One of the key differences you may see in the countries of the former USSR is the way people dress. It may seem unusual, but here are a few basic rules to keep in mind in order to adjust to these differences.
The first difference you may notice is how dressed up most Russian girls are. Don't let that intimidate you. It is typical for girls in the Russian culture to wear heels on a regular basis, to wear dresses and look polished even if they are simply going to a store. Most Russian girls work and going to the office automatically implies wearing dressy clothes. You will also see many of them wear jeans, which is acceptable casual attire for men as well.
While it is common knowledge that some Russian girls spend hours in front of the mirror getting ready before a date, but clothing choice before a big event is not any less nerve racking for men. If you are taking a Russian girl for a first date, we would strongly recommend that you get dressed up. A man in a suit is always an attractive sight. However, if you are not big on wearing suits, slacks and a shirt will be just fine. Your choice of attire will also depend on where you are going. For people in the Russian speaking countries going to a restaurant is not an every-day occasion, it implies wearing something special. If you plan on attending an establishment like that, your best bet is to go dressy. If you plan on going to a night club, pants or jeans with a button-up shirt will be fine. If you are planning a day time outing, feel free to go as casual as you like (jeans, shorts and t-shirts are fair game).
Many people ask about clothing when traveling to Russia in the fall and winter. It is difficult to give one-fits all advice, because the temperatures in the cold season will vary from region to region. You can check the weather forecast in advance as well as ask the Russian girl you are visiting for specifics before leaving your home country. Some foreigners have done the following: they bring a light jacket and a heavy sweater just for the time of travel, and purchase the rest of the clothing when they arrive to their destination. You won't spend as much on your clothes in Russia as you will at home, and you can always leave some of it if your luggage gets too heavy or if you don't have any use for the purchased items back at home. If your budget has room for such an alternative, you may find this option more convenient in terms of carrying a lighter luggage and leaving more room for gifts and souvenirs.
If you decide to shop for clothes, you will find plenty of boutiques and stores to select from. However, if you are looking for a good deal, you can always take a trip to an open air market (these are very popular in the Russian speaking countries). Wherever you decide to look for clothes, take extra caution to examine the items for quality. Also, keep in mind that it is not common for people in Russia and Ukraine to use a washer and dryer, as common in the US, for example. Many clothes you will find (especially winter items) might have hand wash only, not dryer instructions. So, if you plan on buying something you would like to wear after returning home, take an extra look at the clothing care instructions.