Monsoon fashion drama!
July 27, 2009 5:35 AM   Subscribe

What to wear during the Indian monsoon season?

I am going to India (Mumbai and Bangalore) in two weeks' time on a business trip. I am aware this is the monsoon season, so I was looking for tips from the hive mind on what to wear.

I am going to be meeting a series of senior-level people, but I am not sure how formally people dress on that kind of heat, also considering it is raining all the time? This may sounds ridiculous, but shall I bring a pair of wellies?
posted by heartofglass to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I wasn't in a business setting, but I have spent some time in that part of the world. Thoughts in no particular order:

Most of the time when I was in south asia, everyone took their shoes off upon entering a building. So wellies aren't out of the question, and there would probably be somewhere to put them if you want to take them off once you get where you're going (a little shelf or something is normal).

Definitely bring or buy an umbrella.

The good news is that everyone else has to deal with monsoon, too, so you won't be the only one who is wet/spattered in muck.

In my experience, people in business and politics tend to dress really formally in much of India despite the heat. Of course, I only observed people in those environments from a distance, so maybe it's different once they get inside the office. And I expect it varies based on your particular industry/company just like anywhere else. But either way, I would suggest bringing an extra undershirt to absorb the sweat. At a certain point, an extra layer doesn't make you that much hotter, and at least your outer clothes won't be soaked through quite as quickly.
posted by Hypocrite_Lecteur at 8:44 AM on July 27, 2009

Most people traveling on business in India aren't really exposed to the heat and the rain to that extent. You'll probably be traveling in air-conditioned cars to and from air-conditioned offices and hotels.
Businessmen do sometimes wear suits, though less formal attire (even just a shirt and pants) is also acceptable. I definitely don't think you should wear wellies though. I would just expect to be kept in a somewhat climate-controlled environment for all the business parts of the trip and wear whatever you would wear in wet and hot weather when you want to act like a tourist.
posted by peacheater at 9:24 AM on July 27, 2009

Most of the time when I was in south asia, everyone took their shoes off upon entering a building.
This is unlikely to be the case in a business setting, though it is the norm when entering a private home.
posted by peacheater at 9:25 AM on July 27, 2009

I'm sorry I can't help with business atire, since my time in monsoon India was spent as a dirty backpacker, but I would recommend against wellies or most raincoats. Mostly because India in the rainy season is incredibly hot and humid, and most waterproof clothes will not breathe well.

Go with the lightest-weight fabric you can get away with.
posted by lunasol at 9:41 AM on July 27, 2009

Best answer: Don't get wellies; you run the risk that they will fill with water, which is miserable. The monsoon is very, very wet.
What I would concentrate on is having a waterproofed bag. If you are out in anything really dire, the important stuff - your good shoes, your jacket, your business documents - can go in the bag. I suspect you will be walking between air-conditioned cars and air-conditioned offices mostly, but the rain can be heavy enough to soak everything in minutes.

I found an enormous cagoul very helpful, if comical, during the monsoon. I got mine from an outdoor shop and it was the kind that can also be used as a groundsheet or as a miniature tent. It was of epic proportions. An umbrella will not cover you. I wouldn't worry about heat, because, as I say, in a business environment you will be concentrating mainly on staying dry in the brief interludes between lovely air-conditioned bubbles. And in my experience it wasn't that hot while it was raining - it was hot when it was going to rain.

But the bag. The bag is what's really gonna be key. One of those rubber things, or something that sailors might use to hold the ship's log in case she sank.
posted by Acheman at 11:51 AM on July 27, 2009

No wellies. Dress very formally, but in fabrics that dry quickly. You'll be in cars most of the time, not walking around, but you will get wet, probably. You'll see people using umbrellas, but they are all but useless in a monsoon. It is too hot to wear a raincoat.

The monsoon is a trip. It rains harder than you've ever imagined it could rain for about 2 min., then stops for 2 min. You'll learn timing.
posted by QIbHom at 7:13 AM on July 28, 2009

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