Colombo - Post Report Question and Answers

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

Dress code at work is business casual. In public places people tend to dress a little more conservatively than in a western country. Traditional clothing is still often worn and makes the city look colorful and vibrant. Formal dress is very rarely required. - Mar 2021

Dress casual most always. Formal dress if you plan to attend the Marine Ball or similar event. But in general, bring more flip flops and fewer heels. - Sep 2020

Smart casual in public places and business/business casual at work is usually appropriate. Sri Lanka is a fairly conservative country, so I don't wear shorts, except at home. Formal dress is only required for the Marine Ball, at least in my world. - Apr 2020

Saris are still very popular dress for locals and sarongs for men. So, you can be a bit more casual, however, in the embassy many tend to dress in suits and women dress in business attire as well. In public it is still taboo to show shoulders and knees in much of Sri Lanka, however, in Colombo and the coastal tourist areas, it is fine. Just err on the side of being conservative. - Sep 2017

Sri Lankans dress nicely - very professional, however not over the top. Prepare for nice pants and blouses or dresses and for men nice shirts and pants (suits and ties only necessary when meeting with government officials and dignitaries). Spaghetti straps and short-shorts or short skirts are not looked upon favorably. Plenty of tourists go that route because of the heat, however they draw lots of attention because of their lack of respect for the culture. - Mar 2017

Light summer clothes. Professional for work, modest for public. - Sep 2013

Slacks, shirt and tie. Shorts outside - Sep 2012

It's a conservative religious country so women should make sure their legs and arms are covered. Hot and humid weather means lightweight clothing. - Dec 2011

Modest. Sleeves for women, no tank tops in public and skirts below the knee. - Feb 2010

Black pants and white shirt. Shirt with tie to look professional. - Sep 2008

It depend on the work place. There is no strict dress codes; just use your common sense. - Feb 2008


Subscribe to our newsletter

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

Read More