Saudi Arabia: Dress Code Tips for Travelers
Saudi Arabia has a unique dress code that reflects the country’s conservative values and Islamic traditions. Understanding and adhering to these clothing guidelines is not just a way to show respect towards the locals — it is a way to ensure a hassle-free and enjoyable trip. In this blog post, we will provide you with a universal and easy ‘Saudi Arabia Dress Code Guide’ for travelers… and their children.
Table of Contents
- Saudi Arabia: Dress Code for Females
- Saudi Arabia: Dress Code for Males
- Saudi Arabia: Dress Code for Children
- Business Dress Code for Saudi Arabia
- Beyond Dress Code: What to Pack for Saudi Arabia
- Saudi Arabia: Dress code FAQs
- Learn Arabic with Listen & Learn!
Saudi Arabia: Dress Code for Females
While the dress code for Saudi Arabia tends to be quite relaxed within expatriate compounds and private gatherings, women are expected to follow these guidelines while visiting public spaces.
- Wear loose-fitting, ankle-length clothing such as long skirts or loose trousers.
- Opt for long-sleeved tops or blouses that cover the arms.
- Use a headscarf (hijab) to cover your hair.
- Wear a full-length cloak called an abaya over your regular clothes when outside, ensuring it is loose-fitting and covers your entire body.
- Avoid tight or revealing clothing such as short skirts, shorts, or sleeveless tops.
- Refrain from wearing transparent or clingy fabrics that may display the shape of your body.
- Do not leave your hair uncovered or wear revealing headwear.
Saudi Arabia: Dress Code for Males
The male dress code for Saudi Arabia is generally less strict compared to females. However, men also need to adhere to certain dress code guidelines.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts for men traveling to Saudi Arabia.
- Opt for long trousers or jeans that reach the ankles. It is common for men to wear pants that are loose-fitting and not tight around the legs.
- Wear shirts or T-shirts with sleeves that cover the shoulders.
Short-sleeved shirts are generally acceptable, but it is best to avoid sleeveless tops.
- Choose lightweight and breathable fabrics suitable for the hot climate of Saudi Arabia.
- When attending formal or religious occasions, consider wearing a traditional thobe (a loose-fitting ankle-length garment commonly worn in the Arabian Peninsula).
- Avoid wearing shorts, especially in public areas. Shorts are considered too casual and revealing for the Saudi dress code.
- Refrain from wearing sleeveless tops or clothing with offensive or provocative messages. It is important to maintain modesty in your attire.
Do not wear clothing that displays excessive branding or logos. Opt for more neutral and understated options.
Saudi Arabia: Dress Code for Children
If you thought there wasn’t a dress code for children traveling to Saudi Arabia, think twice!
In fact, children are expected to follow pretty much the same guidelines as adults. Again, modesty and loose-fitting garments are the norm.
If you want to avoid unwanted attention, be sure to follow this advice when helping your children pack their bags:
- Choose loose-fitting garments that maintain their comfort while adhering to local customs.
Have girls wear headscarves or hats to cover their hair when in public places, especially in more conservative areas.
- Avoid dressing teenage children in revealing outfits. Clothing should be baggy and not show excessive skin.
- Avoid clothing with offensive or inappropriate messages or graphics.
Business Dress Code for Saudi Arabia
By now, it’s clear that getting by in the Arab world is as much about the culture as it is about the language. But, what about the Arab business world?
While you’re not expected to dress as an Arab for regular business meetings in Saudi Arabia, it is essential to pay attention to a few dress code rules.
Here is some style advice to help you look professional and respectful:
Saudi Arabia: Dress Code for Businessmen
- Western-style business suits are generally acceptable for men who travel to Saudi Arabia on business. So, don’t worry. Your favorite suit consisting of a jacket, dress pants, and a dress shirt is perfectly appropriate for most Arab professional settings.
- Choose neutral colors such as black, navy, or gray for your suits
- Long-sleeved shirts with a tie are commonly worn with business suits. Just make sure the tie is well-presented!
Saudi Arabia: Dress code for Businesswomen
- In business contexts, women should opt for professional business attire such as suits, pantsuits, or conservative dresses.
- Again, choose clothing that covers the arms and legs, ensuring a modest and professional appearance.
- It is common for women to wear a headscarf (hijab) in more conservative professional settings.
Beyond Dress Code: What to Pack for Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is known for its hot weather, which can reach up to 40°C (104°F) in the summer months. Although some areas may be air-conditioned, it is important to pack items that will keep you cool and comfortable during your stay.
Also, visiting such a beautiful and historically rich country, you will want to feel comfortable while exploring the outdoors and taking in all the gorgeous sights Saudi Arabia has to offer.
With all of this in mind, here are a few ideas on what to pack for Saudi Arabia:
- Lightweight clothing suitable for hot temperatures.
- Comfortable shoes such as trainers or sandals for sightseeing.
- A swimsuit if you plan to visit private beaches or resorts where it is permitted.
- A scarf or hat to protect yourself from the sun.
- Sunscreen and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes.
- A reusable water bottle to stay hydrated on the go. An umbrella or raincoat for sudden downpours.
- A good camera for taking stunning photos of Saudi Arabia’s diverse landscapes!
- Any necessary documents or travel permits required for entering the country.
Saudi Arabia: Dress code FAQs
1. Where can I buy Arabic garments? Are there any online Arabic clothing stores?
Yes, there are several online Arabic clothing stores that offer stylish and modest garments. Some popular options include Farfetch, BintQ, and Turquoise. However, bear in mind that you don’t necessarily need to buy Arabic clothing; you can simply dress modestly following the guidelines above.
2. Do I have to wear a hijab in Saudi Arabia?
No, wearing a headscarf is not mandatory for women in Saudi Arabia unless they are visiting a religious site or in a more conservative area.
3. Are jeans accepted in Saudi Arabia?
Yes, jeans are accepted as long as they are modest and not too tight. However, it is best to avoid flashy brands or logos and opt for more subtle styles. Also, keep in mind that you may need to cover your legs if you plan to visit a mosque or other religious sites.
4. What is the best footwear to wear in Saudi Arabia?
The best footwear to wear in Saudi Arabia is comfortable shoes such as trainers, sandals, or loafers. Also, if you like to take long walks, consider bringing footgear that can protect your feet from the hot desert sand. Flip-flops are generally not recommended for this purpose.
Learn Arabic with Listen & Learn!
All in all, the average traveler’s dress code for Saudi Arabia is not too complicated; just remember to pack appropriate clothes and keep your attire respectful and modest.
By following these simple guidelines, you will ensure a pleasant experience during your stay and, more importantly, you’ll show your respect for the local culture and customs.
Of course, if you want your experience to be truly memorable, there is something else you can do to be a good tourist in Saudi Arabia — learning the Arabic language.
By communicating with locals in their own words, you can open up a whole new world of discovery and understanding. Whether you’re traveling for pleasure or business, showing locals that you’ve made an effort to learn Arabic will go a long way. So why not give it a try?
At Listen & Learn, we offer personalized Arabic courses based on every learner’s needs. This means that, regardless of your current level, our qualified teachers will tailor their lessons to your individual goals and learning preferences.
So if you’re looking for a customized and effective way to improve your language skills, look no further than Listen & Learn! Sign up today and start learning!