As an Islamic country, Qatar requires modesty when it comes to clothes. There's no dress code, but here are some tips to help you.
22 July 2013| Last updated on 15 June 2017
Even though there is no dress code law per se, it is always a good idea to cover up when you’re out and about in Doha. The general guidelines are that you keep your knees and shoulders covered and that your clothing is not tight or revealing.
In May 2014, the women of Qatar launched a dress code campaign in shopping centers around the country in order to educate the expatriates on the norms of their culture. With this campaign, they wanted to reach out to the men and women in Qatar in a bid to ask them to dress more conservatively.
Qatari Traditional Dress
Qataris are very traditional, with the men wearing their national dress of a Thobe, which is a long white garment worn usually with either a white or red and white chequered head scarf.
The women wear traditional black abayas and many cover their faces with a veil, others choose to just cover their hair. Read more>>
What NOT to Wear
Qatar has quite liberal rules in regards to the dress code for expats and whilst they are not required to dress in traditional attire, it is recommended that women cover their shoulders and knees and do not wear particularly tight or revealing clothing as a mark of respect.
These rules become much more important during the Holy Month of Ramadan and are enforced by special ‘clothes’ police that ensure ladies are covered appropriately. This is a very important month in the Islamic calendar and extra respect must be shown.
SEE ALSO: Guide for Ramadan
What All This Means
When you are outside your home, ensure that you wear clothing that is respectful to the culture. This means that you should not wear anything that is too low-cut and tight. Clothing should also cover you from shoulders to knees. It’s not very difficult. Failure to do this may invite curious gazes from passers by. There is no law regarding the dress code in Qatar but these guidelines will ensure that no one is offended by your attire.
When you are on a public beach, it is not recommended that you wear a swim suit or bikini. Many women will wear shorts and a t-shirt to swim in the sea, however if you are swimming at a hotel or a resort, then a bikini is perfectly acceptable.
Some Wardrobe Staples for Qatar
Pashminas: these are great and handy cover-ups for all sorts of cirumstances. Have one in your car for emergencies too.
Capri pants: These are great as they are not full length so your lower legs still keep cool.
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.
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. Just make sure that your top is not too tight and revealing.
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.