian men. Thankx for the ideas.

  15. Sebrin April 2, 2015 at 12:58 am - Reply

    This is such a helpful post! Is there a place where you can play a little dress up? I’ve always wanted to try on traditional Indian garments but purchasing it wouldn’t necessarily be practical.

    • Rachel Jones April 3, 2015 at 4:19 pm - Reply

      You can try on sari’s in the shop – just give them a nice tip for their time if you aren’t planning on buying :)

  16. b April 26, 2015 at 1:38 pm - Reply

    I’ d like to give some advice as an Indian :)
    If you’re in doubt as to what to wear, a loose kurta or long top and jeans is perfectly fine. You can wear a shawl with that also. That should be appropriate dress anywhere.
    Remember that you will get more attention than Indian girls however you dress.

  17. Zoya Sen June 11, 2015 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your ideas. India is growing and tourist country. People love their tradition and we should follow them.

  18. Sarah McAvoy June 18, 2015 at 5:01 am - Reply

    Just found your blog, and I am so glad I did! This clothes one is super handy, and I can’t wait to read more – I am going to India in a couple of months so it is so good to get some actual insights…as everyone I speak to makes me nervous about going (and none of them have actually been).

    Looking forward to reading more :)

    • Rachel Jones June 19, 2015 at 3:25 am - Reply

      haha yes the people who haven’t been give the best tips ;) haha jk!! glad you found the blog!

  19. Angela July 3, 2015 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much for this post, I have been freaking out and with 2 days til I leave for Kanartaka I had a heap of shorts and no pants! So am buying a few loose pants and pairing with some normal tshirts! Second time to India you’d think I would know. We are visiting rural areas so I have scarf to drape over me. Great to see a positive post!

    • Rachel Jones July 6, 2015 at 1:04 am - Reply

      Luckily, the baba style pants are very in style in the west now. i’ve seen them at H&m, target, american eagle, and online on ASOS, nasty gal and more!

  20. Sharon July 10, 2015 at 2:08 am - Reply

    Gonna be in Tiruvannimali for 2 weeks then flying up to Rishikesh for another 2 week… in February.. Completely different regions…. How would you dress here… and for the traditional clothing… should I buy before or find a tailor?

    • Rachel Jones July 10, 2015 at 6:44 pm - Reply

      You don’t have to wear traditional, you can wear loose trousers and a loose tshirt as long as it covers you up. In rishikesh you’ll see in the tourist areas people in tank tops sometimes, but personally I didn’t because it’s a very spiritual place. You can even wear cotton maxi skirts with a t shirt and a little silk scarf – you can by scarves there very cheap to spruce up outfits and cover your chest.

  21. Janelle July 25, 2015 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Any advice for our 12 -year old daughter? Can she wear shorts? We’ll be in Bangalore, Mysore, Alleppey and Cochin. Thanks!

    • Rachel Jones July 28, 2015 at 2:25 am - Reply

      probably best to keep her in longer sun dresses… i find they are best because they are breezy but cover the legs as well. In Bangalore she could probably wear shorts, but not the other places.

  22. Phia Griffin August 11, 2015 at 11:49 am - Reply


    i just had one question about what i saw you’d written in this article, which I find not to be exactly accurate.

    You wrote…

    New articles are blaming a lot of India’s men’s “misperceptions of women” and attacking of women on Bollywood. I think it’s a bunch of bullshit. Village boy or rich city kid, they all know not to attack and/or disrespect women based on how they dress;

    I spent a month in India, although I was based in the north and Rajasthan area. But throughout my trip I met people from all areas of India and most importantly all ages. I was intrigued to understand their mentality towards women. For one the boys as a generalisation all of whom i asked especially the young teenagers without education do infact believe that if a woman is dressed in a certain way, whatever happens to her is her own fault.

    The educated people who i only truly got to talk to properly was when i was travelling by train, they themselves explained the situation was horrific and that only in probably the next 20 years since the law for education being mandatory has been implemented, only then will India see a real change towards the attitude.

    you then said
    Bollywood film or actress cannot be blamed for “misleading” the boys into thinking women “want it”.

    Well maybe not solely Bollywood but when on the TV there is nothing but either women dancing sexually in clothes that are only worn in Mumbai / Goa, otherwise would be considered extremely revealing. With programmes featuring numerous rape scenes or pure violence towards women. I think that the TV has a huge role to play in the mindset of the population.

    But ye. I’m not having a dig, i just found it interesting as you live there yet you seem to have this opinion. Yet when i was only there one month and got an opinion from a completely different angle.

    Let me know what you think..



    • Rachel Jones August 11, 2015 at 4:49 pm - Reply

      Hi Phia, In my opinion even if on TV girls are dressed in less clothing or dancing etc, it doesn’t translate to a guy seeing that then raping a random woman or even his wife. Lots of people blame Bollywood. I think the ONLY person to blame is the man. I’ve been here for a few years now and follow along with what politicians have to say about rapes in India, and almost always they find a way to blame the woman. In fact, just yesterday I read that they banned lingerie on mannequinns in shops to help stop the rape crisis… to me, they need to just stop the man, by educating him. Thanks for you opinion though and thanks for stopping by to read and comment!

      • BirajK February 23, 2016 at 12:30 am - Reply

        As an Indian who was born and raised in India and have also lived in the US and Canada for a couple of decades now I think there are (as always) a number of factors in the attitude of men towards women in India. This is particularly so in North India where invaders typically came, looted and pillaged as well as raped women. At the same time I don’t think the attitude of men in India is too different than a lot of blue collar types in the west (e.g. the film North Country with Charlize Theron). And even in white collar America where the men wear a veneer of respectability. What is different in India is there is no tradition of practices like dating, proms etc. This is one issue which has prevented young men and women from getting together, dating etc. because traditionally there is no socially approved way of doing so unless you went to one of the select public schools (referred to as private schools in North America). Regardless, dating has become an important part of social life in major metropolitan cities in India.

        Another issue is that pornography from the west has for decades been coming from the west, U.S. in particular. They used to refer to them as “blue movies” when I was growing up. These movies have definitely had an impact on Indian men who have almost always had arranged marriages and the majority of women have been homemakers. It is changing but even now the majority of Indian women continue to be homemakers. Women in India, like everywhere else in the world, have traditionally been treated as second class citizens. This has meant that Indian men have looked outside the home for sex, and their perspective about western women in particular, esp. considering western norms of how women dress combined with what they see in porn movies results in the behaviour Indian men have. This, in my opinion, is the root cause for the behavior of men in India and how they view women.

        This is a sad comment on the psyche of Indian men considering the Khajuraho Erotic Sculptures and the Kama Sutra are part of India’s heritage since as early as A.D. 900 – 1000. I won’t even refer to the female Goddesses throughout Hinduism.
        At the same time Rachel, I am not sure about your idea that “the ONLY person to blame is the man”. I think outside of God (however, one defines it) there is nothing in the world that can be attributed solely to one cause. If this was the case there would be no dress codes e.g. at work socially, professionally and so on. Women dress differently because they come from different cultures, and often women’s clothing is also a product of their socio-economic background, the weather and concepts of what is considered graceful in each culture. I say this in response to the question of Indian women baring their midriffs all over the place, but not below the knee.

        FAR from being a prude myself I still don’t think that a woman can wear any kind of skimpy clothing and not expect to attract attention or a response. Compared to North America, and the U.S. in particular I think Europe has amongst the most positive attitudes of men towards women. For e.g. women going topless on a beach in Europe is not treated as a taboo and doesn’t get stares or glares from men. But try doing that in the U.S. (unless you are on a restricted beach or area where clothing is optional) and you could be charged with indecent exposure. Barring obesity, injuries and a few other issues, what is indecent about the human body?

        That’s my two pennies worth.

        P.S.: For those going to India I suggest you check out the forums at
        This forum provides a wealth of information.

        • Rachel Jones February 23, 2016 at 11:10 am - Reply

          Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I agree that stares and attention will happen if you dress inappropriately (which is why I give the tips on how to dress less revealing), my comment about the only one to blame being men is in regards to rape, not staring and attention .. and I stand by that. In the US if a woman was laying topless it would be strange and people would like shocked, maybe angry at her, but she wouldn’t have fear that she would be raped for it. Men should know that rape isn’t a punishment or that a barely dressed woman isn’t asking for it.. so if the woman gets raped for how she is dressed I do blame only the man.

          • Sanskriti March 7, 2016 at 1:40 pm

            okay i did not read the post to which you replied because its too long and seems to be written from a narrow-minded perspective. Women get raped because a man rapes them, period. The way a woman dresses, or behaves or whatever does not cause rape. It is only due to psychological factors of the rapist that leads to rape and i do not wish to go into all that. My only concern is that since women’s clothing does not cause rape, tourists should feel free to wear whatever they like. there is no dress code in india except for religious places. Staring is a very annoying thing people do, but they do it everywhere in the world, not just in india. You would know since you have traveled much more than i have. so my message to all the people would be- wear whatever you want but if u can just not tolerate staring, then follow this post to guide your clothing choices. :)

          • Beco March 25, 2019 at 8:58 am

            Dear Birajk,
            When a woman or a female child is screaming and crying, but a man still continue to penetrate her to satisfy his desire, only cause of rape is the men.
            You have to imagine yourself in the process of hurting someone, then you will realize “ I could never be able to actually perform it”
            But these men could.

            Even if you have great deal of cultural differences and how the person is raised and what was influenced, it’s human nature to stop your behavior that makes a human being from screaming and crying from suffering.
            The complicated explanarion of the causes of rape culture is not persuasive AT ALL.
            A child being raped in proper clothing in any part of the world.
            How do we explain that ?
            Only Cause of the rape is men.

      • Sanskriti March 7, 2016 at 1:53 pm - Reply

        Indian men( the ones in small towns and villages) are not educated in this aspect. Due to this, even a harmless bollywood movie scene like- the hero trying to ask out a girl, she refuses, he asks again, she refuses, he keeps asking, finally the girl is like – “ok fine, i’ll go out on a date with you”, so the guys think- thats how u get a girl! so although bollywood is not the main cause, indirectly- due to lack of education, it does end up affecting the guy’s psyche…but yeah, nonetheless the direct cause is not educating the man about stuff like this..

  23. juxnz August 18, 2015 at 9:26 am - Reply

    I found it’s generally best to keep shoulders, knees and bum covered in India, and definitely nothing too tight. Respect the culture, while being true to yourself.
    As a Western woman, EVERYONE wants to have a photo with you at tourist spots, be very clear where your boundaries are (putting your arm around me is NOT ok!).
    Jeans and loose-fitting t-shirts were my go-to when I visited two years ago, plus a merino sweater and jacket for up north (Rajasthan) December/January – it can be pretty chilly that close to the Himalayas!
    Further south (and warmer), flowing skirts that cover my knees or capri pants with kurtis style shirts work well.
    I’ll shortly be embarking on my 2nd trip to India and this time will pack a couple of bum-covering, western-style linen shirts to wear with jeans/capris/skirts.
    Hope that helps!

  24. Freya September 3, 2015 at 12:20 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel!

    Thank you for this interesting and informative page about dressing in India. I am going to India on my first ever visit in October, and I have been doing some research about visiting as a solo female traveller, and have been noting how to dress. I found this and your other pages about India informative and balanced, which is really useful.

    I have a quick question, I was just wondering, I’ve actually found it quite difficult to find appropriate clothing over here in the UK, but have found some nice tops that would be suitable, however, they cover my crotch and bum, but if I lift my arms up to reach up for something they come higher than that. I was wondering, is this generally OK, or would it be better to find something a bit longer?

    Thank you for any advice you can offer!

    Kind regards,


    • Rachel Jones September 3, 2015 at 5:46 pm - Reply

      It’s better to have something a bit longer, but I’m in UK now and it’s not really the style, so it might be best to find a longer top in India in that case. Another thing I do, is tie a sweater around my waist. It covers my bum and just looks baggy and not sexy haha

  25. Dana September 8, 2015 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    hey Rachel, i am planning on moving to india to be a midwife over there and i was wondering if wearing a sari casually would be an odd thing to see from a westerner (seeing as you never see them)

    • Dana September 8, 2015 at 3:35 pm - Reply

      sorry i just realized it was the traditional ones you never see, but still, would a casual sari be an odd thing to wear?

    • Rachel Jones September 9, 2015 at 10:58 pm - Reply

      Hi Dana, yes I think people would find it odd :) you can wear a casual indian dress called salwar kameez

  26. Darunifah September 15, 2015 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel. I just found your blog today. tom i will go to india. Thanks GOD i found u. Thanks for your information rachel :-)

  27. Emily September 25, 2015 at 10:40 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel. I just found your blog and I have to say that I am so thankful! I am leaving for Bangalore for a work trip at the end of October, and I was/am very nervous about this. I will be a (mostly) solo female traveler, and as you can imagine, I have heard many stories about what happens to women traveling alone – none of them good. I’ve been devouring your posts for tips about how to conduct yourself and what to wear, and it’s slowly starting to make me less nervous. I’m going to be traveling for business, and will have to dress accordingly for that, but all your tips about being covered (especially since I’m going to be in the south) have been super helpful! I actually own the harem-style pants from Express mentioned in the comments, so I know I can wear them with a longer blouse. Thank you again for articles such as this, and I’m looking forward to reading through the rest of your posts!!

    • Rachel Jones September 29, 2015 at 3:47 pm - Reply

      Awesome Emily! I’m so happy the blog is helping you prepare :)

  28. Silvia Figueroa December 27, 2015 at 8:10 am - Reply

    I really love your posts!! Thank you

    I’m excited to be there :)


  29. Roxanne D'souza December 31, 2015 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    Hey Rachel, I found your article on Pinterest. I’m a Mumbai girl and I’ve learned from my experience in the city (and others) that each outfit has it’s location and context. When I would visit the clothing markets (Crawford, Mangaldas) during fashion school, I would wear a comfortable tunic that covered my hips, with fitted denims. Then if I was going out with my friends and was taking a taxi, I would wear a dress or a skirt (any length), but if I was taking an auto, I would pay more attention to the length and carry a cardigan or a scarf as well. And if I was travelling with my parents, I would wear whatever the hell I wanted.
    India is such a country, that no matter what you wear, you may get stared at. So it’s always better to be prepared. I’m a fashion blogger, and I cannot tell you how annoying this is at times. I get stared at when I’m wearing a very conservative dress with heels! So it’s always better to not attract attention.
    I found your tips good, however I must say the mentality of a majority of Indians (Especially the older ones and some regressive folks) is that it’s okay to flaunt your belly or your cleavage or even your open back with Indian clothes. But they will look down on you if you do the same in Western clothes. It’s a weird double standard, and to avoid it, it’s best to cover up till you reach your destination.


    • Rachel Jones January 2, 2016 at 12:10 pm - Reply

      That’s an interesting point, thank you so much for sharing! :D

  30. anna January 20, 2016 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    I really love the links you put for the clothings you’ve recommended to wear but sorry why no link for tank tops? The links below the tank tops are also long skirts.

    • Rachel Jones January 20, 2016 at 6:44 pm - Reply

      the duplicate should be taken out now. I don’t have tank top links because really any type will do! I like ones from ASAS called “the one” I think* super comfy!

  31. Victoria January 24, 2016 at 4:20 pm - Reply


    I have been stressing over clothes for India for months so this has been great, especially since I’m hitting other conservative places like Malaysia , Sri Lanka , and Nepal all in one go .

    Couple questions about your suggestions : jeans ?? Do jeans hold up against the heat well ? I have been traveling in Malaysia wearing some Harem pants like you suggested and getting near faint because of the heat and I imagine India would be worse ! Do jeans and hear not bother you there ?

    You responded to a comment above awhile back that maxi skirts and dresses aren’t cheap or easy finds .. does that still ring true ?

    You seem to suggest tank tops are a pretty flexible choice , is there any problem wearing those during the day to say restaurants or temples ? or does the tank top suggestion include a mandatory shoulder cover with a scarf ?

    Thank you so much . Still stressing ..

    • Rachel Jones January 25, 2016 at 3:39 pm - Reply

      Happy to help! I never wear jeans in India unless I’m in the mountains – it is SO uncomfortable to me. Harem pants are going to be better I think. The ones here are cheap & really thin, some nearly see-through so check that before you buy, but just go for pairs that are thin.

      Skirts and dresses- you can find them in malls like H&M and such but more expensive than home FOR SURE. you can buy dresses in tourist spots in the market stalls but they are very touristy looking and most are quite low cut and actually could only be worn in Goa. Outside goa, you’ll mostly just see harem pants sold.

      I am kind like w/e about tops– I wear tank tops everywhere and put a scarf on if i think I hsouldn’t be wearing a tank top (temples, select cities). all my indian girlfriends do in mumbai, delhi, bangalore, etc… and then all the tourist places it’s fine too- somewhere like varanasi , pushkar it’s not but putting a scarf over is ok in my opinion, but probably not in some traditional Indians opinion.

      • Victoria January 26, 2016 at 3:58 pm - Reply

        helpful as always, thanks again!

  32. Chris January 24, 2016 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    I am 59 and am seriously thinking of going to India in May. I know it will be very hot. Can’t imagine surviving the heat in jeans. Last year in Vietnam I was able to wear knee length shorts. Now I see that’s not an option. Lots of good advise but still not sure what to bring. I am joining a tour n only carrying a small backpack.

    • Rachel Jones January 25, 2016 at 3:41 pm - Reply

      Hi Chris, dudes here wear jeans in the heat- it’s crazy. My boyfriend travels all over India and wears his swim trunks (swear) and has never had one issue. Guys can wear shorts without being bothered because even if it’s not the norm, men just aren’t bothered here about anything, Indian dudes just don’t wear shorts normally, except some in Goa.

  33. Garnet February 6, 2016 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel, loving your blog! I’m going to be traveling around Goa, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh in March. I’m not too worried about clothing for Goa, but I was wondering if you thought a slightly fitted maxi/midi skirt would be acceptable with a long/loose tee shirt and kimono. I’m currently in Thailand and I’m really struggling with finding appropriate clothing!

    Thank you!

  34. kes February 29, 2016 at 11:29 am - Reply

    But I AM going to a tiny Village. :/ eep. my sister in laws wear full cover sari all the time only, even to bed. They assume i will too. they send my quit a few of them. I still can’t wrap them right.

    • Rachel Jones February 29, 2016 at 11:32 am - Reply

      They can help you once you are there! :) If a family is recommending it, then it’s always best to try and do what makes them happiest as long as you are comfortable.

  35. kes February 29, 2016 at 11:33 am - Reply

    I’m talking about south India Tamil Nadu Palayamkottai.

  36. kes February 29, 2016 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    Thanks, I’ll give it a shot.

  37. Sarah Candee March 11, 2016 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    Hi, Rachel!
    Just wanted to say a quick thank you, and that I adore your blog. I am traveling to India in 10 days. I am 17 years old and flying solo but I am meeting my brother, who lives in Bangalore, for my stay. I am very excited to be immersed in the culture and celebrate Holi as well. Your blog as certainly become one of my favorites. I have gotten a lot of insight from you and I really appreciate and respect your opinions. I have probably read more than half of your posts on India and they are all stored under my “India Favs” bookmark on my laptop. I believe this post was done particularly well. It helped me much more than other websites I searched.

    Thank you so much.
    Keep traveling and keep blogging.

    • Rachel Jones March 14, 2016 at 10:36 am - Reply

      Hi Sarah,

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate you taking the time to tell me that & I’m so glad to hear the blog has helped you plan. If you need anything just shoot me an email :) I hope you have a great trip!

  38. Rebecca Washum March 22, 2016 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Thanks so much for posting this. I was wondering, however, if you’re familiar with Indore. I’ll be there for about a month on business and I’m worried about dressing appropriately and not offending anyone. I usually wear knee length skirts, fitted tops, or a cami with a cardigan. I’m really trying to pack smart and avoid having to buy an entirely new wardrobe as well. I’ve read alot of other information that implied that it’s very conservative and even if you’re dressed inappropriately they won’t say anything despite disapproving.

    • Rachel Jones March 23, 2016 at 12:17 pm - Reply

      Indore might be more conservative. I would wear full length skirts or pants especially since you are there for business.

  39. ondulino March 28, 2016 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    I lived as an expat in Delhi for few years and I have been working for quite few Indian firms as only foreigner. I am not blonde but I have curly red hair and blue eyes, I am quite tall with big assets hence I would never dare to wear tank or any sort of tight top to start with. I know these days Indian girls wear anything including hot pants in Delhi but I get so many stares anyway that I do not want to add to people staring at me because I am ‘gori’ (white female) but also because I wear inappropriate clothing. As you suggested wearing scarf to cover chest and long skirt is great. I would also suggest trying typical Indian wear such long kurtas and churidas etc. These days there are so many amazing designers for ethnical clothing that it’s really great to wear it. Though it does look odd in Goa :) (tried it and felt like weirdo).

    • Rachel Jones March 30, 2016 at 1:27 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your insight! I agree in Goa it seems funny to wear Indian dress as a non-Indian.

  40. Kevin ucan April 21, 2016 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    That’s a good list of do’s and don’ts on how to dress in india. Thanks for sharing it with us. People traveling to India will benefit from this post.

  41. Dina May 3, 2016 at 1:55 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel,
    I wanted thank you for your tips. I’m visiting Goa in 2 weeks. two of my friends where suppose to come with me they couldnt get visa. I have been dreaming about this tripe for so long and I have dicede to go ahead as solo female traveler. I was wandering if I can get in touch with you when I arrive?
    Thank you,

  42. Lana May 18, 2016 at 5:16 am - Reply

    I am travelling to Hyderabad in June for work, is it appropriate at all for a woman to wear Bermuda dress shorts with a loner top and sandals?

    • Rachel Jones May 18, 2016 at 9:02 pm - Reply

      Hi Lana, No I don’t think so – I would wear long pants for work things or a maxi skirt – I am not sure what a loner top is but for work things you can’t go wrong with a buttoned up blouse

  43. katie July 5, 2016 at 8:46 am - Reply

    Great blog! I have been taking trips to India 1-2 times a year for 17 years (since I was 40 years old). Things have changed a lot over that time, as the cities become more modernized and westernized (as in Starbucks, Lavazza cafes, many western restaurants, malls, etc.). Re wearing traditional Indian dress, I have been pleasantly surprised to receive many compliments whenever i wear a sari–as in many comments such as “you are looking so good in a sari miss”–especially in Delhi, Mussorie, Lucknow and northern India. I hear this from women and men alike, and not in a suggestive manner just appreciative that you care for the traditions of India. The trick is knowing the basics so you don’t look trashy, and opting for conservative vs more revealing. Indian ladies love to help spruce you up so the sari looks perfect. But if there is nobody to help, even though my sari tying is so-so, staff at hotels and airports love it. In fact EVERY SINGLE airport security lady has complimented me when doing the check. And several times I’ve gotten upgrades just by asking, which i attribute to my sari :-). BTW a nice salwar Kameez tunic with scarf draped over the chest, and pants also does the trick, but I’d say the sari has an edge. In smaller villages definitely go with traditional Indian dress, western is not the way to go. Strangely, I once was wearing a maxi skirt/blouse combo on a trip to a small village and my very nice driver told me that ‘actually these types of skirts are not good to wear’–maybe my skirt was too much like a sari slip, and therefore it was like wearing your underwear since you should have a sari on top. Big cities–jeans and western wear are fine, but as noted here cover your bum, and it’s always good to drape a scarf over your chest. Looks sexy but refined at same time

  44. munmi gogoi August 9, 2016 at 9:39 am - Reply

    great post . but would like to add some more view point here .. it depends on which part of the country you are at . i lived in Delhi for 7 years and I used to wear all type of fashion and even bikinis in the pool . I used to go around the city with short pants and mini skirts , short tops , tank tops , dresses and practically whatever was comfortable . When i go to gym i use to wear my sports bra nice and comformtable .

    Same time if I had to travel I used jeans and tees or a jumpsuite because that is comfortable . I have never used a Scarf . May be while traveling in a train you should cover as much as possible also if you are going to temple but for day to day life normal cloths like skirt, jeans , tops , dresses etc are fine ..

    and well, if I am going in a village or for a family visit with all elderly people around I would wear jeans and tees which is really very very normal .

    • Rachel Jones August 9, 2016 at 7:13 pm - Reply

      Hi, yes in Delhi in some areas I also dress a little more freely, but in my experience these are the more wealthy areas like Gurgaon etc. I can’t imagine walking around a local market with a mini skirt on in Delhi and really don’t recommend anyone do that. Yes, I also mentioned jeans and t-shirts are a good option in most places, even in NE India in rural areas people wear them.

  45. Panghat Sarees August 23, 2016 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    Indian fashion, especially for women, is diverse and the Indian dresses for women change drastically depending on your location. On your first visit to India, you are surely going to get confused if you want to try out some local flavour in terms of dresses. However, thanks to this excellent post by Rachel Jones, you’re in good stead as far as the know-how for Indian dresses are concerned

  46. Hanna September 3, 2016 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    thank you for your great blog and travel posts :) they are very helpful. I am going to the coast Vishakhapatnam for work for one week and will be travelling to Delhi just for a few days as a tourist in November.

    I do not want to pack too much, so its a balance of business wear and casual wear for when im doing the tourist thing. Is it ok to wear jeans (they are skinny jeans) and then combine that with a high low type of top that covers the bum? and scarf?

    or would you say if you wear jeans that it should be loose fitting? then harem pants would i guess be better, with a t-shirt and scarf. For work i have several dresses that end at my knees, i guess again this is not good if its tight? So better to have loose pants with a long buttoned blouse? I will be teaching so i do not want to offend the staff and students.

    Thanks again..

    • Rachel Jones September 4, 2016 at 6:26 pm - Reply

      Yes to skinny jeans and low/high top. No problem for when you are tourist. I wear them all over India and although some foreigners have said “how dare you!” to me – it’s ridiculous as I have seen local girls in skinny jeans even as far up as Arunachal Pradesh villages :) At work, wearing dress pants is okay like suit trousers bottoms or a long dress. If the dress is to your knees it’s okay but not if it’s tight also… some do, for example in a hotel or airline the staff wear dresses which are tight and knee length so it’s not unheard of but you will already be getting extra attention. You could wear khaki pants and a button up top, flowy maxi skirt and flouncy top, a loose blouse with a knee length skirt that is a little tighter since the top is conservative if you really had to. But yes best to do dress pants that aren’t too tight and a button up top or blouse.

  47. kavya December 29, 2016 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    “indian men are not animals” . thats so generous of you to say that. its nice to see when someone reassures of the fact that certain people of a certain country are not in fact animals :)

    I used to think that not every american guy is an islamaphobic or racist . but alas , then trump came to power!

    thank you for the compliment tho. as an indian i feel so proud , that our country’s men are not in fact animals :)

    • Rachel Jones December 29, 2016 at 8:00 pm - Reply

      You should do yoga instead of getting yourself so passive aggressively worked up (smiley face). The sentence finishes “regardless of what the media says”. Most of what my blog does and break down stereotypes on India to get more tourists traveling here, which in turns helps India’s economy. It’s clear the concept is lost on you.

  48. kim ristedt March 11, 2017 at 6:16 am - Reply

    I loved your site and all your tips. I’m going to visit a guy….suggestions on how to still look feminine and culturally appropriate? Als shoes?….you posted about heels and a tight dress at night. Can you send me some examples? I don’t want to look ordinary

  49. Amrita April 19, 2017 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    Nice tips about dressing in India while Travelling. Keep Posting.

  50. Tisha Sharma April 30, 2017 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    I am a 23 old girl and I love to wear mini skirts but my parents won’t allow me. What should I do now?
    Please give me some good suggestions…
    Thank you

    • Rachel Jones May 1, 2017 at 12:37 pm - Reply

      Tisha… I’m not sure. It really depends on where you live as it’s not really that appropriate in India except in Goa. Also, if you are still living at home under your parent’s roof, best to follow their rules!

  51. Ravi S July 10, 2017 at 11:42 am - Reply

    Nice blog Thanks

  52. Racheal July 14, 2017 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    Racheal … I think the backless stuff that you are talking about maydepend on the area that you are going for. If you are in a place like Mumbai and Delhi it might work but not in Rajasthan. There are so many cultures , religious inter mingling that it is very important to take all this mind..Otherwise all the other points are right..Well written girl …It is some old karma that we share the same name …lol

  53. Jen August 10, 2017 at 11:52 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    Just got back from 2 weeks in India, where I traveled to BOM, B’lore, Mysore, Pune, Delhi. Awesome weather, monsoons and rain in full force just like i remembered it!
    I was born in Bombay and have not been back for 30 years. I was really concerned about getting sick etc. Naturally, things have changed so much, some for better, others for worse. Hygiene and sanitation, especially with regard to food service has improved greatly, as has the range of consumer products and various services due to the widespread introduction of technological advances.

    BTW, nice reply to Kavya on Dec. 29 :-)

    I really wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU to you, bcos your blog was most helpful.

    • Rachel Jones August 11, 2017 at 9:17 am - Reply

      Hahah yes kavya was really griding my gears lol so glad that the blog was helpful for you & happy to hear about how you feel its changed for the better here!

  54. Laura December 11, 2017 at 7:30 am - Reply

    Thanks for your tips on what women should wear when traveling to India.

    I’m headed to India in a couple of weeks where I will be taking a class at a University in Hubli for 2 weeks. While I’m there, I plan to go running on campus. Normally, I would wear (short) shorts and a sleeveless work out top to go running. Should I be worried about doing this on a college campus? If it matters, I am a 40 year old married woman (from the US), but my husband will not be with me.

    • Rachel Jones December 11, 2017 at 9:15 am - Reply

      No, don’t wear shorts running. I would wear leggings and then a longer loose tee shirt with it running even here in Goa :)

  55. […] Please note, for the ladies: India is a conservative country with different rules about what’s appropriate and what’s not than you might be used to. That said, it’s not as conservative as you may think – for example, crop tops and tank tops are perfectly fine to wear. For tips on how to dress from a Western woman who’s made India her home, check out this guide on how to dress in India […]

  56. Emie January 5, 2018 at 5:38 am - Reply

    It’s best to wear more modest and respectful clothing outside of the cities, New Delhi and Mumbai are super modern and open minded but do dress conservative in the suburbs and stay more covered, you’ll see very conservative Muslims and Hindus in Maharashtra for example and they aren’t going to be happy to see a Western person looking like Barbie dolls. Families live there and commute to Mumbai for work so consider the differencere.

    There are ways to dress for different occasions and several ways to wrap a dupatta depending on where you are going. It’s easier to stay away from that unless it’s for a wedding because you could wind up dressing like you are from Pakistan or East India and this could confuse people. For example different regions have styles and colors denoting that region. Clothes from Anthropologie seem to work well in Mumbai. Be respectful and people won’t purposely try to make you feel out of place. Of course Goa is a bad comparison because you can get away with walking around naked there. This is where locals go to let loose and when they go back home it’s back to business again. There are some places that are dangerous for women to walk around alone in India so do your research and don’t act helpless and let people push you around. Taxis are known for ripping off people too so now they’ve installed new technology as to attempt to keep them honest. Some Indian men have fetishes for western women so do be careful, seriously. Local Hindu women don’t even wear bathing suits in Goa. My husband is 100% Indian so I’ve seen the real India and past the fake tourist version of India. Trust me there is much of a show for tourists in India so don’t Go in blind. The people are very lovely and helpful as long as you don’t piss them off. That’s all I’m going to say. I love your style in your blog especially your Bali outfit! Happy travels!

  57. […] I’ve explained previously the Do’s and Don’ts for how to dress in India, but seeing as though here you are borderline also at a funeral, you should cover up even more than […]

  58. […] examples, you can see what I wore on my recent Rajasthan trip and even check out this post on what to wear in India so you can see outfits that I often wear here. If you want more tips, you can read what to wear in […]

  59. Redha Border February 25, 2018 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    Hello, does it apply the same as Hydrabad?

  60. […] that India is a very conservative country. Whether you are male or female, baggy and breathable clothing is always a far better choice than items which are tight and revealing. This is especially […]

  61. Brijraj May 21, 2018 at 11:24 pm - Reply

    That’s a brillant post and you explained everything so well.

    When it’s about small Indian cities, it’s good to dress up in Indian dresses – a sari or salwar kameez or kurta with churidar.

    Salwar kameez is the best, in case you’re very unsure about the whole thing. Moreover, different regions have diferent cultures but you can always carry off a good salwar suit anywhere in India – any city small or big.

  62. Liv June 24, 2018 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    Hi there, are cap sleeves appropriate? I’m going to Rajasthan in two weeks for the first time, and I’ve never really done boho, baggy or modest (I mostly dress like a pinup girl more than anything) – I’m trying to find things from my wardrobe that I can wear without buying heaps of new clothes that I’ll never wear again!

  63. Marion Bilello July 2, 2018 at 8:12 am - Reply

    I enjoyed reading your posts. My 17yr old daughter is traveling to Goa late July/early August ALONE to do volunteer work for 2 weeks. Any recommendations? I am very worried!

    • simran July 4, 2018 at 4:51 pm - Reply

      Goa is the best place to visit in India during this season. just ask your daughter to be safe and she is goo to go. I am from Delhi, the capital of India. Being an Indian girl, I can assure you this is the best state for partying and to roam around the beaches.

  64. Simran Mishra July 4, 2018 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    Hie! I am from Delhi. Being an Indian i can totally understand you worrying about your daughter visiting India. only thing i would like to recommend you is that Indians loves to welcome visitors. ” atithi devo bhava” meaning “The guest is equivalent to God” is the term we Indians believe in. I do agree with the fact that there have been some incidents which have degraded the image of India internationally. but there is no country in the world where no crime has ever been committed. India is growing and in a very swift manner. Indian culture is the oldest culture in the world which is still being practiced. I don’t feel it is wrong to wear traditional dress in your country. No one is going to restrict anyone to wear that they want either.
    we love to welcome you and do visit places in India. There are some developing issues that India is still working on. But talking only about the negative side of a country is not going to help.

  65. simran July 4, 2018 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    Girls wear skirts, shorts, shirts, tubes, jeans in every city being it Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata or Bangalore just to list a few. yes Goa is a bit more cool to show some skin.

  66. Madras Shorts August 1, 2018 at 11:25 am - Reply

    Scarfs, scarfs are everything! Indians may wear jeans but they look beautiful wearing maxi skirts.

  67. Evan August 2, 2018 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    Hi! I love your blog. I’m about to head to India for 3 weeks. North and south (for a wedding). Any tips of dressing for men? Are the guidelines less strict?

Like the Article? Leave a Reply