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Written by Savi, 48 Comments

Culinary culture has long been established as a way of ‘getting to know’ a place – local food, it is said, is the perfect way to acquaint oneself with a new place.  So it surprises me that more people don’t think of local clothes, with their deep roots in tradition, as yet another way to familiarise oneself with a new city.


For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed dressing according to the place we visit.


To me, wearing similar clothes in every country is tantamount to having a monotonous peanut butter and jelly sandwich in every country. Wearing a turban in Africa, ethnic prints in Morocco, and breton stripes in France heightens the travel experience in the same way as sampling a tagine in Morocco, scouring Foie Gras in France, or devouring Bunny Chow in South Africa.


Turkey, Egypt, India, and Morocco are some of my favourite countries to pack for because I find myself naturally inclined towards colour and ethnic prints – what better excuse to indulge one’s love for bohemian drapes than a trip to exotic lands?


Don’t get me wrong – I’m not suggesting quad-biking in an Abaya in Morocco or pirouetting in a sari in India. Instead of going all the way, incorporate ethnic accents and play with rich colours and textures to conjure avant-garde looks, fit for an urban gypsy. It makes exploring untrodden ways and forgotten alleys in new countries so much more fun.


Here are some of my favourite ways of incorporating ethnic accents and traditional fabrics in a modern context:


 #1 Statement Necklaces

They are perfect to dress up a plain outfit, but work equally well with colourful outfits too.

Necklace 1: Next

Necklace 2: Flea Market, India

What to Wear in India Morocco Turkey - Necklaces

What to Wear in India Morocco Turkey - Necklaces


 #2 A Traditional Maxi Skirt

I picked this one in India – the detail on the border is exquisite. Take a look:

Crop Top: ASOS (available here)

Skirt: Shoppers Stop, India

What to Wear in India Morocco Turkey - Maxi Skirt

What to Wear in India Morocco Turkey - Maxi Skirt



 #3 Garments with Ethnic Embellishments

Reading by the beach is one of my favourite things to do on holiday. What makes it more fun? A bralet with colourful ethnic trinkets of course. Believe it or not, these ornaments are used to decorate camels – of course, that shouldn’t stop you from wearing them 😉

Ethnic Trinkets: Souk in Marrakech, Morocco

What to Wear in India Morocco Turkey - Ethnic Trinkets


#4 Scarves

Make sure you pack a couple of colourful tie and dye scarves – layer them with maxi dresses, shirts, and vests or use them to keep your hair out of the way on a hot day

Scarf and Kaftan: Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

What to Wear in India Morocco Turkey - Scarf



#5 Harem Pants

Loose cotton pants are perfect for travelling to hotter climes- the more colourful, the better. They also come in handy on occasions when you’re overcome by the need to be lady-like in the middle of a desert 😉

Harem Pants: Random markets in Greece and India

What to Wear in India Morocco Turkey - loose trousers

What to Wear in India Morocco Turkey - loose trousers


#6 Vintage-Inspired Rings

Add roughly-textured rings made from silver, brass, wood or African beads to complete your outfits.

Ring: Forever 21 (this one is now sold out, but there is a similar one here)

What to Wear in India Morocco Turkey - rings



#7 Bright Bangles

Eye-wateringly bright bangles are the perfect accessory to liven up an outfit. Take a look at this post for outfit ideas.

Bangle stack 1: DIY

Bangle stack 2: Souk in Marrakech, Morocco

What to Wear in India Morocco Turkey - Bangles

What to Wear in India Morocco Turkey - Bangles



#8 Oversized Totes

If you are anything like me and like to carry a whole supermarket in your bag, oversized totes are the perfect accessory for you. Opt for quirky ethnic prints that reflect your personality.


What to Wear in India Morocco Turkey - Oversized Tote Bag



Done! Now you’re all set to look like a global wanderer with a nomadic soul 🙂



If you’re interested in reading more about the links between textiles and cultural heritage, Chris Spring has a sumptuous book on African textile traditions which might persuade you to incorporate ethnic accents in your outfits.

48 thoughts on “Ethnic Accents

    1. Yay – Thanks a ton Surabhi, always a pleasure to hear my ramblings inspired someone 🙂 I’ve added the stores from where I bought everything to the blog post now.

  1. Savi… you look lovely as usual! Totally digging the elephant print pants. Looks chic at the same time comfy. How gorgeous can you get!

  2. Your turquoise neckpiece is awesome chica! Where did you buy that from…the one in the second main picture from top 🙂 Everything else is stylish and gorgeous as usual 🙂

    1. Shilpi I’ve included all the details in the post now. I picked that necklace from Paharganj, chance buy 🙂

  3. So cool! I have one question which is maybe a bit irrelevant but…what does your tatoo say?:-) where did you get it? I have one I got on the road and another one I got at home, thats why I ask:-)

    1. Hey Zof my tatto says ‘ancora imparo’- It’s from a Michelangelo inscription and roughly translates as ‘Still I learn…’ – dedicated to learning new things on the road 🙂

        1. Oooh- that’s nice. I love the Armenian script. Is that the one you got on the road?

    1. Stuti literally took colourful scraps of cloth and wrapped them around old bangles 🙂

      1. I’m gonna steal your idea and do the same! I have so many old wooden bangles going to waste.

        Btw, I’m a BIG BIG fan.
        Keep posting more such stuff. 🙂

        1. Absolutely Stuti- there’s loads more where that came from – I’ve got my blogging mojo on 🙂 Send us a photo if you DO make those bangles, would love to share it on our Facebook page

  4. absoluetly love everything about ur websit! be it d photography, composition n angles or d detailed realistic discription of ur travel! d fashion part is always to drool over for!! thanks fr being around n to make d world pretty place!! love ya!

  5. I absolutely love everything about your blog. I actually went looking for that red skirt and couldn’t find one 🙁 and do you remember where in paharganj you got that beautiful necklace?

    1. Hey Reha The necklace is from a totally random shop – sorry 🙁 I bought the skirt last year- you can find similar ones all over the place in Rajasthan (if you ever visit) 🙂

    1. Thanks a million Laura. Summer is the perfect time to experiment with ethnic styles – can’t wait to see you in ethnic finery on your blog 🙂

  6. Saavi! That pompom thingy at your back is taking all my curiosity! What is it! Your style seem to be very kitch…Loved all the pictures. Congratulate the photographer on my behalf 😀

    1. Thanks a ton Shelly, I will look forward to reading your comments on Bruised Passports. I picked the pom-pom trinket off a shop selling stuff for decorating camels – haha 😉 It was too colourful to be left behind. I just tacked it on to a kitschy ethnic crop-top.

  7. This would be fav blog post so far-coz m a ethic-wear victim too 🙂 and this page makes me want to go to paharganj again 🙂 🙂

  8. You would look gorgeous in a paper sack:) Thanks so much for the awareness about dressing in appropriate attire when you travel. That is a great tip! Love all the outfits and don’t know if I can pick a fave. I love your accessory choices!

    1. Thanks a million Sher- I always love reading your comments 🙂 I’m not sure I deserve all the compliments, but I’m happy my ramblings inspired someone to consider dressing differently. Much love, Savi

  9. Such beautiful bright colors. Loved it all. I have a soft spot for all things ethnic so this post I am drawn to the most. From the imaginative pom-pom trinklet, quirky rings, the absolutely gorgeous maxi skirt, to my favorite harem pants, it’s all wow all the way. Looking forward to ethic accents- Part 2. 🙂

    1. Thanks Shivangi- love reading your comments 🙂 I had so much put putting this together – I will definitely write another post on ethnic accents

  10. Nice article, my girlfriend will love all the advice. So, are there any articles like this for the Wanderlust Male: the Guy with the Adverturer’s heart? What do all the Indiana Joneses of the 21st century look like? I am certain there are other gentlemen out there–like myself–who are global wanderer with a nomadic soul, as you put it.

  11. Hi Savi,

    I was looking for more information on Turkey. The navigation pages are not leading me to any sightseeing and other informatuon on Turkey. I would love to know your experiences in Turkey.

    1. Hey Bulbul – I’m sorry we haven’t really written much about Turkey because we haven’t spent too much time in the country 🙁

  12. I happened to find you guys on instagramam. a week ago and its so interesting the way you guys living your dream, Good work Guys.

    1. Thanks a ton Gyanam – so glad you enjoy Bruised Passports 🙂 One’s gotta work really hard to live one’s dreams but it’s totally worth it

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