Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tips of Women Travelers in Pakistan Part 2

Dress Conservatively

Considering Pakistan's news image as a Taliban stronghold, you may be shocked to see young women wearing hip huggers and designer tank tops in Pakistan's cities. Don't be. Pakistani women run the whole gamut when it comes to fashion do's and don'ts. You will, however, notice that western clothing on women is regulated to posh areas of major cities and exclusive parties for the in-crowd. In most the country, you should expect to dress conservatively.

This means that your legs should be covered, all the way to the ankle. Desis are usually fascinated by white skin, so avoid the stares by covering up. Women usually wear long shirts called kameez or shorter shirts called kurtis. Both adequately cover a woman's behind. The shorter the shirt, the less conservative it is. Kurtis are really only appropriate in upper class areas. Along with the long shirt, women wear loose pants called shalwar. These pants resemble something from "I Dream of Genie." Make sure you wear your shirt long enough to cover the pleats. Many tourists in India wear shalwar pants with short shirts. This is the equivalent of showing your underwear to everyone! Avoid doing this at all costs in Pakistan.

Most women, again outside of posh areas, don't leave home without a dupatta, or long scarf. This scarf can be a bit difficult to manage at first, as you may keep dragging it on the ground or getting it stuck in car doors, but it is worth it. The main purpose of the scarf is to cover your breasts and your neckline. Some more brazen women wear it merely for fashion, but most wear it for the sake of modesty.

So, if you want to avoid being propositioned on the street, make sure you're showing as little skin as possible, wearing loose clothing, and that your behind and chest are covered. You can accomplish this by wearing western clothes and draping a large scarf or shawl around you.

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