What Do I Wear There? Study Abroad: Australia

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Woman with suitcase

This week, I’m returning to the Study Abroad series by popular demand to focus on an amazingly beautiful place many of you are lucky enough to study in–Australia! Super helpful CF reader Anika was kind enough to advise on us style there from her own experience, so be sure to thank her in the comments below.

As always, the same guidelines apply:

  • All of the information here is taken from advice I have received–it is not a binding set of rules for how to dress in these locations! These are simply some helpful suggestions on what articles of clothing have proved most functional and worthwhile for those who have traveled abroad. However, for this article, it is important to note what is and is not appropriate to wear in these areas, as they tend to be more conservative than what most readers may be used to.
  • Because of the nature of these posts–which are trying to cater to such a large crowd of people going to all different places within each of these areas–I am forced to generalize. However, I do understand that fashion is different not just in the different countries but also in the different regions of each country. Therefore, please feel free to correct me or add more detail in the comments if you think your specific location within these countries follows different fashion “rules” or subscribes to a different way of dressing!

(In case you missed my previous posts, see What Do I Wear There? Study AbroadStudy Abroad Fashion FAQWhat Do I Wear There? Study Abroad in the UK and Ireland,  Study Abroad Fashion in France, Germany, Italy, and SpainStudy Abroad Fashion in China, Israel, and JapanStudy Abroad Fashion in Scandinavia and Study Abroad Fashion in India and South America.)

General Tips

Australia is generally a warmer climate, so do not pack your heavy winter gear! The best way to get through the winter is with layers, so be sure to pack pieces that you can pile on for a chilly day.

For warmer weather, stick with the same basics you love from here–you can’t go wrong with jeans, shorts, tee shirts, and tank tops. And since it does tend to be sunnier in Australia, do not forget to bring or buy some strong SPF! As Anika told me, “The sun burns really quickly and is much hotter than sun I’ve experienced anywhere else. Sunscreen is my best friend.”

Daily Look for Australia

First and foremost, Anika noted that, “On campus in Australia, I’d have to say it’s a LOT more relaxed than most would be used to.” Below is a sample outfit I created based on her suggestions for a cute, casual daytime look.

Australian fashion

Product Information: Tank: Net-a-porter.com, Vest: Allsaints.com, Sunglasses: Girlprops.com, Shorts: TopShop.com, Bracelet: ASOS.com, Sandals: Cottonon.com

Anika told me that she often wears shorts, a tank top, a vest, and some cute accessories for a regular day going to class. I picked out this outfit because the base of it is extremely flexible and can be worn for a variety of activities. The sunglasses will protect you from the strong sun there, while the bracelet and shoes add a great pop of color to your look.

Dressing up should be reserved for “off campus” outings, such as fun nights out with friends. For these, you can pretty much wear what you typically would back in the US. However, you can stay pretty casual–jeans are appropriate for most daily looks in Australia, including going out.

Anika also suggests that, “A person should definitely bring every bikini they own” if you want to be able to truly take advantage of all the beautiful weather and outdoor fun Australia has to offer. She also stresses how easy it is to burn and how vital sunscreen is. Hats are also a great way to ensure your head stays out in the sun and doesn’t roast!

Finally, just because the look in Australia is slightly more relaxed does not mean sweatpants are okay there either! Anika pointed out that “most [Australians] have no idea what ‘sweat pants’ are, so you’re unlikely to buy them or see them.” So keep your sweats to yourself in your dorm or at the gym!

Shopping in Australia

According to Anika, “The best places to shop would have to be Valley Girl, Ally and Temt, totally cheap but great clothes (you can check them out online).” For more high-end products, she suggests David Jones, which is one of Australia’s major department stores. If you’re looking for some accessories, try Sportsgirl, which is also slightly more expensive, but has great outfit additions like headbands. Cosmetic purchases are best at Priceline, which Anika claims is both “cheap and amazing.”

If you’re interested in traveling, Anika suggests going to Burleigh Heads rather than the popular tourist spot Surfer’s Paradise. Burleigh Heads not only has a “better beach” but also “great shopping,” so go prepared to spend some money, as “a walk down the main street will leave a girl with an empty purse.”

What do you think?

Do you have any other tips on nailing Australian style? Are there any other tips you’d like to see? What essentials would you want to bring to Australia? Let us know in the comments!

And if you have any “What Do I Wear There” questions, let me know in the comments! Yours may be featured in next week’s article.

27 thoughts on “What Do I Wear There? Study Abroad: Australia”

  1. I’m studying abroad in Wollongong from February to June. What kind of clothes should I bring for most of the weather?! Do people wear long jeans a lot or should I pack mostly summer clothes? Also, should i not bring boots and focus on flip flops and heels?

  2. check the weather on a weather site, the year long one.
    i live in melbourne but have been to brisbane. although yes most of the time it is reasonably warm there are times when it is colder and warmer things will be needed. so bring your favourites but dont bring too many.

  3. Hi I’m moving to Brisbane in February from NZ to study, people keep telling me it is practically summer all year round – problem is, I love my winter wardrobe! Am I going to have to part completely with my stockings/tights and boots, or can I get away with them? Also, in NZ we really don’t care how dressed up or down someone is for college – does it matter it aus?

  4. SO helpful! I’m studying in sydney this semester and I leave in a few days. I will take all of these comments to heart while packing! I’ll also be sure to come back here if I have any more questions. Thanks!

  5. sorry Colleen what you’re source failed to say is that “sweatpants” is so common in Australia DURING WINTER that you couldn’t go out and not see at least one person wearing sweats.

    Sweats + Ugg Boots = Australian Combination of a day outfit during winter

    one the very rare days that we wear casual at school about 40% of the people wear the combination and about 70% wear uggs.

    I personally don’t approve of this and DO NOT own a pair of UGGly boots and only wear sweats when going to the gym

    and btw, australians LOVE wearing ugg boots, it’s a fashion staple in australia
    in fact this brand is very popular
    so are the australian surf brands like roxy, billabong, etc. they have uggs to prove that ugg boots is definitely not frowned upon in australian style. yuck

  6. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone in trackies (sweatpants) and uggboots except maybe in the middle of winter…on year 8 camp. No one at my uni would dare to wear trackies out, we don’t live on campus so you don’t just roll out of bed to uni, so what’s the point of looking like you did?

  7. Hi all! I’ll be studying abroad in Cairns from February to June, any suggestions about what to wear and bring? What kind of shoes do girls wear in the rain there? and how hot/rainy is it really?? Thanks!

  8. Very few people where uggs out of the house the majority of Aussies consider them slippers ( for indoor use). Track pants are actually very common. I go to
    uni on the gold coast (obviously this girl is here with her listed suburbs) and styles vary from sloppy to way overdressed (stilettos at uni, really?)

  9. thank u ,thank u, thank u!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    iv been begging for this post……thank u
    im heading there this feb……
    again….thank u, thank u, thank u

  10. Hey guys! Awesome suggestions for girls, I know this is a very old discussion thread but i was wondering if y’all could provide a couple of suggestions for boys. My brother and I will be starting Uni in Feb, 2016 at Melbourne.

  11. @Nataile I live in Queensland but closer to Brisbane than Townsville. Usually you can buy an power adapter at the airport or most travel store, which will allow you to use an American item in an Australian power outlet.

    It sound like you will arrive in our winter, so I think the key is to pack stuff you can layer but make sure that a lease one warm jumper/coat. In winter the average low is about 5.3C and 23.2C is the highest and in summer the low is 20.C and the highest is 39.C
    Yes swimsuits are a must! You will be right beside the Great Barrier Reef! Keep in mind that well call swimsuits a lot of different name; cozzie, bathers, swimmer and togs!

    I’m not sure about the sites in Townsville, only be there once as a kid, but a nice dress with accessories will probable do just fine.
    Travelling from north to south is costly, it can be up to $260 to Melbourne, one way in coach from Townsville! I think you will be better off checking for flights when you are in Townsville and see if you can get a deal.

    I hope this has help and I really hope you in joy it in Aus when you come 😀

    Emma x


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