What Not to Wear On Your Next Trip

Be it cultural, religious or socially unacceptable, don’t wear these items when visiting the following destinations.

Image courtesy streetpeeper.com.

Camo is cute. Just don’t bring it to certain Caribbean countries. Image courtesy streetpeeper.com.

These days pretty much anything goes (wardrobe-wise) in North America. But not every country follows the same laissez faire fashion attitude — whether that’s because of cultural, religious or social reasons. Dress codes aren’t always obvious and what’s considered acceptable can greatly differ from one country to the next. The repercussions can be serious too — be it refusal into the country or even arrest. Find out what you shouldn’t be wearing, where.


In certain Caribbean countries, including Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and St. Vincent it is illegal to wear camouflage clothing if you’re not part of the military (children included). Your garments will get confiscated, so it’s best to just leave them at home.


Heading on a safari? Don’t wear white. The reason being is that it stands out amongst the earth tones of the environment, so animals will be able to spot you from a mile away, and may get curious enough to get too close. Also avoid dark blue and black in areas where they are tsetse flies (particularly central Africa), as the shade attracts these insects who come with a nasty bite and can also carry the dengue fever.


Too much skin is a no-no in the United Arab Emirates. Don’t wear anything shorter than knee-length, nothing sleeveless (this includes spaghetti straps), no deep-v neck tops and no bare midriffs. The only exception to this rule is the beach, where bikinis and swimsuits are acceptable. If you are allowed in a Mosque, it’s best to dress conservatively. Wear loose clothing, covering up your knees and arms, and bring along a scarf to wear to cover your hair.


You won’t be thrown in jail for wearing over-sized, flashy clothing in bright colours, but you will get stares. Italians typically dress more formally than what you see in North America. Shorts and miniskirts will make you stick out, as will sneakers (white or athletic vs. fashion sneakers) and if you’re opting for jeans — think dark skinnies with heels or nice leather boots. Err on the side of conservative, especially if you plan to visit any churches, especially the Vatican. The dress code here is strictly enforced. You’ll need to cover your shoulders and have nothing shorter than knee-length or you won’t be allowed in.


It may be hot in India, but unfortunately your typical summer wear is best left at home. Showing your legs, upper arms and cleavage is frowned upon and you will likely get unwanted attention. The best way to keep cool, and still be modest is to wear loose fitting clothing in light colours, like long skirts or pants in natural fabrics. Also consider carrying a shawl (or Sari) to wrap around your shoulders, not only to help keep your personal space, but to cover up.

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