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How to dress in Dubai: information for travelers

Are you planning to visit Dubai, but don't know what to wear? Read all about how to dress in Dubai, and get ready for your next trip.

Brenda Beltrán

October 24, 2023

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If you are planning to travel to the United Arab Emirates and don’t know how to dress in Dubai and other places like Abu Dhabi, this article is just for you. We will tell you some tips for tourists, especially to avoid possible offenses and misunderstandings, even though there is no dress code. Dressing modestly in this country is a way of complying and respecting its values and cultural practices.

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Is there a dress code for tourists?

Luckily for you, There is no dress code for tourists in Dubai. Despite this, it is advisable to follow some guidelines on how to dress. Dubai is a modern and cosmopolitan city, but UAE, being a Muslim country, its society continues to be conservative. In this sense, it is essential to know what tourists wear to avoid being out of place in this city. We will discuss what women wear and what men wear in different situations.

How to dress in Dubai (women)

Dress in Dubai
Example of how women should dress in Dubai. Source: Freepik.

For women, it is recommended to wear in Dubai garments that cover the shoulders and knees, even in shopping malls. Women wear shorts or long-sleeved shirts and skirts or pants that are knee-length. Discreet swimsuits are also allowed and must always be accompanied by a bathrobe or beach outfit without transparencies. Also, in these situations, you can wear sandals or wear flip-flops.

On the other hand, in religious temples, such as mosques, women wear a headscarf and clothing that completely covers their bodies; in some cases, they can wear dresses. In case you forget this recommendation, on the outskirts of some mosques, the abaya rental service is provided; that is, a traditional Islamic garment for women, which can be considered a Dubai dress code.

What to wear in Dubai for women in public places

Dubai has some of the world’s largest and most luxurious shopping malls. When visiting a shopping mall, it is best to dress modestly. Avoid wearing shorts, tank tops, or low-cut dresses. Instead, opt for longer skirts, pants, and tops that cover your shoulders. You may also want to bring a scarf to wrap your head, especially during summer.

How to dress in Dubai shopping malls
How to dress in Dubai shopping malls. Source: Pexels.

Most hotels in Dubai have a relaxed dress code. However, it is still best to avoid wearing revealing clothing. If you stay at a luxury hotel, you may want to dress up more for dinner and drinks. The dress code for restaurants in Dubai varies depending on the restaurant. Some restaurants have a strict dress code, while others are more relaxed.

Here are some general tips for how to dress modestly in those places in Dubai:

  • Choose loose-fitting clothing that covers your shoulders and knees; it can be casual clothes like capri pants or long sleeve t-shirts.
  • Avoid wearing revealing clothing, such as short shorts, tight pants, tank tops, or short dresses.
  • If you are wearing a skirt or dress, you may want to wear leggings or tights underneath.
  • You may also want to bring a scarf to cover your head and shoulders, especially when entering a mosque or other religious site, or when you wear summer dresses.

What to wear in Dubai for women at the beach, swimming pool, and water park.

How to dress in Dubai beaches
How to dress in Dubai beaches. Source: Unsplash.

In Dubai, there are not many restrictions when you go to the beach. You can wear bikinis or your favorite bathing suit, but it doesn’t hurt to prepare clothes with discreet designs and colors, along with a bathing suit when leaving the beach, since it is not allowed to walk in light clothes in the surroundings of the beaches.

Some additional tips for how to dress modestly at the beach

  • Avoid wearing see-through or revealing swimwear.
  • Choose swimwear that covers your shoulders and knees.
  • You can wear flip flops, sandals or similar. 
  • If you wear a bikini, you may want to wear a kaftan or sarong when walking around the beach or pool area.
  • Do not walk outside of the beach or pool area in your swimwear.

What to wear for women in Dubai desert safari and natural environments

Dubai offers experiences that you will hardly find in other destinations. For example, you can adventure in the desert, ride a camel, or ski on the world’s largest ice rink inside a mall.

How to dress in Dubai desert safari
How to dress in Dubai desert safari. Source: Unsplash.

That is why you should prepare to wear light clothes to withstand the heat. Also, wear a cap or hat that protects your face and head from the sun; a scarf or pashmina to cover the neck; sunscreen; Sunglasses; a light jacket to protect you from the wind; and very comfortable closed shoes or tennis shoes for walking.

Specific tips on what to wear for a desert safari

  • Top: Wear a loose-fitting, comfortable top that covers your shoulders. You may want to wear a long-sleeved top to protect yourself from the sun.
  • Bottoms: Women wear pants or a skirt that covers their knees. Avoid wearing shorts or skirts that are too short.
  • Shoes: Wear comfortable shoes that you can walk in easily. Avoid wearing sandals or flip-flops, as they can be uncomfortable on the sand.
  • Headwear: Wear a hat or scarf to protect your head from the sun.
  • Sunglasses: Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun.
  • Sunscreen: Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect your skin from the sun.

What not to wear for women in Dubai

Avoid wearing tight or transparent clothing; do not wear low necklines, sleeveless t-shirts, short skirts, very tight pants, white bikinis, and crop tops. Avoid clothing that does not cover your stomach, that reveals your underwear that is torn or worn, and that does not have things that may be offensive.

Remember that these are just a few tips and that there is no set Dubai dress code. All tips are intended to maintain a dress conservatively that keeps you in tune with the local society and culture.

How to dress in Dubai (men)

Dress in Dubai
Example of how to dress in Dubai for men. Source: Freepik.

If you are wondering how men should dress in Dubai, we recommend you use casual clothing, such as T-shirts or short or long-sleeved shirts and long pants in breathable fabrics or cotton.

If you wear shorts, they must go to the knee, and as for shoes, you can wear any shoe, such as tennis shoes, sandals, or hiking boots, that let you walk comfortably for long distances.

What to wear in Dubai for men in public places

As with women, it is also advisable for men to maintain a conservative dress code in public places, including shopping mall and hotel. In this case, the clothing is more inclined to balance comfort and respect for the culture. Wear casual outfits, and you will have no problems. 

Shopping malls in Dubai
Shopping malls in Dubai. Source: Unsplash.

Some tips on what to wear in Dubai for men in those places

  • Cover your knees and shoulders. This is the basic rule of dress for men in Dubai. It applies to all public areas, including shopping malls, hotels, and restaurants.
  • Avoid wearing tight or revealing clothing. This includes swimwear, sleeveless shirts, and shorts that are too short.
  • Choose comfortable and breathable fabrics. Dubai can be very hot, so it is important to wear clothes that will keep you cool and comfortable.
  • Consider the occasion. If you are visiting a more upscale restaurant or hotel, you may want to dress more formally. However, even in these cases, you do not need to wear a suit and tie.

What to wear in Dubai for men at the beach, swimming pool, and water park.

Men can wear any swimwear at the beach in Dubai, as long as it is not too revealing. This includes swim trunks, board shorts, and rash guards. Avoid wearing white swim shorts, as they can become transparent when wet.

View of Dubai beaches
View of Dubai beaches. Source: Unsplash.

It is also important to note that some Dubai beaches and pools have specific dress code rules for men. For example, some beaches may not allow men to wear sleeveless shirts. It is always best to check the dress code of the beach or pool you plan to visit before you go. 

What to wear for men in Dubai desert safari and natural environments

If you plan on doing activities such as dune bashing or camel riding, you may want to wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt to protect your skin from the sand. You may also want to bring a scarf or bandana to cover your face and mouth from the dust. Long pants or shorts, a t-shirt or polo shirt, and sneakers or hiking boots are also good options. All of this clothing is more weather-driven than dress code-driven. 

Dubai desert safari
Dubai desert safari. Source: Unsplash

Some additional tips for dressing for the desert in Dubai:

  • Avoid wearing white clothing. White clothing can get very dirty in the desert sand.
  • Bring a change of clothes. Your clothes will likely get dirty and sweaty during a desert safari.
  • Bring a jacket or sweater. The desert can get cold at night, so it is essential to have something to keep you warm.

What not to wear for men in Dubai

Avoid wearing ripped vests, shirts, and pants. Also, do not use transparent fabrics or tight garments; never wear shirtless or show your tattoos. Whenever possible, wear classic-style clothing to avoid misunderstandings in public places.

As with women, there is no established dress code for men. However, the recommendation to dress conservatively is maintained.

How to dress in Dubai for special occasions

In Dubai, one is expected to attend events and night celebrations, and the perfect outfit is a formal one with a touch of elegance. You can find below the recommended clothing for women and men because we do not have an established dress code for these occasions.

Clothes for special occasions (women)

Dress in Dubai
Long dresses for women. Source: Unsplash.

Women can wear famous evening or cocktail-type dresses. That is long or short knee-length dresses with little necklines. They can be accompanied by jewelry or accessories that give the outfit a sophisticated touch, always maintaining the balance between style, fashion, and sobriety.

Clothes for special occasions (men)

Dress in Dubai
Elegant suits for men. Source: Unsplash.

Evening suits in dark or neutral colors are an excellent option for men, primarily classic colors like black, gray, or navy blue. As for the shirt, it is recommended to be long-sleeved and with a tie-type neckline, accompanied by elegant leather or moccasin-type shoes.

How to dress in Dubai depending on the weather

Dubai is a city of contrasts when it comes to weather. Even though it usually is boiling at high temperatures, there are also days with a lot of humidity. Also, consider that the desert can reach temperatures below zero at night, and in public places, the air conditioning systems are usually on full blast.

This is why we recommend including outfits mainly in linen or cotton fabrics and light colors that let you dissipate heat for different temperatures and activities. These are not dress codes but will certainly help you stay cooler in these temperatures.

Weather in Dubai

Dubai has an enjoyable trip from October to February. During these cooler months, most tourists come because it allows for more outdoor activities. Temperatures during this period vary from 0°F to 30°F. Between April and November, the weather can become hot and sticky. In summer, the heat is from May to September. The temperature is 35 C / 95 F – 55 C / 131 F. It is crucial that people dress modestly in their dressing, especially during the warm summers. Dubai is a liberal city in the U.A.E. There’s nothing like Saudi Arabia.

Clothes to travel to Dubai

If it is a long-term trip, it is best to travel in comfortable clothes, and it can be classic jeans and a light T-shirt or a sweatshirt in neutral tones, accompanied by a coat and sneakers or shoes in traditional colors that you can easily combine with other clothes.

Usually, to go to shopping centers, dresses and long or knee-height skirts are excellent options so that women are always comfortable and fresh. Men, meanwhile, can wear shorts or light fabric and short-sleeved shirts.

Tips about how to dress in Dubai
How to dress in Dubai depending on the weather. Source:

Tips for traveling to Dubai

There are many reasons why it is very nice to travel to Dubai. First of all, for its culture and traditions, its modern architecture and imposing skyscrapers, its luxurious beaches and hotels, its varied commercial and gastronomic offers, and its multiple adventure activities inside and outside the city.

Holafly eSIM home
Holafly eSIM homepage.

For this reason, we recommend you prepare a Dubai packing list with everything you need for your trip, including the appropriate clothing, travel documents, the eSIM Card to ensure you have an internet connection in Dubai, and other vital aspects.

Remember that every detail is essential, so do not leave everything for the last minute.

Frequently asked questions about how to dress in Dubai

What is the dress code for tourists in Dubai?

In Dubai, there is no dress code for tourists. Anyway, there are some guidelines you can follow to dress appropriately and avoid bad times for not respecting the social norms of this Western city.

Can Men Wear Shorts in Dubai?

Yes. Men are allowed to wear shorts. If someone visits mosques or government buildings (courts), they can wear shorts only if necessary.

How should I dress to go to a mosque?

Comfortable clothes that cover the shoulders and legs. Women must wear a scarf that covers their head and you cannot enter with any type of footwear. You must leave it in an adapted space at the entrance. The use of sportswear is also not allowed.

What should tourists wear to Dubai?

Mosques in the city provide an outstanding showcase of local religious and architectural styles; the Jumeirah Mosque and Blue Mosque also offer access to non-Muslims. You should wear loose-fitting, conservative clothing and avoid shorts and cover the ankles.

What do female tourists have to wear in Dubai?

During the trip you should wear conservative but loose clothes, avoid shorts, and wear ankle cover. The woman must cover her neck before going inside the hotel. You can buy one yourself, but certain mosques allow you to borrow abayan.

What clothes are suitable to wear in Dubai?

Top styles for UAE: It’s hot out there, so wear light loose clothes made up from natural materials – Cotton linens and Bamboo are good options. But when you choose short pants and long sleeves, they protect you against sun and air conditioning and match the attire of the area.