Dubai Traditional & Causal Dressing Overview

Dubai is an Islamic country with somewhat strict guidelines on the types of clothing allowed to be worn in public areas. Dubai also understands that it has a massive tourist industry that brings in billions of tourism dollars into the economy so they are understanding and respectful of other cultures and nations.  Dubai is very accommodating, yet we have to keep in mind it does not change the fact that is an Islamic nation.  According to the rules, Dubai does not tolerate disgraceful or revealing attire for the purpose of respect to its religion, citizens and culture. It adheres strongly to respect for its valued and traditions. In the Islamic tradition it is recommended to cover the knees and shoulders and not wander around with clothing that reveals the body higher than the knees or bare shoulders and back.

In order to avoid trouble, you will find many tourists wearing the traditional attire of the long black dresses for women called, albaya and for men the kondola. Many mall shops, markets and bazaars carry the traditional dress available for purchase.  In the Dubai Mall, there are signs posted throughout the mall showing women to cover their bare shoulders.  There are specific places in Dubai for bikinis, or bathing suits; at the beach.  The attire should be in accordance with the designated area, if you are at a beach you cannot forbid tourists to wear bikinis as it for swimming and sunbathing. However, a place like a mall should be a different requirement.  Just don’t get caught doing anything indecent or going naked anywhere because then you will be causing offensive behaviour to the locals and possibly be fined or jailed for the disorderly conduct.


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    All western clothing is accepted such as t-shirts, jeans, baseball caps, dress suits, shirts and pants.

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    Offensive, indecent and revealing clothing is not tolerated and considered disrespectful to the locals so try not to wear any very short shorts, miniskirts, revealing tops or spaghetti straps.

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    Traditional Arabic dress is welcome and encouraged and can often bring about a new found respect and generous hospitality, if seen being worn by western cultures or people not traditional from the Arabic culture. For women the traditional dress is called an albaya and for men it is called the kondola.

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    Do not wear anything that you don't want being scrutinized for. It is wise to wear long skirts and covered shoulders as this is considered respectful and often invites more generosity and hospitality from the locals.

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    Try wearing cotton in the summer months due to the hot and humid climate. Shorts are accepted as well so long as they are not too short this will save you from being harassed for your clothing. Natural fibres like cotton and linen work well.

  • 6

    Since Dubai is almost always hot, try to wear loose fitting clothing that is not tight or revealing and not only will you be respecting the culture and religion but you will also feel the heat a lot less than if you were to wear tight clothing.

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