Iconic Destinations, Iconic Fashion

One of the things we miss most about the pre-COVID world is definitely traveling. Being able to experience the culture and customs of different countries is one of the most fulfilling and enriching things a person can do. Pent-up demand for travel is increasing, and once it’s safe to go abroad, tourism numbers are likely to skyrocket. In fact, people are actually planning to travel more post-pandemic than they did pre-pandemic.

Traveling abroad is all about new experiences. The food, music, culture, and even language are all things that we can learn from. However, something that you might not notice at first is fashion. Styles can often differ wildly from place to place, and it’s an indelible part of what makes a foreign country feel, well, foreign. Let’s look at some of the most iconic pieces of fashion from other countries, the history behind them, and the proper etiquette for wearing it as a tourist.

Hawaiian Leis

Probably the first thing most people think of when they think about vacations is Hawaii. And what’s the most iconic image of Hawaii? It’s someone greeting you at the entrance of a beach resort with Hawaiian leis. Leis are given for a wide variety of occasions such as weddings, graduations, important events, and to welcome people. They represent friendship, love, and peace. Leis are usually made of flowers, but can be made from materials like leaves or fronds. The type of flower used to make the lei is incredibly significant. Just like flowers have meanings, the flowers used in leis have meanings too.

Hawaiian people are extremely welcoming of anyone, including tourists, who want to use leis. So there’s almost no wrong way to wear a lei – you can even make your own! Just remember these two rules: don’t refuse a lei, and don’t take a lei off in the presence of the person who gave it to you.


Lederhosen are synonymous with one thing – Oktoberfest. What’s a trip to another country without tasting that country’s alcohol? Visitors to Oktoberfest drink up to 2 million gallons of beer every year! To complete the experience, many tourists dress up in Lederhosen, a traditional Bavarian outfit. Lederhosen were originally worn by the rural classes when they performed physical labor. The leather shorts meant that the Lederhosen was durable yet light enough to be comfortable. Lederhosen actually fell out of fashion in the 1900s, but were revived thanks to festivals like Oktoberfest, where Lederhosen and its female equivalent, the dirndl, have become nearly ubiquitous. Oktoberfest is one big party, so it’s totally fine to don a traditional costume. Everyone’s there to have a good time, and Lederhosens just add to the fun. Obviously there will be plenty of overpriced, low-quality clothes out there meant to take advantage of tourists who might not know any better. But as long as you exercise a bit of common sense, you’ll be able to find the perfect Lederhosen for your Oktoberfest bonanza!


The Kimono is one of the first things you think of when it comes to Japan. This elegant garment has a long and rich history, and is treasured as an important part of Japanese culture. There are types of kimono for every conceivable occasion, as they aren’t just meant for serious or formal events. While they aren’t as common as they used to be and are rarely used as everyday wear, they’ve become more popular of late, especially with tourists. Generally, there aren’t any problems if tourists wear kimonos. In fact, there are many shops who rent kimonos out, allowing tourists to have the experience of wearing one without having to buy one. You can even get your hair and makeup done to complete the look! However, take note that the kimono is a complicated garment. It’s also not easy to sit down in! So make sure you know what you’re getting into before you decide to try one on. As they say, when in Rome do as the Romans do. It’s always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to respecting the culture of another country.


A Sari is a long piece of cloth that is draped over the body. It is worn with a petticoat and a blouse, and is one of the national costumes of India. The sari is as diverse as its country. Every region has a different method of draping the sari. Saris are also made of many different materials and have different levels of ornamentation, depending on what occasion it’s intended for. Generally, locals love when you make an effort to adopt some of their culture, so feel free to wear a sari on your next trip to India! However, saris can be difficult to drape for beginners, so make sure you’ve got the technique down or know someone who can help you out. Also take note that India can be very hot and humid, so a sari might not be the most comfortable choice.