What to Wear in Dubai | Dubai Packing Tips for The Female Traveller

what to wear in dubai | appropriate clothing in dubai and female dress code dubai

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What To Wear In Dubai When Visiting UAE

Thinking to yourself, what do tourists wear in Dubai? Traveling to Dubai for the first time and wondering what to wear in Dubai? Well, then this post is for you as it will help on how to dress for Dubai! Travels to the beautiful “City of Gold” and a land of contrasts is on many wanderlust lists. In a recent post, I shared a guide on where to stay in Dubai, in this post I am sharing a few essentials for your travel packing list for Dubai. This is to help you learn more about acceptable clothing in Dubai. And some tips as to why these are your travel essentials for a memorable trip to one of the most known Emirates.



Dubai is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. It is often confused with Abu Dhabi, another popular city. And being a majority Muslim country, there are often conflicting information on what you can and cannot wear. I will start with the basics then dive right in and also cover Dubai women’s dress code summer periods.



What Not To Wear In Dubai | Dress Code In Dubai



When it comes to what not to wear in Dubai the list is shorter than the list of what to wear in Dubai. Majority of what you can wear in the West, you can wear in Dubai. Things to stay away from are mini skirts, revealing clothes, too low-cut tops, those are a no go, especially when it comes to the ultra-conservative Abu Dhahi. So is it ok to wear shorts in Dubai? You can wear shorts providing they are not short shorts, they are at least knee length. For malls just make sure you pack a shawl to cover the arms and chest if you think your clothes are on the board of revealing or low cut.


Most hotels will also have rule about where you can wear your bikini so just make sure you pack a few kaftans to wear over your swim clothes on the way to the hotel beach or pool as some hotels will not allow swim around the lobby or public areas. This is the same when it comes to what to wear in Dubai mall. You don’t have to wear a nun’s outfit but just be wary of being on the conservative side when it comes to modesty.



How Much and What To Pack For Dubai?


If you’re going on vacation for a short trip, you don’t need more than a carry on and a knapsack. You can easily appropriate dress for Dubai in a carry-on.  There are two reasons why I recommend this. The first is that you will have to pay for your checked bag(s) based on your fare type and the airline you use. Second, if you have connecting flights, traveling without a checked piece limits the chance that you might lose your luggage in-between flight transfers.

So, what can you fit in your carry-on luggage that will make your trip that much more special? Keep reading and we’ll see. For additional tips check out my post on carry-on essentials for long-haul flights.



Packing Appropriate Clothing In Dubai


The weather in Dubai is tropical so you should bring light clothing that breathes well. Otherwise, you may get uncomfortably hot. Depending on the time of year that you visit, the temperature can be anywhere between 25 degrees and 45 degrees. If I am heading somewhere hot I tend to scope out linen/silk blend dresses as they are light and breathable or search for elegant midis and maxi dresses on  ASOS. Some these will be in the sale most of the time as don’t have great weather in the UK so I find that the majority of summer items tend to be in the sale frequently.





 What To Wear In Dubai | Packing For Dubai Tourist Dress Code


  • Pack plenty of loose-fitting summer dresses for Dubai trip too not just because the country is conservative but because its hot!
  • Shorts are OK only in the tourist districts but can still cause stares
  • Loose fitting tops and pants, covered dresses, and skirts below the knees are always safe choices
  • Jeans that aren’t too tight, or if you have a longer top to wear over it
  • Sandals and flat shoes as you will be walking around the malls a lot.
  • Always pack a pashmina or scarf in your handbag for when you need to cover up if wearing short-sleeved or off shoulder outfits and need to enter conservative areas/buildings.
  • Pack a Summer hats as the sun in Dubai even in their winter(22-30 oC in Oct-Nov) can still be intense.


  • Pack a beautiful Embellished Kaftan that is both modern and stylish. You can cover up and still be stylish while abiding by Dubai dress code rules. Pair these up with a pair of leggings or skinny jeans and sandals and you are good to go.


Etsy has a great selection of beach kaftans, a majority of which are unique and one-offs too.


(Click on image to see detail)


Amazon’s Kaftans offer a beautiful collection of kaftans at such great prices too. You can wear a swimwear underneath or pair them with a t-shirt, skinny jeans and heel and you are good to go.


(Click on image to see detail)


  • Make sure you pack a good Suncream, as beautifully warm and toasty the sun is in Dubai you need to make sure you protect your skin. In addition to a holdall beach bag is a must. Accessorise has some beautiful beach bags on sale at the moment.
  • Full covering is required for entry to the mosques and some public buildings


These clothing options for your trip to Dubai will not only contribute to your hosts being friendlier, but they will keep you cool and protect your skin while you have a fabulous time exploring the City of Gold.



What To Wear In Dubai For Females? | Dubai Women’s Dress Code


So what is appropriate dress in Dubai, what can ladies wear in Dubai? Modesty is Key – If You Don’t Want Unwanted Attention. Dubai is a lot less restrictive than some of the other emirates. But it is still a majority Muslim country and therefore modesty is always key. Beware that your idea of dressing ‘modestly’ may not be the same as those in Dubai. Acceptable dress code in UAE also differs between Emirates so bear that in mind especially if you are visiting other emirates on tour. Most tour guides will tell you or help you with coverings when visiting religious sights.

For Dubai tourist clothing, even in the tourist areas, which are even less restricted, certain standards of dress are not tolerated. And it gets really uncomfortable being continuously stared at because they don’t believe that you are appropriately dressed. Trust me. We know this all too well.


Malls, restaurants, and mosques will have the dress code in Dubai posted. This is generally shoulders covered and bottoms are below the knees. All will display Dubai women’s dress code and men’s dress code in Dubai.  Beachwear and club wear should not be used for everyday dress if you don’t want unwelcome stares. Keep your bikinis on the beach. Most hotels allow bikinis and swimwear but be sure to cover up on the way from your room to the book.


To show that you respect the culture, pack tops with sleeves for modesty as well as to protect you from the sun. Clothes that cover your neckline, knees, and shoulders are always safe bets. If you must wear an off-shoulder top then pack a scarf in your bag for when you enter malls and other sites that enforce the dress code so you can easily cover the shoulder. Also, try not to wear anything to revealing of the chest area.

what to wear in dubai | dubai tourist dress code and appropriate clothing in dubai


(From the top )Blue dressPashmina | Kaftan Yellow Dress | Sunglasses | Earrings  | Hat

Hat | Swimsuit | Earrings | Handbag | Clarins Suncare kit


What To Wear In Dubai Desert Safari | Packing for the Places in Dubai That You Intend to Visit


When planning a trip to Dubai the first question most women want an answer to what to wear in Dubai holiday. Well below is a guide on what to wear in Dubai malls, Dubai safari, traditional buildings and other occasions. So whether you are after desert safari Dubai dress code or in general Dubai women’s dress code, below gives you an idea of Dubai outfit and appropriate clothing for Dubai.


  • Traditional Buildings

While scarfs are not essential headwear for everyday use, you should always walk with a scarf on you. Some buildings – especially traditional buildings and the mosques – will not allow you inside with an uncovered head. So, you will always be prepared for any impromptu attractions if you have a scarf on you.

Plus, scarfs help to protect you from the dangers of the sun.

  • The Desert

The desert safari dubai dress code: So, what to wear in Dubai desert safari? Stargazing in the desert is one of the most fun activities to do in Dubai. This is especially romantic if you are going on vacation with a partner. But temperatures in the desert can drop below -0. Make sure to pack a light jacket or cardigan to ward off any chills at night. The desert is also windy so be careful of shorter clothing. You can pack a beautiful embellished Kaftan,  for a photo op. You can also find beautiful kaftans on Amazon too. You should also consider having leggings under your skirts or dresses, or jeans as it does get cold in the evenings. They protect your skin from the harshness of the sand.



Abu Dhabi is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. It is also only about an hour and a half from Dubai. So, you may want to visit. But, they are considered much more conservative than Dubai. For clothes to wear in Abu Dhabi, conservative dress is especially important if you want to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque outside of Abu Dhabi. Both Get Your Guide and Viator have great day tours from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. I have also shared the details of how get to Abu Dhabi from Dubai.


  • What to wear in Dubai nightclubs

Believe it or not, Dubai does have nightclubs! So when it comes to what to wear in Dubai nightclubs, the dress code is actually stricter for men that it is for women. Women can wear pretty much anything they want whereas men cannot turn up in jeans, flip-flops, shorts or vests in some cases. While women can wear whatever they want to Dubai nightclubs, just be mindful of the in-between – between your accommodation and nightclub. I would invest in a very light duster coat for times when you think your dress might be on a fine line of too short and too revealing. The Dubai nightclubs don’t care so much its the areas people along the way whose attention you may draw. Considering how hot Dubai is, duster coats are super light and allow you to cover a little bit, especially if visiting clubs that may be in places like Deira where you may not want to get the wrong attention.

  • Brunch

It’s always recommended to have a nice outfit and dress shoes when you go on vacation. After all, even if you didn’t plan on any fancy dinners, you never know where you might end up. Since we are talking about traveling as light as possible, make sure the shoes you carry can go well with multiple outfits. Dubai food experiences are rich and plentiful from Afternoon tea at Burj Al Arab to Dubai Marina cruise with buffet, to a luxury dining experience in the Burj Khalifa. So be sure to pack a few nice dresses in Dubai and clothing options that allow you to look stylish at a moment’s notice.



What To Wear in Dubai By Month


By far the best time to visit Dubai is between November and March when the weather is warm but not too hot. Dubai rules on clothing don’t change just because it’s too hot. The Dubai women’s dress code summer and every other season is the same. You are still required to wear appropriate clothing in Dubai. Dress code in Dubai for tourists is set out outside buildings but the above should give you an idea.


What to wear in Dubai in January

  • Temperature around 24°C,  pack normal Dubai tourist clothing  as detailed above.

What to wear in Dubai in February

  •  Temperature is around 26°C, pack normal summer clothes suitable for Dubai as above.

What to wear in Dubai in March

  •  Temperature is around 29°C, as the weather starts to pick up now ensure acceptable clothing in Dubai is packed. You can also pack shorts that come to the knee or below and not too tight.

What to wear in Dubai in April

  • Temperature around 33°C, pack lighter summer wear and breathable pieces of cotton.

What to wear in Dubai in May

  • Temperature around 38°C, pack lighter summer wear and breathable cottons.

What to wear in Dubai in June

  •  Temperature is around 40°C, pack plenty of flowy maxi dresses and kaftans as you don’t want anything tight sticking to your skin when the weather is this hot.

What to wear in Dubai in July

  • Temperature is around 41°C, pack plenty of flowy maxi dresses and kaftans as you don’t want anything tight sticking to your skin when the weather is this hot.

What to wear in Dubai in August

  • Temperature is around 42°C, pack plenty of flowy maxi dresses and kaftans as you don’t want anything tight sticking to your skin when the weather is this hot.

What to wear in Dubai in September

  •  Temperature is around 38°C, so plenty of nice dresses for Dubai trip need to be packed as sometimes you may have to change 2 or 3 times because of the heat.
  • pack plenty of flowy maxi dresses and kaftans as you don’t want anything tight sticking to your skin when the weather is this hot.

What to wear in Dubai in October

  • Temperature is around 36°C, it’s hot but starting to cool down, pack plenty of shirt dresses and flowy maxi dresses and kaftans that are breathable and are not to close to your skin.

What to wear in Dubai in November

  • Temperature is around 31°C, same as Jan, Feb and Mar, pack normal summer wear as above.

What to wear in Dubai in December

  •  Temperature is around 26°C, same as Jan,Feb and Mar, pack normal summer wear as above.



Where To Stay In Dubai


I posted a very detailed post on where to stay in Dubai for various budgets and needs. You can check it out here.

I hope that gives you an idea if you were what just exactly what do women wear in Dubai or wondering what clothes suitable for Dubai you need to pack.

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what to wear in dubai | appropriate dress in dubai and desert safari dubai dress code




    • Bianca
      September 30, 2018 / 10:42 am

      Yeah, I do the same in London. There are so many things in the city that I am still discovering even after living here for so many years. It must be the same for you living in Dubai.

  1. August 27, 2018 / 10:33 am

    Great tips and very informative article on “What to wear in Dubai”. Thank you for featuring two of our luxury Kaftans from KAJABeach on Etsy.

    • Bianca
      September 30, 2018 / 10:40 am

      No problem at all. I love your kaftans.

  2. Help on Dubai attire and Dubai women dress code
    September 4, 2018 / 10:09 pm

    Hi Bianca,

    Thank you so much for your tips on things to do in Dubai as we are in the middle of planning a trip for 5 days in Dubai. I have been looking everywhere for a packing list for Dubai when I recently stumbled on this post on what to wear in Dubai. I just have a couple more questions that I still need help with as I plan on what to wear in Dubai. Do you know if women can wear shorts in Dubai? Also are there plenty of place I could buy nice dresses in Dubai as I would love to bring some clothes back from family and friends. Thank you so much for your Dubai travel tips as we are also planning on visiting Abu Dhabi having read your post on how to travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.

    • Bianca
      September 30, 2018 / 10:47 am

      Hi there,

      Yes women can wear shorts in Dubai but it depends on the style and activity. You can wear shorts on the beach but those type of shorts might not be the same allowed at the mall. Shorts up to the knee are fine. You can wear shorts on a Dubai desert safari but again, what is your transportation like getting to the safari in Dubai? If you are driving there or the tour company is picking you up and dropping you off at the hotel, you might be fine. Otherwise just apply some caution and always pack a shawl, a maxi square if in doubt. It’s a conservative country and as much as you can exercise the same Western freedoms in most places in Dubai, there are still places like, offices, malls and religious sites where you still need to follow the rules of the Emirate. I hope that helps.

  3. what to wear in dubai in november
    September 9, 2018 / 8:40 pm

    This was very helpful. I will be traveling to Dubai in November.

    • Bianca
      September 21, 2018 / 9:23 am

      You are welcome. I hope this also gives you an idea of what to wear in Dubai in November. Visiting Dubai in November is a great idea as that is one of the best times to visit Dubai because weather is a lot cooler. It is still hot enough to enjoy the city but not unbearably hot like June.

  4. Veronica
    September 16, 2018 / 10:50 pm

    Thank you so much for the detailed postBee. We have a packed Dubai Itinerary and the last thing on my trip planning checklist for UAE was to look at what exactly the women’s dress code for Dubai is because the last thing I want is to get into trouble in a conservative country. I don’t normally comment but wanted to thank you for your post as it answered quite a lot of the questions I had about what to wear in Dubai when we visit Dubai in December.

    • Bianca
      September 27, 2018 / 3:21 pm

      You are welcome and I am glad you enjoy the blog. Enjoy your Dubai Trip.

  5. Beachwear Dubai
    September 19, 2018 / 7:54 pm

    Great post and great site. We are visiting Dubai in January and wanted to get more of an idea of what to pack for Dubai in January. Can you provide any recommendation of what beachwear in Dubai is like, also just want to pack weather wise for January in Dubai?

    • Bianca
      September 30, 2018 / 10:54 am

      Please see some of the reponses I have for December. What to wear in Dubai in January is much the same. November to February, are the best months to visit Dubai because the weather is better during these months. Packing for January in Dubai meets lighter clothing in terms of material still but you can maybe pack a duster coat for evenings as the temperature in the evenings can sometimes drop. Also sometimes the malls can get super cold because they have to crank up the aircon when it gets really hot.

  6. Jean
    September 26, 2018 / 2:39 am

    Love your post about Dubai. I will be traveling there for 7 days early January for Dubai Shopping fest. Can you tell me if DSF is really as much of a bargain shopping as it’s being sold as? Also, can you recommend a great mid-priced friday brunch spot for a foodie.

    • Bianca
      September 27, 2018 / 3:15 pm

      I havent been to Dubai shopping festival but can attest to the amazing shopping malls in Dubai and even on their own very much worth visiting. Malls are not just malls in Dubai, there are so many activities to check out, from skiing to aquariums and then some. In terms of brunch in Dubai, Armani hotel comes to mind, check out Dubai Groupon for deals. Many of the hotels in Dubai offer amazing deals especially on Fridays when they have ladies day or ladies hours with plenty of free drinks for women so definitely look into that.

  7. Nicky
    September 30, 2018 / 9:55 am

    Hey, thanks for a detailed post on Dubai dress code. We are actually visiting Dubai for 3 days in December. Can you please help me out with what to wear on a Dubai desert safari? We have a tour booked for the dune bashing and then a desert bbq and I am just not sure what to wear. Any tips would be appreciated!. Thanks

    • Bianca
      September 30, 2018 / 10:38 am

      Nick, thank you for comment. I am glad you enjoyed the post. Definitely check out my tips on what to wear in Dubai in December. This is actually one of the best time to visit Dubai as Dubai weather in December is mild and manageable. It is still very hot but bearable as its in the 20s. When it comes to what to wear on a safari in Dubai is just to be comfortable. So things like leggings, jeans, dresses are all fine but just bear that in mind if you are doing sandboarding in Dubai, getting on a camel are all difficult things to do in a dress. You can also choose not to do those activities. You can also wear shorts in Dubai providing they are not to revealing and are a good length. It’s a conservative country, after all, you have freedoms within some boundaries. So to answer your question on what to wear for a safari, comfort and not too revealing. Also, pack a shawl or scarf for when it gets cold in the desert in the evening.

  8. Nicolas
    October 7, 2018 / 1:06 am

    Hey, I know this is mainly for women but do you what to wear in Dubai men’s clothing tips please?

    • Bianca
      October 21, 2018 / 11:05 pm

      Hey Nicolas, the rules are not as strict for men but still even so Mens dress code in Dubai means that you will not be allowed to enter religious sites while wearing a vest t-short or some lengths in shorts. Always best to wear long sleeved t-shirt or shirt and wear a trouser unless you at least have some 3 quarter shorts. Hope that helps.

  9. Mandip
    October 10, 2018 / 10:28 pm

    Spot on with this write-up. We are heading to Dubai in March next and I have been trying trying to get inspiration for the upcoming trip when I stumbled on your post. Great tips!

    • Bianca
      October 21, 2018 / 10:59 pm

      Awesome! Have a great time in Dubai.

  10. Janet
    October 13, 2018 / 8:22 pm

    So glad I found your post. I have been panicking about whether I have packed the write items to wear in Dubai. I have been trying to figure out the dos and donts on women’s dress code in Dubai. You are a life saver!

    • Bianca
      October 21, 2018 / 11:07 pm

      Phew! Glad to save the day for you. Have an awesome trip to Dubai.

  11. Jane Nicholas
    October 19, 2018 / 10:11 am

    Wow! It must really be a very conservative place. This means I’ll have to revisit my bag because from this list I can tell I’m not going with the right stuff.

    • Bianca
      October 21, 2018 / 10:34 pm

      I am sure you will be fine, but it always helps to get an idea of Dubai’s dress code for women before leaving.

  12. October 20, 2018 / 8:18 pm

    I also lived in Dubai and never wore the traditional clothing because it would have been confusing to others; as a woman but neither Arab nor Muslim, I do not act in the ways expected for those ladies and would have been inadvertently sending very mixed messages. In fact, I would most likely have been interpreted as a poorly behaved Muslim rather than a polite American for the same behaviors! I wore T-shirts and jeans and that worked well for me. You do look very beautiful, and the effort you made is commendable.

  13. Cathy - what to pack for dubai
    October 24, 2018 / 11:21 pm

    I am visiting Dubai first time and stuck with what to pack for Dubai in January. I am heading there with my husband as he is on a work assignment. Your post has certainly eased my mind about what to expect and how to pack for the trip to Dubai. Providing things go well we might be moving to Dubai from UK so may come back to your post for a detailed checklist.

    • Bianca
      November 11, 2018 / 3:40 pm

      Hi Cathy, sounds like you have some adventures ahead of you. Certainly glad you found the Dubai packing list post useful. Dubai is amazing I am sure you will absolutely love it. All the best with your trip.

  14. Priyanka
    November 4, 2018 / 7:33 pm

    Thank you for your post. I have been looking for tips on how to pack for Dubai. You have answered so many questions on how to pack for Dubai trip. Now I am just wondering how many clothes to take as I am afriad I will sweat a lot in the heat.

    • Bianca
      November 11, 2018 / 3:33 pm

      Hi Priyanka, it really depends when you are visiting Dubai. In the summer months, regarding what to take to Dubai on holiday, I would pack a couple of additional tops for those really sweaty days in the heat. Also, note that in the malls the aircon is on full which makes it super cold inside and really hot outside. Again a couple of tops wouldn’t hurt but if you get stuck there are plenty of malls in Dubai where you can buy a couple of clothing spares if you need them.

  15. Nadine
    November 10, 2018 / 10:04 am

    Hi Bee,

    Just wanted to ask if you felt you had to wear a scarf while walking around in Dubai. Also if you have tips on how to wear Arabic scarf or how to tie scarf on the head in Arabic style?

    • Bianca
      November 11, 2018 / 3:26 pm

      Hi Nadine, the only time you need to cover your head in Dubai or even in Abu Dhabi if you manage to visit that, is really when you visit the Mosques and religious and strict sites. As a tourist, this will mainly be Mosques which require you to be fully covered including your head. Otherwise you are fine without covereing your head while visiting Dubai.

  16. Christine
    November 11, 2018 / 6:48 am

    Why are heading to Dubai early next year and I have been trying to figure out what to wear in Dubai in February. So glad to hear that the weather is mild during that time as I dont think I can work with the Middle Eastern heat. Thanks for this Dubai outfit ideas too.

    • Bianca
      November 11, 2018 / 3:15 pm

      Yeap, February is one of the best times to visit Dubai as the weather is hot but not as crazy as it is in July or August. Either way, I am glad you go what you needed to plan your packing for Dubai. All the best.

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