What to Wear in Dubai

I’m a girly girl who likes to travel and look good doing it. There, I’ve said it. There shouldn’t be any shame in wanting to dress up and have fun with clothes on a daily basis, and it shouldn’t be any different during a holiday.

Prior to the trip I consulted Google several times regarding what to pack. It’s one thing to dress nicely, but in the Middle East, there are actual restrictions on what ladies should wear, and I wanted to know what they are.

Dubai is the most modern city, and you could say most liberal, out of all the Emirates. Therefore, you don’t have to worry that much about your attire. When packing for the trip, I decided to err on the side of caution and my outfits were really covered up. Once in Dubai, I realised that it wasn’t necessary. Plus the desert heat was torturous, so comfort matters too.

(Do note that if you plan to go to Abu Dhabi or Sharjah, it’s a lot more conservative over there and you have to be covered from neck to wrist to ankle. And bring along a scarf at all times, because you might be expected to cover your hair as well.)

Let’s start with what NOT to wear:

– Strapless tops
– Low-cut tops
– Short shorts/skirts
– skin-tight/see-through anything
– Crop tops
– Clothes with offensive/politically driven messages

There’s more, but you get the idea, right? Also, for the sake of comfort, I also advise against wearing jeans and any arm accessories, because it’s just too hot.

So… What to wear in Dubai?

Dubai 4D3N

There isn’t a dainty way to put this across – you will perspire A LOT. You will feel the heat from the moment you step out of the hotel lobby. You will feel the heat while standing in the shade, waiting for a taxi. You will feel the heat at night. So don’t count on wearing the same top more than once. Pack one top/dress for every day of the trip, in light colours. In terms of fabric, go as light and as thin as you can without it being see-through.

Maxi/Midi Skirt
Personally, I find skirts and dresses much more comfortable than pants, especially during hot weather. The rule is to cover your knees. Assuming you’re not doing anything too vigorous, bottoms should last at least two days.

Capri Pants
In case you’ve got an active day planned, then loose-fitting capri pants might be more suitable for running around town.

Maxi Dress
This is my go-to outfit to wear on a long flight because it’s so comfortable! Most maxi dresses are sleeveless, so just throw on a shawl or cardigan, and you’re good to go. Speaking of which…

Shawl/Scarf and Cardigan
The malls tend to blast the air-conditioning, so it gets really cold indoors. A scarf to cover your hair is also essential if you intend to visit any religious sites.

Bikinis are perfectly fine at the beach or at the pool, but you have cover up until you get there. (I just wore my maxi dress on top.) And in case you were wondering, topless sunbathing is not allowed.

For a short trip, one pair of comfortable go-everywhere shoes will suffice. Personally I prefer ballet flats since they go with almost everything, and can be dressed up or down. Flip flops are good for the pool and beach.

Leave your necklaces, bracelets, and bangles at home, as they’ll do you no good in the heat. Dress up your outfits with earrings instead. Style-wise, the choice is yours. Personally, I used the opportunity to let my inner bohemian run wild with colourful stones.

So yes, that’s it from me. Just remember, cover your shoulders and knees, and nothing too tight or heavy. If you’re a glamorous traveler, you’ll fit right in with the well-dressed women of Dubai. And if you’re a casual dresser, don’t worry too much, you’re there to have fun!

Okay this is the fourth post in 24 hours so I’ll take a break now. See you soon!



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