The dress code in Dubai only applies to public places such as theaters, markets, malls, supermarkets, and the public areas of hotels.
- You may be given an abaya to wear when you visit an official government building or courts. This is a piece of clothing that covers what you are wearing. The general rule is that you should cover everything from your shoulders to your knees. Avoid showing cleavage, and watch clothing that’s too tight or see through. Women should not wear sleeveless garments.
- For men, avoid wearing shorts and don’t wear swimwear outside of the pool or beach area. Men shouldn’t wear unbutton shirts or shorts that reveal their knees.
Dress correctly to enter a mosque. If you want to go inside a mosque, there are very strict rules for your entrance. You’ll be provided with clothing you can put over your clothes, called an Abaya for a woman and Kandourah for men. You will be asked to remove your shoes.
Here I am fully dressed without wearing an Abaya and my hair is covered as a sign of respect.
- Women must cover the hair and entire body. A scarf is a good idea when visiting a mosque. T-shirts are fine. Spaghetti strap tops aren’t a good idea but if you’re wearing one, be sure to bring a cardigan to cover your shoulders. Leggings can be worn under short dresses to cover your legs but don’t wear leggings as pants by itself.
Here I am standing in front of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. I didn’t go inside but if I would’ve, I’d have to cover my hair, remove my shoes and wear an Abaya over my dress. Each item is available outside of the mosque if you’re interested in going inside.
- Men don’t have to cover their hair but shouldn’t wear shorts or sleeveless shirts when entering a mosque.
- The dress code is generally looser at nightclubs or bars. Malls have signs instructing customers to cover their shoulders and knees. Also, be aware that many upscale restaurants, especially those that sell alcohol, will require men to wear covered shoes and long trousers. For women, don’t wear anything that will reveal cleavage or thighs.
We went to an art museum as well as a safari dinner and I wore this dress which was considered appropriate because it’s loose fitting and covered my shoulders and knees.
The attire rules are very simple, just be sure you abide by them to show respect.