Dress Code of Saudi Arabia for Foreigners

women with hijab

Saudi Arabia is a very strict country and foreign visitors must be aware of certain rules and laws before arriving. To avoid problems, it is essential to know what to wear in Saudi Arabia and, more importantly, what not to wear.

If you are planning a trip to Saudi Arabia, it is easy to adhere to the dress code as long as you understand the rules and expectations. The most important thing to bear in mind is that the country is very conservative. This means you should dress modestly and not expose too much skin.

This article will explain everything you need to know about the dress code in Saudi Arabia so you know what to pack (and what to wear).

Saudi Arabia is a country which has not been open for tourism, so local people are not used to crowds of tourists. Most visitors are either there to do business or to go on a religious pilgrimage.

However, a new Saudi Arabia eVisa will launch over the coming weeks and it will mark a huge change in the country’s history. It will be the first time that a tourist visa for Saudi Arabia has been available. Applicants will be able to apply online in just a matter of minutes.

Saudi Arabia’s Dress Code for Women

Laws have started to relax but women can’t dress in western-style clothing which exposes skin. This includes shorter skirts, dresses, and loose tops.

Do women have to wear an abaya?

In many public places it is still a requirement to wear an abaya over normal clothes. An abaya is a long black cloak which covers the clothes and conceals the body shape.

Are headscarfs compulsory?

Wearing a headscarf is optional though some people in Saudi Arabia would say it was compulsory. For this reason it is highly recommended to wear a headscarf when in public (especially in Riyadh).

There are places where you don’t need to wear a headscarf. If in doubt, wear one. You can always wander round to see what other people are wearing and then take it off if you see others without them.

What shoes can women wear?

The rules on footwear are relaxed. Saudi women often wear open shoes though many choose to wear a comfortable pair of sneakers. Bear in mind it is a requirement to remove shoes before entering a mosque.

Can women wear makeup and jewellery?

Women can wear makeup but it should be modest, simplistic and not include bright colors. Wearing jewellery is fine as long as it’s tucked away and contains no symbols from other religions.

Saudi Arabia’s Dress Code for Men

Deciding what to wear in Saudi Arabia is much easier for men as there are less restrictions regarding what to wear. Men do not need to wear traditional Saudi clothes but should dress modestly at all times.

Covering legs and shoulders

When in public, men need to make sure their legs and shoulders are completely covered up. This means that vests and shorts are not allowed. Skinny jeans and clothes which are too tight are also frowned upon.

What is the typical work dress code for men?

In the workplace it is typical to where a dark suit with a shirt and tie but he exact dress code varies from company to company. However, even in less formal offices, it is still typical to wear smart pants, a shirt, and a tie.

Can men wear jewellery?

Wearing a wedding ring and a wrist watch is commonplace. However, anything more than this is seen as flashy and immodest. Men should avoid necklaces, bracelets, and wearing multiple rings.

The right clothes to wear is just one of the essential things to be aware of before visiting Saudi Arabia. Also read about the laws in Saudi Arabia before setting off to ensure you don’t break any laws unknowingly.