Recently I’ve been receiving messages from future Southeast Asia travelers about what to wear when traveling in the region (including a lucky reader who is spending an entire month being luxuriously pampered in Bali!). I have to admit that I am slightly gratified whenever I receive a question, because I myself spent the last few days before we left freaking out about what to wear. I had a bunch of shorts and t-shirts all packed, but then when I thought about the stifling heat we experienced last time we were in Thailand, I began to reconsider.
I made an emergency last minute trip to the mall and found a few items from various stores. Then as I was walking out, I saw the perfect light casual dress for Bali on a storefront mannequin. A mannequin that to my slight dismay…belonged to the teenage store Hollister. However, the dress seemed to be light and airy, and the perfect length for my short self. So I braved the booming music and sneering teenagers at the cashier and ended up finding a great dress that was perfect for Bali. And now, I’m convinced that light and airy dresses are one of the best items for hot and humid weather! I’ve added quite a few to my closet since then, and here are some of my current picks:
I absolutely abhor being hot (I’d much rather be cold), so I’m very sensitive about finding the lightest possible items for hot, humid climates like Bali or Singapore. Here are my tips for dressing in hot weather, especially if you’re traveling on holiday:
1) The best items to buy: dresses. There’s no beating dresses for their ease of getting dressed and how light and airy they can be. A loose dress is the absolute best item to wear in my opinion – followed closely by skirt + top and then shorts + top. Even shorts however can be slightly uncomfortable, especially if you are sweating around the waistband.
2) Natural fabrics in light colors. Cotton and linen are key. No polyester, please – you will regret it when the sun is beaming down and none of the heat or sweat feels like it’s escaping. Also I know it’s a natural fabric but no silk, it doesn’t do well in heat + humidity.
A synthetic fabric that I heard does decently in heat is rayon (especially the bamboo blends) but I haven’t tried that out for myself.
3) Loose, loose, and loose. The more fabric that clings to your body = the more fabric that can get sweaty, chafe, and generally stifle you. In my heart of hearts I really wanted to buy some major trapeze tent like dresses, but Mr. Feather was balking so I compromised with some loose dresses with slightly defined waists.
4) Slip it on! This is a personal preference but I far prefer items that easily slip on over your head than ones you have to button/zip/etc when on holiday. For some reason something soft with entirely no buttons/metal is so much more comfortable for me when I’m super hot and slightly uncomfortable. It’s like how I would never wear jeans if just lounging around the house – elastic waists only please!
Here are some of my picks that satisfy all four of the requirements above:
Enjoy and please share your favorite hot weather holiday items!