Are you traveling to Doha and don’t know what to pack in your suitcase? You are aware that Qatar is an Islamic country, but you aren’t sure what would be an appropriate Doha’s dress code? What to wear in Doha is one of the most commonly heard questions which I asked also before I came to work and live in Qatar.
The culture and traditions of the Islamic world have explicit rules that everyone has to respect. The way of life is very different than in Europe or Western countries, and not everyone can get accustomed to it. I understand that there is a certain fear of breaking those rules, but no worry further! In this text, I’m telling you what to wear in Doha and still be fashionable!
What not to wear in Doha
Let me tell you, it’s not that you will have to wear only long trousers and blouses or they will put a burka on your head!
In choosing clothes and thinking about what to wear in Doha, you can relax. It’s simpler than you thought!
First of all, I have to stress that nothing is forbidden to wear, but there is a difference in dressing in public places and private situations. You would be surprised how much everything is modernized! Even local people wear modern clothes, have the latest mobile phones. They will not even pay attention to you if you are wearing something that is considered less appropriate in Doha’s dress code.
In order to make it easier for you when choosing what to wear in Doha, I have listed types of clothes that are not in line with the local culture Law:
Short clothes: shorts or mini skirts,
Bikinis in public beaches or topless,
Cleavage-revealing clothes or
Skintight lycra pants or leggings.
There are more clothes which I can’t remember at the moment, but I’m sure you got the point!
Note: You can wear these clothes in casual places, such as night clubs or private pools, but it’s a big “NO-NO” in public areas. In addition to attracting curious views, you may be notified of the violation of Sharia law – religious law following Islamic tradition.
What to wear in Doha
I know that this might sound kind of strict and confusing, but if someone comes to your house you would like that person to respect your house order, right? The same is here! When choosing what to pack before heading to Qatar, just follow these rules in dress code:
Always cover your knees and shoulders
Don’t show your cleavage
Avoid tight/form-fitting clothes and
Avoid transparent clothes.
I know shorts and a “spaghetti” shirt is the first cloth you would wear during the hot, summer days but actually, you would feel more comfortable in loose clothes in Qatar. When it’s 45 degrees outside, it’s both comfortable and practical to wear something longer than cloth that is “glued” to your body.
My advice to you if you are heading to Doha and sightseeing will be part of your plans is to pack more:
maxi dresses such as this one from Matalan,
sandals and a hat!
A shawl or a scarf will be your best friend! So even if you are wearing a “spaghetti” shirt or sleeveless dress, you can just throw on some scarf on your shoulders. That way, you can feel comfortable in your clothes and sure that you are not offending anyone!
Btw, if you are still not sure what to visit in Doha, check out my posts 1o best things to do in Doha. I’m sure you’ll get some ideas!
Doha’s dress code on formal occasions
Business dress code: Now, when I think about whether there are differences in the business outfit in the west and the Middle East, I realize that there aren’t.
The general jersey is everywhere the same: closed, conservative outfits are “must”! Therefore if you are a woman or man on a business trip to Qatar do not stress too much about what to wear in Doha! I’m pretty sure you already have all the clothes you need!
The rules that apply to most of the business world are also applied here. If you wear a shirt, make sure it’s not transparent or décolleté revealing. The upper parts of the clothes must cover the shoulders. If you wear a skirt, it must be up to your knees. The shoes are closed type. Nothing too short, shimmery, revealing… you got my point?
What to wear on informal occasions
When it comes to private occasions, you have more freedom about what to wear in Doha. You can wear anything that you want with the “rules” mentioned above! You can carry anything, of course, within the limits of modesty. Most of the clothes you wear in other parts of the world you can wear here.
Swimwear and sportswear
I love the beach and sunbathing and I can spend the entire day swimming in the sea! When I heard that I have to wear shorts and a T-shirt on public beaches was something I could not understand! The feeling of a wet T-shirt on your body after you come out from the water is not the most pleasant feeling, will you agree?
Unfortunately, when you are in Doha and planning on a public beach, you must accept the fact that the bikini is not allowed. You have to wear shorts and a t-shirt, so make sure to carry some lightweight material. In the end, I had to accept Doha’s dress code in public places. I have found some alternative “solutions”, such as going to private a swimming pool or private beach. Here are the rules more flexible. Thank God.
When it comes to sports clothes, it’s similar to everywhere else. So, nothing that is too short, too revealing or tight-fitted. Forget about crop tops in your sportswear if you are planning to exercise outdoors! In private gyms and classes, you can wear pretty much anything.
Doha’s traditional dress code
Qataris have strict rules when it comes to daily clothes, but these rules do not equally apply to foreigners. Traditional men’s clothing is called “thob” or “kadhura” and consists of the long, white shirt up to articles and loose trousers. On the head usually carry a “gutra”, which is actually a headdress, usually in white or red color. It is attached to the head by the black rope called “agal”.
Women wear a long black dress that covers the whole body and its name is “abaya”. “Shayla” is a veil that covers the entire head and back. You will notice that a lot of them wear a burka to protect the face from the men’s views.
Even Qatari men and women are allowed to wear casual types of clothes in some private occasions. You should know that it’s very rude to stare at people or even take pictures of them, so don’t do it! Except, for blogging purposes, of course… LOL!
In the end, there are people from all over the world, and even local people are accustomed to other nationalities. However, there are certain rules of the Islamic world and religion that you must meet! If you do it, everything is in the best order! It’s similar to when you go as a guest at some home: you can be free and behave as naturally as long as you don’t obstruct the “house” rules!
If you have some other fashion ideas, share in your comments!