What To Wear In Dubai

Dubai is one of those places that is a rich mix of modern and traditional culture. A playground for the rich and famous, it's streets are defined by extravagance. From supercars to skyscrapers, it's definitely a place to visit if you like the finer things in life.

There are certain fashion rules that you may need to watch out for when visiting Dubai so here designer footwear retailer, Daniel Footwear, and The Diary Of A Jewellery Lover has produced a guide to show you what to wear in Dubai.

A fashion divide

Dubai has a distinct fashion divide. On one hand, Emirati women can be seen wearing traditional dress, including an abaya (long black robe), sheyla (scarf) and sometimes the niqab (face covering). However, expats and tourists tend to adopt more Westernised styles. Although it is not expected to adopt traditional dress it expected that you will remain respectful of the traditional dress code

Dress codes can vary depending on where you’re visiting. The following is intended as a guide only and you should always double-check the specifics of the dress code beforehand.

At the pool or beach

With temperatures in the 90s in Summer, you will undoubtedly want to take a dip in your hotel pool or the beautiful Persian Gulf during your time in Dubai.

At hotel pools, there are generally few rules regarding swimwear, although you shouldn’t go topless. Likewise, you may be asked to cover up if you wear thong or revealing bikinis. To complement Dubai’s thriving, colourful culture, choose a bikini or swimsuit in a bold print or colour — rich jewel tones are a great choice.

To the mall

Dubai is the destination for all you lovers of luxury shopping out there. As well as the Mall of The Emirates, with Prada, Rolex and Bvlgari, you also have The Dubai Mall, home to the likes of Christian Louboutin, Chanel and Tiffany & Co. Both malls have plenty of things to do besides shopping, including ice skating, cinemas and aquariums, and you can even go skiing indoors!

So how do you dress for Dubai’s elegant shopping malls? Most will have clear signs to inform you of their dress codes near their entrances, although there are some general rules to follow.

Although some of the malls may be located near the beach it’s not acceptable to stroll off the sand and into the mall while still wearing your swimwear or short-shorts. Avoid wearing bikini tops, sleeveless tops, short skirts and sheer or revealing clothing to the mall.

Dress codes will vary from mall-to-mall, but covering your knees and shoulders is generally a sign that you’re dressed appropriately. Chic maxi dresses are a great option — wear yours with a thin cardigan cover-up. In the shopping malls, air conditioning is often fierce so you will be thankful of that cardi. In terms of footwear, flats are a great choice. The malls are huge, so leave the heels behind and wear some comfy but elegant sandals instead.

Partying til dawn

You've caught the sun rays and shopped ‘til you dropped, now it's time to prepare for a big night out. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to city centre hotspots in Dubai, with a huge range of fine dining establishments, cocktail bars and popular nightclubs to choose from. As these are normally located in hotels, the dress code offers a little more freedom.

In hotel bars, restaurants and nightclubs, you can flash a little more flesh — with short skirts, sheer detailing or sleeveless dresses all acceptable. Pack your cocktail dress and go all out with glitzy accessories and party-ready heels. If you’re venturing outside of your hotel, you should always check what the dress code is.

If you’re jetting off to Dubai this year, make sure you pack the following in your suitcase:

Cocktail dress
Cover-up cardigan
Party-ready heels
Colourful swimwear
Maxi dress

Dubai is a great city full of fabulous things to see and do, great dining destinations, chic cocktail bars and gorgeous beaches. If you want to read more abut what to do in 24 hours in Dubai, check out my blog post. Have fun!

*PR collaboration


  1. Great article. I agree that when travelling to different countries you should look at their culture when choosing what to wear. I am a firm believer to respect the country where you are.

  2. I haven't been to Dubai and I know they can be strict with some things. It's go to know what you can wear when you go to avoid any issues.

  3. I went to Dubai in February and the dress code was far more relaxed than I expected it to be. I mainly took maxi dresses and lightweight card's x

    1. Perfect clothes for Dubai unless you are on the beach :)

  4. I loved Dubai when I visited a couple of years ago, but you do get a lot of funny looks even if you're covering up your shoulders and knees

  5. I would love to go to Dubai but not sure how I feel about an imposed dress code. Still being respectful never hurts and a cute maxi is a winner x

    1. It's just about being respectful to the culture there really.

  6. I would love to visit Dubai one day - great tips for what to wear!

  7. I would love to visit Dubai, ive got friends who live out there x

  8. It's always an idea to check what's appropriate and what's not clothing wise when going to another country. Thanks for the useful tips.

    1. Yes it is, and thank you, I am glad it is of use to you.

  9. I am dying to go to Dubai, I have heard wonderful things and it looks absolutely beautiful.

  10. I wouldn't go to Dubai if you paid me; a country where I could be questioned for holding my husband's hand in public and arrested for giving him a kiss - stuff that!