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

what to wear in dubai

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What To Wear In Dubai

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! 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. 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. Let’s start with the basics and dive right in.


What Not To Wear In Dubai

When it comes to what not to wear in Dubai the list is shorter than the list with what to wear in Dubai. Majority of what you can where 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. 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 bikin 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 – a few weeks – you don’t need more than a carry on and a knapsack. There are two reasons why we 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.


It’s Tropical (aka It’s HOT 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 77 degrees and 113 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 Net-a-Porter or 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 majority of summer items tend to be in the sale frequently.




What To Pack and What To Wear In Dubai

  • 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.



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.




  • 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?

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.

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 their dress standards posted. This is generally shoulders covered and bottoms below the knees. 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


(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.


  • 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

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 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.



  • Visiting Abu Dhabi 

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. And the 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 will share details of my trip to Abu Dhabi soon.


  • 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 Gfor 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 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.

  • What to wear in Dubai in January: Temperature around 24°C,  pack normal summer wear as above
  • What to wear in Dubai in February: Temperature is around 26°C, pack normal summer wear as above.
  • What to wear in Dubai in March: Temperature is around 29°C, pack normal summer wear as above
  • What to wear in Dubai in April: Temperature around 33°C, pack lighter summer wear and breathable cottons.
  • 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,
  • 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.


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what to wear in dubai



1 Comment

  1. June 25, 2018 / 3:15 am

    Glad you made your way to Sheikh Zayed Mosque. I living in Dubai for 2 years but couldn’t visit till last month.

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