What to Wear in Dubai as a Woman
Can Women Wear What They Want in Dubai?
I am a Dubai fan. Yes, I admit it. Dubai is great, definitely not perfect but a great travel destination. Are you worried to travel to Dubai as a solo female traveler? Well, you should not be. Though I talk about the dress codes for females in Dubai in this post only, there is another post I have written which deals with the security aspect of Dubai and if Dubai is safe to travel to (find the post here). this post should only focus on the experiences I have made regarding clothes as a female in Dubai on my recent trips.
Do I Have to Wear a Scarf in Dubai?
First of all: Good news for most European etc. visitors. Though the United Arab Emirates are clearly Islamic, (foreign) women do not have to cover and can wear more or less those clothes they feel comfortable in.
The red Arabian dress I am wearing in the picture was not compulsory – I just thought it was so pretty, and so I wore it.
However, there are some things visitors should know. What can a woman wear in Dubai? More information about the dress code for women.
In Dubai, most people are foreigners, so there are only a few Emiratis. This means that most people are from abroad.
Foreigners are not only tourists but also people who work there, causing great impact on the Dubai dress code.
You can actually wear more or less whatever you desire. I always read that you are not supposed to wear too revealing clothes, but actually, I have seen all of them. Read this post for more information on What to wear in Dubai.
Dress Codes for Females in Dubai
What to Wear at the Beach/Pool Area
What can women wear in Dubai at the beach? At the beach/hotel pool, women can wear bikinis or a bathing suit. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are still quite liberal, some other Emiratis aren’t. However, being topless, of course, is not allowed.
There are, as in most hotels, dress codes male and female for their restaurants etc.
These items are great for your day at the beach and pool in Dubai:
- I am in love with kaftans – a perfect items for the beach, and it is great if you go back to the hotel/restaurant etc. as bikinis are not liked to be seen in the hotel itself.
- Last but not least: A bikini, burkini, or any kind of swimsuit should not be missing on your packing list for some lazy days at the beach in Dubai (I probably would not take the smallest bikini you have).
- You can also take some shorts and tops which you can wear if you leave the beach/pool area.
What to Wear on Dubai´s Streets
Can I wear hot pants in Dubai? That is a question I have been asked several times.
When I left the hotel, I saw a lot of people in the metro, cafes, and restaurants wearing hot pants, belly tops, skirts, and other such outfits, thus proving that it is not forbidden. I assume, that many won’t even care or look at you.
However, I felt a bit uncomfortable with foreign workers, especially if you use the metro or in the old part of Dubai, Deira. So, I would recommend thinking about how to dress and if you do not like much attention take a light scarf so you can cover your shoulders etc.
A maxi dress should be totally fine for those who are bothered more by those looks (like me 🙂
These items are definitely a great choice for strolls in beautiful Marina, the Palm, or many other parts of Dubai.
- Maxi Dresses– (with or without sleeves)
- Skirts are good to wear, here you can go with long skirts or shorter ones, but I would not go for a mini skirt
- If the weather is not too hot skinny jeans are a great choice
- T-shirts and tank tops are fine for most of the places
- Shorts are okay, hot pants not so much (even if you see many Instagrammers with hot pants, this is actually not always appropriate).
Extra tip: If you visit the charming old part of Dubai, Deira, I would make sure to dress a bit more conservative. I felt kind of uncomfortable with clothes that were fine in other parts of Dubai. So, if you head to this part the recommendations for malls etc. is probably a better choice.
What to Wear in Malls/Restaurants etc.
There is a dress code if you go to Dubai Mall, where it says that wearing too revealing outfits should be avoided, but many Europeans/foreigners don’t care.
Of course, you don’t have to wear a head scarf or long pants, though it might make more sense than wearing a skirt especially when it is too hot. Most malls have a (well, not so strict) policy and naked shoulders are not allowed and skirts/shorts have to be knee length.
One day, when I waited for the taxi at Dubai Mall, there was a girl about 12 or 13 years old who wore hot pants that you could see her butt coming out, and then, on the other side, there was a really young girl, who was about 9 or 10, wearing a head scarf. The family of the girl in hot pants was talking about the girl wearing with the scarf and how inappropriate it was to dress in such a way. I am not sure what was worse, actually.
What to Wear in a Mosque in Dubai
What do I have to wear in the mosque? There are not many mosques open to non-Muslims in Dubai but you might consider visiting the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi which is, by the way, the most beautiful building I have ever seen. At the Grand Mosque (also known as the Sheikh Zayed Mosque) they offer they offer free dresses/scarfs, and you are exactly told what you can and what you cannot wear.
You need to be aware that, in case you actually visit any mosque, you have to wear long sleeves, cover your legs and have a scarf with you because you have to cover your head as well. In this case, there is not much difference to churches etc. – just a bit stricter. They take it very seriously, so there is no room for interpretation.
What to Wear in the Desert in Dubai
Dubai´s desert is an amazing destination and though there is no strict dress code, I would like to mention a couple of things for visiting this part of Dubai.
The desert can get extremely hot in summer- and by extremely hot I seriously mean extreme heat. Once, I felt like ice in the sunshine – my feet were burning when I had the crazy idea to take off my sandals.
So, if visiting the desert take
- Solid footwear
- a floppy hat
- a scarf/cardigan (it can get chilly in the evening)
- wear bright colors
- wear loose clothing
Extra tip, for great pictures, choose clothes that really pop – a yellow, red maxi dress or any other bright colo will make you look even more stunning in pictures :).
Although Dubai is Islamic, it’s still quite liberal.
However, keep in mind the heritage and do not “overdo” it if you do not want to cause any problems for you and put a bad light on the foreigners. When you visit the country during the holy month of Ramadan you must be extremely careful – during that time the dress code is very strict and you should re-think your visit if you do not want to stick to it. Other than that, it is acceptable to wear skirts and shorts and show some skin. It should also be remembered that you must still respect the tradition of every country or every place that you go to.
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What can I wear in Dubai / How to Dress as Women in Dubai / Emirates Dress code
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