How to Pick Clothes to Wear in Dubai
Are you planning a trip to Dubai — perhaps you're moving there permanently — and wondering what clothes to bring when you travel?
It depends. A few factors should influence your choice of outfits to pack for your Dubai move or trip. Don't worry if you forget something, though. There are plenty of stores to shop for dresses and gowns in Dubai.
Here are the factors to consider when picking clothes to pack for your Dubai trip.
1 Consider Local Sensibilities – Dress Modestly
Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Islam is the predominant religion in the country and, as such, there are certain expectations about how people must dress and behave in public.
Specifically, both men and women are expected to dress and behave modestly in the UAE.
So, steer clear of skin-revealing clothing. As much as possible, you want clothes that cover your arms, legs, and everything else in between.
As a visitor to a land of primarily Muslim locals, make an effort to accommodate and conform to the local norms and customs.
While you may be more comfortable in a tank top and short shorts, you must refrain from the urge to wear those when you take a stroll in a park or along an avenue orgo anywhere in Dubai.
Modest Dressing Recommendations
You don't have to worry about sacrificing fashion for modest dressing.
In Dubai, women have turned modest dressing into an art form. Plus, some shops carry designer brands whose collections have been filtered or curated for modest dressing.
As such, you won't lack for highly fashionable gowns to choose from for that gala you must attend while in Dubai. There are some wonderful dress selections, too, for those wedding, brunch, and party invitations.
If you want to embrace Arab culture and ensure you're dressed modestly and suitably, you can shop for traditional modest dresses.
You can wear an abaya. The abaya is the traditional dress in the Arabian Peninsula, so this is the most common modest dress type in Dubai.
If you opt for a closed abaya, you can wear anything underneath it. If you choose an open abaya, you will have to be more circumspect about what you wear with it.
Abayas come in many beautiful fabrics, colors, and designs, so it should be easy to find one you like. There are everyday abayas you can wear for running errands, more formal abayas for work, and fancy abayas for weddings and parties.
Aside from abayas, you can also wear a kaftan dress. Kaftans are long and loose dresses like abayas. However, they have a different silhouette. The waistline may be more defined, particularly in belted kaftans. They may have long or short sleeves; the short-sleeved kaftan should be alright if it adequately covers your upper arms.
2 Think of the Weather – Dress Comfortably
Dubai has warm weather all year round. However, it has two distinct seasons: winter and summer (i.e., pleasantly warm and uncomfortably warm).
Therefore, consider the Dubai weather in your clothing choices.
When will you be in Dubai? Will you be here in the winter (generally November to March), or will you be coming in the summer (typically April to October)?
Why is this important when you can't wear your skimpy sundresses in public anyway? An awareness of the local weather will at least inform your choice of clothing material.
If you're in Dubai for the hot and sticky summer months, prioritize clothes made of the following fabrics:
Tulle (especially if it's made of silk, rayon, or other cooler fabrics)
In the relatively cooler winter months, the above are still stellar fabric options. However, you can choose heavier fabrics that you wouldn't normally wear in the hot months if you want.
By the way, even if it is hot outside, it could be freezing cold inside buildings. Therefore, you may want to bring an open abaya, cardigan, or blazer at all times. It can come in handy when you're feeling a little chilly.
Aside from your fabric choices, you should also consider garment construction. Since it is hot in Dubai, you probably want to avoid sheaths and bodycon dresses.
Loose-fitting clothes — anything that would let air flow freely for cooling — are excellent for Dubai. They also ensure modesty of attire; body-conforming silhouettes can be too form-revealing.
The following are examples of dress silhouettes that are great for Dubai's warm weather.
You can also wear two-, three-, or four-piece ensembles. A blouse paired with pants can be a good outfit, too, as long as both the top and pants are loose enough for efficient airflow.
3 Plan Your Activities – Dress Appropriately
Even if you are not staying too long in Dubai, it would still be best to consider your planned activities in your wardrobe selection. This is to ensure you'll be dressed not only modestly and comfortably but also appropriately.
If you're moving to Dubai for work, you will need business outfits.
A tailored blouse paired with loose linen pants or an A-line skirt or a long, sleeved shirt-dress or shift dress should do. Just make sure your dress or blouse has sleeves and that your dress, skirt, or pants cover your legs — preferably up to the ankles, but mid-calf should do just as well. If your outfit is too revealing, you can cover up with an open abaya.
If you're going to explore the traditional markets or souks or the countryside, particularly places where the Emiratis live, it's a good idea to wear an abaya.
If you're going swimming, you can wear a bikini or a one-piece bathing suit. However, if you want to be more modest, wear a rash guard or a burkini instead.
Dressing Right in Dubai
Modest dressing is part of Dubai's social morés.
To ensure you conform, pick clothes that cover your arms, at least up to your upper arms, and do not reveal too much skin.
So, mind that decolletage, say no to low-cut backs, and go for dresses, skirts, and pants that go past your knees and preferably end at your ankles.
Of course, do not forget to choose clothing that'll be comfortable even in the warm Dubai weather and suit your planned activities.