What to Wear in Russia

The Moscow Metro, in January

The Moscow Metro, in January

Lenin's Tomb, Red Square, Moscow in March

Lenin's Tomb, Red Square, Moscow in March

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow, in April

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow, in April

Palace Square, St Petersburg in May

Palace Square, St Petersburg in May

Oryol in July

Oryol in July

Inside the Winter Palace, St Petersburg, August

Inside the Winter Palace, St Petersburg, August

Peterhof Summer Palace gardens in August

Peterhof Summer Palace gardens in August

Sergiyev Posad, in August

Sergiyev Posad, in August

St Petersburg market, September

St Petersburg market, September

Cathedral of the Annunciation, Moscow, October

Cathedral of the Annunciation, Moscow, October

Inside The Hermitage, St Petersburg, in December

Inside The Hermitage, St Petersburg, in December

Shopping in Moscow at Christmas

Shopping in Moscow at Christmas

A Message From Helen



I want you to have an amazing vacation. That's why I started WhatToWearOnVacation.com,
to help you pack with confidence and stay safe, secure and comfortable.

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General Style Tips

  • Russia is fairly conservative, and if you choose to wear bright colors - particularly in the winter months - you will stand out.
  • Jeans are always popular here and, teamed with lighter layers for the summer and warmer ones for the winter, will serve as a versatile base to your wardrobe.
  • Add in a smarter outfit for more formal occasions, such as the ballet or opera. Whilst it's not compulsory, the locals do dress up for these events and you'll feel more comfortable if you do the same.
  • The attitude towards wearing fur is very different in Russia compared to Western Europe. Fur is very common and relatively cheap, and you will see a lot of people wearing it.

What Shoes To Pack

  • If you're intending to see as many sites as possible during your trip (and there are a lot to see) you'll be doing a good deal of walking - so be sure to pack some comfortable walking shoes. We love Hotter shoes, for total comfort along with style.

Clothing Tips for Women

  • Moscow and St Petersburg are very much like any other cosmopolitan city; women love to dress up and are rarely seen without make-up and high heels.
  • But, with all the sightseeing to do, we suggest you save your high heels for the evenings.
  • A few well chosen pieces of costume jewelry will transform any outfit.
  • And a pashmina is a versatile piece too that will dress up any outfit - try it with a simple smart dress.
  • If you are planning to visit an Orthodox Church be sure to cover your head with a scarf, and cover up bare arms and legs - your pashmina or wrap can come in handy for this too.
  • If you are in Russia on business, pack a conservative skirt-suit with tights or stockings and smart shoes.

Clothing Tips for Men

  • If you are in Russia on business men are expected to wear a dark, well tailored suit and tie, with smart shoes.
  • For great versatile travel jackets with multiple pockets including RFID security options, we love the SCOTTeVEST range.

Pack for the Weather

  • November, December, January, February and March are freezing so be ready to dress warmly. Our advice would be to pack warm layers.
  • For extra warmth pack some long thermal underwear - you'll be grateful you did.
  • light wool is a good choice to wear against your skin as it naturally helps to regulate your body temperature. It keeps you warm in the cold, wicks away moisture when it's hot, and doesn't retain odours - even after prolonged wear.
  • Muscovites wear a lot of fur in the winter - for a reason. Whether your preference is for fake or the real thing, you are well advised to have a very thick warm coat, gloves and scarf. A hat and/or ear muffs are also a very good idea. A furry lining or trim will keep you even cosier.
  • Wear really good boots with soft rubber soles. It's important that you get soft rubber soles because even medium soles get really hard in the freezing cold. Make sure too that they have large spaces between the tracks, or the snow will get stuck in them and make them very slippery.
  • Dressing in layers will help you with the temperature changes during the day, whatever time of year you visit.
  • Be sure to pack your swimwear if you want to join in the winter time ritual bathing in hot and cold pools, steam rooms and saunas.
  • We love the Weather+ app - it gives an accurate 6 day forecast for day and night, which when you're planning from home is really helpful. You can keep all the places you've been to too - a nice way to remember your trip :) Download for iPad/iPhone or Android

Regions of Russia

  • No trip would be complete without sight of Moscow's palatial metro (underground) dripping with chandeliers.
  • For travel on the Trans-Siberian railway you'll need to dress in layers. The train itself is very warm inside, but for the frequent half-hour stops you'll need to put on boots, warm coat, hat and gloves as it can be freezing outside. There are power outlets for charging your phone etc, but don't leave it unattended and you'll need an adaptor. Take soft drinks with you - it will be much cheaper than buying them on board, and snacks will be useful especially in the winter when there are fewer sellers on the platforms.

Other Things To Pack

  • You'll need a visa for Russia, and arrange it well in advance to avoid paying a premium at the last minute. Remember too that you must carry your passport with you at all times.
  • If you don't buy Russian Rubles before you go, take US dollars or Euros as they are far easier to change once in the country.
  • Look after your mobile phone with a phone bunjee - it protects against loss, theft and damage.
  • To use electrical gadgets you may need a travel adapter plug, and also a step down voltage converter if your devices are not designed for Russian voltage (220V).
  • If you're aiming to travel with just carry-on baggage, try the CabinMax soft-sided rucksack - it's light, roomy and has plenty of pockets to keep your stuff organized.
  • A lightweight day sack or shoulder bag will come in handy to carry your sightseeing essentials.
  • If you tend to buy bottled water, consider carrying a Go! Filtered Water Bottle - fill up from any source and get clean, safe drinking water without wasting plastic bottles.
  • Avoid paying unexpected baggage fees - use an accurate luggage scale to ensure you keep within the weight allowance. Don't forget to leave room for souvenirs on the way home! The 'Mastryoshka' nesting dolls are famous of course, but look out too for amber jewelry and beautiful lacquer boxes. If you want to stock up on vodka, remember you will need to pack it in checked-in luggage unless you buy at the airport duty-free.
  • And a final tip - note that it's considered bad luck to whistle indoors!

Last updated 16 December 2016.

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Pack Light

  • Less luggage to carry
  • Save time packing and unpacking
  • Save money on baggage fees

Pack Right

  • Respect local cultures
  • Feel comfortable and confident
  • Suitable outfits for all occasions

A Message From Helen



I want you to have an amazing vacation. That's why I started WhatToWearOnVacation.com,
to help you pack with confidence and stay safe, secure and comfortable.

Advice You Can Trust

Your advice was very helpful and useful as well. I am going to Russia to study and I needed help with the kind of clothing to carry along and I will recommend you to my other colleagues.

- Brenda, Ghana