When you tell people you are moving to Dubai the topic of dress causes much confusion. Unlike other Islamic countries such as Saudi women do not have to be fully covered however it is important to remember that there are many different cultures living in Dubai with different definitions of what is and what is not acceptable and the Dubai government is trying to maintain harmony amongst all these communities.
Most malls in Dubai display signs asking shoppers to dress respectfully. So what does this actually mean? In UAE law it does not specify certain acceptable clothing, but in general specifies that clothes should not be sexually provocative, for example do not wear a bikini in public places. Wearing very short shorts and see through blouses in public places is also frowned upon, reserve these items of clothing for the pool or private beach club. When you have finished working out in the gym make sure you cover up again when exiting the gym. Wearing a skirt of an appropriate length and t-shirt to the mall is absolutely fine.
It gets hot in Dubai and by hot we mean temperatures that can reach the dizzy heights of 50 degrees in July & August, so make sure you pack some loose fitting clothes preferably made of a fabric that can breath such as cotton. However, despite these extreme temperatures you will find that in these months you will be spending much of your time indoors where the air-conditioning can be just as fierce so it is always you carry a Pashmina that will keep you warm (this is also an ideal cover up if you are not dressed appropriately).
Business wear is quite casual and many professionals wear business suits but reserve the jacket just for meetings. When you move to Dubai you may find your social diary is filled up quicker than back home so remember to pack the odd outfit for special occassions.
Out-with the hot summer months temperatures in Dubai are very pleasant so clothes that you would wear on a summers day in Europe are ideal.
Here are some examples of clothing that you should pack
- Trousers (long and capri)
- Leggings (ideal to wear under a skirt that is too short)
- Short Sleeve Tops
- Camisole Tops
- Skirts (not less than knee length)
- Dresses (not less than knee length)
- Light Sweaters
- Hats (sun and formal – for the races)
- Flip Flops
- Boots (these can be worn in January/February!)
- Sports Wear