What to wear in Dubai?
When planning your trip to Dubai, what to wear when you are here can be one of your biggest concerns. The questions you may have are; ‘how conservative do you have to dress in Dubai?’, ‘How dressy is Dubai?’ ‘How hot is Dubai?’, ‘Can men wear shorts in Dubai?’ and ‘Can women wear a bikini?’.
When choosing what to pack for Dubai a lot of your decisions need to be made with a little respect for the local culture. Dubai does welcome tourist and is quite liberal, however there are some instances where it pays to dress slightly more conservatively, covering your shoulders and knees, and other times where you can dress for your own comfort. We have put together a very simple guide for what to wear in Dubai for men and women.
WHAT CAN I WEAR IN DUBAI AT MY HOTEL?
Assuming you are staying at a 4 star or 5 star hotel, when you are in the hotel you can wear what you feel comfortable in. Bikinis for women and trunks for men are very acceptable at the pool, however many hotels do request you cover your swimwear when walking inside the hotel. When going for breakfast you can wear shorts, sundresses or strappy tops if you wish. For information about restaurants, bars and nightclubs in your hotel, please see below.
WHAT TO WEAR IN DUBAI ON A DESERT SAFARI?
When on Desert Safari in Dubai you can wear whatever you feel comfortable in. During the day throughout the year it can be quite warm in Dubai so you may want to wear shorts and a sleeveless top. It is useful to note that the desert gets rather chilly in the winter month as the desert is always cooler than the city in the evenings. Bring something warm if you are visiting Dubai in December to February.
You will probably want to feel the pristine desert sand between your toes, we recommend flip flops or sandals that can easily be removed.
WHAT TO WEAR IN DUBAI SHOPPING MALLS?
It is a requirement in most shopping malls in Dubai to wear clothes that cover your knees and shoulders for both men and women. As the air conditioning can be quite cold in shopping malls, putting on a cardigan or pashmina over you summer dress can be quite welcome. Men are fine in shorts to the knee and a t-shirt. The shopping malls tend to be quite big in Dubai so we recommend wearing a comfortable pair of shoes as you tend to do quite a lot of walking!
WHAT TO WEAR IN DUBAI WHEN ON CITY TOURS?
Dubai doesn’t have one central ‘city’, but is made up of different areas. Most ‘Dubai City Tours’ are around the older and more conservative areas such as The Gold Souk, The Spice Souk and Textile Souks in Bur Dubai and Deira. Although there are no rules as such, wearing clothes that are slightly more modest will help stop people starring. It is definitely better than it used to be 10 years ago due to the influx of tourists, however ridiculously short shorts, miniskirts and sheer, see-through clothes are not recommended.
WHAT TO WEAR IN DUBAI WHEN VISITING MOSQUES?
There are only a few Mosques that admit non-Muslims that wish to visit for touristic purposes. Women will be required to cover their head and both men and women will be required to remove shoes before entering. Both men and women will be required to have their arms covered to the wrists and legs covered to the ankles. If tourists are not covered pashminas or abayas may be issued to wear.
WHAT TO WEAR IN DUBAI AT THE BEACH?
It’s perfectly acceptable to wear swimming trunks, bikinis or one piece swimsuits on the beach but it’s disrespectful to walk the streets in a bikini or in shorts and a bikini top. It is illegal for women to sunbath topless. G-string or thong bikini bottoms are disrespectful and should definitely be left in your drawer waiting for your Brazilian or Spanish holiday.
WHAT TO WEAR IN DUBAI WHEN GOING OUT AT NIGHT?
If bars and nightclubs are your thing, then you can get away with wearing pretty much what you would back home. All bars and clubs sell alcohol so they are not frequented by patrons likely to be offended by your dress (or lack thereof). Men are normally not permitted in bars after 6pm in shorts and sandals. It is good to keep in mind your journey to and from the bar or nightclub as you may need to bring something to cover up if you are in public places outside the hotel.
WHAT TO WEAR IN DUBAI AT RESTAURANTS?
If you would like a drink with your dinner, then you will need to go to a restaurant that is located in a 4 or 5 star hotel as these are the only ones with a liquor license. Since they are in nice hotels people do tend to get quite dressed up and again men are required to wear long trousers and covered shoes. Sandals are fine for women. Other restaurants that are not licensed would be a lot more casual and you are more likely to be dining with other patrons that are more conservative so keep this in mind.
WHAT TO WEAR IN DUBAI WHEN WORKING OUT?
If you are at your hotel gym it is fine to wear your normal work out gear. If you go out for a walk or a run outside your hotel, then a little more consideration should be taken. Around new areas such as Dubai Marina or Downtown it is not such an issue and men and women can wear shorts and sleeveless or strappy tops. If you are in some of the older areas like Deira or Bur Dubai then a little more respect should be shown and wearing a t-shirt and slightly longer pants is recommended.
To find out more About Etiquette in Dubai when you are traveling download our Free Guide