What Not To Wear – Tips for Women

This is a special edition of “What Not To Wear”, specifically for women, courtesy of Jen Simonds, one of the faculty leaders of May Term Thailand 2015.

Ideas for Enhancements to the Packing List for Women

Have clothes for approximately 9-10 days at a time.  My experience is that we had laundry less frequently than we expected.

Overall Clothing Strategies

Good Guideline #1:  Look for moisture-wicking fabrics.  Travel fabrics are worth the extra $.  Activewear sections with dri-weave performance fabric clothes are a great source of moisture-wicking clothes and these can be found inexpensively at Target, Walmart, etc.

Good Guideline #2:  Lightweight fabrics.  This allows you to do quick rinse/wash in a hotel sink and get it dry by morning.

Types of Outfits for Different Occasions (Individual items are listed below)


  • Layers because planes and vans can be hot or cold.  Consider close-toed shoes for the plane.
  • Compression socks cut way down on foot discomfort after the long flights.
  • “Respectful Outfits” for Official Visits to Schools, Temples, Etc.


  • Tank tops with wide straps (3 fingers wide at least) at minimum.
  • Shoulders need to be covered in temples (Pashminas are good for that).
  • Cover cleavage.


  • Long shorts at an absolute minimum (low-thigh or lower).
  • Skirts and dresses that cover knees and thin/flowing pants are comfortable and respectful options.
  • Shorts, pants, skirts and dresses should be loose.

Work/Mud Pond Outfit:

  • For mud fishing & service projects.
  • Should be stuff that can get paint on it and get really dirty!
  • Avoid white, otherwise you will end up with a grey shirt!

Nice Outfit for Going Out:

  • Rooftop restaurant and dinner at the beach outfits.

Beach/Casual Days:

  • Anything goes…well, almost anything…

Specifications for Individual Items – Complements current packing list

Shorts:  Beach-type shorts and less casual/“City” shorts (longer, looser).  Lighter weight fabrics.  One pair of shorts that can get paint on them/get really dirty.

Skirts and Dresses:  At least one below-the-knee, loose and lightweight.  For respectful visits, at least one dress should have wider straps or short-sleeves with cleavage coverage.

Long Pants:  Comfy pants for travel.  Loose lightweight pants for respectful visits and just general hanging out can be purchased there.

Tank Tops:  Wider straps for respectful visits and cities.  Spaghetti Straps are fine for the beach.  Have tops that minimize cleavage for respectful visits and time in cities.

T-Shirts:  Go for comfy & moisture-wicking – 3-5 t-shirts.  At least one “nice” t-shirt to be paired with a skirt or sarong or pants for dressing up and/or respectful visits.  At least one t-shirt that can get paint on it and/or can get really dirty.

Long-Sleeved Tops:  Loose, flowing button-down and/or gauze tops are good for the cooler temps at the second village, for respectful visits, and/or for sun protection.  One base layer/thin-but-warm long sleeved shirt is small to pack and can be handy on the plane and/or in the second village.

Light Sweater or Fleece:  For flying and for the chillier second village.  Bulkier, but worth it.

Underwear For 9-10 Days:  Find lightweight/thin and/or travel fabrics that wash/dry easily. Moisture-wicking fabrics are helpful here!  ExOfficio brand ones are a bit pricey but are da bomb.

Bras:  4-6 bras.  Of these, make 2-3 Moisture-wicking sports bras and then other light(er) bras that are easily rinsed & dried.  Have at least one bra that can go with a nice outfit/t-shirt and one that is on the more modest side for respectful visits.  Be sure to “road test” bras before bringing them to make sure they are comfy.

Bathing suit:  An extra doesn’t take up too much space and could be good to have.

Socks:  Compression socks for flying – these make a BIG difference.  The Sockwell brand on Amazon has lots of fun patterns, too! Dri-weave socks for chillier second village.

Pashmina/Large Scarf:  Bring one for the plane.  You can get more there cheaply.

Shoes:  1 pair closed-toed shoes, 1 pair of flip-flops or Tevas you’ve broken in before going, 1 pair of nicer lightweight shoes, but not TOO nice.  You will need at least one pair of shoes that has a strap on the back or has a covered heel.  Of the shoes you bring, make sure one pair can get dirty.


Sun Hat.

Bandanas and/or casual wide headbands to soak up a lotta sweat!

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