We are going to Turkey the 2nd week of June. I would like to know whether any modifications need to be made to Rick's packing list since it is a Muslim country ie: no cropped pants (or pants at all for that matter) or any other clothing suggestions you may have specific to women traveling to Turkey. Thanks Laura
On the first day that I arrived in Istanbul, my perceptions of conservative dress in Turkey were completely shot. Our tour guide (a Turkish woman) was dressed in a tank top and a mini skirt. Before we went into the mosques, she pulled out 2 large scarves. She wrapped one around her waist like a skirt and the other covered her head and shoulders.
Bring a scarf (or even 2) with you in case you need to cover up when you go into a mosque. Or alternatively, you can buy one when you get there. Slacks are fine, however sometimes skirts are more practical. In some parts of Turkey, the public toilets are the hole in the ground type. Always carry paper for those public toilets that are lacking any.
Have a great trip. Turkey is fantastic.
Thanks so much! This is very helpful information. I too have been under the impression that clothes needed to be extremely modest. I'll just pack the way I usually do!
Turkey is more conservative than other parts of Europe (particularly when you get out into the countryside), but I always felt perfectly comfortable in slacks and a short sleeve shirt (but I would not have felt comfortable in a mini skirt like our guide :) I'd say the "dress code" is similar to that for the Vatican ... wear clothing that covers your shoulders and knees.
This website has some good tips
I went to Turkey in 89 in December. i wore jeans and a coat. All I noticed was that Turkish ladies were wearing black clothes and black scarves. The younger ones were wearing more Western clothes, some of them weren't wearing scarves at all. I went to a few mosques and I didn't have to ware a scarf. I only had to take my shoes off before entering and stay in the back of the mosque.
I would not wear a tank top in a church anywhere in Europe. Not even here in the US.
There are different standards of dress in different parts of the country. Istanbul is a cosmopolitan city, and you can dress as though you were in New York or London. Either skirts or pants are fine,with any length below the knee acceptable. Blouses should be modest, with sleeves, and no low necks. In the interior, however, I would lean on the conservative side and avoid tight fitting t-shirts, revealing tops, and short skirts or pants. I wore dockers, a t-shirt, and a three-quarter length overshirt much of the time,and sometimes a long skirt with a blouse. We were in various homes, businesses, and tourist spots of interest and I was perfectly comfortable. The Turquoise Coast is another matter; along the beach things are much looser and there were many in shorts and tank tops. Always carry a large scarf with you, and be sure to wear sturdy, comfortable shoes, for the ground is often uneven. Turkey is wonderful, interesting, full of hospitable people, and you will enjoy your trip!
Pants for women are not a problem anywhere in Turkey. Even in the most conservative rural areas, pants are fine--in fact, traditional Turkish dress for women includes a kind of bloomer-like pants!
Shorts are another matter, though. In touristy areas, they are fine, especially for beach wear, hiking, etc. In the modern sections of Istanbul or Ankara, you may feel under-dressed in shorts and T shirts, not because of Islamic norms but because like other Europeans, women there tend to dress a bit more stylishly in public than Americans do.
Dress for visiting mosques is like that for visiting European churches--no bare shoulders, and pants or skirts should be knee length or longer. This is true for men and for women. The only additional consideration is that women should cover their hair with a scarf as a sign of respect in a mosque. (Some tourists don't, but it's better manners to do so.)
Thank you for all of your kind replies and suggestions. I have looked at the pictures from one of the recent on line travel logs and am really looking forward to the trip. I will quit worrying about what to pack and pack as usual.