Should you be wearing mini skirts in Dubai? Mini skirts have long been a controversial topic in the UAE. While Emirati women wear abayas and niqabs, foreigners are frequently seen wearing short skirts and shorts in public. Due to cultural discrepancy, questions have been raised regarding whether or not mini skirts are allowed in Dubai or if they’re banned entirely. It turns out the response isn’t so black and white. Although mini skirts are technically prohibited in public places like shopping malls and restaurants, it’s more of an unspoken rule than anything else. Keep reading to learn more about mini skirts in Dubai!
What Are the Rules Regarding Wearing Mini Skirts in Dubai
In Abu Dhabi, a strict dress code is enforced by law. Women may only wear dresses and skirts past the knee or covering the entire body. In Dubai, some Muslim women wear niqabs and long-sleeved shirts even if they’re not required by law.
The scarf is wrapped around and tucked into clothes to maintain modesty instead of wearing it on the head. The hijab must be wrapped around tightly so it does not show skin through clothing. If you see a woman wearing an abaya (a robe with either sleeves or no sleeves) and covering her hair with a scarf or hijab, you know she will be covered up from head to toe.
These Islamic guidelines might seem outdated, but they’re still respected and followed. Some people believe this is because of what the holy Quran says about how women should dress modestly and conceal their bodies from strangers to protect themselves from sexual assault.
The Appropriate Lengths of Skirts and Dresses in UAE?
As I have mentioned earlier, Dubai has no strict dress code, especially if you are a tourist. However, it’s good to know how local women dress to avoid embarrassment at sacred places, such as walking around a mosque in a mini skirt.
- Skirts and dresses must cover your legs from the knees down to your feet, but some government buildings require longer skirts.
- Skirts cannot be slit or cut more than halfway up the sides of your leg.
- Dresses and skirts must not be transparent or show any underwear.
- Full-length trousers, such as capris or jeans, are also acceptable for women over 14 years old, as well as long-sleeved tops and blouses with no cleavage showing; these need not go past the hips.
- Many schools also have dress codes that may differ from these guidelines. For example, primary school girls cannot wear sleeveless shirts or skirts that expose their knees while walking outdoors.
My Embarrassing Experience Wearing a Mini Skirt in Dubai
I boarded the plane and took my seat. It had been a while since I was last at Dubai Airport, and much had changed since my previous visit. As I looked around, I saw two signs on the wall, one with ‘Ladies’ in English and another spelled out phonetically.
As luck would have it, the sign for ladies was above my head, so all I had to do was wait until they started boarding to leave my spot and walk over to wait by it. Then, just as the line started moving to board, an older woman standing next to me gestured with her eyes and pointed behind me.
I turned to find myself staring down the barrel of a man’s camera phone. He was filming up my skirt! I quickly walked away from him, but he followed after me and continued filming.
Then I realized that many locals detest women in mini skirts. Although locals embrace their dress code, some people might turn a blind eye if you’re visiting from another part of the world where mini skirts are more acceptable clothing choices.
Nailing a Modest Dress Code in Dubai
A modest dress code is essential for women visiting or living in Dubai. While it can be tempting to dress up and wear a chic outfit, you should choose clothing that covers your arms, legs, and neckline.
- Tights/leggings are suitable for covering skin without making you feel too hot.
- Loose-fitting jeans with a tunic or long shirt that covers your bum are ideal.
- Dresses with sleeves (with or without a slit) can be worn as long as they cover your cleavage, butt, and thighs while sitting down.
- Crop tops are forbidden! Dresses must have sleeves of any length.
- Tops must not show shoulders or belly button area.
- Cap-sleeve shirts are fine but shouldn’t show the bra strap area. Midriff should be covered at all times. Full-length skirts may work well for this purpose.
The only exceptions to the rule of modesty are swimsuits on the beach and clothes sold in designated shopping malls; even then, people will tell you if you’re not following the dress code, so beware!
The Pros and Cons of Wearing a Mini Skirt in Dubai
We’ll start with the obvious – it’s hot, humid, and sticky like no other place on earth. Also, there’s a wind-chill factor, which means you could feel as cold as an Eskimo one minute and then sweat your ass off the next.
If a skirt is too long, it’ll stick to you uncomfortably during any activity, whether hanging out at the mall or exploring that new oasis that just popped up on Instagram. Therefore, in such a scenario, the mini skirt serves you better in Dubai.
The cons are just as much about social customs as comfort and modesty; however, more often than not, they go hand-in-hand. You can’t just wear anything in public here without causing a stir. (unless, of course, you’re from the Western world).
A mini skirt might cause trouble for someone who doesn’t know how to dress appropriately in this culture. There is also so much controversy over what constitutes modest attire and what does not when it comes to Islamic dress codes (again – think of the wind chill factor).
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Dubai Have a Strict Dress Code for Women Like other Muslim Countries?
Contrary to popular belief, UAE women are not required to wear a hijab. They can opt whether or not they want to wear one, and if they decide to wear one, it must cover the head, hair, neck, ears, and chest.
Moreover, dressing modestly is a way of life for both men and women in Dubai, but dress codes are not as strict as in other Muslim countries. Shorts that reveal your skin or skirts that fall above the knee are usually frowned upon unless you wear them for physical activities such as tennis or volleyball.
Short skirts are allowed in Dubai. You can comfortably wear them at the beach, pool, and around a residential neighborhood. They are not permitted when visiting holy sites or schools. You will be denied entry into certain countries if you wear a skirt or shorts that expose your legs on flights or upon entering an airport terminal, such as if you fly out of Muscat International Airport (OMH). Be mindful of these rules when packing for your next trip!