How to dress in Dubai

If you are visiting Dubai, you need to be very careful when packing your suitcase as there is a strict dress code there. Here are the most important things you need to know before your trip.

How to dress in Dubai

Woman in Dubai| © Keira Burton

Dubai, a city in the United Arab Emirates, is a place where the dress code is quite different from that in Europe. There are a number of items of clothing that are completely forbidden in certain places or establishments, and others that are not allowed at all. Mosques are the places with the most restrictions, but there are also certain hotels, restaurants and venues that have a very strict protocol in this regard.

Nevertheless, it is important to remember that Dubai is one of the most modern and westernized cities in this Islamic country. Nevertheless, when packing your suitcase, you should pay attention to the most important things. And if you still do not know what to see and do in this city in the middle of the desert, do not hesitate to read the article What to see and do in Dubai, which describes a variety of plans and activities. What are you waiting for?

Should tourists wear traditional clothes in Dubai?

Traditional dress in Dubai| ©Michael Coghlan

This is one of the most important questions for all tourists visiting not only Dubai, but the United Arab Emirates in general. In principle, tourists do not have to wear traditional clothes. Nevertheless, you should not overlook the fact that the UAE is an Islamic country with a very strict dress code and therefore it is advisable to dress classically. The women wear a black robe known as the "abaya". Men, on the other hand, wear a white tunic called a "kandora".

Although it is located in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is one of the most modern and westernized cities in the country, so there is some flexibility in this regard. In fact, it is common for people to wear designer clothes, and in some of the more affluent hotels and restaurants it is even more common. So, if you have a special outfit that you never quite get around to, you've come to the right place.

    : A black robe worn by women in Dubai.
  • Kandora: white tunic worn by men in Dubai.

What is the most advisable clothing for women in Dubai?

Women visiting in the desert of Dubai| ©Denys Gromov

Those who find it most difficult to pack for their visit to Dubai are undoubtedly the women, because for them the dress code is stricter, and there are a number of garments that are more advisable than others. In addition, there are some items that are not recommended at all.

Here you will learn what to avoid when visiting Dubai:

  • Shorts: avoid wearing shorts, or if you do, make sure they are just above the knee, never shorter.
  • Hip-length pants: avoid pants that sit low on the hips or have a low waist and show underwear in any way.
  • Cleavage: t-shirts or blouses with cleavage are frowned upon and should be avoided.
  • Transparent clothes: avoid wearing transparent clothes, whether they are blouses, shirts or dresses.

On the other hand, there are certain clothes that you may think are not appropriate, but on the contrary, they are accepted, and they are the following:

  • Dresses: women can wear long-sleeved, short-sleeved or sleeveless dresses, but they should always reach to the knee.
  • Sleeveless blouses: women can wear sleeveless blouses, but it is advisable to have a scarf or a bandana on hand, as they cannot walk with their shoulders uncovered in certain places.
  • Shorts: women can wear shorts, but always only up to the knee or the popular "pirates".
  • Leggings: Leggings may be worn, but only if they are complemented by knee-length dresses or long shirts.
  • Swimsuits: Swimsuits are acceptable for beaches and pools, but should be as discreet as possible. You should be conservative, and Brazilian knickers or thongs are not recommended.

What is the best clothing for men in Dubai?

Men in a store in Dubai| ©Jens Cederskjold

Unlike women, men have more freedom when it comes to clothing, and there are no items of clothing that are prohibited as such. However, it is recommended that they always dress appropriately and elegantly. Here are some of the most important tips they should follow:

  • Shirts: it is more advisable to wear shirts, as they are always more elegant.
  • Shorts: In principle, you can wear shorts, but there are many establishments where shorts are not allowed.
  • Sneakers: as with shorts, there are certain facilities where you are not allowed to wear sneakers.

What clothes are best to wear in Dubai depending on the weather conditions?

Packing the suitcase| ©Vlada Karpovich

The first thing we always think about when packing our suitcase, no matter where we are traveling, is what clothes to choose for our trip, which ones are best for our photos, which ones are best for the climate of the city we are visiting. And while we obviously have other aspects to consider when packing our suitcase for a trip to Dubai, this is one we shouldn't overlook.

Dubai is a city where temperatures are very extreme, reaching forty or even fifty degrees Celsius in summer. For this reason, it is advisable to wear clothes made of linen or cotton, as they are not only very comfortable, but also very suitable for these high temperatures.

Due to the scorching sun in Dubai in summer, it is also common for tourists to get sunburned on the very first day. Therefore, it is also advisable to cover up completely to avoid sunburn. If it is very hot, try to wear light clothing over your T-shirts, z. B. an overshirt or similar garments.

On the other hand, there are a number of essential accessories for packing your suitcase:

In any case, before you travel, you should consider when is the best time to travel to Dubai, as this will determine the quality of your experience, whether you are dressed appropriately or not.

What are the most important accessories for your trip to Dubai?

On the one hand, be sure to bring a head covering, as the high temperatures and scorching sun in Dubai are the best way to avoid sunstroke and headaches, which can ruin an intense day of sightseeing. Sunglasses will also make you feel more comfortable in the middle of the day, as the sun can be very uncomfortable for your eyes.

A headscarf or foulard is always a good idea, especially for women, as it can sometimes get you out of a jam when entering a mosque or other establishment with stricter dress codes. It can be used to cover the shoulders or hair.

Women should pack a pair of high-heeled shoes in case they are going to a club or similar venue, and men should also pack fancy footwear and not just the usual sneakers.

The traveler's tip

My recommendation is to wear clothes from the shoulders to the knees, especially for women, so they don't have problems getting into monuments, restaurants or facilities.

What is the dress code in the mosques of Dubai?

Woman in the mosque| ©photografiandoviajes

One of the strictest dress codes in Dubai is the mosques. Access to these temples is subject to a number of dress code requirements and recommendations.

These restrictions apply mainly to women and are related to the fact that shoulders and hair must not be uncovered. Here is some advice for you:

  • Length: the main garment, be it a dress, skirt or trousers, must be long.
  • Neckline: a woman is not allowed to enter a mosque with a plunging neckline. It is therefore always recommended to wear a relatively high collar or a garment above the neckline.
  • Covering the waist: women should avoid wearing any garment that sits low on the hips, be it trousers or a skirt, so that the waist is exposed, as it is strictly forbidden to wear this part of the body uncovered.
  • Shoulders and back always covered: women are not allowed to enter a mosque with their shoulders uncovered, so it is advisable that they wear an overshirt, scarf, shawl or foulard to cover their shoulders.
  • Head covering: every woman who enters a mosque is given a shayla, a headscarf-like garment that she must wear on her head.

However, there are some mosques, especially the more touristy ones, where if you are not dressed appropriately, you will be offered the appropriate clothing to enter free of charge. Be sure to visit the article The Best Mosques in Dubai and learn which temples you should definitely visit on your trip.

What is the dress code in public places in Dubai?

People visiting the souk| ©Cesar Gonzalez Palomo

In public places in Dubai, such as z. B. at events, festivals, in restaurants, hotels, souks, parks, shopping malls and on the metro, there is no strict dress code, but there are a number of recommendations that are stricter for women than for men, as is the case almost everywhere in the UAE. It may even happen that a security guard approaches a woman and asks her to cover up, and this is always a very uncomfortable situation.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, the basic rule is that a woman should be covered from her shoulders to her knees. Therefore, it is most comfortable to wear a scarf, shawl, overshirt, or jacket to cover your shoulders, and always wear long pants, a skirt, or a dress. A jumpsuit can also be a very comfortable and useful piece of clothing.

Since Dubai is such a westernized city, you will also see women in shorts and miniskirts, but this is not necessarily advisable and always depends on the area you are in, as there are more traditional neighborhoods and others that are more touristy and don't pay attention to these types of issues.

What is the dress code for going to the beach or pool in Dubai?

People enjoying the beach in Dubai| ©Keith Parker

When visiting a beach or hotel pool, women can wear a swimsuit, but it should be discreet. In other words, it is always better to wear a swimsuit than a bikini, and if they decide to wear a bikini, it should be as covered as possible.

Also avoid Brazilian knickers and thongs. The bigger the bikini bottom, the better the view. In fact, it can be very uncomfortable for a woman to be noticed for this reason.

Which neighborhoods in Dubai have the strictest dress code?

Deira district in Dubai| ©Guilhem Vellut

Before you leave the hotel and start your daily sightseeing tour, you should carefully consider what clothes are best for that day. Therefore, plan your day in advance and find out about the most traditional neighborhoods where there is a stricter dress code, especially if you are a woman.

Read the article Dubai's neighborhoods you should know, but I can tell you that includes the Deira area, Global Village and The Miracle Garden. If you are visiting one of these areas or a mosque, you should cover up from your man to your knees on that day.

Now you know how to dress everywhere in Dubai. Don't hesitate to read our article about the best tours and excursions in Dubai, and enjoy your time in style.