Middle Eastern Countries have varying degrees of tolerance in relation to dress codes. What’s more, if you’re travelling to Dubai for the first time you may need to first understand what to wear.
Many travel destinations you have visited may not require you to consider the dress code; but Dubai is an exception. That is why we have written this definitive guide to assist you on the Dress Code in Dubai.
Dress Code for Women in Dubai
The UAE is an Islamic country and follows Sharia Law when it comes to maintaining a well-structured society. This law is particularly applicable for the citizens of the country but it is better to behave responsibly while visiting Dubai.
Traditional dress codes of Dubai showcase a more classic and modest version. This doesn’t anyhow prevent the local women of Dubai to enjoy the latest fashion trends or adorn those beautiful dresses from high-end boutiques. However, it certainly doesn’t allow them to flash too much skin in public neither.
When it comes to answering the most important question of what to wear in Dubai, my answer would be, “Keep it simple, comfortable and modest.”
Despite the hot and humid climate, you will still be able to find something in your suitcase which keeps your fashion and respect levels high.
Jeans, tees and knee-length skirts are all acceptable wear in public places. However, try to avoid mini-skirts, tightly fitted tops, shorts and midriff revealing clothes. The only exception to this would be at a private party, hotel or beach.
Dress Code for the Beach in Dubai
The beach dress code in Dubai is not at all strict and you will enjoy the liberty of choosing your attire just the way you want to.
Thigh grazing shorts, hot pants, mini-skirts and booty shorts are strict NO for public places. However, when you are at the pool area or at the beach, you can wear them without any hesitation.
You can also clad yourself in those off-shoulder, sheer and backless tops paired with shorts on beaches.
Beach areas also don’t stop you from wearing dresses revealing your lingerie but don’t forget to cover up as soon as you enter the public places or promenades.
Dressing for a Night Out in Dubai
Just because Dubai expects the travellers to follow a more traditional and decent dress code, it doesn’t mean you will be barred from enjoying its scintillating nightlife in those short and sexy dresses.
Most nightclubs of Dubai are housed inside international hotels and you can wear whatever you want to those foot-tapping night outs. In case, you are going out of your hotel to attend a night party, then take a shrug or fitted blazer with you.
Wear it on the way and take it off once you are inside the club or the pub. To match the ambience of Dubai’s nightlife, you can don something glittery to these places.
Can Men Wear Ripped Jeans in Dubai?
Wearing normal jeans anywhere in Dubai is not at all offensive but this is not the same with ripped jeans. Ripped jeans are not allowed to be worn in Dubai, for both male and females.
As the city showcases varying tolerance levels to clothing style, it is best to ditch those skin-tight jeans for a few days. The exception to this would be on a night out in Dubai.
Dubai Restaurants Dress Code
I can bet, you will come across many fine dining options while holidaying in Dubai. Those options primarily include many plush restaurants and bars. All these places come with formal to semi-formal dress code. The best way to dress for Dubai restaurants is to don classy and elegant pieces.
Women can wear long gowns, jumpsuits, knee-length or midi dresses, rompers, shirts with skirts, jeans and tops. You can even choose something strappy or deep back or plunging neckline to wear. You can keep the whole thing classy by pairing it with a light shawl or jacket while getting there or coming back from there.
Men should pack few of their polo t-shirts, dark washed jeans, formal pants and semi-formal shoes for such occasions. You can wear sneakers during the daytime and save the casual shoes for nights out.
Dress Codes in Dubai Hotels
Dubai is the land of world-class hospitality. Most hotels from the city request their customers to abide by the ‘modest dress code’.
This means they are expecting their woman guests to wear something that covers their upper body and reaches till the knee. As a rule of thumb cover the shoulders down to your knee. The shorter the skirt above the knee, the more chance there is for offence to be taken.
Men can make themselves comfortable with formal and semi-formal attires. Don’t be disrespectful and naïve enough to flaunt your shorts or tank tops in hotels.
Can You Wear a Bikini in Dubai?
City of Dubai is dotted with a sparkling golden coastline which means you will have plenty of scope to enjoy sun, sea and sand all together. Any type of beachwear, ranging from two-piece bikini to full-cover swimsuit, is allowed at all pool-sides, waterparks and beaches in Dubai.
As long as you are having a good time at beach or pool, you don’t need to worry about flashing most of your skin but my suggestion to you would be to take a long shirt or shrug to cover yourself decently as soon as you leave the beach area. Wearing skimpy dresses like shorts, mini-skirts or bikinis in public spots is a complete ‘NO’ in Dubai.
Men can wear their three-quarter cargo pants, shorts or beachwear while enjoying under the sun at the beach. A bare body or vest is not going to raise any eyebrows during your beach time. It is best to cover the upper body with a casual shirt or tees after leaving the beach or pool.
Can Men Wear Shorts in Dubai?
Of course, you can wear shorts in Dubai but this is not acceptable to everywhere in the city. If you are packing your luggage for your Dubai trip, you should bring the most decent pair of shorts you have.
Better to leave those hot pants, booty pants and grazing shorts behind. Too scanty of anything is often frowned upon by local people in Dubai except at the pool side and beach.
Wearing shorts to shopping malls doesn’t need any extra caution unless you are showcasing too much skin in public.
There are few relatively conservative parts of the city which may not make you very comfortable wearing shorts. Major parts of Old Dubai, the souks and Deira locality are not the right places to walk around in shorts.
Men are allowed to wear shorts almost everywhere in Dubai except they have to follow strict dress codes implemented by hotels, restaurants or bars.
Dress Code for Public Places in Dubai
There is no strict dress code to follow in shopping malls of Dubai but you have to be mindful about choosing your attire as they come under the ‘public place’ category.
In spite of being the home to all expensive and high-end global brands, shopping malls of the town don’t want to witness too much skin around them. So, you can wear something which is comfortable and casual to shopping malls.
Another reason not to wear tank tops or strappy blouses while visiting those giant shopping complexes is that they keep their air conditioning systems quite low.
It is highly recommended to get into dresses that at least reach your knees and cover your shoulders to save you from unnecessary shivering attacks.
Dress Code at Religious Places
Both for men and women, Dubai follows a very strict dress code for all religious sites. All visitors must wear clothes which cover the legs and shoulders completely while entering a mosque or a religious place.
Travellers don’t have to wear the traditional Arabic outfit to convey their respect for local religious belief but they must cover their head with scarves while visiting a mosque.
Always dress modestly when you are planning to visit any religious place in Dubai.
Is Dubai Strict on Dress Code?
Thanks to the co-existence of different ethnicities and presence of a global ambience, Dubai has shifted its mindset from strictly conservative to more open-minded.
This city witnesses almost every type of dressing particularly among the tourists. But being a Muslim land, they expect more decent and modest dressing sense from foreign visitors.
This cosmopolitan travel destination will never stop you from wearing western dresses but it is important you act sensibly when choosing your attire.
If you don’t want local people to raise their eyebrows to your dressing sense, then you should stick to classic attires that don’t reveal too much of your skin.
Consequences of not Following the Dress Code in Dubai
Usually Dubai Police doesn’t target travellers but sometimes they also have to take people under custody following one month of imprisonment or deportation when they choose deliberately to go beyond the mark of decency.
Even if you are caught wearing offensive attire, you can settle the dispute by offering an immediate apology for the same rather than arguing with the respective officer or questioning their authority of moral policing.
A Summary of the Dress Code in Dubai
Can I Wear Mini-Skirts, Shorts & Hot Pants in Public in Dubai?
Can I wear swimsuits and bikinis at Dubai beaches?
Are ripped jeans allowed to be worn in Dubai?
Do I need to cover my head all the time in Dubai?
Can men wear shorts in Dubai?
Are decent western dresses fine to flaunt in public places? in Dubai?
Is it mandatory to cover my head, shoulder and most portion of legs before entering a mosque?
Is it okay to wear strappy tops or backless tops at shopping malls?
Is Dubai strict on public dressing code?
More or less, they are strict.
Can offensive dressing in public places cause legal action and deportation?
Yes (In Some Cases)
Thank you for reading about the dress code in Dubai. We hope this has given you the information you need on your Dubai visit. Make sure to come back for more on Travel & Living in Dubai & Abu Dhabi. Follow us on Pinterest and Subscribe to our Youtube channel too!