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Dress Code in Abu Dhabi

By our Abu Dhabi Local Expert

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      Abu Dhabi is a modern modern metropolis where designer fashion brands are plenty in the shops and malls, but the occasions where they are worn needs to be appropriate.  Short, revealing or tight clothing is considered disrespectful. Abu Dhabi is an Islamic country and clothing should be modest. Residents and visitors are advised to respect the Emirati culture and customs by not wearing excessively revealing clothing in public places. It is disrespectful for men and women to uncover shoulders and knees when in public. Tight or revealing tops and short skirts or dresses are not advised. Beachwear is acceptable at beach clubs, hotels and public beaches but swimmers should avoid excessively revealing swimming suits. On the beach, a normal bathing suit or bikini is fine, but avoids thong bikini bottoms or topless sunbathing as this is considered indecent.

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      During the daytime, the dress code is fairly casual although more exclusive restaurants may expect guests to dress more formally during the evening. As in all countries, a healthy amount of respect for the local customs and dress code doesn't go amiss, especially when shopping or general sightseeing in Abu Dhabi. For ladies it is advisable to wear short sleeved rather than sleeveless tops and dresses, especially if travelling in the UAE by local taxi on your own. Most nightclubs in Abu Dhabi and Dubai require their guests not to wear shorts, caps or sport shoes on their premises. At big hotels you can be dressed as you please but do keep in mind that traditionally the local people are covered and formally dressed. So, it is best to cover your shoulders and wear skirts/pants/trousers at least to the knees. Loose lightweight clothing is ideal, particularly during summer. During the winter months light sweaters are recommended. Unless otherwise indicated, official events usually require non-locals to wear formal dress; a suit and tie for men and modest clothing for women as a part of the dress code in Abu Dhabi.

      As a symbol of pride in the culture and national identity, most locals wear a traditional national dress. For men this is khandura, a full length shirt dress that is worn with a white or red checked head dress (gutra) which is held in place with a black cord (agal). Women wear a black abaya, a long, loose black robe and a sheyla (a headscarf). Visitors to Abu Dhabi are expected to abide by local standards of modesty however, do not adopt native clothing. Traditional clothes on foreigners may be offensive.

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