What to Wear in Dubai: Dubai Dress Code

When travelling to a foreign country, no matter where in the world it’s located, you should always check these aspects before diving into planning. One such aspect is the dress code.

Based on the country’s beliefs or traditions, there might be various restrictions on what you can and can not wear. Dubai is no exception.

Whether you’re just travelling or planning to stay there for a while, it is always a good thing to stay respectful of one’s culture.

So, is there a specific dress code in Dubai? Let’s dive into the topic and find out.

Does the dress code in Dubai exist?

Some countries have more requirements for clothes than others. Since the UAE is an Islamic country, there are some rules to be followed by residents as well as tourists.

There is no official dress code in Dubai per se. However, you are expected to dress and behave modestly. Though Dubai is a home for people from all over the world, the majority of the population practices Islamic traditions.

Before diving into specifics, here are the main points to remember about the dress code in Dubai:

  • Tight and see-through clothes. Choose more oversized clothes over a tight-fitted one and avoid weathering any see-through materials. This goes for both men and women.
  • Body coverage. The main rule is to cover your shoulders, knees, and everything else. In some instances, you can also be required to cover your arms as well.
  • Head coverage. If you are a woman travelling in Dubai, you are not obliged to cover your head at all times. However, it would be a good practice to carry a head scarf just in case. Entering a mosque is prohibited without covering your head; some other places might have the same rules.
  • Symbols. It is better to keep your clothes simple and neutral. Some sayings or slogans might cause potential issues. This is only probable, but it is better to be safe.
  • Children’s clothes. There are almost no restrictions on the children’s clothes, and they can wear anything they like. The main rule is for the child to have clothes on in public places, no matter how high the temperature is.

How strict is the Dubai dress code?

strict-is-the-Dubai-dress-codeIn comparison with other Emirates, Dubai has one of the most accepting cultures when it comes to clothes. Keep in mind that there are no actual restrictions.

However, you are expected to respect the traditions and act accordingly. Can you wear anything you like? Yes. Should you be wearing it is another question.

The general rules apply only to the public places. When you are at home or in a hotel room, there are no restrictions whatsoever. Yet, if you are entering a government or religious building, the rules are completely different.

Avoid wearing too revealing clothes and be aware of the dress code requirements for specific places.

What to wear in Dubai as a tourist?

As we already mentioned, Dubai is not too strict about the clothes for you to wear. However, some adjustments to your clothes set still must be made based on other aspects.

  • Weather

Dubai is a very hot and dry region. In the summer, the temperature can get as high as 55°C. Choose light and breathable clothes like cotton to help with the heat. Cover your head to avoid direct sunlight and prevent sunstroke.

  • Temperature inside

Though the outside is as hot as it can be, all the buildings have conditions installed inside. It might not seem like a big deal at first, but it will get cold pretty fast. Pack a couple of cardigans or hoodies to help you stay warm during the long walks throughout the Dubai Mall.

  • Be aware of the different areas

Though Dubai is generally an acceptable city, some older areas can be more strict in terms of clothing. Jumeirah or Downtown Dubai are prone to people dressing more casually. At the same time, in areas like Spice Souk, you should consider putting on more modest outfits.

DOs and DON’Ts for both men and women for clothes in Dubai

If you are still not clear or have some doubts about some pieces of clothing, here’s a broad list of what men and women are allowed to wear.

DOs for women in clothes

A list of what a woman can wear in Dubai generally includes:

  • Shirts
  • Both shorts and skirts
  • Different tank-tops
  • Jeans (they are not very common during the summer)
  • Dresses without sleeves or with shorts sleeves with knee-length
  • Trousers or pants
  • Cover-ups
  • Any type of long dresses

For footwear, the list includes:

  • Sneakers
  • Any types of sandals, including Crocs, for the swimming areas
  • High heels for the restaurants
  • Sliders

DON’Ts for women in clothes

If you are travelling in Dubai, it is better to avoid wearing:

  • Clothes from see-through materials
  • Tightly fitted dresses
  • Swimwear in public places
  • Any top clothing that makes your bra visible
  • Very short skirts and shorts
  • A V-shaped t-shirt that makes the chest area visible
  • Clothes with revealing abdomen area
  • Clothes with political or other sayings and slogans that can be viewed as offensive

DOs for men in clothes

A list of publicly acceptable clothes for a man to wear in Dubai includes:

  • Shirts
  • Various singlets
  • Shorts
  • Trousers
  • Jeans
  • Suits

The footwear includes:

  • Sneakers
  • Official shoes
  • Loafers
  • Sandals, as well as sliders

DON’Ts for men in clothes

While in Dubai, men should not wear:

  • Clothes made from see-through materials
  • Tight T-shirts as well as pants
  • Clothes with revealing abdomen area
  • Swimwear in a public area
  • Cartilage revealing clothes

Dress code in Dubai for public places

Since we have gone through the general rules of dressing in Dubai, we get into the specifics of what to wear for various activities and places. Surely the rules vary whether you are lying on the beach or spending your time in the city. So, let’s dive in.

Clothes for going to the malls

Malls in Dubai are known worldwide. One of the biggest luxury brand collections can be found there, and shopping becomes a completely new experience for many people.

Here are some tips for dressing when going to the malls:

  • Your best option is to choose simple and comfortable clothes. There is no need for extravagance and outstanding outfits if you are planning to be on foot for hours.
  • T-shirts, trousers for men and t-shirts with knee-length skirts or shorts for women are a good choice.
  • Keep in mind that there will be families with children, so dress appropriately.
  • No swimsuits or bikinis.
  • Usually, malls have signs with dress code instructions inside.
  • If you have tattoos, you might think about covering them.
  • Grab something to put on in case you get cold from the conditioning.

Clothes for city travel

Dubai is a well-known tourist magnet and for a reason. There is so much to visit while you are in the country, and various attractions are located all over the city.

If you do not plan to travel via personal vehicle, the city has a wide network of public transport, including metro, buses and others.

Here are some tips for city travel:

  • All transportation means, including metro, buses, trans and even taxes, are considered public places. Keep this in mind since all the rules mentioned before apply to these places as well.
  • If you choose a personal vehicle as your means of transport, you are allowed to dress without limitations in it. However, when getting out of the vehicle, you might need to cover up some parts, so be aware.
  • Follow the general rules. This means no too short or too revealing clothes for both men and women.

Clothes for going to the beach

Surely the dress code for beaches differs from the one for the city. The main thing to know is that there are 2 types of beaches in Dubai: public and private.

Public beaches are usually open and visited by the locals a lot. These have more restrictions implied and require for you to follow a more conservative look.

Public beaches and pools are reserved by the hotels. Since the main population of such places are tourists, there are almost no limitations on what must be worn.

What you can wear:

  • All swimsuits are allowed for both types of beaches. However, this is not the case if it is made of a see-through material.
  • For men: there are no particular limitations if the piece is high-quality.
  • For women: sportswear, bikinis and one-piece swimsuits are equally allowed.

What to keep in mind when going to the beach:

  • Thongs or G-string pieces should not be your choice. You keep your beachwear as modest as possible.
  • You should wear your beach clothes only on the territory. After leaving the beach, you must change or cover up.
  • Underclothing is not a good idea since it might make your clothes look too tight.
  • Topless sunbathing is not permitted. Not only that, but it is illegal in Dubai.

Clothes for going to the waterpark

Waterparks are one of the greatest forms of entertainment in Dubai. There are lots of them, and some are the biggest in the world with the highest range of slides, pools, waves and many more.

However, there are also some rules to take into consideration when visiting one:

  • Same as for the beaches, no see-through clothes. Check this before leaving for the water park.
  • Choose colours other than white. This might not be noticeable at first, yet many white clothes tend to turn the most transparent when wet.
  • Always wear a swimming suit. Any type, including bikinis and one-piece, is allowed.
  • No underwear. If you think that instead of wearing a swimsuit, putting on underwear will do, you are wrong. You won’t be allowed inside water parks since clothes other than swimwear are prohibited.

Clothes for shopping at Souks

Souks are a must-visit destination if you are in Dubai. You can find almost everything there, including hundreds of spices and even gold. In such places, native culture blossoms, and you can have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Souks are more conservative places, thus requiring you to follow some clothes limitations as well. Here’s what to take notice of:

  • Such markets are located in the older areas. The rules are followed there to the core, and these places are much more conservative.
  • If you are a woman, wear clothes that cover your knees. No shorts or skirts above the knee length. It is also important to cover your shoulders. Put on a cover-up or a scarf, just in case.
  • Modesty is the key. The main visitors to such markets are local families with children. So keep this in mind when going to one.

Clothes for restaurants, cafes and clubs

You can find activities for yourself in Dubai 24/7. Various night attractions, including clubs, bars and even restaurants, provide entertainment all night long.

Usually, such places do not have such strict dress code rules. Yes, there are still something to be aware of:

  • As for most places in Dubai, modesty is the key. You can wear t-shirts, knee-length skirts and shorts as well as various dresses.
  • Places like hotels and restaurants have clothes requirements displayed on the website and other platforms. You should read them at least one time.
  • No bikinis or other swimsuits are allowed in pubs and restaurants.
  • Some clubs and bars do not allow women who do not wear heels. Even if it is uncomfortable, the guards won’t let you pass.
  • Dressing up is a must if you want to go to a club or a pub. White Dubai and Club Boudoir will not let you in if the specifics are not met.


Though there is no official dress code in Dubai, it is expected to look accordingly whether you are a tourist or a foreign resident. There are several main rules to follow for you not to be judged and have the best experience while visiting the city. Keep in mind that older and more religious areas have stricter requirements for clothes.


Can I wear shorts in Dubai?

Yes, you can. The general rule for both men and women is the knee-length of the shorts. If you plan to go to the beach or to the mall, it is perfectly fine. However, to visit more religious places and older Dubai areas, you might be required to cover up more.

What are dress code restrictions in Dubai?

Do not wear anything see-through, tight or too revealing. Your body should be covered from your shoulders to your knees.

Are women required to cover their heads when in Dubai?

If you are a tourist, you are not required to cover your head at all times. Yet, it might be instructed to cover it when visiting religious landmarks.


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