Dubai has a reputation for great tolerance in the Middle East. But even in Dubai there are limits! To avoid any problems, you have to be aware of some rules regarding the dress code in Dubai. When you’re visiting religious buildings, mosques or other public buildings, your shoulders and knees must be covered by both men and women and your clothing should not be outrageous.
At many shopping centers in Dubai you can read the exact rules for clothing in the shopping center at the entrance on an information board or on the sliding doors. The rule is often that shoulders must be covered and that your clothes are not to sexy or short, but you still see many tourists who don’t care about these rules. It does not mean that you are in trouble right away, but since you are a guest in an Islamic country, it’s recommended to adapt yourself to the rules of the country.
For women we do not recommend wearing very short skirts (miniskirts), short dresses and hot pants on the street. Also see-through clothing is not recommended because it can be considered offensive. Of course, with the summer temperatures in Dubai you do not have to wear warm long trousers and long sleeves, but keep it tidy and not to short! On the street it’s no problem to wear shorts, dress or skirt, but it’s advisable to ensure that it covers at least the knees.
If, as a woman, you walk down the street with your bare shoulders make sure you have something with you that you can cover your shoulders. Wearing short tops which leave the belly exposed and translucent tops are not recommended. Visiting luxury restaurants in shorts (for men) and sports shoes is not recommended in Dubai. It’s better to wear a jeans or trousers with some nice shoes when visiting a luxury restaurant.
Clothing rules in the luxury hotels
Several hotels have their own clothing policy, especially in the evenings. This is usually indicated at the entrance of the hotel. For example, men with flip-flops, shorts, football shirts and / or sleeveless shirts can be refused at the entrance to the more luxurious hotels. This is the case with the Burj al Arab and there are many more hotels.
Rules for swimwear / beach dress code
In Dubai it is only allowed to wear swimwear by the pool and on the beach. The swimwear should not be too sexy, bikinis are no problem just make sure it does not shine through or shows too much of your buttocks. Pay attention to white bikinis, if they are wet they can shine through faster! Topless / nude sunbathing and swimming is also forbidden in Dubai, for which you can even be fined or arrested! Do not do so!
For men, the tight white speedo can be better left at home because it can go shine through if the speedo is wet. We also strongly advise not to go swimming in your underpants (especially white boxer shorts) because this can be seen as offensive by some Muslims. It’s wise to avoid short and tight shorts.
Please note that taking photos, especially photos of other women, on public beaches is prohibited in Dubai.