I’m very happy to share that my article has been published in this month’s Marathi magazine ‘Tanishka’ by Sakal.
Here’s the English version for you all……
I love experimenting with fashion since childhood. But being a doctor (anaesthesiologist), I rarely get a chance to dress up beyond O.T. scrubs. Since I love travelling, I make it a point to visit a new place once in 2-3 months. So during my trips, I experiment with fashion.
These days, in this busy and stressful life, awareness about travelling is increasing. When you visit a new place, you get a break from your routine and this break is very important to reduce the stress. In this world of social media, sharing your vacation pictures with your friends and relatives has become easier. When you are sharing pictures on social media, you want to look presentable. So, nowadays people specially go shopping before the trip. But most of the times they are confused about what to buy. Cause if you buy wrong stuff, your travel can be inconvenient or uncomfortable or sometimes if you wear something completely different from the locals, you can feel awkward. That’s why you have to combine your style with your comfort. And you can never go wrong if you wear clothes similar to locals incorporating your own style into it.
I would like to give you all some tips based on my experiences and mistakes. So that your travel will be stylish as well as comfortable….
1. Do thorough research about the place you are visiting and get to know about the weather, local traditional costumes, their culture, religion and the activities you would be engaging in.
2. The most important thing while travelling is ‘travelling light’. But for keeping your travel wardrobe stylish, people tend to carry lots of stuff. How to avoid this? Best solution to travelling light it ‘mixing and matching’. By mixing and matching, you can reduce the number of clothes and accessories. Even if you repeat clothes and accessories, since you style in different ways, it does look different and nice. Carry more of skirts, pants, tops than one piece dresses where you have more scope for mixing and matching. It’s very very important if you are backpacking. E.g. We had done backpacking in East Europe where I carried few clothes and mixed and matched them. I wore one black skirt multiple times with different tops.
Black skirt with different tops
3. Always carry one nice dress and a pair of dress shoes when you travel. Cause there are some times when you suddenly decide to attend an event or visit restaurants that have a dress code. Or sometimes while travelling you befriend the locals and get invited for dinner or a drink. These are the times when you don’t wanna look like a tourist. E.g. When we visited Prague, we decided to go for a ballet show in national opera house. It was my first opera experience. I had heard that people dress up well for an opera. So I wore a dark blue skirt and top and accessorised it with an embellished belt, cute shoes and a silver stole. Completed the look with dark lipstick.
Dreesed up for Opera!
4. When we visit a new place, we usually buy souvenirs. After buying, you can’t resist wearing them. But teaming up those things with your outfit can become tricky. To avoid wearing completely mismatched outfit, carry some basic clothes. E.g. In Meghalaya women wear Jainsen (a checkered sarong). I bought that during my Meghalaya trip and wore it with my basic top and red skirt and completed the look with beaded necklace from Meghalaya. I even bought some shawls there and wore one of the shawls and beaded necklaces with a blue dress.
Jainsen and beaded necklaces in Meghalaya
5. The most important thing during travelling is ‘good walking shoes’. Walking a lot goes hand in hand with travelling and if that is uncomfortable, travelling becomes less enjoyable. I learnt this from my mistakes. E.g. Visiting lonar crater was a sudden plan. So I went there without proper research. Since the crater is a very big meteor impact crater, there’s a small trek to reach the lake. And I was wearing juttis/mojris. Plus it started raining to add to my inconvenience and things got difficult. However the pictures turned out to be beautiful. Since then I always carry a pair of good walking shoes wherever I go.
At Lonar crater
6. Camouflage or military print is big time in trend these days. It looks cool. But avoid it while travelling because it’s not allowed at some of the places and you can get into trouble.
Avoiding this print is always better when visiting a new place
7. Always carry a swimsuit. Most of the hotels have swimming pool. Plus it doesn’t occupy much space. You never know when you will need it.
Carrying swimsuit to the trek was a good decision!
8. Whichever way you are travelling, train, plane, car, bus, train, your clothes should be such that you can comfortably sit for hours e.g. loose pants, leggings, tee shirt etc. Always carry a jacket and a stole. If you are travelling by road, sunglasses are must. Your handbag should be big enough to keep things you need during travel.
My comfy travel looks…
9. Always study about the culture, local life, religion of the place you are visiting. If you are travelling in Islamic countries or visiting any religious place or travelling in rural part of India, avoid wearing revealing clothes or body hugging clothes. Try to wear clothes similar to what locals wear.
Me in Indian wear at Golden Temple, Amritsar
10. Sometimes you can add fun element to your travel outfit. You can wear clothes similar to the environment like wearing something in shades of blue on a beach. Or you can select a print similar to environment. E.g. I had worn a palm printed jumpsuit in a Kerala resort which was full of coconut trees. Similarly I wore malyali letters printed dress the other day. In Amsterdam which is famous for its bicycles, I wore a bicycle printed skirt.
This is how I added some fun elements to my outfits
11. Beach destination: If beach destination is on your mind, you should carry light weight breathable clothes cause the weather near the beaches is humid. Cotton clothes are the best. Lycra, chiffon is also good. Any colour looks good on the beach. Similarly printed or plain, you can go for anything. E.g..floral and foliage print looks good. If you are going in the water swimsuit is must. But if you are just planning to explore nearby places, you can wear summer dresses, shorts, skirts, maxi dresses etc. In swimwear there are different types like bikini, monokini, tankini and within these styles you get various patterns. You can select that according to your liking and comfort. If you are planning to go in the water as well as planning to explore the nearby places, you can wear your dress over your swimwear. After spending time on the beach, if you are going to the beach cafe or restaurant, you can throw a nice cover up over your swimsuit. I love sheer cover ups. Even white cover ups are in trend. They look good with colourful swimwear. Flip flops, flat sandals or jelly shoes are perfect for the beach. Carry a waterproof bag or picnic basket. Wear beautiful hats to protect from harsh sunrays. Beaded accessories look good on beach. But if you are going for adventurous sports, avoid accessories. The most important accessory on the beach is sunglasses. Polarised sunglasses are better cause sunrays reflects from the water surface and there’s glare. E.g. In Mauritius, we were visiting an island, where I wore a high low skirt and a cropped jacket over a swimsuit. It looked cool and it even saved my time at the changing room.
Me in Mauritius
12. Desert safari: The weather is extreme in deserts….afternoons are very hot and nights are very cold. So you should choose clothes accordingly. Cotton clothes are the best. But you have to carry shawl and jacket as it gets cold in the night. Solid colours look good against the background of sand dunes. With solid colours, there’s lot of scope for accessorising. You can wear nice oxidized silver or dull gold statement piece. Usually there are lot of adventurous activities in desert safaris. So your outfit should be comfortable. E.g. Harem pants, palazzo pants, loose pants, jumpsuits etc. To protect yourself from harsh sunrays, wear stole, scarf or bandana over your head instead of caps or hats. Cap and hats are sometimes not very comfortable because of wind. And scarf or bandana adds charm to your bohemian look. You can wear printed or colourful scarf. Avoid wearing closed shoes to prevent sand getting inside your shoes. Open sandals are better. Sunglasses are must. E.g. When I had gone for dessert safari at Abu Dhabi, I wore a maroon jumpsuit and a scarf. I made a mistake of wearing closed shoes which were very uncomfortable. But luckily I had carried slippers with me.
Desert safari (did you notice I changed my uncomfy shoes to slippers?)
13. Hill stations: When you are visiting hill stations, you have to carry jackets, sweaters, shawls, caps, boots, thermal inners etc. These clothes are usually heavy. So it becomes tricky to make variations in your looks. Best solution to this problem is to carry just one or two jackets or sweaters and carry different caps, scarves or gloves. At some places, weather is unpredictable. At such places, you have to wear clothes in layers. There’s so much scope for mixing and matching when you wear layers. Accessories should be minimal. Statement necklaces look good when paired with sweaters. If you are going in snow, snow boots and reflector sunglasses are must.
One jacket and three beanie caps (Switzerland)
14. National reserves / Animal safaris: For safaris in national parks, you should wear clothes similar to jungle environment e.g. neutral colours like military green, khaki brown, off white etc. These clothes should be casual and comfortable. You can wear tee shirts, shirts, pants, shorts etc. You can add a jacket, hat, sunglasses etc. Good walking shoes are must. Tan coloured shoes and bags look good when combined with safari clothes. Avoid colourful clothes or dark clothes. Mosquitoes are attracted to the dark colours. Avoid white as it gets dirty and animal print is strict no no.
15. European cities: Europeans wear clothes according to seasons…. summer, spring, autumn, winter. In summer and spring you can wear floral or bright colours. Skirts, summer dresses and ballerina shoes are perfect. In winter and autumn, you can wear darker colours, jackets and boots. In some of the European cities people prefer wearing dark or neutral colours like blue, black, grey and the the most red. But not other bright colours. At such places if you wear something bright, you might feel awkward. Closed shoes are perfect because it’s difficult to walk on paved streets with open footwear. You can carry one little black dress for evening.
16. South East Asia: Most of the South East Asian countries are liberal except for a few. You can wear anything in these countries. But one thing you have to keep in mind that there are many Buddhist and Hindu temples in these countries and it is not allowed to wear short clothes when visiting these temples. Most of the temples provide you with sarong or a cover up. But you never know if it will look good with your clothes. To avoid that you can either wear maxi dresses or skirts or carry your own sarong or a stole to cover if wearing anything short. And don’t forget to wear easy to remove footwear as you have to enter the temples barefoot.
17. Middle Eastern countries: Most of the middle eastern countries are Islamic. Local women mostly wear abaya. At such places you should be careful about not hurting their religious feelings. As far as possible you should avoid wearing short or tight clothes. You can wear conservative maxi dress or pants. Always carry a scarf if you are visiting a mosque because you have to cover your head.
18. Cruise: Cruise is like a five star hotel. Usually they have lot of events and parties in the evening. You can wear casual dresses during day time and wear party wear dresses in the night. Swimsuit and cover up is a must. Nautical (stripped) clothes look good in that environment.
These are the things which I learnt from my experiences. You can always make your own variations and TRAVEL IN STYLE!