Guest post by Esra Alhamal – a Saudi travel blogger based in London. She shares her travel experiences as an Arab Muslim woman traveling solo or with friends on YouTube and on her travel blog, Arabian Wanderess. Esra focuses on Muslim female friendly destinations worldwide and her travel interests are architectural heritage and outdoor activities.
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Fashion is very fascinating and seeing it around the world makes it even more intriguing. Cultures and countries around the world have their own definition of fashion. With travelling, I learnt to appreciate what each country has to offer. Fashion styles also change based on the season. Visiting a country in the summer might give you a completely different feel from the winter season. This post will give you a little insight of what women tend to wear in some of the countries I have visited: Sri Lanka, Iran, Turkey, Morocco and Italy plus some advice to how you should dress when visiting each one.
Fashion in Sri Lanka
Explosions of colours are not only in India but they are far reaching to their neighbouring country, Sri Lanka. I was met with colours everywhere and I loved that. The ladies walking down the streets usually wear a bright top and a skirt giving them a modern aura that is true to their colourful heritage. Although women attires are bright, the school children usually dress in one colour. I saw school children wearing all white and yellow. Everyone was practical in their clothing and I loved it.
What to Wear When Visiting Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka is a mostly conservative country, so keeping it light and modest is always a good idea. Wearing a knee length skirts, short sleeves t-shirt look like the fashion style of choice. Jeans are also very popular, but they are usually too hot to wear in over 30 degrees weather. I mostly wore cotton trousers and maxi jumpsuits. Keep in mind that you need to uncover your head and cover your legs and shoulders if you are going to one of their temples. Whatever you plan to wear, make sure you pack mosquito repellent because they ate me ALIVE! A good natural one is lemon grass spray.
Fashion in Iran
Iran is usually under scrutiny especially when it comes to what women are wearing because the law regulates their dress code. However, I am not going to discuss that. I am just reporting on what I saw when I was in that gorgeous country. Women in Tehran are more in control of their appearance and you will see more colours with some funky designs that incorporate Persian calligraphy and patterns. The most usual thing to wear is a jacket-like-top known as Mantu with jeans or trousers. Most of the colours are dark reds and blues. In smaller cities, women mostly wear black. The younger girls usually wear floral or patterned scarf with dark colours, a long loose top and a pair of skinny jeans. Iranian women really take care of their make up and the front part of their hair that shows. Plastic surgery is also common there and I saw many ladies, who got their noses done out and about.
What to Wear When Visiting Iran?
Finding suitable clothes to wear in Iran is not as hard as you think. You need to pack at least one scarf to drape over your head. It can be loose and not fully covering all your hair. In terms of clothing, anything long-sleeves and maxi is perfect. I wore maxi dresses with a long-sleeve cardigan and long tops with comfy loose cotton trousers.
Fashion in Turkey
Although Turkey is another Muslim country, but the European influence gives this beautiful country a whole new fashion style. It is a rich mix of very chic modest clothing and trendy European styles. Not to mention that silk is the thing you want to buy when you visit. My friends and I always top up on our patterned silk scarves when we visit. They are about £25 for one gorgeous square. In general, Turks are a stylish nation. The ones I have seen anyway. You can get clothes from the traditional market if you want to haggle, or you can go to their shopping malls and buy local and international brands. The clothes there are cheaper than the UK, but not by a huge amount. You still need a healthy budget to spend on clothes there.
What to Wear When Visiting Turkey?
Turkey is very relaxed in terms of clothing. You can wear whatever you please especially in Istanbul. It gets more conservative the further you go in the country more specifically the Asian side of Turkey. Jeans are very common there if you want to fit in.
Fashion in Morocco
Now we are moving to North Africa, where colours are celebrated. Entering the Souq/Market in Marrakech will instantly fill you with life. Everything there has a colour; the spices, the patterns and the traditional dresses that women wear there, known as Jilabah. The Jilabahs can be casual, fluffy or very fancy fit for a wedding. You will see a lot of women wearing theses in markets and around the neighbourhood. Regular western clothing of jeans and modest tops are very common as well.
What to Wear When Visiting Morocco?
Morocco is a Muslim country with a conservative culture. I would advice you to wear something modest especially when you are wandering in the market and the old part of town. The more skin you show, the more you would attract attention. Jeans, tops that cover your bust and maxi dresses are usually perfect. Inside the Moroccan hotels known as Riyads or in resorts with pools you are usually not bothered for whatever you choose to wear.
Fashion In Italy
It’s only right to end this post with Italy, a country known for its fashion and sophisticated style. When I visited Italy, everyone was dressed really nicely as you would expect! A lot of the fashion was practical, but still effortlessly stylish. I noticed that a lot of the women wear knee length dresses in the summer with minimal prints. Solid colours seemed to be in when I visited.
What to Wear When Visiting Italy?
You can wear whatever you like in Italy, although, I would advise you to try to look less touristy. For example, wearing a tracksuit to just walk down the streets might not be a great idea. No one will say anything to you, but everyone will know that you are new to town. Also, SHOES! Heels are very difficult to walk in with all their cobblestone roads so walking shoes and wedges –if you must- might be a better option.
Read: First Time in Rome
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