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What to Wear????

March 12, 2013

We left the UK in a blizzard.  In Pakistan it was in the mid-20s.  What to wear?

A very good friend of mine had recently worked in Islamabad and was very helpful with advice on being out and about in Islamabad without creating a diplomatic incident.  Apparently the dress code on the street is ‘cover your bottom’.  This can be done with a long cardi or tunic or, once you’ve arrived here and made friends with one of the fab tailors, a local shalwar chamise, a long shirt-type structure that covers the knees but has alluring slits up the sides – to be worn with leggings or cut offs or the like.  Basically, for someone who’s had 2 children and has more than a little baby weight to shift, I’ve come to the perfect place! Covering up is not a problem, it’s a necessity.  Hurrah.

When I checked with my very useful friend about the importance of scarves I learnt something.  Apparently having a scarf has the significance of showing that you’re under the headship of a man.  This would clearly rankle deeply in the West, but if you want to do some shopping unmolested or bothered, it’s useful to know. The scarf doesn’t have to go over your head, just around your neck is fine.  A little word here on my approach to cultural sensitivities – basically I’m all for them.  If you’re a bit sensitive about something (like a scarf-less neck) and I am (a) in your country and (b) can make you feel better about it, then that’s fine by me.  

A big shout out here to Marks and Spencer Jeggings.  Guys, just open a shop in Islamabad and be done with it.  They’re perfect for wearing under any kind of tunic or long top and have done me well for the whole of the Pakistani ‘winter’ (barely under 15C during the day).  I’m a fan.

Interestingly, there’s a lovely girl in my hubbie’s office who is a Pakistani national but has lived abroad for most of her life.  She dresses in a very Western fashion and told me that I didn’t need to wear a scarf out and about.  For her, I think it’s more of a political message.  I, however, am a big fan of scarves, particularly the gorgeous undyed pashminas they have here in humungous piles in the shops. Shopping for, and then wearing (in order to validate the purchase) fab scarves and neckwear is, quite frankly, a joy.  Bring it on.

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  1. Carol permalink

    So excited you are doing this. Love hearing about your adventures! Loves and misses!


  2. ESME thompson permalink

    Brilliant! I love it. Will follow this with great interest. I love your writing style too:-). Tke care and enjoy! Xx


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