What to Wear? "Machu Picchu Fashion Week"
Technically, the Peruvian government doesn't give a hoot about your haut couture. The only official decree regarding toggery, is that everyone must be togged. Nudity is explicity prohibited.
Aside from that, Machu Picchu is your oyster. So what are visitors to Machu Picchu wearing these days? I would describe the average costume for the over 50 crowd, as a uniform of earthy tactical pants with lots of pockets and zippers topped with breathable performance Ts, or snazzy button down shirts with sleeves that roll up and button in place with cute tab holders. And maybe a secret pocket with a hidden zipper here and there. (a fashion crime to which I plead guilty!) For the younger hipster crowd, comfy black yoga - style leggings for women, or dudes grooved out in eco-friendly denim shagged to perfection. Everyone is layered with puffy vests, rain jackets with features too numerous to mention, and for those who are less well prepared, cheap vinyl ponchos which unfortunately come in a wide array of garish colors.
Footwear ranges from department store sneakers to high-tech trail runners designed to ensconce your foot in snug, dry maximum performance comfort. And for the hipsters, the rugged look of lace-up boots with just the right amount of wear. It doesn't get any more "Paris Fashion Week at Machu Picchu" than this.
One at a time, visitors parade through the Machu Picchu main entry gate like models on a runway flaunting the latest trends in outdoor gear. I call the look, "Mountain Casual." And mingled with the trendsetters are those who look like they stepped out of an urban outfitters catalog (if such a thing still exists) donning the latest look in "worn out everything."
Even in the gateway city of Cusco, Peru, travelers swagger through the narrow Inca streets decked out in duds that would bring tears of joy to the eye of "J. Peterman" and his cult followers. Foreigners adorned in clothing bearing brand names like Patagonia and North Face collide in plazas and restaurants as they bustle around the city center. The dress code at even the fanciest of dining establishments would dare not deviate from the posh but understated, yet mountain casual vibe.
For people who travel frequently, it makes sense to invest in good quality clothing, footwear and outerwear in as many shades of khaki as you can think of, with the ability to adapt and function in various climates. Whether you shop online, at trendy name-brand stores, or no name thrift stores, I hope you enjoyed my take on the fashion scene in Peru even half as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Whether you're a dashing trendsetter or a dowdy trendbuster, fashion is fun, and combined with travel it's a winning combination for "Fashion Week at Machu Picchu."
What about accessories like hats and sunglasses? You'll have to wait for my next post!
In case you are interested in the packing list, here's a link to "what to wear to Machu Picchu."
I'm not done with you yet!
Here's a link to a story about insects at Machu Picchu. This will explain why you should avoid wearing shorts!
Yes. And there's more.