More
Hide

A Complete Guide to the Dress Code in Dubai

Here's all of the information you need to know about what you should and shouldn't wear while visiting or living in Dubai.

A Complete Guide to the Dress Code in Dubai
Dubai has a dress code based on respect for the culture and religion of the UAE.

It is not hard to follow and will make your visit/ stay here a more pleasant one and will help you avoid causing any of the many nationalities here any offence.

In a nutshell whilst you are out in public you should have everything from your shoulders to knees covered- which is not hard to do! You should also not wear clothing that is too tight or see through. Cleavage should also be covered as much as possible.

Do's and Don'ts

1. Public places the dress code applies to includes malls, markets, cinemas, on the street, on the road in your car, super markets, public areas of hotels etc.

2. You can wear what you want in your home.

3. Round pools or at the beach bikinis or swimsuits must be worn- topless bathing is not allowed and it's best not to wear thong type bottoms.

4. A common problem seems to be when people come from the beach or pool and go to a shop or mall still wearing swimwear e.g. a bikini top with shorts, a bikini with a short or see through cover up over, a wet swimsuit under clothing that then makes the clothing see through, a see through sarong worn over a swimsuit or bikini. This is not acceptable- so make sure you get fully redressed after being by the pool or sea.

5. After the gym get fully clothed again as people have been seen at the petrol station shop in crop tops and short shorts- this too will cause offence.

6. Underwear should be covered at all times- no briefs, g- strings, bras etc on show or viewable through fabric.


Wardrobe Staples

1. Pashminas- these are great and handy cover-ups for all sorts of cirumstances- have one in your car for emergencies too. Perfect for a night out if you need to cover up in between venues too.
2. Capri pants- these are great as they are not full length so your lower legs still keep cool.
3. Boleros- these are perfect to enable you to wear strappy tops and dresses and still keep your shoulders covered- get ones with a cap or short sleeve so you will still be cool and not have too much clothing weight added during the heat.
4. Leggings- if you have a dress that is really a little bit too short and not covering your knees but you still want to wear it out and about- throw some lightweight leggings on underneath and voila you are ready to go out.
5. Cardigans- these are great to cover shoulders too- and the AC in malls and cinemas can get a bit arctic sometimes so you will be glad of the benefit.

Wardrobe essentials in Dubai

Wardrobe No- No's

1. Lycra body con dresses
2. Daisy Duke shorts
3. Micro minis
4. Belly/ crop tops
5. Tube tops/ boob tubes
6. Very short playsuits
7. Anything with cut out or see through panels
8. Mesh or Lace tops or dresses (these are ok if worn with something underneath)

SEE ALSO: Check out our information on how to act in Dubai


What To Do If Someone Approaches You About Your Dress

If you are inappropriately dressed you may be approached and something said to you by various people- a security guard, a colleague, a local lady, an expat etc. You will be surprised how many people would be offended or will want to advise you. 

Whatever happens stay calm and remain polite. Apologise and depending on where you are- either say you will go home, back to the hotel to change or if you are in a mall offer to pop into a shop to buy something to cover up. 

There is no point getting angry as you have caused offence somehow and the last thing you want is for the police to become involved in something that is easily fixed with an apology and a quick outfit adjustment.

Go grab/ buy a pashmina quick!


Government & Municipality Buildings

When visiting an official government or Dubai Municipality building, you may be offered an abaya to wear by an official upon your arrival. The Dubai Courts do this often, and the introduction of this new service in other service centres across the Emirate is to ensure customer satisfaction since there have been many complaints about "scantily-clad" women in public spaces and in the Dubai Municipality's centres. Source.


Common Excuses

1. It's so hot in Dubai I want to wear as little clothes as possible- yes it is hot but everywhere indoors has AC and you should also be covering up from the suns harmful rays to avoid skin cancer too.
2. I am only popping to do the school run- yes but you are possibly getting out of the car or you may break down on the way.
3. I am doing sport so am not dressing provactively- yes but the dress code of covering shoulders and knees applies in a lot of gyms too- you will be in mixed company.
4. I can wear what I want- yes but do you really want to walk round causing offence to many people?
5. Everyone else is doing it- yes but don't you want to be a respectful person.

DUbai dress code for men

Rules For Men

1. Bare chests are not allowed in public
2. Shorts should be to the knee
3. Swimwear should not be worn away from a pool or beach e.g. don't walk down the street in your trunks
A Guide to Dubai's Dress Code

On ExpatWoman Today

Check Out Our NEW Look Food Website

Check Out Our NEW Look Food Website

The 5 Best Places To Buy Diamonds In Dubai

The 5 Best Places To Buy Diamonds In Dubai

6 Frequently Asked Questions About Ramadan

6 Frequently Asked Questions About Ramadan

Summer Camp at Golden Gate Nursery

Summer Camp at Golden Gate Nursery

How to Protect Your Children from the Sun?

How to Protect Your Children from the Sun?

Your Breast Milk, A Precious Gift To Your Newborn

Your Breast Milk, A Precious Gift To Your Newborn

Dental Emergency? We Have You Covered!

Dental Emergency? We Have You Covered!

Exercise during Pregnancy, Yay or Nay?

Exercise during Pregnancy, Yay or Nay?

Spread the Love - A Clarion Call to the Community

Spread the Love - A Clarion Call to the Community

Achieve Balance to Become the Best Version of Yourself

Achieve Balance to Become the Best Version of Yourself

About Aster Clinic

About Aster Clinic

Is Your Child Afraid Of The Dentist?

Is Your Child Afraid Of The Dentist?

10 Questions to Ask Your Fertility Specialist

10 Questions to Ask Your Fertility Specialist

Dealing with Infertility Fear

Dealing with Infertility Fear

A Complete Guide to Living in Dubai

A Complete Guide to Living in Dubai

Bothered by Loose Skin After Pregnancy? What are Your Options?

Bothered by Loose Skin After Pregnancy? What are Your Options?

The First Step in Caring for Your Skin During Pregnancy

The First Step in Caring for Your Skin During Pregnancy

Dr. Joy Dental Clinics Gives Back to Society

Dr. Joy Dental Clinics Gives Back to Society

Journey to Excellence

Journey to Excellence

International Nursery is Shortlisted for Prestigious NDNA Award

International Nursery is Shortlisted for Prestigious NDNA Award

10 Struggles You Go Through During Ramadan

10 Struggles You Go Through During Ramadan

Positive Change within Reach at Blue Lights Wellness

Positive Change within Reach at Blue Lights Wellness

Awareness GroupTalk at Bluelights

Awareness GroupTalk at Bluelights

Tips on How to Develop Skills in Numbers, Shapes, Space, and Measures

Tips on How to Develop Skills in Numbers, Shapes, Space, and Measures

Parent Testimonial - Clarion School

Parent Testimonial - Clarion School

Miracle Foods for Magical Health?

Miracle Foods for Magical Health?

SATs Tutoring at the Beach

SATs Tutoring at the Beach

Traffic Diversions Announced in Dubai Investments Park

Traffic Diversions Announced in Dubai Investments Park

Five Common Weight Loss Mistakes

Five Common Weight Loss Mistakes

A Beginners Guide to ‘Holistic Family Living’

A Beginners Guide to ‘Holistic Family Living’

Dubai is Set to Have Two New Islands Next to Burj Al Arab

Dubai is Set to Have Two New Islands Next to Burj Al Arab

Meet Our New Specialist Doctor Of Geriatric Medicine

Meet Our New Specialist Doctor Of Geriatric Medicine

If You Think You Need Braces, Don

If You Think You Need Braces, Don't Hesitate!

Taking a Holiday Is a Must!

Taking a Holiday Is a Must!

An Infertility Holiday Survival Guide

An Infertility Holiday Survival Guide

Infertility Envy

Infertility Envy

Stricter Traffic Rules and Increased Fines Coming to UAE

Stricter Traffic Rules and Increased Fines Coming to UAE

A Guide to Understanding the Psychology of Car Selling

A Guide to Understanding the Psychology of Car Selling

Woman Gives Birth Mid-Flight on Emirates

Woman Gives Birth Mid-Flight on Emirates

5 Things You Should Know Before Getting Breast Implants

5 Things You Should Know Before Getting Breast Implants

10 Things to Do in Dubai This Summer

10 Things to Do in Dubai This Summer

Lifestyle Choices That Can Affect Fertility

Lifestyle Choices That Can Affect Fertility

Ventilator at Home by Manzil Healthcare Services

Ventilator at Home by Manzil Healthcare Services