International Wardrobe

Blog entry created by: Meagan

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Putting My Best Foot Forward

I care way too much about my appearance.  I say this knowingly, but it doesn’t help me care any less.  As you can probably imagine, living out of a backpack hasn’t been the easiest task for me.  I shower every chance I get (everyone in the group will attest to this) so that my hair is manageable, keep my eyebrows in line with tweezers and my hand held mirror, apply mascara every morning, and spend more time planning my outfits than anyone would think possible given my tiny wardrobe.  As we travel to different places though, my tiny wardrobe is growing steadily as I’m discovering different clothes and styles around the world!

Nothing Much Different Here…

Europe wasn’t much different from home as far as clothes go: short-shorts, tank tops, gladiator sandals, and big sunglasses were commonly seen throughout the westernized world.  I felt out of place in my quick-dry travel clothes as we traveled to the world’s fashion hotspots, walking the streets of Paris and Rome in my Merril’s next to women in pumps and designer t-shirts.  Seeing bare shoulders and knees didn’t cause heads to turn, and (unless you were going to the Vatican) nobody minded how much skin was showing.

Walking around Rome... in travel clothes :)

Hotter Weather=More Clothing. What???

As we left Europe and headed into Africa, we got our first taste of truly different clothing styles.  The first thing we did upon our arrival in Egypt was go shopping for more appropriate clothing, because our travel clothes no longer fit in with the locals.  We said so long to our shorts and tank tops in exchange for pants and shirts that covered our shoulders.  I thought it was strange that people that lived in such a hot climate wore so much clothing, but I found out later that the loose fitting clothing actually kept me cooler in the blazing heat.  More fabric protected my skin from the sunlight, and I could feel even the lightest breeze through my billowy pants.

Jenny and I keeping cool in our Egypt pants and shirts

Colorful Kenya

Kenya and Tanzania offer such a wide variety of clothing that it’s difficult to declare a “norm.”   This is due to so many tribes throughout both countries.  Walking down the street in any populated area, it’s common to see a man dressed in modern jeans and a t-shirt, standing next to a man in the traditional Maasai clothing.  In Nyumbani Village the girls thought it was strange that I wore “trousers,” while they all wore skirts and the traditional kitenge and lesos- stiff pieces of colorful fabric that the women wrap around their waists whenever they go out.   It’s not even accurate to say that showing knees and shoulders is a taboo- the traditional Maasai dress consists of two patterned cloths, tied in the corners and draped one on top of the other over each shoulder.  The Maasai also had lots of brightly colored, beaded jewelry, which you could buy almost anywhere you went.   I ended up buying way more jewelry in Kenya than I anticipated :)

Trying out the Maasai Clothing in Kenya

Elegant India

Indian clothing is beautiful, and so much fun to buy!  Much to my enjoyment, we went shopping the second day we were here and spent 3 hours in the store picking out outfits. The women’s clothing is always so colorful and elegant looking.  Probably the most popular (and well- known) outfit for women is a sari- a very long piece of cloth, which is wrapped around the waist and then over one shoulder.  The women wear very tight, fitting shirts expose their stomachs and their upper back with the saris, despite their age or physical shape.  Another traditional outfit for women is called a shalwar kameez, and it consists of a long, loose-fitting shirt with loose pants and a matching scarf.  Both these outfits vary from very simple to very elaborate designs, all of which are stylish and beautiful.  Another important aspect of women’s clothing in India is the jewelry.  Gold is very popular, from anklets to bangles to elaborate earrings and nose piercings.  The bindi (jewelry worn between the eyebrows) is also worn as a part of the women’s everyday wear, and varies from very simple to really fancy designs.  Men traditionally wear shirts and dhotis, which are long clothes worn like skirts around the waist.  Dhotis can be folded up and knotted when it’s hot, or worn all the way down when the weather permits it.  At first I thought it was strange to see men wearing skirts, but now I think nothing of it.

Christmas in India, complete with Indian attire :)

Up Next: China, Japan, Peru, Belize, etc…

I love being able to see different styles of clothes as we travel around the world, and I’m loving being able to try these different styles out for myself even more :) By the end of this trip, I’m going to have quite the international wardrobe!

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Posted on: December 27, 2010 | Categories: Egypt, Fun Facts - Cultures and Countries, India, Kenya, Tanzania, Traditions

 

3 comments

  • Aunt Lori says:

    I’m surprised you haven’t aquired a second backpack! You look fabulously attired in every picture you post!

  • Robbie says:

    Meagan! you sound like you’re having too much fun to come home!!! Alex brought by the scarves you sent us,..beautiful!! THANK YOU. Also just rec’d (2 days ago) the post cards you sent at about xmas…they must have traveled an adventure to get here, too. What’s the deal about home in JUNE? I am guessing your itinerary will change now because of the horrors in Japan. glad you’re safe.
    love ya! Robbie

  • Meagan says:

    Robbie- I’m so glad you got the scarves and the post cards!!! Thank YOU for everything you did for me pre-trip!! It means so much to me! I’ll be sending you more postcards soon, and I hope they don’t take 3 months to get to you :) I’ll be visiting SLC for the first 2 weeks of June, so I’ll be sure to stop by and see you! I’m thinking we’ll just need to have a big bbq while I’m there! Love you! Miss you!
    Meg


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