Over the past years, one of the best memories I got from traveling have been those when I got to experience traditional wear in different countries. I have dressed up in different Chinese clothing, wore a hanbok in Korea and a kimono in Japan! I absolutely love trying out different traditional wear and it also gives me a deep insight into the country’s culture. Here are some other awesome ladies’ experiences wearing traditional clothes while traveling.
Jackie Wearing Barong in the Philippines
“This is a photo from my wedding day. I wanted my wedding to be a bit more “Filipino”, and so we had prepared barong’s for the men in our entourage. The Barong Tagalog (aka barong) is a traditional Filipino formal wear for men that is very lightweight and worn with an undershirt.
The Koreans in our entourage loved wearing this and was at least able to experience an aspect of our culture that not all foreigners get to experience. My hubby was the only one NOT wearing a barong. This was done intentionally to make him stand out from the group. “
– From Jackie at Bringing Up The Parks
Alexandra Wearing Saree in India
“I wore my silk saree for the Indian festival Diwali. My husband got it for me on one of his trips back to Hyderabad. Every time he goes, he always brings me back a beautiful silk saree – and this one was a one-of-a-kind designer saree.
On Diwali, it is a tradition to dress up in brand new clothes and participate in a religious prayer called a “pooja”. You pray to the Goddess Lakshmi for prosperity and good fortune for the year ahead. Diwali is arguably India’s biggest festival and it celebrates the power of good over evil, and light over darkness. Every South Indian woman would wear their best new silk saree for Diwali, so I decided to do the same. I chose this saree in particular because it had beautiful crystals sewn into it, which made the many lights of Diwali dance off of it. I wore it along with a faux-gold Lakshmi necklace, and my traditional symbols of marriage (sindoor, thaali, venki ring).
My experience wearing the saree has and always been good. I wear it with a quiet confidence, so I’d like to think I carry it well. It was wonderful to wear it on that day in particular, because Diwali is such a happy festival. The saree itself is effortless and classic – it is very comfortable and easy to wear (no spanx required!). The best part of it was seeing my daughter’s fascination with it – she loved seeing me dress up and do the folds. She played with my saree by trying to hide under the pallu, and she carefully ran her fingers over the embellishments. One day I will teach her how to wear it herself and all of my beautiful sarees will be hers!”
– Alexandra Madhavan from Madh Mama
Linda Wearing Qipao in China
“I actually bought this “qipao” (旗袍) while traveling in Yangshuo during low season when I landed a total bargain of only 200RMB for the high-quality dress. This style was created during the 1920s in Shanghai and was mostly worn by upper class women. You can easily find beautiful qipao dresses all over China in traditional markets or tourist streets. Due to its form-fitting design, the qipao hugs your body in the right places. It can look extremely alluring wearing it and makes you feel like a Chinese Goddess. Even though I don’t really wear this dress a lot, I take it out for special occasions – even if it’s just Halloween back home.
I was lucky to have a friend who works as a photographer in Changsha, where I lived for 1 year. He offered to take photos of me in a professional photo shoot with hair and make-up done and all. We took the photos in a traditional teahouse and you really couldn’t complain about the atmosphere. I was the happiest girl in the world that day and I must say that I came a lot closer to my Chinese inner self after this experience. You should definitely pick up a traditional qipao when in China and wear it to take pictures!”
Lena Wearing a Traditional Opera Costume in China
It was a lot of fun to try all these different dresses and costumes and I would highly recommend anyone to do it but I can’t recommend this place because I have no idea where it was in Shenyang, how we got there or how to find them again but there are many options in China so don’t worry.”
– Lena from Lena Around
Linda Wearing Hanfu in China
“I always admired the beautiful Chinese traditional clothes you could see in the dramas, especially “Empress of China” starring Fan Bingbing. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to wear a hanfu (漢服) myself but when I came across a rental store in a small traditional village just outside of Changsha, I just had to do it. The Chinese hanfu was the traditional clothing during the famous Han Dynasty (221–207 BC) but had been contiously worn many hundreds years after.
The hanfu traditionally consists of a knee-length tunic tied with a sash, and a narrow, ankle-length skirt, called chang, worn with a bixi, a length of fabric that reached the knees. Vivid primary colors and green were used, due to the degree of technology at the time. How plentiful a hanfu was decorated had to do with the rank one was in.
You can find many opportunities to try a hanfu throughout China. Most common places include traditional streets, watertowns and touristy villages. Even though the Chinese do not wear hanfu in their daily life, it’s a beautiful memory to wear it when traveling in China.”
Gina Wearing a Geisha Kimono in Japan
“One of the basic musts of Kyoto is dressing up like a geisha or maiko (geisha in training). These lovely women have been captivating audiences with their witty banter, music and dance skills for centuries. Why not step into this fascinating world of a maiko and become an enchantress for the day? Ever since I was young, I watched Japan from afar, admiring their mysterious culture.
The first time I visited Japan’s old capital, I dressed as a maiko and had my very own photo shoot with a professional photographer! I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to become a classy seductress like I had seen in my books. I highly recommend the Yumekoubou Studio with many convenient locations around Kyoto. The staff speaks English as long as you meet them halfway with some Japanese. They have various makeup plans where they take you into a studio, do your makeup, let you choose a kimono, and you can choose the photos you’d like from the shoot to be printed out. Your other photos will go on a CD.”
– Gina from Gina Bear’s Blog