When I moved to Panama, I could have opened my own boutique with all of the clothes I was selling, giving away or storing. I ended up bringing only two suitcases of clothes with me to Panama, which was a tiny dent in my once expansive wardrobe. But let's face it, I didn't need any of my business suits, sweaters or shawls in this tropical climate.
How do I dress in Panama? I wear workout clothes to the gym, bathing suits to the beach, halter tops and tennis skirts in my apartment, sundresses when I'm out in the city, and cocktail dresses whenever I go out. Aside from a few lightweight sweaters that I wear in the evening or in an over-air conditioned restaurant, everything is one layer. My footwear consists almost exclusively of cute flip flops and strappy sandals.
The best thing I did for my wardrobe is to keep most of it wash-and-wear. Sure, some of my cocktail dresses need to go to the dry cleaner, but the vast majority of my wardrobe can be washed by my maid.
When planning your trip to Panama, choose lightweight fabrics that breathe, such as cotton or linen. Synthetic fabrics may be sheer, but they won't breathe and you'll be uncomfortably hot if you're visiting Panama City or the beach area. Stick to short sleeve or sleeveless tops, flowy skirts or cropped pants. You will probably want to bring at least one sun hat, as Panama is on the equator and the sun can be intense during the day.
Men, you will want to bring cotton tee shirts or polo shirts, a linen shirt or two, shorts, and at least one pair of long slacks. There are many places in the city--such as banks and restaurants--that will not allow men to enter if they are wearing shorts. Panama City can be very formal, so if you want to deck out in suit and tie, you'll feel right at home in many parts of the city. The choice is yours.
When packing for your trip to Panama, you'll need about half of what you think you do. Bring comfortable clothes that you love, and come enjoy the tropical warmth of Panama.