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How to Dress Like a Local in the Middle East

by Nia Scott

Jun 22, 2019

© Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea
Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea offers nine pools, surrounded by gardens, lagoons and waterfalls, each offering picturesque views of the Dead Sea. Also check out the hotel’s world-class Anantara Spa, the largest spa in the Middle East.

Tips / Destination

When traveling to a foreign land, it’s a great idea to look up the trending fashion and try to adapt. Sometimes, tourists are signaled out for malicious intent, for example, scamming or stealing, and locals can identify them by their clothing. Clothing is an easy way to stand out from a crowd, especially when someone comes from a Western country, like America or Europe, and travels to a more conservative country.

This is something to keep in mind when visiting a foreign land. It’s also a good practice for travelers hoping to immerse themselves in the culture. Clothing has meaning and helps reinforce the history of a country. Students studying abroad should make an effort to adapt their clothing to their surroundings as this will enhance the overall experience. In particular, clothing in the Middle East tends to be more conservative than usual, but sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what to wear or pack on the trip. This guide will help you.

In the Middle East, men usually wear long trousers and a shirt that covers the shoulders. T-shirts are fine and acceptable, but many men will wear button-downs and polos so feel free to dress up a little. Shorts are acceptable for men but should be knee-length. Anything above the knee will make the shorts stand out and be noticeable.

Women should dress conservative. Outfits that include long pants or skirts and long-sleeved shirts are perfect. To be more conservative, make sure the shirt covers up to the nape of the neck. A headscarf is optional, but if a traveler feels comfortable wearing one, they can go the extra mile to fit in.

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