What to Wear: Egypt in July

When I first found out that I would be traveling to Egypt, I started nesting like a mom-to-be. Even though I had a few months, I started seeking the perfect outfits to wear during the trip. I started searching through blog posts to find the balance between conservative and not roasting from the 100 plus degree temperatures. In the end, this is what I wore.


Bottoms:
For women, shorts are a definite “no” if you want to be conscious of the local culture. I felt fine in capri length pants or longer. My favorite bottoms that I took on the trip ended up being a patterned pair that I got last minute (with the original tags!) at Goodwill. I’ve even worn them since the trip. I packed a few maxi-dresses and maxi-skirts, but I ended up preferring to wear pants, purely for comfort.

No French Horns? As a previous player of the instrument, I couldn’t resist a photo with the unique road sign. In the evening, I felt a little uncomfortable wearing this shirt.

Tops:
I wasn’t sure how covered my arms would have to be so I took a pretty wide variety of tops for the trip. Short sleeve shirts with a modest neckline were acceptable and I wish I had brought more of them. I brought tank tops that I expected to wear with a cardigan, but they spent most of the trip packed in my bag. A light weight cardigan was nice to have mid-travel: Laying always comes in handy on buses, trains, and planes. I packed one shirt that fit a little tighter, that I only planned on wearing on the flight to Egypt. Once I got there, I thought I might be okay to re-wear it. I noticed some stares while I was wearing the shirt in Aswan–the only outfit choice that made me feel slightly uncomfortable.

Shoes:
I’m a sandals girl through and through, I find walking miles in them much more comfortable than sneakers. I took sandals and a pair of slip-on Ked brand shoes on the trip…but spent much more time in the sandals. My feet might have been grimy by the end of the day (and I opted to leave the sandals behind at the last hotel), but I’d prefer that to feeling trapped in warm closed-toe shoes when it’s over 100 degrees.

Accessories:
I despise sunglasses. They slide off my nose and give me a headache, but I was worried that heading to Egypt without them would set me up for disaster. After all, it was pretty bright with the sun reflecting off stone temples. I ended up buying a pair for the trip, but didn’t wear them as much as I expected…however, they are probably an essential for most travelers.

I also scored a floppy hat for $5 at Target. The hat was nice to keep the sun off my dark hair, but the breeze was so strong that the hat spent more time in my hand than on my head.

I anticipated that I was going to need to cover my hair during the entire trip. After the first full day, I found out that it wasn’t a cultural necessity to keep my hair covered. Many Egyptians women themselves even choose to keep their hair uncovered. However, I did keep a scarf with me at all times! It was helpful to have on hand for comfort–whether I decided to cover my hair in a smaller neighborhood or wear it as a scarf to cover my chest. I didn’t “need” it by any means, but I was certainly happy to have it just in case.

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