What clothes should I wear for my trip to Saudi Arabia?

Travelling is a great way to discover new horizons. One of the most popular destinations, especially during the pilgrimage period, is Saudi Arabia. If you're travelling to stay or plan to stay there, it's important to know what to wear. Religion and customs play a central role in this country. So it's essential to know what you should wear on a trip to Saudi Arabia.

Dress culture in Saudi Arabia

It is an extremely conservative society. As a result, the clothes worn must conform in every respect to the rules and beliefs based on Islam.

Unlike at one time, clothing that would have been forbidden is now accepted in society. This does not mean, however, that attachment to Islamic culture and customs is relegated to the background. When travelling there as an expatriate or tourist, it is essential to be aware of how the locals behave, particularly in public.

What to wear in Saudi Arabia

Regardless of gender, in Saudi Arabia, clothes make the man. There is a local garment for this purpose: the abaya. It takes the form of a long, light coat. As a general rule, it is black and must be worn by all women. However, it can be embroidered in a variety of colours. The abaya has the particularity of leaving no openings, as it covers the entire body, more precisely from the neck to the ankles.

Despite the compulsory nature of the abaya, the freedom is offered to wear whatever you like underneath. This is because there is a great deal of tolerance for expatriate women staying in compounds. They can wear tank tops, shorts and even skirts.

Nevertheless, the trend outside remains anchored on strict adherence to custom. Women must therefore wear a veil commonly known as the niqab. To ensure order, a religious police force namely the Moutawa is responsible for ensuring compliance with the code of conduct. If by any chance this dress code is not followed, penalties are provided for.

Foreign women are no longer obliged to wear the abaya, or veil, since September 2019, although the clothes they wear must be decent. Men are allowed to wear trousers, although shorts and Bermuda shorts are considered too casual.