Federal Dress Code

I was just perusing the UAE news site The National and came across an article on what seems to be a fairly hot topic right now: a national dress code.  I know that everyone probably doesn’t exhibit a reasonable amount of modesty, but to my ears, this sounds sort of ominous. Here’s a link to the article.

Headline photo from the news site Al Arabiya showing a mall’s dress code.

After I read The National’s articles on the subject (which reflect a variety of opinions on both sides of the issue), I did a little searching for an image to use for this blog entry.  That led me to the UK’s Telegraph, which has an article on the subject today, too.  Here’s the link to their story, which isn’t drastically different.

The Telegraph’s UAE Dress Code Photo–misleading, because beach wear won’t be affected.

The news site Al Arabiya has articles on the subject too.  It seems that the middle-eastern websites offer opposing viewpoints readily.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have this knee-jerk reaction of fearing a restrictive law about what is acceptable to wear and what is not.  What do you think?  Maybe you’ve been to the UAE and have an opinion?  Do you think a law like this would affect tourism?  What about your own personal desire to visit?


6 thoughts on “Federal Dress Code

  1. Interesting. My first reaction about visiting is that I’m okay with whatever local custom (or I guess in this case, law) dictates – although if I had to buy certain clothes just for that visit, I might think twice. Then again, they might be a nice souvenir…


    • I think it’s interesting, too. The potential code doesn’t seem all that difficult to abide by. My reaction is mostly based on a sort of surprised, “Oh, no, freedoms are being revoked” feeling. -Shon


  2. I don’t have any problem with it, to be honest. I doubt they will go as far as Saudi Arabia and require all women to wear abayas.
    It’s their culture, it’s their right. You know how little people wear in some of the African tribes? If they came to the US and insisted on walking around like that, there would have been an outrage, too. – Jenia


  3. Unfortunately, it probably has to become stricter in order to be enforced. ‘m an American living in the UAE and see everyday the rationale behind the UAE having to enact such rules. Many expats are incredibly culturally insensitive and dress in fashions that would warrant stares even in their own countries where there are no dress code guidelines. The UAE has only asked for modesty in consideration of the culture of their country. This modesty, however, is not restrictive, as you can see by the t-shirt picture above. They are only asking women to wear something as covered up as a t-shirt. Just cover the shoulders and wear skirts or shorts close to knee length. There are plenty of cute fashion choices, capri pants, skirts and sandals, etc…that are fully “western” but that easily comply with the UAE dress code guidelines. I would welcome the enforcement of the guidelines. Some people may say that it restricts individual rights to express themselves but what about my rights NOT to have to see anybody’s “business” all hanging out in front of my face either?


    • Laura, that makes sense. The dress code itself doesn’t seem hard to comply with, really. Like I said to Sid, my reaction is just that–a reaction. When I stop to think about it more, it doesn’t seem so bad. Working at Andrew College, I’ve had to speak to girls about their dress before–super short shorts, for example–we expect a level of decency here in the States, too, and people can, after all, even get arrested for indecent exposure here.


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