How To Dress Appropriately in The Middle East and What I Wore!

What I Wore In The Middle East

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that my family and I took an exciting, whirlwind trip to The Middle East recently. We traveled to the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Israel, and Egypt. It was surreal and spectacular. We got to see so much, and I loved watching the kids experience it too. For more details about the trip, where we went and stayed, and what we did, make sure you check back tomorrow for that post. I’m also planning to do a full recap on YouTube soon. Be sure to subscribe there so you don’t miss any new videos!

Women’s Dress Code in The Middle East

The Middle East is much more conservative than the US. I had to very strategically plan out the pieces I was packing. I also had to pack everything in two bags: one carry-on suitcase and a large tote. The reason we didn’t check bags is because the schedule was so jammed, we didn’t want to risk losing luggage and therefore losing time. I’m always strategic when I pack, but this was a different level because I needed to be hyper aware of what I wore to be respectful of the cultures here. And, of course, I still wanted to feel stylish!

Before I get into everything I wore, I wanted to give you a few general dress code guidelines to follow while you’re visiting the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Egypt. Every country is a little different but generally, you should:

  • Wear loose-fitting clothing
  • Tops should cover your shoulders and not be too revealing in the chest area
  • Skirts and dresses should cover the knee but the longer, midi, ankle, or full length is best (Avoid short skirts and shorts)
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting or ripped pants, jeans, trousers
  • Avoid wearing anything to sheer
  • Shawls, cardigans, and scarves are a great accessory to have on hand just in case!

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SIMILAR PANTS | TEE | FOR LESS | BLAZERS | FOR LESS | SNEAKERS | LIMITED SIZES/COLORS ON SALE | OPTION FOR LESS | SUITCASE

#1) Travel Outfit

The perfect travel outfit should be comfortable and stylish. The flight from Montrose, CO to Dubai was like 22 hours total! NO WAY I’m wearing anything uncomfortable. I chose a pair of comfy knit Lovers + Friends split hem pants. They’re super soft, and stretchy. Plus, I knew I’d be able to wear them when we arrived at our next couple of destinations.

Next, you’ll want to wear a basic top or tee that you can layer. I’m wearing a white V-neck tee that you’ll see me wearing throughout the trip. I threw on a white blazer by Cinq a Sept that has cool ruched sleeves. It’s versatile because it goes with the rest of the pieces I packed. When I got on the plane, I neatly folded this blazer and placed in a cube inside my tote. I didn’t wear it the whole flight.

To complete the look, I’m wearing these super cool Chloe sneakers. I love that they’re neutral so they go with everything and the stitching is so unique. They’re also comfortable and even have a little platform to add height. Believe it or not, I only brought three pairs of shoes on this trip!

If you want to see my go-to travel outfit formula, be sure to check out this post!

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BLACK TOP | SKIRTS | FOR LESS | BLUE TOP | JEANS | SNEAKERS | LIMITED SIZES/COLORS ON SALE | OPTION FOR LESS | BAG (SOLD OUT IN WHITE) | NECKLACE | FOR LESS | SANDALS | FOR LESS | BELT | FOR LESS

#2) United Arab Emirates

Shopping & Sightseeing in Dubai

In Dubai, the dress is more lenient, and you might see more tourists wearing shorter sleeves and hemlines, but I still opted to cover my shoulders and legs. Essentially, the more provocatively your dress, the more attention you draw to yourself. Even I noticed women who were wearing tighter dresses or shorts. So, while we were sightseeing and shopping, I wore a black embroidered Alice + Olivia midi skirt. It’s a beautiful skirt! It’s midi length so on my 5’4” frame it’s a little longer but on taller women, it will fit like an actual midi. I styled it with a black ba&sh blouse. It has an open back that I wouldn’t hesitate to wear in the US but on this trip, I wore a fitted cami to cover my back. On my feet, I’m wearing a pair of super comfortable and chic perforated slide-on sandals by Mercedes Castillo. You’ll be seeing a lot more of these slides this summer!

The look on the right was another sightseeing outfit. I’m wearing a gorgeous blue printed top by Misa. The print is really pretty, it’s longer so it covers your butt, but it’s thin enough to tuck into jeans without adding bulk. Oh, and it’s super lightweight which makes it perfect for the hotter climates! I styled the top with some Kut from the Kloth jeans that are under $100, super stretchy and comfortable, and the perfect length. I wore the Chloe sneakers and my new white raffia Prada bag. I’ll be doing a bigger review on this bag soon so stay tuned.

One of the keys to packing light is minimizing shoes (3 pairs max) and only bringing one handbag that you can wear with everything. Make sure it’s versatile, stylish and something you love!

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SHIRT | FOR LESS | JEANS | SNEAKERS | LIMITED SIZES/COLORS ON SALE | OPTION FOR LESS | NECKLACE | FOR LESS | SIMILAR SCARF

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

When visiting mosques and other religious sites, you need to dress modestly. If you’re going somewhere specific, you should research if they have any specific dress code before you go.
One day we visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (which is absolutely beautiful by the way…more on that in tomorrow’s post!). You’re required to wear loose clothing with long sleeves, bottoms that are to the ankle, and a headscarf.
I’m wearing a pale pink and white striped Zadig & Voltaire shirt. It was perfect for this trip because it kept everything covered but it’s lightweight, so I didn’t get hot. I styled it with the same Kut from the Kloth white jeans, Chloe sneakers, and a headscarf.

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dress | LOOK FOR LESS | SANDALS | FOR LESS | NECKLACE | FOR LESS

Desert Safari in Dubai

We had an amazing night in the desert where we rode camels and had dinner. It was one of those pinch-me moments for sure! I wore my PatBo dress that you may remember from this post. It does have an open back and cutouts on the sides but with the longer hemline and the fact that it was just our family and our guides, I felt great and glam!

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SWEATER | JEANS | SNEAKERS | LIMITED SIZES/COLORS ON SALE | OPTION FOR LESS | SIMILAR SCARF | SUNGLASSES

#3) Israel

Souks in Jerusalem

In Jerusalem, you have such a diverse mix of cultures, it’s best to dress more on the conservative side. For example, he would have felt strange walking through the church where Jesus was crucified, The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, wearing cut-off jean shorts and a tee. While walking around the Arab souks, I wore the same white jeans…can you tell how much I’m loving these jeans yet?! (Note: they DO stretch a LOT, be sure to size DOWN!!) The sweater I’m wearing is by Brochu Walker. It has really pretty lace trim details around the V-neck and hemline so it looks like a 2-in-1, but it’s all one piece. I also wore a neutral scarf to cover my chest when needed. While we were outside I wore my new Hariatt Isles hat that’s currently sold out but I linked a very similar option.

By the way, if you take white jeans on vacation and they get something on them, just spot clean at your hotel with a little soap and water. Don’t fear white…life is too short!

What I wore at a party in Israel by the Dead Sea, white backless dress by Elliatt

What I wore at a party in Israel by the Dead Sea, white backless dress by ElliattWhite Dress

Dead Sea Party!

To celebrate a very dear friend’s 70th birthday, we all stayed overnight by the Dead Sea! It was super windy at the hotel overlooking the sea (as you can tell from the pictures). For the party, I wore this gorgeous white crochet, backless dress with my white slides. I loved wearing this dress and felt like it was the perfect combination of sexy sophistication. The shoes and bag made the overall look more comfortable and casual.

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