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Iran Dress Code – What to wear and not to wear in Iran?

Before travelling to Iran, you might have come across questions like, what is the national dress of Iran? What do Iranian men wear? What do girls wear in Iran? How do they dress in Iran? After reading this article, you will have an answer to all of these questions and many more. In addition, you will have a complete idea of what to wear and pack for your journey in Iran.

Iran woman dress code

Islam requires women to cover their whole body with Muslim dress except for the face and the hands. But, once you are in Iran, you will realize that the rules of dress code and Hijab are not that restricted. In fact, Islam restrictions do not completely apply to the Iran dress code for ladies. You do not see any Iranian women with their eyes showing through the all-covering black piece of fabric called Chador. Basically, that might be how Muslim women dress in the Arab world.  

Is it compulsory to wear hijab in Iran?

The unwritten rules of Iran ladies dress code are actually far more liberal than the written ones. Today, the many styles of modern Islamic dresses in Iran mirrors local beliefs, traditions and different interpretations of Islamic requirements. Still, following Iran hijab law is necessary in Iran for both locals and tourist. However, these rules are less observed for tourists.

The myth of black Chador

Although “Chador” (female full-body-length covering) is still common throughout Iran, it is not and has never been mandatory in Iran except for when visiting certain religious institutions. You may see most women wearing black Chador in the streets but actually, Chadors come in different colors and patterns for different purposes. As an example, in Varzaneh Desert in southeastern Isfahan women are dressed in white Chadors. That is why this city is called the city of white dressed angels. (link)

Nice experience to cover with “Chador”

All about color and pattern

From bright colors to dark ones. As far as color is concerned, there is almost no restriction; pink, blue, green, red, fluorescent orange……! In fact, you’ll be amazed by the variety of designs and colors of clothing available all across the country. After all, the traditional Persian dresses worn from ancient times until now are rich in colors and patterns. Also, as you might have already seen this around the internet, there is a trend going on about matching your outfit with patterns of the Persian tiles of the places you are planning to visit.

What to Wear in Iran Like a Local?

The dos and don’ts of Persian clothing are pretty clear. Here’s a guide for men and women on how to dress in IRAN:

Persian Women’s Clothing

Iran female dress code is explained as below.

Do you have to cover your hair in Iran?
Do women have to wear a headscarf in Iran?
How can you make your scarf stay better on your head?
How do locals wear their scarf?

  • Scarf & Hair Covering
    Head covering is mandatory for ladies in public. The most common type of head covering is the headscarf “rousari/shawl”. The headscarf is to cover the hair and not the face. Your hair can show from the front/back of the headscarf but as a form of respect to the rules of the country, women tend to cover as much of the hair as possible. Some wrap the headscarf tightly and securely around the head, others wear it loosely… the choice is yours – try to find the most comfortable way that works for you. The headscarf is also a form of fashion item amongst women in Iran – square, rectangular, big, small, silk, cotton … you name it! It’s okay if your scarf falls off. Worst case scenario someone would just give you a friendly reminder to fix it.
  • Make-up
    Make up and painted nails have nothing to do with Iran dress code. In fact, if you are into makeup, you are going to enjoy your time in Iran. You will find many locals wearing all kinds of makeup styles. Also, painted nails are just fine. If you had time, you can even make an appointment for a beauty salon and spa to try their features.
  • Upper Body – What is a manteau in Iran?
    Long dresses for Muslim ladies are common. Women in Iran wear long tunics or Cardigans called “Manteau”. These are long sleeved dresses varying in length. Generally speaking, it’s all about modesty – in Iran modesty is thought of a non-see-through material, closed collar, loosely fitted covering at least to the buttocks. Three quarter length sleeves are also accessible.
  • Lower Body – Can you wear shorts and ripped jeans in Iran?
    Women in Iran do not show their legs in public. You might see some women who are wearing cropped and Capri pants, skinny jeans and ripped jeans. Long skirts or trousers are accessible too. Trousers can be slim fit and/or ankle length however remember the material should not be see-through. You can wear Cotton, Denim, Chinos…. again see what you feel most comfortable in! Do not worry if your pants go a little bit above your ankles. Keep in mind that you cannot wear shorts I public places. Although, if you are going for a swim in ladies pool, you can wear whatever you want.
  • Footwear – Can you wear flip flops in Iran?
    Stay comfortable. Giving you will be sightseeing all day! Nothing particular to say here-your choice really. Trainers, high heels, sandals, boots or even high boots

Persian Men’s Clothing

Iran dress code for men is explained as followed.

  • Head
    No head covering is required. You can wear hats of any form of shape desirable depending on the weather!
  • Upper Body
    Men can wear long or short sleeve shirts and t-shirts. You cannot be topless in public and it is uncommon for men to wear vest like tops in public.
  • Lower Body
    long and cropped trousers are accessible. No shorts above the knees.
  • Footwear
    As per above, just make sure you are comfortable.

Find out what other Iran travelers choose to wear in Iran:

A guide for every season – What should I wear in Iran in spring/summer/autumn/winter?

Spring in Iran comes from April to June, summer from July to September, fall from October to December and winter from January to March. Since Iran is a four seasoned country you may be faced with different weather patterns in different regions. You can read about the characteristic of every season in different regions here. (link)

Bring lightweight and colorful clothing for spring and summer. Pack a mix of clothing for chilly nights of fall when it is also warm during the day. You will need to prepare plenty of warm clothing for winter. For more detailed month by month guide for clothing you can read this article(link).   

Iran tourist dress code- How should I dress for a trip to Iran

Iran dress code for tourists pretty much applies as it does for the locals. Until now, the Iran travel dress code and dress code for female tourists in Iran have been explained. If you have any other questions or have some experience to share with other travelers, you can comment it below. Also, here are two most commonly asked questions about female tourist dress code in Iran:

  • Do tourists have to wear hijab in Iran?
    As mentioned before, following Iran hijab law is necessary in Iran for both locals and tourist.
  • What should female tourists wear in Iran?
    In Persian woman’s clothing section you can read all about how to dress as a female tourist in Iran to fit in with local women.

Iran Packing List – What NOT to Pack for Iran

What should I pack for Iran?

Do not be hard on yourself. If you could not find anything suitable for your trip to Iran, you can always go shopping once you have arrived. You will be mesmerized by all the designs and variety of clothing that is offered to you once you are here.

Which kind of clothing should I pack for the children?

You can pack anything you see fit and comfortable for your children. Just keep in mind that, in Iran, when girls turn ten, they start covering their hair and stop wearing clothing such as shorts for outdoors.