The best way to fit in and have some fun while on holiday is to dress like the locals do, and the people of Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka have a distinct style that is elegant and colorful at the same time.

Stay at The Thinnai All Suite Boutique Hotel and you’ll see this firsthand. The new hotel has a homely atmosphere and celebrates the spirit of Jaffna, so you’ll get to step out and see many people form all walks of life, while staying at the hotel.

While the saree is worn by most women in Sri Lanka, it is most often worn for work purposes or on formal occasions. Most women in Jaffna, especially housewives tend to wear the saree at home as well. It is a long piece of cloth, usually around 6 yards in length, wrapped around the waist with one end thrown over one shoulder. The saree is accompanied by a jacket made from the same, or similar material.

The young girls of Jaffna usually wear Shalwar Kameez or dresses and long skirts. Shalwar kameez is a long top that reaches past the knees, worn with an accompanying pair of straight-leg pants and a shawl draped around the shoulders. Vibrant colors and patterns make every outfit come alive.

Men, on the other hand, wear what is known as ‘Veshtis’ which is a long white cloth wrapped around the waist. They also wear bright sarongs- again a piece of material tied at the waist, along with banyans- a sleeveless and comfortable shirt very much like a skinny.

Intrigued? They look much better than they sound, so talk to the hotel staff about where you can purchase some of these beautiful outfits to take back home as gifts. They’re very helpful and would love to explain the attractive textures, colors and patterns that will suit your skin tone. So make some purchases- you’re sure to be acknowledged as a unique gift-giver on returning from your holiday!