Please go to the next page for specific information on women's dress in Iran, just for tourists.
Women Travelers' Experiences with Muslim DressWomen Traveling in Islamic Countries
Women & Islam: Tales from the Road - Melissa Vinitsky says, "With Muslim women largely behind the scenes and out of reach, a foreign woman, even modestly dressed, stands out like a bikini-clad girl skiing down the slopes in mid-winter. On top of that, many Arab men, influenced by American movies and TV, subscribe to the common belief that western women are 'easy.'..." Read Melissa's analysis of life and travel in Cairo.
The Answer Bank suggests women travelers' dress guidelines in Muslim countries: cover your arms and legs with loose clothing. Many female travelers suggest covering your hair in Islamic countries to help avoid rude attention from men; women should always cover their hair in mosques, period. The Answer bank also describes traditional Muslim women's garments:
- Chador - long, loose robe that covers entire body and head, often combined with a veil worn across the face with a small slit through which the wearer can see.
- Kamiz - loose trousers and tunic.
See the Muslim Clothing Guide for more female traveler dress tips in Islamic countries.
Women's Dress Codes for Every Islamic CountryFind Muslim dress codes for every country at Journeywoman.com. Scroll to the page bottom and click the first letter of name of the country to which you will be traveling. Learn from other women travelers:
- "Not only is it important to be modest there, but loose clothing is more comfortable in the tropical heat. Wear sandals or slip-on shoes when you visit a local's house because most Bangladeshis take off their shoes when entering a home. When I went out in public I often wore sunglasses..." --Becky, Grand Rapids, USA
- "I bring groups of American students to India every year, and always ask my students to be respectful of local custom and dress modestly. Several girls last year saw other foreign tourist women wearing tank tops and/or shorts and followed suit. The difference in how they were treated was dramatic. Wearing tank tops and shorts invited countless more lewd comments and attempts to look down the girls' shirts..." --Mary, Burlington, USA
- "As is the case in most Islamic countries, it is important for women to cover as much of their body as possible in loose clothing. I've found that in Pakistan, people are really appreciative of tourists who wear the traditional punjabi dress, shalwar (kamiz)..." --Sabiha, Ann Arbor, USA
- "After escaping the Alaskan winter, I couldn't wait to strip down to spaghetti straps and backless dresses in the tropical paradise of southern Thailand. However, I found that it is very uncool to do so anywhere off of the beach. The Thais are quite modest dressers and it's an integral part of their culture, not a fashion statement. In the south, where much of the population is Muslim, scantily clad foreign women are especially offensive to the residents..." --Bridget, Homer, Alaska, USA
Visit Journeywoman.com for the rest of the women's comments.
The Bottom LineGo with the flow and you'll be more comfortable physically and socially. Bring a scarf for your hair at the least when visiting Islamic countries. And enjoy!