Are you looking for what to wear in India for men and women? India is one of our favorite countries in the entire world and we are excited for you to experience it too! This India packing list will help you pick what to wear in India that is both appropriate and comfortable! We are going to preface this article and say that India is a massive country with pretty much every climate imaginable! This post also includes our real suggestions of what we actually wore to India so you know you are in good hands because these items are tried and true!
This post is going to focus on general tips and suggestions on what to wear in India but please modify based on where you are traveling in the country as well as your travel style! We recognize that not all women like to wear dresses or floral items which is why we have included options for multiple styles. Seasons also matter when choosing items for your India packing list, but again, our tips included here are general. You may be visiting Goa or Kerela, which are warmer climates, Rajasthan which is in the desert, of going hiking in the Himalayas [if that is you then this post probably isn’t for you heehee].
When choosing what to wear for India, it is important to think light clothing and modest wear, for both men and women. For men, walking around in a tank top and shorts just isn’t something you do in India. For ladies, leave the crop top, short skirt, and tank top at home, unless you are going to the beach in Goa, in which case, all things go! Our India packing list will provide general guidance on what to wear in India and will help you get started on packing appropriate and comfortable clothing.
Remember, many parts of India, especially popular destinations such as Delhi, The Taj Mahal, Goa, and Mumbai are all located in a very warm climate. That means that even when you travel in winter, the weather won’t be very cold. It may get a bit chilly at night, but unless you visit somewhere in the Northern part of India or in the mountains, you won’t have to worry about heavy jackets or boots, especially if you are visiting the popular tourist sites.
What To Wear In India For Women
Women, when figuring out what to pack for India, think conservative but pretty. While India isn’t the most conservative country in the world, it is quite modest compared to many. With proper preparation, this isn’t a problem at all. This means that you must leave your mini skirts, spaghetti straps, backless dresses and tops, crop tops and more at home. When choosing what to wear in India, consider the cultural customs and respect them at all costs! Plus, Indians know how to dress for their climate and as a Floridian, I wear many of the light and airy clothes I bought for India on a daily basis.
Best Clothes To Wear In India
Long Flowy And Modest Dresses
The best type of dresses to consider when figuring out what to wear for India are long dresses that are also modest. When you arrive in India, you will see that women are wearing long flowy clothing and it is a wonderful way to beat the heat. I absolutely love this Milumia Women’s Button Up Flowy Party Maxi Dress and currently own it in 5 colors. I lived in it when I traveled through India and I highly recommend it! It is light and airy, modest, colorful, and comfy! If you want even longer sleeves, you can choose the Milumia Long Women’s Button Up Split Floral Print Flowy Dress and I own that style in two colors.
Kurtas are a style of Indian clothing that look like this. They are essentially a longer tunic worn over legging-style pants. They are very popular in India and we highly recommend them for what to wear in India. You can buy Kurtas in India when you arrive if you want really affordable clothing in lots of colors, but we suggest bringing at least one to wear when you arrive. We like this W for Woman 3/4th Sleeve Kalidaar kurta which comes in multiple colors as well as this Jaipur Kurti Women Indian Casual Long Tunic which is a bit more affordable. Kurtas are a comfortable way to explore India and should be considered for your India packing list.
Multiple Scarves And Pashminas
When planning what to wear in India, you cannot and should not forget to bring scarves and pashminas! They are probably the most important thing on your India packing list! When visiting India, you will be going into a lot of temples, mosques, and more, where you will be required to cover your head out of respect. If you are wearing a colorful scarf, all you have to do is pop it over your head and you can go right on in!
Scarves and pashminas also protect you from the sun and heat and help you fit in with the local culture! Choose something light like this GERINLY Lightweight Scarves: Fashion Lace Design Shawl Wrap For Women and buy more authentic scarves when you get to India! This is the most important item when choosing what to wear in India so you should pack multiple colors and styles!
Light And Airy Jumpsuits
Jumpsuit, pantsuit, romper, whatever you want to call it, you will want to add it to your list of what to wear in India. If you don’t love dresses and want different options, a jumpsuit will be the perfect thing to add to your India packing list. If you are packing for India and want to include a jumpsuit, make sure to choose one that has sleeves like this Truly Me Women’s Floral Print Sleeveless Wide Leg Pants Jumpsuit so you are covered. Not only will the sleeves adhere to local customs, they will also provide relief from the beating sun!
Read next: 10 Tips For Booking Luxury Trains In India
Flowy Harem Pants
Let me tell you, western women LIVE in Harem pants in India. If you are choosing what to wear in India and don’t like wearing dresses, consider some harem pants such as these Urban CoCo Women’s Floral Print Boho Yoga Pants that come in multiple colors. Even if you typically wear jeans, we urge you forgo them when traveling to India, or only bring one pair, in lieu of a more comfortable and airy option! Plus, you will fit right in in colorful India with Harem pants.
Cotton Tops And Shirts
Cotton is one of the best materials out there to choose when lining up what to wear for India. Cotton keeps you cool and regulates your body temperature unlike many other types of fabric. If you are going to be wearing pants, choose some casual cotton tops like this Herou Women’s Casual Crew Neck Top to include on your India packing list. If you prefer something more airy that is a bit less casual, go for a blouse like this Gloria Vanderbilt Ladies’ V-Neck Embroidered Top to keep you cool while choosing what to wear in India.
Maxi-skirts are a wonderfully versatile piece to include on your list of what to wear in India! They are modest, flowy, and loose-fitting which will make you fit in with other Indian locals. If you really want to fit in, skip black or white and go with a vibrant color such as yellow, orange, pink, or blue! I own this Women Summer Chiffon High Waist Maxi Skirt and the fabric is incredibly breathable for India. It also comes with multiple belts!
Cotton Leggings And A Long Top
If you really aren’t into colorful or flowy clothing or aren’t comfortable wearing it, that is okay! A simple pair of cotton leggings like these No Nonsense Women’s Cotton Legging are perfect to add to your India packing list. If you go this route, remember that India is more conservative so you should wear a top that covers your backside and is a bit longer as leggings are more tight fitting. This is why we recommend a kurta or similar style of dress if you want to add pants to your India packing list. Choosing a long top like this MIDOSOO Womens Casual V Neck Cuffed Sleeve Button Down Loose Blouse will make what to wear in India a breeze!
Kimonos are a wonderful and affordable thing to include on your list of what to wear in India. They instantly make many outfit choices modest and India-ready and add a splash of color to your outfits! If you already own lots of tank tops of spaghetti strap tops and don’t want to buy something new, don’t worry! Simply bring a Kimono like our favorite OLRAIN Women’s Floral Print Sheer Loose Kimono and wear it over your tank top or sleeveless dress for modesty! Kimonos are so easy to add to your India packing list and very affordable if you don’t want to go buy a whole new wardrobe for your trip!
When choosing what to wear in India, you may be looking for the perfect pants to include that aren’t leggings or harem pants and we have got you covered! You should consider a more active style pant for your India packing list like these Columbia Women’s Full Leg Roll-Up Aruba Pant that come in multiple colors and sizes. Travel pants or even hiking pants are created to be lightweight and cool which makes them the perfect item when picking what to wear in India.
Best Women’s Shoes For Your India Packing List
We cannot say enough how important supportive sandals that slip on and off easily are when deciding what to wear in India. I wore these Vionic Women’s Amber Sandals every single day in India for two weeks and I could have survived on just these shoes and nothing else! Sandals should be easy to take on and off because you will have to be barefoot when entering places of worship and there are quite a few to visit in India so you will want the process to be quick and easy!
Comfortable Ballet Flats
Ballet flats or any other sort of closed-toe shoe are perfect for what to wear in India because they are easy to take on and off, breathable, and comfortable to walk in. That being said, don’t choose a pair of ballet flats you bought down the road, your feet will be crying at the lack of support! Choose a ballet flat specifically designed for travel such as these Merrell Women’s Zoe Sojourn Ballet E-Mesh Q2 Flat which I wore in India. They are like walking on little clouds!
Sturdy Walking Shoes
Although you can totally get away with only the two suggestions above for your India packing list like I did, you may want to include some sturdy walking shoes just in case. During my time in India, I went on a tiger safari, so I was thankful to have sturdy walking shoes like my Columbia Women’s Redmond Waterproof Trail Shoe for exploring the reserve. If you want something nicer or more city-friendly, a good quality pair of shoes like these Sketchers or something similar are the perfect shoes when searching for what to wear in India.
What To Wear In India For Men
When choosing what to wear in India, guys also need to consider modesty, comfort, and respectfulness. This means no T-shirts with scantily clad women, no ultra-revealing tank tops that show everything, and no clothing with profanities. Shorts are, but most Indian men don’t wear them as much in the cities [that we saw or have heard] unless they are going to the beach or jungles so we recommend sticking to long pants or longer shorts if you want to go that route! As with our women’s suggestion above, your clothes on your India packing list should be created with breathable fabrics so you are comfortable during your visit.
Men’s Clothes To Pack For India
Western men may be tentative to pack a Kurta, but they are one of the best things to include on your India packing list. Many men in India wear Kurtas or some sort of tunics over pants. If you want to wear your own pants, consider simply buying a Kurta/Tunic top such as In-Sattva Men’s Indian Classic Pure Cotton Kurta Tunic which comes in multiple colors. When choosing what to wear in India, remember that you want light and airy fabrics so you aren’t very hot and a Kurta is the perfect clothing item to tick those boxes.
Jogger-style pants are great to add to your India packing list for men because they are breathable and comfortable. While they are a bit more tight fitting around the ankle, the fabric is loose around the legs which helps you stay cool when traveling in India. Terrence likes this pair of Casual Gym Workout Track Pants which come in multiple colors and sizes. Make sure to look at the material that the jogger pants are made out of. Bonus points if you find cotton ones!
When choosing what to wear in India, remember to look for natural fabrics such as cotton! Cotton t-shirts will keep you cool and will help with wicking away moisture should you sweat in the Indian heat. Shirts like this Men’s Short-Sleeve Crewneck Cotton T-Shirt fit the bill perfectly and go with multiple other items on your India packing list.
Breathable Button Down Shirts
If you are hitting the town or going out to dinner, a t-shirt may not be what to wear in India for you. Instead, you may want to consider a nice breathable button down shirt like this Men’s Slim-Fit Long-Sleeve Solid Oxford Shirt. You can choose to add both a long and short sleeve button down to your India packing list so that you have options. Button down shirts are breathable and work well with other items on this India packing list. If you are visiting India during the winter, you may want to choose a heavier material for added warmth.
Although you may choose to bring jeans when deciding what to wear in India, we recommend choosing a pair of lightweight pants instead. Indian men do wear jeans and Terrence brought a pair during our trip, but he mainly wore lightweight pants and joggers for the duration of the trip. These Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Pants go nicely with a cotton t-shirt or casual button down and will keep you cool and shaded from the sun during your trip.
Men, depending on what temples or mosques you are going into, you may be required to cover your heads as well. This happened a few times and Terrence did not have a head covering so he had to use one that thousands of other people use. That is why we highly recommend packing your own bandana like this affordable Levi’s Men’s Printed Bandana Set so you can have one with you at all times! When thinking about what to wear in India, you may not think you need a head covering, but depending on the temple, you may and it is better to be safe than sorry!
Best Men’s Shoes To Pack For India
When choosing what to wear in India, make sure to pack footwear that will be good on your back! You will be exploring and will be seeing lots of different sites so you want your shoes to be supportive and sturdy! We love these Vionic by Orthaheel Boyes Men’s Sandal and they are a great quality shoe to add to your India packing list.
Sturdy Walking Shoes
If you aren’t the kind of guy who is open to adding sandals to your list of what to wear in India, that is okay! Some men like a more sturdy shoe and that is okay! Make sure your shoes are breathable when figuring out your India packing list. This is why we recommend a hiking shoe such as Columbia Men’s Redmond Hiking Boot for your trip to India. Shoes that are sturdy and good for walking while at the same time being light and airy will be a godsend in India!
Lightweight Slip-On Sneakers
You should consider a lightweight pair of slip-on sneakers when choosing what to wear in India because you will have to take your shoes off when visiting temples. Shoes such as these Men’s Lightweight Breathable Mesh Casual Shoes are breathable, lightweight, and very easy to slip on and off so you can explore a place of worship! They also pack light and are a great option for exploring cities in India.
These choices of what to wear in India will get you started planning your India packing list! Remember to modify this list based on your personal style, what season you are traveling, and where you plan to visit in India. If you are traveling during the cooler months, pack leggings to wear underneath your dresses and skirts so you can still stick with the cultural norms while being warm! Figuring out what to wear in India doesn’t have to be hard of confusing! Just make sure what you bring is lightweight, modest, flowy, and go colorful if you are willing!
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