Oct 3, 2012 - 11:21 AM
Hi, I cannot help you with shopping in Chennai, but wanted to add that I visited Switzerland the same time period 2 years ago and found the type of wardrobe I describe below quite effective. Note however that we didn't eat out much or feel the need to look terribly fashionable, so this wardrobe is designed more for the person who isn't into "fancy" things. So this may not work for you at all. For example, I wore a single pair of earrings and my wedding ring and took no other jewelry. Fancy just doesn't describe me at all!
Ideally, nothing should be made of cotton or wool (other than socks)- stick with silk or polyster or nylon or other man-made materials that can be washed and dried easily in your hotel room. This is of course easier if you don't move from city to city but pick a base area and travel from a single place, which is rather easy to do in Switzerland, frankly. I did laundry every single evening of whatever I wore that day, generally giving the clothes 2 days to dry.
The US brands I took were Patagonia, Columbia, UnderArmor, Ex Officio, SmartWool; if you can find them or similar types of products you may do well. For my latest 21 day trip this is roughly what I took for myself, my husband did his own packing so I can't advise on men's clothing very well. Everything I took was in a limited color scheme (gray, black, dark purple, all in solid colors, no prints) so that I could wash items in the tub together without worrying about colors running. Everything was "drip dry" in my apartment - I did have to buy some clothes hangers to facilitate this, as the apartment we rented only had 4 clothes hangers for some reason...:
3 pairs Ex Officio undergarments (panties and tank tops - very quick wash/dry) - I wore one pair on the trip over, packed 2.
1 set of pajamas (quick-dry nylon, I simply rinsed them each morning and washed them more thoroughly weekly)
4 pairs SmartWool Socks
1 pair hiking boots
1 pair "walking shoes" - mine were purple Clarkes' street shoes, not very fancy but not sneakers, either
4 100% rayon tee shirts (2 short sleeved, 2 long sleeved) - I wore one set (short sleeved under a long sleeved) on the trip over.
1 polarfleece shell (zip front) - I wore it on the trip over. Note that I never washed it, but I probably should have. If this grosses you out, you might take 2 so that one can dry while you wear the second one.
3 pairs "travel pants" from Patagonia/Columbia - they were of a man-made material that wash/dry very quickly and don't wrinkle - I wore one on the trip over. Also, they all had extra pockets so I was able to take various documents (e.g., train pass) and items (e.g., iphone, lip gloss, a small comb) with me without carrying another bag.
1 pair Patagonia brand lightweight thermal underwear (bottoms) - but I ended up not needing them very often, only on long hikes.
1 Patagonia brand all weather shell/jacket (wore it on the trip over to save luggage space - i used it and the polar fleece shell as a pillow on the flight)
1 pair mittens
1 pair earmuffs (I don't like hats but my ears get cold easily)
Way too many fancy printed scarves.... (I'd drape one over my head if I was feeling too cold during a hike)
1 "Sham-Wow" - this is a super absorbent "towel" that I used as part of the clothes drying routine - after washing an item, I'd wrap it in the "Sham-Wow" and wring the excess moisture out of the garment, then hang it up. I'd wring out the sham wow between each garment - it was really useful in getting my wool socks to dry faster.
I didn't take an umbrella because my Patagonia jacket had a nice rain hood on it
It all fit in a regulation sized carry-on bag (with my toiletries in a separate back pack).
On a typical day, I'd wear my Ex Officio under garments, a short sleeved tee shirt under a long sleeved tee shirt, a pair of travel pants, and a scarf. The polar fleece and all-weather shell were my outer layers, plus a nice scarf (everyone in Switzerland wears nice scarves around their necks, even babies!). For hikes in the colder climes, I'd also wear the thermal underwear. My back pack was very small, just big enough to cram my polarfleece or my shell into it if I got too warm.
Of course, we rented an apartment and cooked almost all our evening meals. I didn't feel I had the clothes to eat out at the nice restaurants all over Switzerland, so this might not work for you.
I hope you have a wonder trip!