There is a great balance that needs to be maintained in Dubai between modesty, respecting the local Islamic culture and dressing for the heat. There is a lot of conflicting information available on the internet, and in this blog, we will do our best to clear out exactly what all you can wear when traveling to Dubai to make sure that you stay out of trouble.
Although the temperatures tend to differentiate significantly between the extreme summers and mild winters, clothing choices in Dubai tend to remain somewhat the same all through the year. To put it simply, there are multiple settings in Dubai with a range of expectations in terms of dressing standards, but somehow, the fine line between these settings has faded with the passage of time.
If you truly wish to be a socially responsible tourist to avoid getting in trouble with the law, then follow these suggestions for different social settings:
Religious and Government buildings
When visiting religious or Government buildings, it is vital for you to be fully covered, i.e. it is vital for your arms, legs and body to be covered. When visiting a mosque, you will be asked to cover your head with a scarf as well.
Malls, markets, hotel foyers and restaurants
These are basically public places and the general rule to be followed is to wear something that is not too overly revealing. The best piece of clothing would be something that covers your knees and shoulders, and does not show too much cleavage.
Public Beach & Water Parks
In general, women’s beachwear ranging from bikinis to the more conservative full-body Burkini are all very popular. Shorts for guys should be longer, but there is no set rule regarding their length. Choose what you’re most comfortable with, however, keep in mind that when you leave the beach and enter public areas, you should cover up. Some beaches have been designated as “family” and have more stringent dress requirements, such as males should not be topless and females should wear a t-shirt over their bathing suits.
Night clubs and private resorts
The line here, to put it simply, has become rather blurred over the years, but the one thing for sure is that going topless is a big NO. It is highly recommended for you to check dress codes for individual nightclubs and bars as their standards tend to vary.
Clothing items women must avoid
When heading out for a general sightseeing trip, it is best for women to refrain from:
- Clingy, extremely tight clothing that shows too much cleavage or midriff
- Short shorts
- Clothing made out of transparent materials
Although things have become a lot more relaxed over the past few years, it is important for you, as a tourist, to respect the local culture and maintain modesty to avoid getting embarrassed if security asks you to cover up. In case something of this sort does happen, just apologize and either cover yourself up or leave immediately unless you want to end up in hot water with the authorities.