The UAE is a tolerant society that is largely comprised of expatriates originating from every corner of the globe who choose the UAE as their home. With Dubai and its neighbouring emirate, Abu Dhabi, attracting a massive influx of tourists and visitors each year, the UAE has truly become a melting pot of nationalities. It is widely known for graciously accepting the varied traditions and cultures of its visitors as it continues to welcome them to its shores, but with this acceptance, its local community expects a little understanding of its own culture and traditions in return. One hotly debated topic in this regard is the dress code.
Although visitors are free to dress as they please while enjoying their stay in Dubai, they are expected to dress modestly, particularly in public places, in keeping with the conservative customs of the country. There are no written rules on what is considered ‘lawful’ or appropriate, and the law remains somewhat intentionally vague on how to dress in public, which can create confusion, but the key message is to dress venue-appropriate. This means being mindful of how your attire is perceived as you visit malls, restaurants and attractions, or even as you go out for a stroll in the park or to the traditional souks in the city. The rule of thumb is if it works at the beach, it wouldn’t anywhere else, so be attentive and respectful as you dress for your outings. That said, Dubai is pretty laid back and not very strict with its dress code. Police will only approach those whose outfits border on nudity, and often, malls will display signs at their doors advising visitors to dress appropriately.
With that, visitors are advised to wear light clothing during most of the year. In the hot summer months (usually from June to October), it is advisable to wear comfortable clothing with fabrics suitable for the humid and hot weather. During the cooler season (usually from December to March) a scarf, sweater or light jacket may be required as the temperature can drop sharply at night. But don’t let this advice deter you, because the cooler season generally brings milder temperatures ranging from the high teens to mid-twenties centigrade, and rain is a rare – but welcome - phenomenon in Dubai.
However three items are a must for Dubai - good quality sunglasses, hats and lots of sunscreen lotion.
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