Who among us couldn’t help but be just a teensy bit jealous of Elizabeth Gilbert in her bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love, especially during the scenes in Bali? It’s easy to find yourself itching for the feeling of stepping off a plane glowing with the enjoyment of a well-deserved vacation and decked out like your favorite travelista.
Problem is, between the price tag and our responsibilities at home, an exotic island getaway isn’t in the cards for many of us. That’s OK. Believe it or not, anyone can get the Bali look without flying halfway around the world — all it takes is a little confidence and an eye for Indonesian fashion.
Choose light, flowing clothing
Weather in Bali tends to be balmy, so assemble your outfit with loose, lightweight clothing — nothing too tight-fitting or structured. Light fabrics like cotton and silk will not only help you keep cool, but also give you that easygoing, bohemian vibe that’s right at home in Bali.
Many Balinese and Javanese designers also incorporate versatility in their designs to accommodate busy and active lifestyles. Drawstrings in waists and necklines create adjustable fits for a wide variety of activities, from bicycling through Ubud to visiting Hindu temples, while loose-fitting tunics and maxi dresses transition easily from day to night.
Go for bold patterns and colors
Nothing says “I just got back from Bali” like the bright hues and colorful patterns seen all around the island. Large floral, wave, and leaf motifs pay homage to Bali’s lush scenery, while bold tropical colors put you right at home in Bali’s beach culture.
Better yet, dress yourself with authentic Balinese or Javanese batik. Even just one piece — a skirt, a top, or a wrap — paired with summery wardrobe basics will have your friends dying to know about your latest travel escape.
Wear stunning Balinese jewelry
Jewelry from Bali and Java is unlike any in the world. In Bali’s Celuk, home of the silversmiths, distinctive techniques like granulation (tiny circles of silver soldered onto a base piece) have been passed down for centuries to create signature looks. Other traditional Balinese jewelry styles include ornate scrolls and arabesques, intricate oxidized details, dazzling gemstones, and floral motifs in the silver.
Gold accent jewelry is another way to flaunt a distinctive “Bali look,” as Balinese jewelry artisans are unmatched in their ability to combine these two metals into unique and sophisticated pieces. Mix a gold accent necklace or earrings in with your favorite gold and silver pieces for an instant conversation-starter wherever you go!
Don’t forget a shawl!
Any travelista will tell you to pack at least a couple fabulous scarves and shawls for an overseas adventure: not only will they keep your shoulders warm in those air-conditioned restaurants and airplanes, but they also help you travel light by transforming wardrobe basics into many stunning outfits. (NOVICA’s own co-founder Armenia Nercessian de Oliveira, who was featured as a real-life character in Eat, Pray, Love, especially recommends this travel tip!) Extra points for instant Bali glam if it’s a hand-stamped silk batik scarf.
What’s in that suitcase?
Bali is renowned for its many artistic traditions, and naturally you have some handcrafted gifts for your friends and family (and yourself!) in your travel bag. In Bali you’re never far from the tapping sounds of the woodcarver’s mallet, so masks and sculptures from local suar and hibiscus wood are a must for admirers of Indonesian crafts.
The famous shadow puppets of Bali’s and Java’s Wayang Kulit traditions also make for special gifts. Carrying on over 800 years of Indonesian theatrical traditions, they’re the perfect way to bring a little piece of the archipelago into any globally-minded home.
Bring Bali home today
So next time you read Eat, Pray, Love and find yourself burning with wanderlust, channel your inner travelista and get your own fresh-off-the-plane-from-Bali look. And when your friends ask you how you got your fabulous gifts and wearable treasures, you can just smile mysteriously and say “Oh, they’re from Bali.”
Are you a travelista at heart with a passion for all things Indonesian? Share your style tips in the comments!