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I have to admit that I did not do a very good job packing the first time I visited Taiwan. The Taiwan dress code articles I read online led me to believe certain clothing articles and styles were common for women to wear in Taiwan, but it was an entirely different story when I arrive.
I ended up wearing the same two shirts every day for three weeks because I didn’t understand the Taiwan dress code for women before I arrived in Taipei.
And, yes, in case you were horrified reading that last sentence, I washed those two shirts multiple times during those three weeks!
This post gives you nitty-gritty details about the Taiwan dress code for women you need to know.
No full. No bull. Just the facts you need to properly pack for your trip to Taiwan!
Essential Taiwan Dress Code Knowledge
Taiwan is a modern and progressive country.
The dress code for women in Taiwan is very similar to dress codes in Europe and North America, but there is one huge exception. It isn’t as common or acceptable for women to show their shoulders. The majority of Taiwanese women wear t-shirts that cover their shoulders or a light shawl over their shoulders if they’re wearing a tank top.
Every article I read before visiting Taiwan for the first time said the dress code for women was exactly the same as Europe and North America.
They made no mention of the fact that women typically don’t show their shoulders in Taiwan, and you’ll stick out like a sore thumb.
In all my time in Taiwan, I’ve never seen a local woman wearing a tank top or shirt that showed her shoulders. The only people I’ve noticed with exposed shoulders were clearly tourists.
You won’t be confronted by any locals or denied entry into any tourists attractions if your shoulders are exposed, but you may get stared at.
And you definitely won’t blend in and look like a local!
The other important thing you need to keep in mind when packing for Taiwan as a woman is you need to wear appropriate bottoms if you’re visiting a temple or religious site.
This means you should avoid short shorts and short skirts.
The best rule of thumb is to wear bottom that cover your knees or at least hits just above the knee.
You probably won’t be denied entry into a temple if you’re bottoms don’t come to your knees, but there is no guarantee. I witnessed a woman being asked to leave Kaohsiung’s Martyrs Shrine because her skirt was too short.
What to Wear in Taiwan as a Woman
A good basic rule to live by is cover your shoulders and cover your thighs.
But that poses some difficulties when trying to navigate the humid, tropical climate of Taiwan with respecting their dress code.
Even if you visit Taiwan during the fall and winter months, it is still really warm and humid.
My recommendation is to pack long, flowing skirts or dresses. They are much more comfortable and breathable than shorts or jeans.
In terms of tops, you shouldn’t need to pack a sweater. You’ll be sweating to death if you’re anything like me.
A cotton t-shirt that covers your shoulders is perfect and one of the best ways to be respectful while still staying cool(ish).
Another extremely important thing you need to consider is what shoes you’re bringing.
There is a lot of hiking to be done in Taiwan. You can hardly visit a city without there being at least a small hike you can go on.
You need to bring a good pair of running or hiking shoes with you to Taiwan.
It won’t take long for you to regret not packing them if you leave them behind!
So, really, the dress code in Taiwan is pretty straightforward and makes it easy for you to pack.
Leave your tank tops at home, pack a long skirt, and make sure you have a good pair of running shoes in your suitcase.
You’ll be good to go!
Just make sure you pack more shoulder-covering shirts than I did!
What Not to Wear in Taiwan as a Woman
Technically, you can wear whatever you want in Taiwan, but you may not want to.
There are definitely some articles of clothing that will make you stick out and turn the locals’ heads.
The two top rules (as you know) are cover your shoulders and cover your thighs.
Make that a mantra and repeat it every time you leave your hotel room.
Two other things you may want to avoid are:
- Very low-cut tops
- Crop tops that show a lot of your stomach
Some younger women in Taiwan wear these clothing items, but they are still pretty uncommon.
This is doubly true during the day! Most locals wear these items at night when partying rather than out and about during the day like in North America and Europe.
Again, you’ll probably just be stared at, but it is best to leave these items behind.
Finally, the last thing you should think twice about packing are your heels. You’ll be walking a lot in Taiwan, so your feet will get sore quickly.
They’re alright to wear on a night out, but don’t plan on wearing them out all day.
There aren’t many things you can’t wear in Taiwan as a woman, so it isn’t a difficult trip to pack for.
There a few things you shouldn’t wear, but the majority of you closet can be used to pick and choose outfits from.
As you can see, Taiwan has a pretty relaxed dress code for women. The country is very Westernized, and you see a lot of the same styles in Taiwan as in North America and Europe.
You can wear pretty much anything you want without having to worry about offending a local.
Out of respect for the locals, you should avoid showing your shoulders and wear a longer skirt or shorts.
Follow those basic rules, and you’re good to explore Taiwan and blend in with the locals!