Iran is a country where a dress code is imposed. But what do you wear in Iran? This is a question you need to ask yourself during the preparations before travelling to Iran. Iran is an Islamic state and therefore is has an Islamic dress code. It is necessary to have your clothing fit this dress code when travelling to Iran.
All tips and information allowing you to prepare your trip to Iran properly without any stress when it comes to clothing!
What do Iranians wear?
Most people are surprised by what Iranians wear themselves. Reality does not meet ‘expectation’ of what you thought Islamic dressed people would wear. Yes, as mentioned previously, Iran is a country with an Islamic dress code. And especially women need to follow the rules strictly.
Yet, Iranian women aren’t forced to wear black chadors in public. This is a big misconception.
Currently, the Islamic dress code entails that women are obliged to cover their hair, arms and legs. Iranian women are stylish and elegantly dressed. Their appearance is taken care of with zeal. Usually, Iranian women wear makeup and will have polished nails. The modern women of Iran usually wear a manteau (overcoat). These manteaux have long sleeves and stretch all the way up to the knee. A scarf is being used to cover the hair. Iranian women wear all kinds of colors (not just black!).
The color of the scarf is chosen to fit the rest of the clothing. Very often you will notice a bit of hair trying to escape from underneath the scarf. Underneath this manteau they usually wear pants (often jeans) or a legging/ panty. Iranian women wear pumps, heals, sandals and sneakers. At private parties, Iranian women wear beautiful tight dresses like we do in the West.
Iranian men have it much easier when it comes to dress code. They won’t wear short shorts in public but long trousers. This is topped with a t-shirt, polo or dress shirt. It is not common for Iranian men to wear flip flops outside the house, they usually wear shoes, sneakers or sandals. It is commonplace to fully oblige with the Islamic dress code around government institutions, schools, embassies and other similar places.
On the street, you will see women wearing a chador, but they are mostly old women. Besides, some mosques in Iran require women to wear a chador inside. For the younger generation, this will often be the only moment they are wearing one. As a tourist you can always borrow a chador at the entrance of the mosque.
Dressing tips for men
In general, the dress code is pretty straightforward: For men, no shorts or extremely short sleeves and tight shirts. Women need to cover their head and hair and need to wear loosely fitting clothes which covers body (including arms and legs). Shorts/ short pants are not acceptable in public. Wearing a t-shirt/polo/ dress shirt is fine. Iranians do not wear flip flops in public but as a tourist it’s ok to do so. Even though some Iranians might look at you surprised, as for them flip flops are to be worn inside the house only.
Dressing tips for women
It is useful to know that the dress code for tourists is less strict then it is for Iranian women. There is no need to worry when your scarf is blown of your head. Yet, there are some requirements for female travelers:
• Color: there is a rumor that you are required to wear black/ darker clothing in Iran. But it’s better to wear lights clothes, especially in summer.
• Scarf: even though officially, your hair needs to be covered completely, that doesn’t mean you need to walk around with a tight scarf around your head. It’s acceptable for women to show a little bit of hair from underneath the scarf. There are many ways to wear a scarf, with or without pins. Just look at how Iranian women wear them! I liked to create my own style and to have the scarf fit with the rest of my clothing.
• Body: body, arms and legs need to be covered by loose-fitting clothing. This means you can’t wear short sleeves in Iran. A manteau or a vest, covering your bottom is an excellent choice in Iran.
• Legs & feet: legs need to be covered up till the ankles. Tight jeans and leggings are fine to wear. You can also wear sandals of flip flops.
• Winter: in winter, the clothing is more or less the same as you’d wear at home, apart from the scarf of course.
• Flight: the dress code comes into effect as soon as you are entering the Iranian air space. Keep this in mind during the flight and look at Iranian passengers when you need to put on your head scarf. In my case it was during the landing.
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