Clothing tells much more about the culture of any country than its written documents. Visitors and non-permanent residents get to learn a lot about the culture and values of the country by looking at the dress-codes of the country. Qatar’s clothing culture has changed a lot during the recent times but Qataris have always been proud of their clothing and they wear their traditional clothes with complete honour.
Visitors to Qatar may wonder about the appropriate attire in this Islamic country where traditional clothing is common. While it is important to respect the local culture and dress modestly, visitors do not need to dress exactly like the locals.
Looking for guidance on what to wear as a foreign visitor in Qatar? Or do you need to clarify Qatar’s dress code? We’ve got you covered!
Dress code for foreigners and visitors
Foreign visitors are not obliged or expected to wear traditional Qatari clothing or to be fully covered. Although there is no specific dress code for foreigners, it is recommended that they dress modestly and conservatively while being comfortable, without being too revealing.
Casual wear such as t-shirts, polo shirts, team jerseys, and shirts are acceptable for both men and women in Qatar. Sweat pants, jeans, and cargo pants are also common attire. It is advisable to bring a cardigan or jacket as the tournament is held during the colder season.
Note : The following tips are not legally required or mandated by authorities in Qatar. Rather, they are suggestions from Qatar residents on how to be respectful of local culture and avoid drawing unwanted attention.
Dress Code for Women in Qatar
In Qatar, dressing modestly is highly recommended for women. While women are not required to cover their heads, it’s advised to dress conservatively and cover the shoulders and knees. Skirts and shorts are generally acceptable, but it’s recommended to avoid anything too high or skimpy. Wearing spaghetti straps, see-through blouses, and transparent clothes is generally not acceptable. Similarly, sleeveless tank tops and tight capris may be considered inappropriate in certain contexts. When in doubt, consider wearing leggings or longer pants under shorter clothing items. Lastly, it’s important to pack essential items such as hats, caps, sunscreen, and sunglasses to protect oneself from the sun’s harmful rays.
Dress Code for Men in Qatar
In Qatar, it’s recommended for men to dress conservatively and modestly. While there is no official dress code, it’s advised to avoid clothing that is too revealing or suggestive. Men typically wear long pants and shirts with sleeves that cover the shoulders. Shorts and sleeveless shirts may be acceptable in certain settings, such as at the beach or at a sports club, but it’s important to check beforehand. Wearing swimwear outside of these designated areas is generally not acceptable. Additionally, it’s important to pack appropriate attire for the climate and activities planned, such as hats or caps, sunscreen, and sunglasses to protect oneself from the sun’s harmful rays.
Qatari Clothing: A Guide to Traditional Attire
Traditional Dress of Qatari Men
Qatari culture values traditional clothing, which locals wear daily with a sense of pride. Qatari men typically wear loose pants and a long white shirt called a Thobe. This garment is a full-length robe that covers the body from the wrists to the ankles.
In addition to the Thobe, Qatari men also wear a headscarf called a Ghutra. This accessory is made of white or red and white cloth and is typically attached to the head using a black rope known as an Igal or Agal.
The Abaya and Shayla: An Overview of the Traditional Dress of Qatari Women
Qatari women often dress in a long black garment known as an Abaya, paired with a head covering called a Shayla. Some women also wear a Burqa, which covers the face, although this is less common than the Abaya and Shayla. In the past, older and more traditional Qatari women would wear a Niqab, which covers the entire face except for the eyes, but this is not as prevalent nowadays.
What to Wear in Qatar: Tips for Dressing in the Local Climate
Qatar’s summers, which last from May to September, are known for their intense dry heat, with temperatures often exceeding 45°C
To beat the heat in Qatar, dressing conservatively is possible by considering the materials and amount of skin coverage. Opt for breathable fabrics such as silk, cotton, and linen. Women can wear a long skirt, maxi dress, or three-quarter pants, and culottes during the summer season.
Don’t forget to bring a warm layer even during the summer months because the air conditioning in indoor areas and malls can make it quite chilly.
November to February is considered the cooler season in Qatar with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 30°C. It’s recommended to dress in layers during this time, as the evenings can get quite chilly.
Dressing in Qatar: Private vs Public Settings
In Qatar, the dress code can differ based on the location, whether it’s a public or private setting. For instance, what is appropriate attire at a private beach resort may not be suitable for a shopping mall.
In certain places like a mosque or the Museum of Islamic Arts (MIA), there may be stricter rules that require visitors to be fully covered before entering.
Hotels and resorts typically have a relaxed dress code and allow guests to dress as they would at home. However, when visiting public places such as shopping malls and souqs, it’s important to observe the dress code as people from different nationalities mix in these areas.
Dressing during Ramadan
Ramadan is the most sacred and important festival for all Muslims across the world and it is important to dress modestly during Ramadan while being in Qatar. Here are the dress codes –
Qatari women keep their hair covered with black head-dress called Shayla while covering themselves with black dress called Abayha. While women cover their face with a black burqa, they keep the eyes uncovered. For expatriates, they should wear smart casuals and keep themselves from exposing.
Men of Qatar traditionally wear white shirt over loose pants and loose headdress called Gutra which is held on with a black rope called Agal. The foreigners are not expected to wear Arab costumes but they should avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts in the streets.
Official Wear in Qatar
Men: Men rarely wear suits in Qatar except during official meetings and social affairs. The standard office dress in Qatar is shirt (long-sleeve), tie and light weight trouser.
Women: Acceptable work attire is dresses, trousers/skirts (below knee length), with a modest neck line, and no less than half-sleeve
Consequence of Dress code violation
The Qatar law prohibits the violation of the dress code which is revealing or indecent in the public. The dress code law is governed by the government body. In 2012, a Qatari NGO organized a campaign and called for public decency for foreigners to wear proper clothing while being in public view in the country.