Chennai - Post Report Question and Answers

What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Pretty casual due to the extreme heat. Some wore polo shirts, some wore full on three-piece suits. General dress was somewhere in between. - Jan 2024

No formal dress as this place is very casual. Men do not wear suits and women wear saris or traditional clothes. Not a great style conscious place by any means. If you like getting fancy, not your place. - May 2023

Work is pretty business casual compared to most work places I've seen. I see no reason one would need formal dress in this post. - Apr 2023

Can range from formal, casual, to dressing up in local garb.. - Aug 2021

Most men wear chino type pants and a tucked in shirt; jeans are not uncommon. Females typically wear some sort of dress or business casual type outfit. I think in two years I wore a suit and tie maybe twice. - Apr 2021

Business casual, with local employees wearing local dress. - May 2019

Business suit and tie. Outside of work men and women tend to be covered and dress conservative and loose. Shorts are a no go unless you are at a resort. - Aug 2018

Business attire is normal at the consulate, with some opting to wear lighter-weight Indian clothing purchased locally. Women typically don't show knees. - May 2018

Wearing Indian attire will be appreciated by locals, especially if you are a woman. Wearing Indian attire also causes rickshaw and sale prices of goods to fall. - May 2016

Western men mostly dress in Western clothes. Women typically cover their legs fully and shoulders. Local women's clothes are saris or kurtas and pants (similar to a pajama set). Western women almost never wear shorts, skirts above the knee, dresses, high heels, tank tops, or spaghetti straps. Men's street clothes can be whatever they want. - May 2016

Anything goes. - May 2015

Business casual for work. For women, if you cover your shoulders and knees you'll get less staring look from local people, and it's also good for not getting mosquito bites. - Mar 2015

Business casual for work. For women, covered shoulders and knees was a good rule to follow when out and about around town but you could wear less conservative things at expat gatherings if you wanted to. - Oct 2014

Not very dressy and always sandals. It's very hot. - Oct 2014

Business. Given the climate, men can often get by without a tie and jacket. - Jun 2014

At work it is semi-formal. In public it is fairly conservative, especially for women, who should dress fairly modestly. No short skirts, shorts or low cut tops. - May 2014

Dress is conservative. At work, it is casual in the sense that you don't have to wear a suit everyday. And in public, most women I know don't wear short shorts or tank tops or the like. - Aug 2013

Women should dress fairly modestly. Avoid shorts and short skirts if possible. - Jul 2012

Expat men wear shirts and slacks, maybe blazers, maybe suits. Women have it tougher, they need to dress conservatively. Local women wear saris but you do not need to. - Aug 2011

Dress code is business/local. It is a hot climate so attire is more laid back. Especially for women, local attire works well and is acceptable. In public, men wear pants and short sleeved shirts, woman - very conservative - most do not wear anything low cut, no short skirts or shorts in public. Children - shorts and t-shirts and sandels. - Jun 2010

Conservative in public but informal. Cotton to keep cool. For the ladies, lightweight pants often go over better than skirts and dresses in public (unless you are hanging out with the young and trendy crowd). Indians dress up more than Americans do when they go out for an evening event, party, etc. - Sep 2009

Very casual. Most don't wear ties. - Aug 2008


Subscribe to our newsletter

New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More