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If you’re wondering what to wear in India, traveler Belinda from Travelling Belle has offered Travel Fashion Girl an inside peek at backpacker fashion during her current trip in the country.

Knowing how to dress in India can mean the difference between a positive and negative experience so read on and check out our India Packing List for more info.


Backpacker Fashion: What to Wear in India

by Belinda


India is without a doubt one of the most amazing countries in the world, the country is so diverse, rich in history, culture, religion and food all of which create the perfect destination for an inquisitive traveller to explore and enjoy.

My first exposure to India was in 2011 when I did a 4 week stint in Northern India exploring Rajasthan, Agra, Delhi and Varanassi, this experience inspired me so much that in 2012, I returned to explore more of this fascinating nation.





Indian Culture


Despite the fact that India is emerging as an economic super power, Indian culture is still incredibly traditional, particularly in regional and holy cities.

Whilst there is a huge emerging fashion industry and market in India; particularly in major metropolitan cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata; Indian women still dress incredibly traditionally and the Sari is worn by millions of women around the country.

Even with the mass amounts of western tourists frequenting India, the way we dress and behave can ultimately determine how we are treated by both men and women.

Unfortunately, western women can attract some unwanted attention from men, so in order to combat this, it is imperative to dress conservatively aka, cover our knees and shoulders!





Shopping in India


Without a doubt, India is my most favorite shopping destination in the world, local markets in pretty much every city are stocked with cheap clothes, jewelry, shoes and food and big cities stock major international retail brands at a fraction of the price that we, as westerners pay back home.

Recently whilst in Mysore, I purchased a pair of genuine Levi Jeans for only 2,600INR ($47USD) and a tank for 500INR ($9USD) and in Hampi I purchased a leather satchel and silver Indian moonstone ring for 1,800INR ($33USD).

Gone are the days when you would travel to Hong Kong or Thailand to shop to update your wardrobe, India has it all as well as a huge array of cultural activities to indulge in at bargain prices.





What to Wear in India


Personally when I travel to India I have a few essential items that I pack with me  and I buy the rest as I go.  The ‘Happy Pants’ are hugely popular in western tourists, however I personally don’t think that they flatter anyone!   A few of the essentials that I pack when travelling through India that are mentioned in Travel Fashion Girls “India Packing List” include:

  • Leggings either full length or ¾ are great, it’s worth investing in a good pair that are designed to wick away sweat as it can be incredibly hot in India!
  • Light weight cargo’s, my personal favorites are some that I purchased in Australia that can be worn long or as ¾ pants, thus providing some flexibility to my wardrobe.
  • Ribbed tanks in plain colors, these are great as you can throw a shawl around your shoulders when you need to dress conservatively.
  • Comfortable shoes, these are essential as many of the Indian sites require a lot of walking around, whilst not the most fashionable shoes, I stick to my Chaco’s as they provide excellent arch support and have fantastic grip on rocky surfaces.


Read TFG’s ultimate guide to choosing travel shoes!





Most of the clothes that I wear in India I actually purchase over there, I find that there are so many beautiful Punjabi tops that you can buy for under 100INR ($2USD) that are light weight and cotton, I find these tops great when I go back to Australia as they are perfect to wear as kaftans over bikini’s at the beach!



Thank you so much Belle for your insider tips on backpacker fashion and how to dress in India! Don’t forget to check out Travelling Belle to find out more about her travels to India. Her stories will make you want to book your next trip to Delhi!

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Author: Belinda is an Australian girl who has always had a passion for travel and photography and has so far visited over 18 countries around the world.  In 2012, Belinda made the decision to pack her backpack and embark on a round the world adventure as a solo female traveler.