Can I Wear Saree in Dubai and other Gulf States?
Can I wear a saree in Dubai? A question many South Asian women would like to get answered before travelling or moving to Dubai. Indians constitute the majority population in the United Arab Emirates, so asking can we wear a saree in Dubai is a logical and very popular question. After answering the question can I wear saree in Dubai, we will also examine the matter of hijab, i.e. should I wear a hijab in Dubai and talk about the dress code in other Gulf countries. So, let’s get started with can I wear saree in Dubai with The Indian Rose.
You can quickly jump to:
Can I Wear Saree in Dubai
The short answer is yes, you can wear saree in Dubai. However, there are a few issues to consider, as the answer might differ according to the situation.
Generally, women can wear saree at the shopping mall, in the streets and in the restaurants. You will see lots of South Asian women wearing saree in Dubai social occasions.
If you are asking “can I wear saree in dubai”, you might already be conscious of the cultural differences, however it does not hurt to say that you have to be respectful of the Arab Muslim culture. Things to avoid when wearing a saree in Dubai are:
- sleeveless blouses
- deep cleavage
- backless blouses
- Sarees that are too tight
- Exposure of navel, tummy and back
- Avoid any see-through saree also
Situation specific answers to can I wear saree in Dubai:
In private: you can wear any kind of outfit at home, at people’s home (if they are not conservative Arab Muslims) and hotel room, but in the hotel public spaces you should already exercise caution. Again, saree is fine.
At work: at workplaces dress codes may vary. It could be Western smart (women suit), it could be casual, and it might not be appropriate to dress in saree in Dubai offices unless your boss gives you the green light. There is no harm in asking what’s the dress code before starting though.
Restaurants: you can wear a saree in Dubai’s upscale restaurants and bars, just make sure it is a smart one.
Mall: at the mall, shoulders must be covered, so just pick a sleeved blouse.
Deira: if you go to Old Dubai, Deira, make sure you are modestly dressed. Can we wear saree in Dubai old town? Of course you can, you don’t need to wear abaya. Just put some extra care into picking a not revealing blouse and folding the saree so that it covers your body well.
Government offices: the answer to the question can I wear saree in Dubai does not apply to government buildings and courts. There, you are safer wearing an abaya.
Mosque: if you have to visit a mosque, make sure your saree covers every part of your body, and wear a veil on your head. You might be given an abaya at the entrance.
Ramadan: if you go do Dubai during Ramadan and wonder can I wear saree in Dubai during Ramadan, the answer is yes, but it should be a modest one, covering your shoulders, belly, and not see-through.
Laws are lax…
When you arrive in Dubai, you will actually realise that things are more relaxed than what we explained in this section on can I wear saree in Dubai. Many foreigners wear more or less whatever they like in bars and restaurants, even revealing clothes. There are outfit restrictions in Dubai, but they are often not enforced due to the large numbers of Western tourists. Some Emiratis are actually not satisfied with the way the dress code is enforced, but their main complaint is shorts, tops etc., no one has a problem with saree in Dubai. However, it doesn’t hurt to be respectful of the hosting country’s culture, so start by wearing sarees and blouses that comply with local customs, and then as you get more familiar with the place, adapt your style to the occasion.
A word of wisdom, when you want to understand can i wear saree in dubai or other Gulf countries is, of course, use your brain, be modest, which is something you can easily do in saree.
If you like sarees, you might get inspired by these patriotic sarees for Indian Independence Day.
Dubai Dress Code for Females
Can You Wear Sandals in Dubai
Yes of course. As we explained in the previous section on can I wear saree in Dubai, you can surely wear any kind of traditional Indian footwear, as well as Western style sandals, underneath your saree.
You can wear sandals virtually anywhere in Dubai.
Can You Wear Makeup in Dubai
Sure, you can wear makeup in Dubai. In fact, khaleeji makeup is quite heavy and you’ll see lots of made-up Arab women.
Do not wear heavy makeup in the mosques though.
Should I Wear a Hijab in Dubai
No, you are not forced to wear hijab in Dubai. Hijab is only required at the mosques.
see also: can I wear salwar kameez for interview
Dress Code in UAE
The dress code in UAE is not the same for all Emirates, so answering the question can I wear saree in Dubai is not enough.
Dress Code in Sharjah
If you are visiting Sharjah, another UAE emirate, you have to be more careful and strictly adhere to the dress code. There are less foreigners in Sharjah compared to Dubai, and you will attract attention and non approval looks if you don’t respect local culture.
The dress code in Sharjah is:
- Shoulders covered
- No low neckline
- Covered knees
- Covered belly
- No transparent clothes
- Covered back
Basically, you should cover yourself neck to legs, but you can show your arms, feet (wearing sandals is OK) and of course your face and your hair.
So, the answer to the question can I wear saree in Sharjah is the same as can I wear a saree in Dubai: yes. Sarees will allow you to meet all of the above restrictions. However, in Sharjah you should be extra careful in making sure your clothes are not revealing.
Ajman Dress Code
The dress code in Ajman is more relaxed than in Sharjah. As long as you are not wearing something sexy and offensive, you’ll be fine. Can I wear saree in Ajman? Of course! And you don’t have to be so conscious about how to tie, picking blouse etc.
Can I Wear Saree in Abu Dhabi
Yes you can wear saree in Abu Dhabi. The dress code in Abu Dhabi is basically the same as Dubai. So, land with a not revealing saree and then adapt your saree style to the occasion: hotel, restaurant, workplace, mall, mosque etc.
Can I Wear Saree in Oman
Yes, you can wear saree in Oman. Many Indians live in Oman and wear saree, sarees are accepted in Oman. Again, not a sleeveless, low neckline or backless blouse, and your midriff should not be too exposed. The saree must not be transparent.
To visit the mosque in Oman, you must be fully covered, head to toe, including a long sleeved blouse.
Can I Wear Saree in Saudi Arabia
The issue of saree in Saudi Arabia is different from saree in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman etc.
All women in Saudi, including foreign women, are required to wear an abaya in public. Muslim women also need an headscarf, non Muslims can show their hair.
You can wear saree in compounds, private resorts for foreigners and women-only resorts.
In shopping malls, restaurants, mosque, workplaces, you must wear an abaya, preferably black, although more colors are seen these days.
We hoped you liked this extensive article on the dress code in Gulf countries. For South Asian women it is especially useful to know that the answer to the question can I wear saree in Dubai is yes!