Fashion Advice for Visitors to Solomon Islands 3

Tropical Skirt

(Photo: vintspiration)

By Bronwyn Eager

What fashion items and accessories to pack for a trip to Honiara might at first seem obvious: bathers, sarong, etc. But for those of us not used to tropical weather, choosing suitable tops, shorts and skirts can prove a challenge.

On a recent trip to Honiara to hang out with my sister I stared into my wardrobe and looked for suitable items to see me through my holiday. What stared back at me was a wardrobe perfectly designed to keep out the cold of Melbourne’s winter but completely unsuitable for a tropical climate.

Below is some fashion related research tips I learnt prior and during my short stay in the Solomons to help you design the perfect Honiara holiday wardrobe.

Fabrics

The best fabrics for hot climates are ones made from natural breathable fibres such as cotton or linen. You can also get away with semi-synthetic fibres such as rayon. Fabrics to avoid are those made from polyester and silk.

The colour choice will also impact your heat levels. Whilst it’s best to choose white from a heat perspective, after a day in Honiara your white dress is unlikely to be the same colour as it was in the morning. With this in mind try to find garments of natural or pastel colour, or ones with patterning to hide any dirt. Loose fitting garments are also said to feel cooler than ones that tightly cling to your skin.

Cultural considerations

Women’s fashion in Honiara is conservative. It’s advised to bring skirts and shorts that are at least knee length – leave your sexy hotpants and midriff exposing tops at home!

For women, tops should ideally cover you and your bra straps. Anything that would end up on a Beyonce music video is a definite no-no.

If you’re at your families home or staying at a hotel then these guides don’t necessarily apply, but when you go out in public it’s best to dress respectfully. 

A day bag

You’ll need to pack a small bag to carry with you throughout the day. It should be big enough to fit your wallet, a bottle of water, phone, sunscreen and other essentials.

Choose something with a shoulder strap and also safely securable compartments (zip closures or a covering flap with press studs or a button). Consider a bag made from waterproof fabric in case you get caught in the rain. Leave your glamorous handbags at home!

Keep the bugs away

To reduce the risk of exposure to mosquito bites, think about bringing garments with long sleeves and full-length pants. While this might raise the temperature a little it certainly has its bonuses in helping you avoid tropical illnesses such as dengue fever. A good bug spray is also a must pack item.

Hat

Don’t forget a hat to keep the sun off your face. Choose something that can be put in your day bag and still hold its shape when required.

Umbrella

A small telescopic umbrella should see you through your trip in case of rain. Ideally this would fit in your day bag. Umbrellas also double as a good sun protector if you’re prone to easily sunburn.

If you’ve got any tips to share please leave comments below.

Have a great trip!

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3 comments

  1. Great post! It’s handy to have a small purse to keep your change (perhaps anything less than a SBD $50 note) so you can buy a drink, pay the bus/taxi fare etc without getting large amounts of cash out of your bag. Some small operators also find it hard to change SBD $100 notes.

    A little container of hand sanitiser never goes astray either! And locally it is quite okay to use your umbrella for the sun as well as the rain 🙂

    • Good post Bron! Of course if you don’t have anything suitable you can always go secondhand shopping on arrival 😉 I also recommend croc sandals or similar instead of leather shoes, as leather goes mouldy quickly in the tropics. Ditto for handbags and wallets/purses – leave the leather at home.

  2. Pingback: 50 Things I’ve Learned as an Expat « The Pineapple Post

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