what-to-wear-in-maldives

What To Wear In Maldives Local Islands

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Are you going to visit the Maldives local islands and not sure what to wear in Maldives? If you’re looking for a Maldives packing list, you’ll find out what what you need to take with you so you’re appropriately dressed.

I remember when I first went to India, I completely packed the wrong clothes and ended up really suffering in the heat, wearing a heavy t shirt (the only one I brought with me which wasn’t a strappy vest) and a strapless jumpsuit I had to roll down into trousers because the rest of my clothes consisted of shorts, skirts and dresses. 

Just a classic example of me in India, sweating big time with my only tee and jumpsuit on, in 2011!

After visiting India where you have to dress modestly because of its Muslim culture, (have your shoulders and legs covered up) I knew that when I visited the Maldives, I was going to have to hunt down appropriate clothing.

I also wanted to wear clothes that actually looked half decent that would be really light weight and could actually look OK! When you’re travelling for a long time, wearing clothes you actually like does make a difference.

I also had to bear in mind that because I also have SIBO, a condition which turns my stomach into an 8 months looking pregnant woman as the day goes on, I’d have to buy clothes that would fit me no matter how big my stomach got during the day.

Since I got SIBO over two years ago, I’ve had to really watch what I wear each day as having a swollen stomach and wearing tight clothes just don’t go hand in hand.

I spent about two months popping into my favourite shops in Sydney every week and I think I finally came up with the goods. So, if you’re looking for ideas on what to wear in Maldives or what to wear in India, then look no further!


Why Tourists Weren’t Dressed Appropriately In Maldives

I rarely saw any tourists dress appropriately and I always wondered if they just weren’t aware of what to wear in Maldives or whether they just didn’t care.

Standard Russian family looking like they’ve just come from a resort in Spain, not a local island in Maldives.

I do know that it’s highly offensive to have your legs and shoulders out for both men and women. Yes it doesn’t just apply for women, men have to make sure they dress appropriately in Maldives too!

Here’s what I wore in Maldives.

Billabong dress perfect for the heat and all covered up!

I found this Billabong dress in the sale just before I left Australia. It’s actually perfect because it’s very lightweight, looks half decent and it buttons all the way down meaning I could wear it as a jacket as well like below. It was a bit on the low side but I wore a head scarf in the attempt to hide some of the neckline although you can’t see it in this shot.

Billabong dress worn as a jacket, and Sportsgirl skirt.

This Sportsgirl skirt has been absolutely perfect because it’s got an expandable waist, it’s below the knee and it has pockets which has been so useful. It also actually photographs well as you need some good swishy skirts to get a good shot in Maldives.

Speaking of swishy skirts, this one I got from H&M was absolutely perfect for shooting on the sand banks! It’s light but I probably wouldn’t have brought something like this for my around the world trip as it’s got a fair bit of material.

I only wore the striped top once in Maldives on the sandbank trip because we weren’t on the local island so I could cover up with a scarf until we took this shot. 

The skirt did photograph well on the sand bank though!

Talking about scarfs, if you want to wear a strappy top, I just wore this very lightweight scarf I found in JeansWest to make sure I had my shoulders covered. This is something I would have usually just waited until I got to somewhere like India to buy but I’m glad I got this one as it lasted throughout my entire 1 year trip around the world.

I also brought a kimono with me from Sportsgirl. It’s lightweight, has a beautiful design and long enough to cover your legs when worn with shorts.

Kimono from Sportsgirl

Bringing a red dress with you to Maldives is a given, actually a red dress on any holiday is the perfect dress to take photos in. The colour really makes the ocean pop and I was over the moon when I found this lightweight wrap dress from Sportsgirl.

It’s also a great length too and doesn’t quite hit the floor so I knew it wouldn’t get ruined by any dirty or dusty grounds.

And lastly, it was also SIBO friendly and my go to dress for any places we were heading to around the world which needed a dressy dress.

Red wrap dress from Sportsgirl

I also found a similar black and white spot wrap dress from H&M which is so light weight and covers everything needed. It also photographs well, especially on those sandbanks as it has a gorgeous floaty feel to it and you can flash a bit of leg for pictures too!

Finding light weight trousers was my next mission and it took ages. Thankfully Topshop came up with the goods. Topshop tend to be my go to as they do some great light weight pieces, perfect for the heat. I found these high waisted trousers that again cut off at the ankles meaning they wouldn’t get ruined from scuffing the ground.

I also spent ages trying to find the right t-shirts as well and Topshop certainly had the right light weight ones I was looking for. I bought one in pink and one in black.

Here’s the tee in black which I’ve worn with a dress that I just rolled the top bit down so it can be worn as a skirt. I made sure I bought a few versatile items perfect to wear in various ways. 

If you’re visiting a resort then you can wear anything. We visited a resort in Maldives for a day and obviously I made sure I wore red to make the colour pop.

Other things I’d recommend bringing with you to Maldives is a decent sun hat because it’s very hot here and some head scarfs so you don’t need to worry about your hair! I even brought a small pocket umbrella not because I thought it might rain, but because it would protect me from the sun. I remember it being so hot in India, I just didn’t cope too well with it.

Lastly bring a drone and a floatie to get some unreal shots. A drone is a must have when visiting the Maldives!With our Sunny Life floatie!Being able to use a drone really makes you see how amazing the Maldives really is!

I also chopped off my hair and bleached it before I left Sydney which has been the best thing I could have done. I now don’t have to battle with the humidity and spend a good twenty minutes trying to maintain it everyday and instead I can just leave it for days without having to wash it. I just bought some bleach with me and every two weeks I spend about two hours in total bleaching the roots. Steve has a shaver so I can just tidy it up when needed. It’s honestly been a life saver for me!

Also, I didn’t wear make up once on the local islands in Maldives because it was too hot and it wasn’t the kinda place you needed to dress up for. My skin loved me for giving it a break too!

Hope that’s been able to help any of you wanting to know what to wear in Maldives or any other hot countries where it’s a bit tricky in finding the right clothes to wear.


Read More Maldives Posts

Here’s just a small selection of some of our posts we’ve written about our three week island hopping trip around Maldives.

What To Wear In Maldives

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  1. This very useful, thanks! I’ve definitely struggled to find the right clothes to take to conservative places – as you say, especially things that are appropriate, relatively cool, look half decent, and are suitable for scrambling around temples etc (particularly relevant for shoes…). I also have strangely long legs so I often have length issues, too. It’s a minefield! I just hate feeling like I’m not wearing enough to be modest. I ended up feeling very self conscious about it in Indonesia, not helped by the fact that I kept being asked for photos thanks to my super pale skin 🙁

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