The Appropriate Dress Code for Middle Eastern & North African Countries

Posted by & filed under International Education, Middle East, North Africa.

Three arab business people outside


The middle eastern culture consists of Islamic values mixed with Christians; Jews and various religions. However, a lot of people have many misconceptions about visiting middle east such as women are suppressed by values and religion, it’s dangerous to live in middle eastern countries and the country is unclean or unsafe to live in. People assume everything the media portrays without having any knowledge about the country as they’ve never visited it. When someone talks about the Middle East, they automatically think…Terrorism? Violence? Religion? Attacks? Dangerous for women?

This blog post, however, thinks different! This article will answer all your questions and delusions that are stopping you from visiting the beautiful countries in the middle east.


The major religion in Middle East and North Africa is Islam but there are a considerable number of Christians and Jews living in this part of the world. People are very welcoming, peaceful and respectful regardless of race, religion or values and often this will be represented as corrupted by the media, however, that’s a false story. Not every country is exploited or consist of toxic culture in these parts of the world.

Arabic culture is influenced by religion and morals for the community to follow good values to avoid hassles, violence and live happily in peace. It consists of the most peaceful countries with following strict laws to prevent disruptions and violence in the major countries/cities.


It is good to dress modestly for women and men, sleeves up to full arms and trousers up to covering ankles to respect the culture and values of dressing self-effacingly. This is the traditional style of dressing, yes, it is stricter in countries like Saudi Arabia, (less strict) Kuwait and Qatar but UAE (Dubai, Abu Dhabi) and Turkey is more open to others dressing in a modern matter yet in a respectable manner staying and more conservative in other cities that isn’t popular tourist attractions.

To live comfortably; appreciating the culture and lifestyle, it is best to have a modest dressing sense and avoid an unnecessary hassle caused by others – saves you a lot of unwanted attentions and stares of others that’ll make you uncomfortable. The traditional clothing is made for the hot weather to carry on with daily tasks easily.

It is recommended for women (whether non-Muslim or not) to carry lightweight headscarf and wear lose dressing such as Abayas (lose robe), lose long skirts, long pants/trousers and full sleeves tops with scarves to keep covered and be respectful when visiting more stricter areas or mosques by not wearing revealing, tight clothing. In the rural areas is more conservative then cities where people tend to dress more ‘western’.

No…it is not required to cover your face by using a veil or scarf, that is only by choice if women want to but in Saudi Arabia as the laws are stricter it is best for women to be fully covered on head and body without the requirement of covering the face but it is suggested to cover the face as well to prevent any issues especially if you are married or newly married or where there’s a lot of men around even for foreigners.