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Written by Savi, 28 Comments

It might come as a surprise to many of you that the most common question asked of a travel and fashion blogger isn’t about staggeringly beautiful places or unusual street food; it is about packing for conservative countries.

India, Morocco, Turkey, Pakistan, Tunisia, Oman, Kenya – countries change, but the question remains the same. What do female travellers pack for conservative countries?

The universally accepted solution to this dilemma seems to be a pair of denims. I don’t like that solution.

Why don’t I like that solution? It’s that incorrigible need to question everything (not always a good thing – cue Savi circa 2008 walking around with a green shoe on one foot and a red one on the other because whoever thought a pair of shoes should be the same colour was a nincompoop – You live and learn people 😉 )

Weird shoes aside, I have some  suggestions that will make packing for conservative countries fun. You will feel like you’re breathing the air of new places as you piece outfits together. Don’t resort to jeans. Instead try to incorporate kitschy prints, quirky accessories, and colourful scarves into your travel wardrobe.



#1 Maxi Dresses

Maxi Dresses are ideal for conservative countries. They are comfortable and look stylish without showing too much skin. Paeans have been written about the ubiquitous Little Black Dress but it is the not-so-little black dress that ought to be a wardrobe staple in every traveller’s wardrobe. Throw on a colourful waistcoat and open-toed sandals to complete the outfit. Here’s a maxi dress I wore in Morocco:

Dressing for conservative countries  maxi dress

Dressing for conservative countries - maxi dressIt’s all in the details


#2 Statement Accessories

Pack your choicest ethnic accessories to lend interest to lightweight and simple ensembles. I suggest bejewelled wrist cuffs, bangles, rings, and tribal necklaces. Long-draped necklaces and turquoise-hued rings are perfect dress up a flowy maxi dress. Don’t be scared to clash colours and layer necklaces on holiday – it accentuates the bohemian look. Take a look at this post where I combined an ethnic maxi dress with ALL the jewels I had on hand 😉   Here are some of the bangles and bracelets I’ve been wearing recently:

Dressing for conservative countries - bangles

Dressing for conservative countries  accessories


#3 Colourful Scarves

A large scarf can be your best friend in conservative countries – just pop it in your bag and use it to cover your head, shoulders, or legs, if need be. I suggest packing colourful scarves – layer them with maxi dresses, shirts, and vests to create stunning, avant-garde looks. Here’s how I used a bright green tie-n-dye scarf to cover my neck in Morocco:

Packing for Conservative Countries Pants

Dressing for conservative countries - scarves


I always check a couple of voucher sites before making a purchase these days – Flipit is a great one. They have coupons for everything from homeware to jewellery and there are always some great fashion deals to be found.


#4 Loose Cotton Pants

A perfect alternative to jeans, loose cotton pants are perfect for travelling to hotter climes. I’ve waxed lyrical about them in an earlier post, so I’ll keep this short. Combine your colourful flea-market finds with luxurious silk blouses for a look that’s covered yet edgy. Here’s a pair I wore in Egypt:

Packing for Conservative Countries Pants


What’s better than wearing them alone? Persuading your boy to wear them too 🙂 What can we say – we like our harem pants at Bruised Passports


Packing for Conservative Countries Harem Pants



#5 Boyfriend Blazers

If you enjoy minimalism, steer away from ethnic prints and accessories and pack a blazer instead. Opt for a colourful blazer in a relaxed cut – it works a charm to pull an outfit together. Pair it with dainty jewellery and you’re set to explore untrodden ways and forgotten alleys in new countries. Here’s one of my favourite blazers:




#6 Quirky Prints

Print-on-print is the biggest trend this season. Opt for fully-covered silhouettes in kitschy prints that reflect your individuality. Play with experimental clashes of materials and colours. Here I offset floral trousers with a quirky zebra-print blouse.

Packing for Conservative Countries  Africa



This article originally appeared in The Mumbai Mirror

28 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Packing For Conservative Countries

    1. Is it? Perhaps I’m ignorant, but I would’ve imagined street-style in Armenia to be similar to Greece and Turkey. Is that the case Zof?

  1. Hello Vidit!!! I luv ur blog and especially ur wifey’s fashion tips. Hi Savi… I was a former colleague of Vidit from Singapore… i love reading ur blog, its a fresh perspective for the wanderlusts… i will be stalking your blog from now on…#singaporeblogfan

    1. Hey Margaret – so good to hear from you 🙂 We’re so happy to hear you’re enjoying Bruised Passports

    1. Thanks a ton Jennifer. I’m sure you would look amazing in that shirt – the print might be out-there but conservative fit balances it well 🙂

    1. Thanks a ton Snig. The inability to flash skin should never be a deterrent – there’s always fun outfits to be worn 🙂

  2. This is great advice indeed! You look fabulous lady! Love your colour concepts & your style choices suit Morocco perfectly.

    I couldn’t agree more about ditching the denim. It’s too boring & too hot to wear for most of the year in Morocco. Unless it’s winter in Marrakech.

    Keep on rockin’ the look xxx

  3. This is exactly what I was looking for as we prepare for our Marrakech Morocco trip! Thanks… lovely photos of you and your beau.

  4. Hi Savi. This post is a gem, you redefine and jazz up the idea of conservative dressing. While I like dressing up, I have primarily stuck to jeans and tees while travelling with an aim to travel light, comfortably and modestly. I have recently begun to add variety to my travel suitcase and your ‘Wears’ section certainly has a contribution in that direction!

    1. Hey Rachna, that’s amazing. So happy to hear I could encourage you to introduce some variety in your travel wardrobe – yay 🙂

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