Mumbai - Post Report Question and Answers

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

Mumbai is pretty informal in terms of dress. It's also so hot out all the time, that you don't really want to wear heavy suits. - Jul 2023

No typical dress code. Locals mostly wear sarees and kurtas. Expats may also wear kurtas, but it is also possible to find a fushion of western and Indian clothing. Mumbai is quite safe and women can wear shorts, tank tops, sun dresses, etc. without issue. Women will get more attention in western wear that shows more skin, but as saree blouses can be quite revealing, this seems to be more due to the fact that the western clothing draws more attention. You can find ample opportunity to wear formal dress. The Marine Security Guard Detachment at the US Consulate holds an annual Marine Corp Ball, the American School of Bombay has several annual functions for parents that are semi-formal to formal, depending on the occasion, and if you happen to get invited to Bollywood events, you will want something formal. - May 2023

Everything goes, it's an international city. Dress appropriate for the activity. Fashion is fun: lots of great shopping and opportunities to buy fabric and design your own. Several stores offer the best of Indian cotton and design with dresses and shirts that you would wear globally. You can also get local clothes and not be stared at. - Feb 2023

Like any workplace. - Aug 2021

I work in the Consular section and the dress code is very lax. I usually wear sneaks, dress pants, and collared shirt. Formal dress is almost never required except for representational events. But folks in the POL/ECON sections do wear suits. - Nov 2020

Mumbai is more progressive than the rest of India (where shoulders and knees must be covered at all times). My rule of thumb in Mumbai is to cover either my shoulders OR my knees. Most older Indian women will be in traditional Indian dress. Younger Indian women will either be in traditional dress or western wear. Work dress at the Consulate is business casual Monday – Thursday with casual Friday. Formal dress gets worn pretty frequently here. Definitely invest in some traditional Indian wear, you will get good use out of it. There are also several expat or consulate balls each year, so formal dresses are a must-have too. - Aug 2019

Typically formal with long pants. Despite the heat, no one wears shorts. Many Indians wear kurtas and saris formally, which can be cooler. - Mar 2019

Regular suits, etc, local kurtas are acceptable. - May 2018

Suit and tie at the consulate, but local dress ('kurta') is sometimes acceptable and very comfortable. - Jun 2017

Suit, or professional casual. - Aug 2015

Indian clothes are popular with even Western women on the weekends. At work, women wear dresses, skirts & blouses, pants with tops, etc. Suits are uncommon. Men wear shirts & ties, but jackets not as much. Out in the street, Western men typically dress the same as for hot weather in the U.S. although shorts are somewhat unusual. Women shouldn't wear anything too revealing, if they don't want stares, catcalls, etc. - Nov 2014

Business casual at work and anything goes in public but if you are a woman it's easier to walk around not showing a lot of skin. The staring quickly becomes ogling, then leering, if you show too much cleavage or shoulder on the street. In restaurants, bars, and clubs, you'll see it all. - Mar 2014

Mostly formal. - Feb 2014

Smart casual to formal business attire. Mumbai girls don't seem to follow the conservative dress code of women in other parts of India, and you will often see shorts, mini-skirts, and tank tops, but I think it's best to keep cleavage out of sight and show as little skin as possible unless you want to attract attention. When visiting tourist sites, temples, etc., dress conservatively. Flip flops are considered "lower class" footwear and frowned upon at work unless they are glittery, in which case they are considered "sandals" and thus acceptable. - May 2013

Work: Business attire, though many interlocutors don't use ties or use kurtas and don't care if you have a tie or not. Public:Casual. Shorts are not a problem for men or women in Mumbai, but in other parts of India they may be frowned upon. If visiting temples/mosques, conservative clothing is required. - Feb 2013

Business casual is good for work. It's a good idea to always have a cardigan on hand since air conditioning can be very cold. I've also comfortably worn a sweater outside. It's best to dress conservatively if you're a woman, though you don't have to go overboard. A t-shirt and capris or a knee-length skirt are fine. Tank tops are apparently deemed exceptionally provocative. You'll find, however, that people will stare at you no matter what you wear. - Dec 2010

Casual, no ties at work for most. - Aug 2008

All depends on the field- Business attire normally, and social functions are usually pretty casual due to the Mumbai Bollywood scene. Jeans and a button down for the guys, and anything goes for the girls. - Jul 2008

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