Respecting local customs is crucial in Iran, particularly regarding the dress code.
Women should wear a headscarf or hijab to cover their hair and neck, and opt for loose-fitting clothing that covers their arms and legs.
Men, on the other hand, should avoid shorts and sleeveless tops to maintain modesty standards.
Although these rules might seem strict, Iran often shows flexibility towards tourists. The emphasis on modesty originates from Islamic traditions and applies universally. However, tourists typically find that local authorities provide helpful guidance rather than strict enforcement, focusing on friendly advice and gentle corrections.
Remember these tips for a respectful and enjoyable visit. This approach ensures your comfort while engaging with Iran’s rich culture.
What Is The Dress Code In Iran?
In Iran, the Islamic hijab is a requirement for all women post-puberty. This law affects Iranian residents and tourists alike. While the law expects women to cover their hair, you’ll notice a range of practices; a scarf that partly covers the hair is usually acceptable.
Regarding fashion, Iran welcomes the use of vibrant clothing colors. You’re free to wear bright and cheerful colors, with no specific restrictions. Popular choices include blue, green, brown, cream, and turquoise, which can complement the colorful architecture of Isfahan’s mosques. These shades are perfect for enjoying the visual harmony of Iran’s landscapes and cityscapes.
Dress Code For Female Tourists
In Iran, following the Iran dress code for tourists, women should choose clothing that covers their body. A popular option is the “manteau,” an overgarment available in various colors and styles, including tighter or shorter fits. Tunics paired with pants are another suitable choice. For skirt enthusiasts, make sure they are at least mid-calf length, complemented with opaque tights in subdued colors.
While not commonly worn, ankle-length skirts are also acceptable. Skinny jeans paired with high boots comply with the dress code. However, capri pants should be avoided as they do not provide full coverage. Wearing open-toed sandals and nail polish is perfectly fine, aligning with the dress code guidelines.
Iran Tourist Card
In the cooler months from October to March, it’s convenient to layer with a raincoat over pants. The hotter season from April to September invites lighter options like a linen jacket or an oversized shirt. This period also presents an excellent opportunity to shop for a stylish overcoat in Iran.
Contrary to popular belief, wearing a “chador” is not mandatory everywhere in Iran. You only need to wear it at specific religious sites. At these locations, you can either borrow a chador or buy one from local markets.
Women’s Indoor Clothing
Dress regulations in Iran apply only to outdoor attire. In private indoor settings, such as homes, there are no specific rules. Guests in an Iranian household can dress as they please, embracing the opportunity for comfort and personal expression.
While many Iranian women enjoy the freedom to dress according to their tastes at home, some prefer to maintain traditional Islamic attire out of personal or religious choice. These preferences reflect the country’s cultural diversity and respect for individual beliefs in private spaces.
In Iran, male tourists should opt for middle-of-the-road clothing, adhering to certain guidelines. Shorts are not acceptable, nor are overly vibrant and flashy shirts, such as Hawaiian prints.
For casual wear, most clothing choices are suitable. However, it’s important to note that tracksuit bottoms are generally used for indoor or gym activities. Wearing them on the streets can attract curious looks.
During casual outings like sightseeing and shopping, short sleeves align well with the Iran dress code for tourists. For more formal settings, such as business meetings or events, choosing conservative attire is advisable.
Formal Dress Code
In Iran, a suit is the standard attire for men at business and formal events, while business women typically wear a “manto” and a scarf. The notable distinction in men’s business attire is the absence of a tie, especially within government sectors and affiliated corporations.
However, this doesn’t restrict you from wearing a tie. Iranians recognize the variety in dress customs and often anticipate foreigners to adhere to their own styles. Foreign dignitaries and diplomats routinely wear ties, and you’ll find that Iranian private sector businessmen may also sport a tie.
Accessories and Footwear
When traveling to Iran, accessories and footwear play a crucial role in complementing your outfit while adhering to the country’s dress code. Here are some tips to help you make the right choices:
Headscarves or Shawls
For women, covering your hair with a headscarf or shawl is mandatory. To ensure comfort throughout your travels, opt for lightweight and breathable fabrics like silk or silk-blend materials.
Choose comfortable shoes that allow you to walk around easily, as you’ll likely encounter various terrains and attractions in Iran. Remember to remove your shoes when visiting mosques or religious sites; thus, easily removable footwear like slip-on shoes or sandals is practical and respectful.
Visiting Religious Sites like Mosques
When visiting religious sites in Iran, observing the Iran dress code for tourists as a sign of respect is crucial. Here’s what to keep in mind:
Choose modest attire for these sacred places. Women need to wear loose-fitting clothes that cover their entire body, including arms and legs, and ensure they have a scarf covering their hair and neck. Men should refrain from wearing shorts, adhering to the respectful standards of these sites.
Some religious sites in Iran may impose restrictions on photography or designate specific areas where it’s prohibited. Respect these rules and refrain from taking pictures in no-photography zones. If in doubt, always ask for permission before capturing any photographs.
Clothing to Avoid When Traveling in Iran
In Iran, some religious sites have restrictions on photography, with certain areas designated as no-photography zones. It’s important to respect these rules and avoid taking pictures in these areas. If you’re unsure, always ask for permission before taking any photographs.
Avoid Tight or Revealing Attire
Both male and female should avoid wearing clothes that are overly tight or revealing. This includes attire that exposes shoulders, midriffs, or thighs. Dressing modestly is important to respect the culture and customs.
Shun Sheer or Translucent Clothing
Avoid wearing sheer or translucent clothes that might expose undergarments or body parts. Instead, choose garments made from opaque materials to maintain modesty.
No Sleeveless and Short Shirts for Men
Men should avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts, especially when visiting religious sites or more conservative areas. To ensure appropriateness, opt for long trousers or pants and shirts with sleeves.
Graphic or Offensive Prints
Choose neutral or patterned garments without controversial or provocative imagery. Opt for attire that avoids graphic designs or messages, as these can be disrespectful or inappropriate.
Impractical High Heels
In Iran, opt for practical and comfortable footwear, especially for touring religious sites or walking on uneven terrain. It’s best to avoid high heels or shoes that might restrict movement or cause discomfort.
Appropriate Dress Examples for Travelers in Iran
When traveling to Iran and adhering to the Iran dress code for tourists, here are some examples of acceptable attire for both male and female:
Iran Dress Code for Women Tourists
- A loose dress that falls to the knee with long sleeves, paired with denim jeans or opaque tights, and coordinated with a scarf.
- A long tunic or blouse worn over pants or a skirt, accompanied by a scarf to cover the hair.
- A maxi dress or skirt with a loose-fitting top, along with a scarf.
- Trousers or jeans with a long-sleeved, loose-fitting shirt or blouse, and a scarf.
Iran Dress Code for Male Tourists
- Long trousers paired with a buttoned shirt or polo shirt.
- Traditional Iranian clothing such as a long-sleeved tunic known as “qameez” or “shalwar kameez” (loose trousers and long shirt).
- Jeans or casual pants with a non-formal shirt or T-shirt.
- For formal occasions, a suit jacket or dress shirt with dress trousers is appropriate.
It’s important to remember that clothing should be loose, and women should ensure their scarf covers their hair and neck. These examples provide a general idea of acceptable clothing but it’s always a good idea to consider local customs and dress codes based on the location or event you will attend in Iran.
Iran Dress Code: FAQs
Female tourists are expected to follow the Islamic dress code. This means wearing loose-fitting clothes that cover the body except for the face, hands, and feet. A headscarf or hijab is mandatory in public, and it’s advisable to wear long-sleeved tops and either long skirts or trousers.
Anything middle-of-the-road is acceptable, with only two no-nos: avoid shorts at all times, as well as loud, bright shirts and tops (e.g., Hawaiian shirts). Read more…
Yes. you can wear jeans or trousers but you must not wear shorts in the Islamic republic. Of course, they are okay to wear in private places. T-shirts are fine but you are not allowed to wear sleeveless vests in Iran. Just stick to shirts and T-shirts.
According to the dress code in Iran for tourists, you are supposed to hide your body shape even in public beaches or pools. Of course, in women-only pools or only-women beaches, you can wear as you wish!
There are no specific color restrictions for clothing in Iran. However, modesty is the key, so it’s advisable to avoid extremely bright colors. Instead, tourists may opt for subdued or neutral tones.
Shorts are generally not acceptable for men in public places in Iran. Men should wear long trousers in public to respect local customs and regulations.
While hotels are considered private spaces, and the rules may be more relaxed, it’s prudent for women to carry a headscarf with them at all times. You may need to wear it in common areas or when staff or other guests are present.
Comfortable, closed-toe shoes are recommended for walking around, as you’ll likely be on your feet a lot. Sandals are acceptable, but it’s advisable to avoid very high heels or flashy footwear.
Generally, dress codes are more conservatively adhered to in rural and smaller towns compared to larger cities like Tehran, where there’s slightly more leniency. However, the basic requirements of modesty remain consistent throughout the country.