what to wear in Dubai

What to Wear on Your Solo Trip to Dubai

Dubai, the country of luxury and glamour, is often misinterpreted to have a narrow and conventional outlook towards tourists and how they dress. One of the reasons considered behind this is the religious majority of Dubai – Isalm. However, Dubai is anything but conventional! 

Whenever you visit any country for a trip, it’s always better to be on a safer side by following their rituals and traditions. In Dubai’s case, you may not be asked to wear the Islamic burqa (a piece of clothing worn on top of an outfit that covers your whole body), but it is better to wear something that covers your legs and arms. Also, keep a scarf handy if you visit certain religious monuments or tourist places that may ask you to cover your hair.

Also, it might be better to pack clothing items suitable for the weather in the country – which is mostly hot. Instead of packing every expensive brand of clothing that you have, it is advisable to plan your solo trip as per the climate in the country and pack accordingly!

For my solo trip to Dubai, I especially purchased a kaftan and maxi dress, as it compliments their culture well. However, it was not really that necessary. But honestly, every time I wore them, it made me feel comfortable wherever I went.

So, before you book your tickets and plan your solo trip, keep these tips and recommendations in mind about what to wear in Dubai!

A bit of practical advice for solo female travellers

You will find Dubai to be extremely relaxed when it comes to clothing. As you go on about your day exploring the beautiful country, you will see women in all sorts of clothing, from burqas to kaftans, from sleeveless tops to capri pants, from shorts to t-shirts! 

However, I would recommend keeping in mind that Dubai is a Muslim country, and you are their guest. It may not be wise to offend the locals, and when in doubt about what to wear, always stick to the safer options of wearing something that is less-revealing.

What to wear in Dubai: Malls and Restaurants

As far as I have seen Dubai and visited the malls and restaurants, people expect visitors to dress moderately. However, when I visited the malls in Dubai, I saw many women wearing clothes that exposed their arms and legs, and not many people bothered. So, as long as you explore touristy places, I guess it is alright to wear anything that you want. 

However, if you happen to visit the country during the holy month of Ramadan, the rules may be enforced strictly, and all the tourists may be asked to wear appropriate clothing! Also, remember that Arabs are extremely friendly and welcoming, but they will not tolerate you breaking their rules and regulations, especially in Ramadan. And, in my experience, it may not be wise to offend the people of the country.

What to wear in Dubai: Water Parks and Beaches

At beaches and water parks in Dubai, any type of clothing ranging from bikinis to burqas is allowed. There is only one rule that is expected to be followed by the tourists, that is – no nudity of any sort! 

Also, don’t forget sunscreen and sun lotions!

What to wear in Dubai: Religious Places, Rural Areas and Traditional Markets

If you plan on visiting Old Dubai, you will find the majority of the people there to be local Arabs than tourists. In order to avoid getting stared at or frowned upon, I would suggest you dress moderately. The reason is that the locals and Muslim tourists may have a conservative mindset, and it is better to be safe than sorry.

If you plan to explore the religious places in Dubai, such as the mosques, it is best you leave your shorts and sleeveless tops in your suitcase. Since mosques are Holy and represent the Islamic culture and values, dressing as per the religion is advisable. You can wear a trouser and a knee-length top or a maxi dress. Also, women are not supposed to show their hair inside religious places, so a headscarf is a must!

What to wear in Dubai: Desert Safari

Desert safari is one of the most popular tourist activities that you can explore outside of city life. I wore a trouser and a t-shirt when I went on the desert safari during my solo trip. The outfit was quite comfortable, and I was at ease the whole day. 

I would recommend you wear something similar. You can also opt for shorts or capris but avoid wearing extremely tiny shorts or skirts. 

Normally, it is very hot in the desert so wear something light and breathable. At the same time, make sure your clothes are not too light either, or else you might get tanned! Also, don’t forget to wear sunscreen if you end up wearing shorts! Phew, I know it’s too many to remember, but you should always be prepared for your solo travel no matter what.

If you plan your solo trip to Dubai in the month of December, it can get a little chilly in the evening. So, I would recommend you take a sweater or jacket along with you!

As for footwear, you can either wear open-toe flats or shoes. I wore shoes on my desert safari, and they seemed more comfortable. However, you can opt for anything that’s comfortable for you!

Are warm clothes needed in Dubai?

Usually, you may not need warm clothes in Dubai as the temperature is quite warm. However, you can carry a thin sweater or a jacket just if it gets a little cold in the evenings or in some extremely air-conditioned malls.

I visited Dubai in warm months and did not have to pack warm clothes. I did carry a few sweaters, though. Also, apart from the desert safari, I did not have to take out my closed shoes for anything else. Sandals and open-toe flats are pretty much the only types of footwear needed in Dubai.

If you happen to plan your Dubai solo trip in the month of December and January, I would suggest you pack a few warm clothes. During the day, it is mostly warm, but in the evening or nights, it can get a little chilly! A pair of trousers, long pants, and skirts along with a few full-sleeved shirts and tops will be sufficient.

Here are a few outfit ideas for your solo trip to Dubai.

1. Kaftans and Sundresses

Kaftans are long coat-like garments made up of light clothing material. Most women style it up with a belt as well. These are very comfortable and quite inexpensive as well. You will not go wrong with a Kaftan as your clothing option when travelling to the Middle East, especially Dubai!

On the other hand, sundresses are quite similar to kaftans. They are long, loose maxi dresses. Recently, a lot of designers have come up with different types of sundresses. You will find many variants such as sleeveless, open-back, off-shoulder, among others.

I would recommend you purchase at least one sundress and kaftan for your solo trip to Dubai as it compliments the culture in the country and at the same time, it is quite fashionable and perfect for the weather you will experience there!

2. Scarves

When visiting Dubai, scarves become one of the most mandatory pieces of clothing. Even though you may feel like you can get by without a scarf, I would suggest you carry one or two scarves with you. 

If covering your head or wearing a scarf at all times is something you are not comfortable with, you can carry one in your handbag or backpack! Trust me, it will come in handy and save you from the stares and frowns of locals in places such as Old Dubai.

Also, nowadays, there are many different types of scarves available in the market. You can even style your outfit using a scarf that compliments your pants or tops!

3. Cotton tops

Owing to the warm and hot climate of Dubai, loose and breathable cotton tops must definitely be in your suitcase. As you would be exploring the country every day of your solo trip, cotton tops can prove to be lifesavers! You can purchase a few cotton tops and shirts in light fabric before you embark on your journey to Dubai.

If possible, you can also go for some full-sleeved cotton tops and shirts. Trust me, these have two advantages – one, they will save you from the stares of some locals and tourists, and two, they will protect you from the harsh sun rays! A win-win situation, right?

4. Linen jumpsuits

Jumpsuits are garments that contain both the pants and sleeved top in one single piece. You can invest in some linen jumpsuits before your solo trip to the country. The hot weather of Dubai will make every penny spent on linen jumpsuits worth it! 

Nowadays, many different variants of jumpsuits have come out in the market – sleeveless jumpsuits, full-sleeved jumpsuits, and off-shoulder jumpsuits that you can purchase at your convenience. Along with being extremely comfortable, jumpsuits are quite fashionable too. You can even style your jumpsuit with a scarf as well.

5. Shorts

Although to be worn at only certain places, shorts can be quite comfortable in Dubai’s weather. I would recommend you pack cotton and light material shorts since denim shorts may not compliment the weather. Also, other thick material shorts are to be avoided as they can get sweaty and cause irritation!

Another point to keep in mind regarding shorts is not to pack very tight or tiny shorts. These may be frowned upon in the country. 

6. Swimwear

Since beaches are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Dubai, it is likely you will end up visiting at least once. And when you do, you will need swimwear! So, pack one or two of your best swimwear before you embark on your solo trip. 

Here as well, there are a few things to keep in mind while packing. It is better if you choose swimwear that does not reveal too much of your skin, preferably a one-piece or something that covers your thighs. Although it is not necessary you follow this at all beaches, it would be best to be on the safer side.

7. Thin sweater

Even though it may not be cold in Dubai, I would recommend you still pack a thin sweater. It can come in handy when you explore the country in the evening or at night. Sometimes, it does feel a bit chilly in malls and restaurants.

I had packed a couple of thin sweaters and cardigans on my solo trip to Dubai, and they turned out to be quite useful! 

8. Comfortable shoes

Even though all you are going to need are sandals and flats, keeping a pair of comfortable shoes in your suitcase would not hurt. You can wear them when you go for a desert safari or pair them up with a casual outfit like jumpsuits!

I had taken a pair of shoes with me, and they turned out to be useful when I went on the desert safari. Not only were they comfortable, but they also prevented my feet from getting tanned in the scorching heat of the desert!

Dubai is a modern country, and you will meet people who wear all sorts of clothes. I would suggest you experiment with your outfits while keeping in mind the rules and regulations of the country you are visiting. 

Furthermore, if you are a little too extra, you can try out this unique flying dress “Marilyn Monroe” kinda photoshoot while on desert safari. You can book this experience via dubaiflyingdress.com, and trust me, you are either going to feel sexy about it or laugh about it in future!

Remember to stay true to your style while following the dress code (if applicable) initiated by the place you go on to explore. Not only will this make your experience a better one, but you might also make friends with the locals and other tourists who can suggest to you some of the hidden gems in Dubai. And who doesn’t like exploring places in a country that very few people know about it, right?

So, without further ado, get your bags packing and book your tickets to this glamourous country for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!


An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.

Leave a Reply