A suitable dress for Old Dubai

You will need a suitable dress for Old Dubai. When visiting Dubai you need to be culturally sensitive. That especially means you should dress for Old Dubai appropriately.

When it comes to finding a suitable dress for Old Dubai it can seem like a minefield! On a recent trip there I took loads of clothes and asked for lots of advise. Often the advice given sounded pretty strict and I’ll cover that below, but in my actual experience and the experience of other more regular Dubai travellers it’s a little more relaxed in practice.

I wanted to discover the delights sightseeing Old Dubai the stylish way and I didn’t want to be covered head to toe. I wanted to keep my identity as a Western women yet be respectful at the same time.

 

A Suitable Dress For Old Dubai. Advice and experience on how to dress culturally sensitively in Old Dubai as a Western Woman.

 

PIN for later!

You will need a suitable dress for Old Dubai. When visiting Dubai you need to be culturally sensitive. That especially means you should dress for Old Dubai appropriately. When it comes to finding a suitable dress for Old Dubai it can seem like a minefield! On a recent trip there I took loads of clothes and asked for lots of advise. Often the advice given sounded pretty strict and I'll cover that, but in my actual experience and the experience of other more regular Dubai travellers it's a little more relaxed in practice...

 

You will hear that you shouldn’t this and that – but in general most outfits are tolerated as long as they are not too daring. Dubai is made up of 90% foreigners so it is quite liberal compared to other Emirate states. On our trip to Old Dubai we saw it all. Women were wearing straps, shorts and body clinging dresses.

However, in historic areas of Dubai, where there are a higher local population it is more appropriate to dress according to their codes.

 

A Suitable Dress For Old Dubai. Shoulders Should Be Covered.

Shoulders should be covered.

Shoulders should be covered and showing bra straps is considered highly offensive and is prohibited.

As a Western women you aren’t expected to cover your head, unless you are in cultural areas i.e. Mosques and, I was told by our hotel concierge, Museums.

 

A Suitable Dress For Old Dubai As A Western Woman.

No need to cover your head at the Souks.

The next ‘danger’ zone is the cleavage. You shouldn’t show one. But you can still get away with a flattering V-neck as long as it doesn’t plunge too deep, which is highly prohibited.

This dress is the one I’m wearing and it shows just enough to be flattering but respectful. I wouldn’t go ANY deeper than this!

This dress has a rounded neck, with a slight V at the back, so if you are at all concerned it’s a safer bet. I love the pattern AND it’s on SALE!!

 

A Suitable Dress For Old Dubai. No Cleavage Allowed.

No cleavage allowed.

This dress is the same shape as my flattering dress, but is a gorgeous shade of pink.

I love it’s pockets – because the material is so good, you can hide a mobile in the pocket without a horrible bulge!

 

A Suitable Dress For Old Dubai. Stylish Dress For Women.

Pockets for a light head scarf and a lip balm.

The weather can be extremely hot but it is unadvisable to wear a dress higher than your knees when in the historic and cultural areas of Dubai.

Whereas my choice has a subtle split at the front this dress covers your legs a little more! It has a very flattering tulip shape, with a back split hem.

 

A Suitable Dress For Old Dubai. Cover your Knees.

Cover your knees.

What is confusing when deciding how to dress for Old Dubai is you will see other Western women wearing strapy or cleavage showing tops and short skirts – but personally I would be mortified if I was stopped and given a warning, a police arrest or fine. If you wear ‘offensive’ clothing in certain areas, you take that risk.

 

A Suitable Dress For Old Dubai.

 

Maxi dresses with sleeves are the safest bet. But, I loved this dress and felt comfortable in it. I didn’t receive any bad looks or unwanted attention.

 

A Suitable Dress For Old Dubai.

 

This dress is gorgeous and very similar to mine, except a bit longer on the sleeves. It is designed for the fuller figure with sizes 18 and up!

The restaurant we visited in Old Dubai was full of tourists and therefore the dress code was relaxed. Which meant I felt perfectly relaxed with my knees showing as I sat at the table.

 

A Suitable Dress For Old Dubai.

MY DRESS

 

It is a confusing place to be as I felt I was dressing relatively conservatively to other Western women, even around Old Dubai. However, even though we saw women entering the museum with tee-shirt and shorts on and strapy dresses, I chose not to enter without a headscarf.

 


Disclosure: I get commissions for purchases made through the links on this page. There is no extra cost to you and everything I pick I love and would 100% wear myself! Thank you so much for supporting my business and the brands that support my blog.

 

I hope this has helped you with ideas on how to dress for Old Dubai – or if you just like looking at pretty dresses! If you want to read more about the dress code in Dubai click here. My advice is based on my experience (and the experience of others), advice received directly and items read.

Let’s stay connected!

FACEBOOK          |          INSTAGRAM          |          TWITTER          |          PINTEREST

Other fashion posts you might like

 

The Perfect Dog Walking Dress

 

Jumpsuits For Women Over 40

 

Other Dubai posts

 

Things To Do In Old Dubai

 

Things To Do In New Dubai Outside Your Hotel

 


Linking to #fakeituntilyoumakeit  | #HoneybeeLinky  | #iwillwearwhatilike  | #TriumphantTales  |   #TurningHeadsLinky  | #BloggerClubUK  | #fortheloveofBLOG  |  #TBBstylelinkup  |  #StyleontheDaily  |   #OhHeyGirl  | #Brilliantblogposts  |  #FashionShouldBeFun  | #TopoftheWorldStyleparty  |  #hellomondaylinky   | #Twosdaylinkup  |  #stylefile  |  #foxydomesticside

Follow:

69 Comments

  1. November 18, 2017 / 9:12 am

    I love the dress you’re wearing here! It’s really gorgeous! Hope you had a fab time in Dubai!

    • Maria Kelly
      November 18, 2017 / 5:41 pm

      Thank you, I’m really thrilled with it! Yes, Dubai was exciting, we loved it x

  2. Sara Russell
    November 18, 2017 / 10:54 am

    Very informative and entertaining post at the crossroads of travel, fashion and culture! It’s always a pleasure to read your posts!

    • Maria Kelly
      November 18, 2017 / 5:42 pm

      Thank you Sara, I’m so chuffed you enjoyed reading it! xx

  3. November 18, 2017 / 11:40 am

    That shortbread wreath is awesome. I really enjoyed this article. Thank you 😊

    • Maria Kelly
      November 18, 2017 / 5:43 pm

      Oh thanks Roger! I’m chuffed to bits!! x

  4. November 18, 2017 / 3:37 pm

    Such a pretty dress. I need to be able to lose weight to wear anything as pretty! Lovely post.

    • Maria Kelly
      November 18, 2017 / 5:46 pm

      Don’t be fooled – this dress hides a lot of my flabby faults (it’s a great material)! The style is really flattering for curvy women, which is why they make them in extra curvy sizes! x

  5. November 18, 2017 / 3:57 pm

    Fab post~very interesting, sounds like a lovely place x

    • Maria Kelly
      November 18, 2017 / 5:47 pm

      Thanks Natalie! It’s a fascinating place x

  6. November 18, 2017 / 4:34 pm

    Great dresses choice! I like the red dress in the middle.

    • Maria Kelly
      November 18, 2017 / 5:48 pm

      Yes, that’s exactly the same shape as mine. Isn’t it a fab colour!? x

  7. November 18, 2017 / 5:42 pm

    You look fabulous!

    • Maria Kelly
      November 18, 2017 / 5:50 pm

      Thank you Kate! *blushes* x

  8. November 18, 2017 / 6:24 pm

    Lovely outfits! X

    • Maria Kelly
      November 18, 2017 / 7:43 pm

      Thanks Blanca – I’m chuffed you like them x

  9. November 18, 2017 / 8:01 pm

    I love the dress you’re wearing in these photos. The blues are beautiful. I’ve never been to Dubai so I’d never really thought about having to dress in a particular way on holiday.

    • Maria Kelly
      November 18, 2017 / 9:32 pm

      Same here. It threw me at first and packed far too much. I found the concierge at our hotel really as my final fashion guide haha x

  10. November 18, 2017 / 8:02 pm

    What a lovely dress. Living in Qatar where we have to dress like this all the time it is so hard to find clothes that cover shoulders, knees AND cleavage! As you say you will see people walking around with their shoulders “out” or showing their knees but I just don’t feel right doing that. now when I go home I find myself staring at people and making rude comments about how under dressed they are haha

    • Maria Kelly
      November 18, 2017 / 9:34 pm

      I found the lack of ‘beauty’ posters everywhere refreshing in Dubai. When we got home the advertising seemed a bit desperate! They say travel is an education x

  11. November 18, 2017 / 8:30 pm

    Gorgeous dress! Useful for casual work wear too – I’m always looking for dresses that are fun without being revealing

    • Maria Kelly
      November 18, 2017 / 9:40 pm

      Yes I agree Kate, the style of these dresses lend themselves to so many uses. I’ve worn mine visiting family and out to lunch too x

  12. November 18, 2017 / 8:44 pm

    The dress is gorgeous. Ticks all the right boxes for me.- I hate sleeveless. I love the colours too

    • Maria Kelly
      November 18, 2017 / 9:42 pm

      Oh I’m so chuffed we share a style! x

  13. November 18, 2017 / 8:46 pm

    A beautiful dress

    • Maria Kelly
      November 18, 2017 / 9:42 pm

      Thank you, I love it – it’s been really useful x

  14. November 19, 2017 / 12:17 am

    You look stunning in the dress. I love blue color too.

    • Maria Kelly
      November 19, 2017 / 7:03 am

      Thank you so much Melani, that’s so kind of you! x

  15. November 19, 2017 / 5:45 am

    Happy to know that you showed immense respect for the religion and culture while you visited, despite what others were doing. I’m excited to read about your experience in dubai. It’s a wonderful tourist spot. We’ve been there a few times.

    • Maria Kelly
      November 19, 2017 / 7:11 am

      Thank you Sumra. I think it’s important that as a tourist you are a guest, so you should behave your best x

  16. November 19, 2017 / 2:44 pm

    Thank you for sharing a bit about another place’s clothing guidelines. For the record, I am an American woman, and I do not like seeing people dressed with their bra straps either.

    • Maria Kelly
      November 19, 2017 / 9:37 pm

      I feel like it’s another reason why travelling is such a formative thing to do. It opens your eyes to other perspectives and makes you a touch wiser each time x

  17. November 19, 2017 / 2:45 pm

    I love old Dubai, it’s pretty much how the whole of Dubai was when I was growing up there. Love your dress, it’s so feminine without showing off too much. I still find the whole ‘getting the flesh out’ a bit overwhelming and I’ve been back in the UK nearly 20 years ha ha. Xx

    • Maria Kelly
      November 19, 2017 / 9:41 pm

      Actually I always have haha! I’ve been happy when Autumn comes round and I can layer up, so I’m thrilled with this dress because I can feel like a lady and stay cool. It’s fascinating how quickly Dubai has changed x

  18. Andy
    November 19, 2017 / 4:36 pm

    Simply Gorgeous xxx

    • Maria Kelly
      November 19, 2017 / 9:35 pm

      Thank you (hubby)!! *blush* xxx

  19. November 20, 2017 / 7:44 am

    Beautiful dress. I love the pattern #honeybeelinky

    • Maria Kelly
      November 20, 2017 / 8:31 am

      It’s so pretty isn’t it!? Closet uses some fabulous fabric designs! x

  20. November 20, 2017 / 9:33 am

    Great comfie dress. Thanks for sharing!

    • Maria Kelly
      November 20, 2017 / 6:21 pm

      Yes, absolutely – it is so comfortable to wear! x

  21. November 20, 2017 / 2:56 pm

    I love the print, absolutely stunning X #honeybeelinky

    • Maria Kelly
      November 20, 2017 / 6:21 pm

      Thank you so much – I thought so too! It’s very pretty! x

  22. November 22, 2017 / 9:23 am

    What a great post!
    I LOVE the dress you have on and although I have never been to Dubai when I was in India I covered myself up, just as a mark of respect… maxi dress and a head scarf.
    Some women were in strappy tops and tiny shorts, I felt awkward for them :op
    It’s much more relaxed and enjoyable if you use a bit of common sense and you have proved that you can be modest and still look stunning!

    Thank you for linking up to #fakeituntilyoumakeit!
    XXX
    Samantha
    http://www.fakefabulous.com

    • Maria Kelly
      November 22, 2017 / 1:37 pm

      I totally agree with you. It can be really awkward otherwise! x

  23. November 24, 2017 / 2:11 am

    Great photos. I love the colors of your dress. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones. Thanks for linking up to Top of the World Style.

    • Maria Kelly
      November 24, 2017 / 7:22 am

      Happy Thanksgiving to you my American friend x

  24. November 24, 2017 / 12:44 pm

    Awesome! Its truly amazing article, I have got much clear
    idea on the topic of from this article.

    • Maria Kelly
      November 25, 2017 / 7:23 am

      I’m really pleased it’s helped you, thanks for the message x

  25. November 24, 2017 / 2:19 pm

    i live in dubai and I’ve spent the day wandering around wearing a spaghetti strap dress which is long and skirts the floor and often wear shorts and a vest top when ut and about doing my normal day to day stuff. The only place other than a mosque where I’ve been asked to cover my shoulders and was provided with a freshly laundered pashmina to do so was when i visited a government building to sort out our driving licences, otherwise, unless you dress like you’re in a night club, it’s really not an issue #triumphanttales

    • Maria Kelly
      November 25, 2017 / 7:30 am

      Thank you so much for this insight! Advice seems to vary from person to person and so it can feel a little confusing. Maybe, it comes down to individual choice and interpretation of the cultural sensitivities? x

  26. November 25, 2017 / 4:32 pm

    First I love the color and print on you! such beautiful blue tones. It was interesting to read about the cultural rules with clothing and i agree, no one wants a fine for dressing a certain way.
    thank you for linking!
    jess xx

    • Maria Kelly
      November 26, 2017 / 8:50 am

      Thank you so much Jess for the compliment. The dress is so pretty, I really enjoy wearing it xx

  27. November 26, 2017 / 9:07 am

    It sounds like a mindfield! This is great for anyone considering going though, really useful. Thanks for joining in at #TriumphantTales 🙂

    • Maria Kelly
      November 26, 2017 / 4:15 pm

      Thanks Jaki! Some ladies are quite relaxed by it – but I’m not a great risk taker! x

  28. November 26, 2017 / 8:05 pm

    This is an absolutely stunning dress in terms of colour and it’s great that it’s suitable for the region. #TriumphantTales

    • Maria Kelly
      November 27, 2017 / 7:16 am

      Yes, I love it too Helena. Closet London use the most wonderful fabrics x

  29. November 27, 2017 / 6:32 am

    Another gorgeous piece! I love the colours, they’re really pretty. Dubai must have been amazing to visit! Thank you for linking up with Honeybee Linky, see you for this week’s too I hope! xxx

    • Maria Kelly
      November 27, 2017 / 7:22 am

      Thank you Lucy! I’m so glad you like this dress. I can’t get over what good value it is. It’s been such a great buy, I’m thrilled with it! x

  30. November 27, 2017 / 6:20 pm

    I just love the Pattern on that dress 💝 thanks for linking up to #fortheloveofblog x

    • Maria Kelly
      November 28, 2017 / 7:07 am

      It’s so pretty isn’t it!? I’ve washed it so many times and it looks exactly the same!

  31. November 30, 2017 / 11:56 am

    This dress is so chic, it kind of looks like a jumpsuit at first and I love that it has pockets. A great power dress!
    xoxo Falasha

    • Maria Kelly
      November 30, 2017 / 4:33 pm

      Oh yes I like that! I’d not realised it looked like a power dress – but now you say it… x

  32. December 8, 2017 / 5:47 am

    The color of the dress and the shape is just gorgeous on you!

    • Maria Kelly
      December 8, 2017 / 10:31 am

      Thank you Ruth! I love it – it’s one of those dresses that is both flattering and useful. I’ll be wearing it for years! x