When it comes to that one question that we all ask ourselves before traveling or moving to a new place, the answer to ‘How to Dress in Dubai (UAE)?’ is very simple: keep in mind the weather and respect the country’s culture.
Dubai is a cosmopolitan, modern iconic city with high fashion. The majority of its population is made up of foreigners from all over the world who love to show their creativity and individual sense of style.
Tolerance is one of the pillars of Emirati society. Still, the United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country, which follows the Sharia law which means that the dress code should be modest and respectful. The need to dress sensibly does not mean you have to veil yourself with yards of fabric. As I said, Dubai is all about fashion and you will discover that its residents and guests are dressed just like they would be dressed in any other big city. However, here are some tips on how to dress in Dubai.
What to wear in public places in Dubai
In most shopping malls, parks, city beachfront, souks, restaurants, cinemas and cafés, etc… you would probably find signs that ask to “dress modestly” which means that you should cover your shoulders and knees. Plus keep in mind that all the public places in Dubai are very well air-conditioned – it is very cold indoors especially when it’s very hot outside!
So if you prefer to wear a tank top/dress or open back, you’d better add to your look a shawl, cardigan, blazer or jeans jacket to cover up. It’s perfectly okay to wear sleeveless or short-sleeved tops and dresses, and it’s also okay to wear fitted clothes. Knee-length dresses, skirts and shorts that are slightly above the knee are also acceptable.
What to wear to a mosque in Dubai
Some mosques in Dubai are open for public visits. You should wear jeans/trousers or maxi skirt/dress and ensure that you’re not baring your shoulders, back and knees. The mosques that allow non-muslim visits usually provide the appropriate clothing such as an abaya (traditional black robe) on top of which there is a Shayla (headscarf).
What to wear on a desert safari
During the day it gets very hot in the desert and you’ll be busy with such activities as camel riding, sandboarding and a quad-bike riding on dunes. So pick a desert safari outfit that is light and practical like linen trousers, capri pants, mid-length shorts, light joggers paired with a casual t-shirt or shirt. Also, take some jackets as the evenings can get quite chilly. Wear comfortable sports shoes that are practical for the aforementioned activities. Wear sunglasses and don’t forget to put on lots of sunscreens to avoid sunburn.
Going to the beach
There are public and private beaches in Dubai. Many popular hotels have their own private beaches and swimming pools. There you can wear almost anything you want.
Public beaches, on the other hand, are where local families go to. Some of them might be conservative. Still, you’re allowed to wear bikinis, one-piece swimsuit or sports swimwear except for the Brazilian thongs. You’re not permitted to wear swimwear anywhere else other than the beach or pool, which means you can’t walk on the roads or sit at the beachside cafes or promenades in Dubai. You’ll need to cover up with shorts and a tank top, sundress, kaftan, or maxi.
Brunches in Dubai
Brunches are a big part of Dubai’s social scenery. While most venues follow a smart/casual dress code for brunches, you can still choose to dress up a little with a pair of high heels. Be careful not to overdo it though. Depending on what plans you have after the brunch, it’s advisable not to dress down too much. Also, if it’s a party brunch, it might be a good idea to carry a pair of comfortable shoes with you, so you can dance all you want.
Dining in Dubai
While going to classy restaurants and bars with a semi-formal or formal dress code your main goal is to look both elegant and trendy. You can wear jumpsuits, dresses, tops and shirts with trousers or skirts and of course you need some elegant shoes (sneakers might not be the best option). In such restaurants, the majority of which are located in the buildings of international hotels, it’s okay if your outfit is a little above the knee or has a deep back. But keep it classy and bring a jacket or shawl to cover up while getting there or after you leave.
The dress code in Dubai clubs is chic casual to glam. Short dresses, mini skirts, high heels, fancy suits, you’ll find it all in a bar/nightclub in Dubai. Of course, what would be more appropriate to wear in terms of dress and heels or jeans with a nice blouse depends on the exact bar or a nightclub. What you don’t have to worry about, however, is maintaining the same rules of modesty that apply to other public places.
Going to Dubai Opera
While there’s no official dress code at the Dubai Opera, I wouldn’t suggest you wear any casual outfit. Instead, you can create your casual chic or classy elegant look, wearing elegant dresses, tops, trousers or skirts, jackets and blazers. You can also choose to wear an evening gown to look more Opera-styled.
Going on business meetings
Although the most liberal of all 7 emirates, Dubai is still following a silent and assumed dress code that adheres to mild conservatism. Formal office wear like jackets & trousers/skirts, classy business dresses is essential as covered arms and legs are termed as appropriate. Women should dress conservatively, refraining from short skirts and low necklines when on business. As for shoes, business style in Dubai involves closed shoes.
What to wear in Dubai during Ramadan
During Ramadan in Dubai, it is recommended that both men and women dress conservatively. Not doing so may offend those who are fasting. Individuals must refrain from wearing revealing and/or tight clothing and at the very least ensure shoulders and knees are well covered during the Holy Month. You can wear maxi or midi dresses/skirts, long/mid sleeves tops, blazers/jackets, trousers/jeans. Always remember to dress modestly to be respectful.
Do you need winter clothes in Dubai?
November to April varies from warm to cool weather. The temperature can drop to 20 C and it can even rain. These are the ideal months to be outdoors, walking, golfing, sightseeing and of course playing with your wardrobe. Jeans, trousers, leather jackets, blazers, sweaters and boots are perfect at this time of the year.
I hope that you enjoyed our guide to dress code in Dubai and feel free to contact me with any questions or for a personal consultation. Also follow me on Instagram @MaggyInStyle