What to wear in Sri Lanka

What to wear in Sri Lanka
What to wear in Sri Lanka

What to wear in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is mostly hot and humid, which means cotton T-shirts and trousers or loose-fitting frocks are enough. There are also some great shops in Colombo selling Western fashions at Third-World prices (a third of what you would pay in the West). These are made locally for export so you could travel light and stock up. Or you could have cotton shirts and slacks made up in a few hours by a village tailor. If you plan to spend some time in the hill country, you will need a sweater, but even warm clothes are made in the local garment factories so you could buy something fashionable as well as warm in Colombo or in the clothes bazaar in Nuwara Eliya. Clothing needs to be practical for everyday use. Long trousers, especially ones with lots of zippered pockets to stash cash, loo paper and passports, are better than shorts, which might cause offence in religious places. Women should have loose-fitting garments (also with hidden, zippered pockets) for greater comfort. Scanty clothing is fine for the beach and pool, but not for street wear unless you want to get propositioned. Clothes dry quickly so you won’t need many changes of clothes since you can wash dirty ones as you go along, or give the job to the hotel laundry.

It really is advantageous to have one smart outfit in your travel wardrobe, since you may want to dine in style or accept an unexpected invitation to a cocktail party. Perhaps that’s what you should wear on the plane to keep your luggage to a minimum. If the invitation for a formal function says ‘Lounge’ it means a suit. A locally made safari suit could serve the purpose for a man while for a less formal evening a good shirt and trousers are fine. For a woman, a blouse and skirt, or a cocktail dress, looks good. You’ll find Sri Lankans (especially the women) dress beautifully for parties and you won’t want to look scruffy.

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