Last updated on May 13th, 2020; Published on March 5th, 2020
There are quite a few things to consider when visiting a new country and what to wear is certainly one of them. Before my first visit to the UAE, I researched a bit about what to wear in Dubai; what is considered appropriate clothing and what isn’t. Eventually, I settled with very conservative choices based on what I had read.
When I arrived, I was shocked to see people (women) wearing ‘revealing clothing’ outside the airport. I quickly learned that Dubai, unlike most cities in Muslim countries, is quite relaxed when it comes to what you can wear in the country as a tourist.
This isn’t to say that anything goes. There are clothing items tourists should avoid wearing. And some places enforce a dress code.
In this guide, I’ll show you what to wear in Dubai, what to pack for your trip as well as what you can and cannot wear in Dubai. I usually prefer to err on the side and stick to conservative clothing when I visit. I’d recommend that you do the same.
What Can Tourists Wear in Dubai? | What Should You NOT Wear in Dubai?
It is typical to see Emiratis wear traditional attires (abayas for women and kandoura for men). You do not have to wear these. Basically, you’re free to wear clothes that aren’t too revealing and are mildly conservative.
For women, sticking with clothing items that cover your shoulders and knees is advised. If you wear a sleeveless blouse or dress, always carry a scarf around with just in case you need it. Women can wear shorts if they cover their knees. Daisy Duke shorts, transparent clothing, mini-skirts should be avoided altogether in public areas.
Men do not have as many restrictions. I recommend shorts, pants and T-shirts that cover the knees and shoulders respectively.
Dubai Swimwear Rules | What Can You Wear at the Beach in Dubai?
There are not that many rules about swimwear in most beaches and waterparks. As long as you are within the park or beach area, you can wear anything from Bikinis to Burkinis. You should avoid walking around other public areas in your swimwear. Nudity on the beach is also prohibited.
What to Pack for a One Week Trip to Dubai?
If you’re only in Dubai for a couple of days, you don’t need to pack much. It is always a good idea to travel as lightly as you can. You can use the guide below to pack for a one-week trip in the summer. Pair all the outfits with a classy bag and sandals and you’re all set!
Dresses: Two dresses; one knee length and one maxi dress. You shouldn’t pack anything that is too short or revealing. As a rule, I’d recommend that the dresses come with sleeves, however, there is no ban on sleeveless clothes. If you do wear some of those, be sure to carry a scarf around with you, in case you need to cover up in some public areas.
Skirts: Like dresses, skirts should fall below your knees. Avoid wearing mini-skirts.
Pants: Loose, breathable pants are recommended. The temperature in Dubai can get very hot and humid in the summer months. It’s a good idea to wear comfortable clothes that aren’t too tight. You can also wear Jeans in Dubai
Tops: Avoid wearing crop tops or tops with plunging necklines. Dressy or casual tops will do.
Shoes: There are no hardcore rules about shoes to wear. Open sandals and sneakers are fine.
Do you have to cover up in Dubai? | Should you Wear an Abaya?
As mentioned earlier, you do not have to wear traditional clothing when you visit. However, there is a dress code when visiting Mosques. I took the picture below at the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, you can use it as a guide.
Good to Know: The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi offers visitors abayas. You can rent one for free for the duration of your visit.
Dubai’s weather is very hot and humid in the summer months. Wear comfortable, breathable clothes. In the winter months (December to February), it can get a bit chilly. So remember to pack a sweater for your trip.
I hope you have found this guide useful. If so, please share and leave a comment below! Also, if you have any questions about visiting Dubai (for the first time), leave them below. I’d be happy to answer them to the best of my knowledge.