A Girl’s Guide to Dressing Up for Iran

The dress code issue for women in Iran has always been a hold back for many female travelers. Many believe that countries that enforce such laws on tourists or even their own civilians are to be left out of their bucket list. Others however are just confused.

Iran faces a hell lot of misrepresentation around the world which unfortunately is not always directed to its government only. Many times it’s the locals that are misrepresented. There’s no travel blogger who has visited Iran and hasn’t written about how he was surprised to see things where not as he imagined. By almost a 100% chance he’ll write about how Iranians were super nice and one of the most hospitable nations he has met. Sadly almost everyone is just shocked into knowing how Iranians are just “people” and the worst part is that people have to come all the way to here to realize this and not that many do.

The blogger or tourist is obviously not to blame. What he/she knows of Iran and Iranians is the horrible media coverage and the representation of films like Not without my daughter and Argo. I mean if the film gets all that attention and wins an oscar, you’d think it’s probably pretty accurate. right? NOT!

I get that what goes on in Iran might not come to your liking. Iran is a country facing a lot of big changes. A lot goes on here and certainly not all of it is good. The country has been struck by heavy sanctions since the Islamic Revolution over 35 years ago and things can get tough at times. Women have not been getting equal rights as men but they have become extremely assertive over the years and have been able to shift the society on their side dramatically. They occupy over 60% of university seats and have become very much socially active and economically independent over the years.

Enough rambling now. Let’s get on to the dress code thing.

Whenever I see foreign female tourists in Iran, it always seems like they’ve packed their most unpleasant piece of clothing to this part of the world. I’ve read many times from their experiences that they also felt extremely unattractive in their outfits. So here are some tips to make things clear and easy so that you don’t have to dress up like your grandma and also avoid any trouble.

#1 Go for colours

It’s false belief that women face limitation in the colour of their clothing. I’ve seen it in many guides (*cough*Lonely Planet*Cough*) and through the media. This is utter nonsense. There’s absolutely no restrictions in colour when it comes to the dress code. While unfortunately there is tendency for dark coloured clothing in Iranian women – something I personally don’t appreciate at all – just come to Iran during summer and you’d see Iranian girls rocking brights and neons all the time. So if you’re into colours, bring them along. They are probably the best idea during summer.

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Me and my girls celebrating a friends birthday outdoors. We certainly love our fair share of colours.

#2 Skinny jeans are allowed!

You’re probably warned a dozen times that you’re clothing has to be loose fitting so that it doesn’t reveal your body shape. Hence why I see most tourists in cargo pants and slouchy trousers. While this is stated as the Islamic dress code, things are not observed that seriously. Shops in Iran are packed with skinny jeans and tights, and Iranians girls don’t show any intimidation in wearing them. So why should you?

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Taking a break from a road trip to Chak Chak (Yazd Province).

Tip: Remember, you’re a tourist anyway. The worse that can happen is a simple request. Something I’ve never heard of happening to foreigners. Things are easier on you than you think, so don’t make it harder than it is.

#3 Tunics and Cardigans are your best friends.

So you want to look appealing, follow the dress code and not have to go buy a new set of clothing for your Iran trip. right? Dig a little deeper into your closet and you’re bound to find either a long-sleeve, a 3/4 sleeve tunic or cardigan in there. Tunics are a great option for summer trips to Iran. As long as they cover up your bum you’re good to go (I’ve seen tourists wearing shorter ones with loose trousers too). If you don’t have a tunic, you might find a long tank top that can be layered up with a light cardigan. You might even have a dress that could fit in the criteria that can be paired with skinny jeans.

The key is to be creative with what you have. Apart from a few pieces all of the clothing worn in Iran is western designed.

Here are a few girls who combine western clothing to create modest outfits, perhaps you can get some inspiration. Check out Ascia, a kuwaiti/American fashion blogger here.  And Leena a Texas based muslim fashion blogger who has a beautiful choice of colour scheme in her outfits.

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Sedy rocking bright pink polka dots in front of an old wooden door in Yazd.

#4 Shop for a Manto if you fancy one.

Iranian women either cover up with a chador (The black material worn on the head that covers the whole body) or a Manto (A trench coat type of clothing that comes in a variation of materials and styles). Since you’re likely to opt for the Manto buying one at the beginning of your trip could be a good idea. The fashion industry has been growing in Iran lately and there are a lot of designers who focus on bringing new materials and forms into the Manto.

You’re probably going to buy yours at a random shop but here’s to get an idea of how it can look like. These are obviously designer brands so they’re a lot more expensive but you’ll be able to find nice ones in normal shops scattered all across the country.

Keep in mind that wearing a manto is not mandatory. Basically anything mid-thigh would do.

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Aida in blue, wearing a Manto that was handmade by her mum.

#5 Burqas (veil) are not an Iranian thing.

This is another misconception seen in the media or in films about Iran. You will see women wearing black Chadors but chances you’ll see someone with a veil is almost zero in Iran. It’s just not in the culture, no matter how much someone might be conservative.

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Nastaran in front of Narin Qal’eh, a castle dating back to the Sasanid empire.

#6 Expand your scarf collection.

Scarves have been quite trendy in the past couple of years. You will probably bring the ones you have along but shopping for scarves in Iran could be a good idea. First, they are probably cheaper than most countries, they come in a huge variety and you’ll be able to wear them as a head scarf here and rock them as a neck scarf back home! It’s also a good way to help out local shops and manufacturers.

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Alaleh in bright yellow with the gorgeous background of Yazd Jame mosque!

#7 Dont judge women based on their choice of clothing.

While there is a criteria for how you dress in public, you’ll find women to be dressed in many different ways. Some just wear a loose narrow scarf on their heads allowing whips of their hair to frame their face with untied hair also showing from the back, some will be with heavy make-up with their hair styled where it is shown, others might wear it tighter with hardly any hair showing and there are many women who prefer to wear the Chador.

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The 3 of us showing the most common style of clothing you’re to see in Iran.

The women in the chador are usually the ones represented negatively on western media. They’re usually portrait as religion fanatics with an extremely conservative mentality. This is absolutely not true! Wearing the chador is a choice many women make and while it does show their devotion to their religion it does not necessarily mean they are close-minded or conservative. I have many friends and family who choose to dress this way and are very acceptant, unbiased and broad-minded people. So before you get to know someone don’t judge a book by its cover.

#8 The heavy make-up situation!

Unfortunately there is gravitation towards heavy make-up in Iranian women. Some see it as a protest against the compulsory hijab. The fact is you’ll see many women wearing layers of make-up on a daily basis.

This is to say if you’re into make-up, you won’t be alone here!

#9 Sandals & painted nails are just fine

Sandals and open toes are perfectly fine for both women and men. You’ll see a lot of girls wearing sandals in the summer. Whether you’ve got painted nails on your fingers or your toes, you’d be just fine.

#10 What about cropped trousers & capris?

So let’s say you’re here for a business meeting and you’d want to wear something a bit formal with your super high heels. As long as your cropped trousers are right above your ankle, you’re good to go. Capris that come below your knees should be avoided.

#11 Maxi dresses and skirts?

Maxi dresses or skirts in general are not common among Iranian women, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear them. Lately they’re actually becoming a bit more popular. But I’d think a light maxi dress that is not too thin to be sheer is a great alternative for the summer. If you’re dress is sleeveless, you could just layer it with a cardigan or top and you’re good. Keep in mind that if you’re going bare legs underneath, then you’d want to make sure your dress doesn’t come with slits. If the weather is a bit chilly, wearing leggings underneath could also be an option.

But for skirts that are not maxi, you’d need to have leggings or stockings to accompany. Midi skirts are great for the winter to match with leggings and boots. They are fashionable, smart and can be dressed up or down depending on your shoes.

You’d want to avoid pencil skirts, or bodycon dresses that reveal your body shape in a really obvious way.

#12 How old should a girl be to follow the dress code?

So according to the Islamic faith some would say over the age of 9 or 12. But like I said, things in Iran have a whole different system. Lately I see a lot of girls who are well over 9 and still don’t cover or at least not completely. So if you’re bringing along your daughter and you’re bit concerned and confused on what she must be wearing, I’ll make things easy for you. If you’re daughter still looks childish and doesn’t really have female features, then be easy on her. If she’s really tall, then perhaps it would be better for her to wear a loose scarf, but she can get away with short sleeves and capris. You don’t want her running around in tank tops or shorts, but if it was winter and she was fully covered on the body, she can also ditch the scarf.

They are not required to wear a manto or long tops, so make sure they are comfortable in what they wear or they won’t be enjoying themselves. Some of them will take the scarf as a fashion trend and probably rock it better than you in no time. But don’t be paranoid and go easy on them.

#13 High boots anyone?

High boots during the winter with leggings or skinny jeans are very popular and totally ok.

#14 What to wear indoors?

Last but not least all of statements mentioned above are exclusively to outdoor and public appearance. If you get invited to an Iranian house, feel free to wear whatever you like.

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Who can blame us for selfies when we get backdrops like this?

I wrote all this to make things clear and easy for your Iran trip and hopefully answer some of your doubts. In the end it’s up to you to decide whether you want to avoid Iran altogether or you want to be surprised. Almost everyone I know comes back from Iran with a whole new vision. All of the countries in the world will have issues and problems we won’t necessarily like but if we insist on making a change it will only appear through your interaction with the locals and the exchange of ideas.

Let’s build bridges and not walls.

girl's-guide

Disclaimer: The article is in no way promoting the compulsory hijab enforced in Iran. It’s just to inform those in doubts and help them make the best of their Iran trip the way it is right now.

P.S. Special thanks to my gorgeous friends who let me photograph them for this blogpost.

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  • Thank you for this very nice article. I have posted a lot of articles about foreigners traveling to Iran, and it is exactly how you describe it in your first paragraphs.
    BTW here you can find the nice travel reports I mentioned about Iran: http://theotheriran.com/tag/foreigners-in-iran/

    • Thank you! I had a look at your website and it seemed pretty interesting. There should be a lot more blogs and websites related to Iran travel in English out there. Keep up the good work! 😉

  • Great article. I just got back from my trip there and it was interesting to see the different trends compared to my last visit 8 years ago. I’m curious, do you have a site for your graphic design?

    • Yes it has certainly gotten way different compared to 8 years ago. You can check out my online portfolio here on Behance: https://www.behance.net/matinlashkari
      It’s mostly my Uni works. I’ve gotten too busy with work that I haven’t found the time to update it with what I do now. But it’s probably a good idea to make a link from here to my Graphic design works as well. Free self promotion is always a good idea 😉

      • Very nice. I like your work. Very clean. You’ll have a good career. Good luck 🙂

        • Thank you. I hope I can make this blog to a carrier some time soon 🙂

  • Krista Sirola

    Hi Matin, thanks for a useful article! Just wondering, since you mention tights. Would wearing leggings be too revealing? How about thick tights and a slightly shorter than ankle length skirt?

    • Hey Krista. A lot of girls wear leggings with the manto here. If you’re wearing it with a manto or anything that comes to below your knees it’s totally fine. As for wearing it with a Maxi skirt it’s beyond expectations, so go for it 😉

    • Hello Krista. Yes of course. A lot of women wear leggings, however make sure you wear a top that’s at least thigh length. 😉

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  • Darren Orris

    Greetings! I am curious to know how welcome an ex military male would be in Iran. I have always been fascinated by Iran and it’s rich history. Having traveled most of the world for the past 30 years, I can tell you that I have never bought into the propaganda of various ‘bad’ countries. We are, after all, human beings living together on this planet. )))

    • Hello Darren! I’m sure you’ll be most welcomed in Iran. I don’t really know if being an ex military will have anything to do with your visa, but once you get that, it’s going to be all just fine 😉

      • Darren Orris

        Thank you for the kind responses! I will look into The visa situation. I have a few Iranian friends I have met through my travels and all have been friendly, warm and open minded. I intend to visit soon. I am currently in Cambodia and I love it. The people here are very friendly and very happy. Even though they are amongst the poorest (monetarily speaking) people I have met in S.E. Asia/Asia, they share everything with each other and ‘foreigners’ as well and they are genuinely happy, loving and kind people. There is a strong sense of community here and I am very fortunate to experience this culture.

        • Darren Orris

          Hello again! I just found this article on Lonely Planet. If you have the time to peruse it. Would you mind giving me your opinion on it’s accuracy? http://www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-tips-and-articles/77506

          • Yes I believe the article is accurate. I don’t know where you’re from or what kind of a trip you’re planning to have in Iran. If you’re American it’s pretty clear that you need to go for the agency. If you’re European (except British) then you can apply for a visa at the Iranian embassy of your country or anywhere else and plan your trip as you please. 😉
            I hope things work out well for you 🙂
            And you’re a lucky guy. Cambodia is beyond amazing!

          • Darren Orris

            Thank you again for your input. Yes I am American so I concur that the best option would be an agency. As far as my trip is concerned, I really just want to meet people, experience and learn some of the culture, eat some amazing food and see some of the beauty of Iran. I have traveled all over Europe and Russia and most of S.E. Asia and Africa. Of all the places (of which many I have very fond memories) I have been, I think I love Cambodia the most. Amazing history, rich culture and wonderful people. I am positive that I will find much the same in Iran. People are people and once we remove all governmental control and propaganda, religious extremist ideology and just allow ourselves to be human. I find that it is quite easy to connect with each other on a base level that transcends all of the rhetoric. Cheers!

          • I would recommend planning your trip with Yomadic.com as they seem to be offering a more localized tour but they are all full for 2015. Nowadays Iranian agencies offer a whole lot of variety so you can find quite a few options. I work with Irandoostan.com and they pretty good at their job and work specifically on incoming tours to Iran. Check our their website and if you got in contact with them you can say I sent you 😉 My surname is Lashkari, so they’ll know me by that.

    • Kasra Farzanegan

      good man

  • Ariana

    Hi,
    Most of the clothes on the pictures seem to be spring/autumn clothing. Can lighter fabrics be worn when it’s hot? What’s the weather like in October?

    • Hello Ariana, You’re absolutely right. When I wrote this post it was winter in Iran and therefore my friends were all in thick clothing. I have only moved back to Iran, so this summer is actually my first after a few years. Yes, light fabrics are the way to go in the crazy summer heat. Light tunics are great and I’d recommend kimonos and cardigans for layering. Octobers in Iran are not really cold, sometimes they’re even hot if summer has decided to linger for longer.
      Perhaps I’ll do another post on summer clothing soon. 😉
      Let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with. Cheers!

  • Alisa Carnall

    There is something seriously wrong with any country that enforces a certain code of dress on anyone, let alone on a tourist. I have Iranian friends and love the beauty of Iran. However, I would NEVER visit because it goes against my ethics and morals to dictate to anyone how to live their lives and I refuse to be dictated to as to what I wear. These women do NOT look “modest” to me, they look overdressed and controlled by a society that dictates what is right and wrong for women. Modest is just another word for controlled.

    • juvus

      Fair enough. So I am guessing if these ladies were to come to your country to visit, it is only fair that they should be allowed to do so dressing as they would in their country. We don’t want to offend the tourists.

    • Greg

      Oh the irony when you don’t even realize that you get dictated what to wear everyday by fashion companies in your free and democratic country!

    • Darren Orris

      I would say there is something seriously wrong with anyone that visits another country and doesn’t respect it’s traditions and laws. I currently live in S.E. Asia and can not count on both hands the amount of insensitive and uncaring tourists from around the world that show great disrespect to the laws and even the social norms. In Thailand, I have seen tourists going topless on the beach. In many countries it is perfectly acceptable, but in Thailand it is not. It is a different culture. I have seen people going to sacred Buddhist temples wearing Bikini tops, shirtless men and wearing shorts. Lately, here in Cambodia there has been a few arrest and subsequent deportations of people who think it is acceptable to pose for nude photographs in the ancient temple of Angkor Wat. Even in the U.S. (supposedly liberal and democratic) it is unacceptable to go to a church in a bikini. Why would anyone think it ok just because it’s another country? Your reasoning is flawed and I suspect based on ideology.

    • Alisa, like I said in the article this is in no way trying to justify the compulsory hijab in Iran. All the women in the pictures including myself are against that, so I’m with you on this one. However while all of these girls believe in freedom of choice, some of them choose to dress this way no matter where they are. These women are beautiful, independent and more open-minded than you think. And they are powerful because they struggle and fight for the freedom you’ve been granted. And believe me they’ve come a long way, and I’m extremely proud of them.
      Let them define their modesty, as there’s no absolute definition for the word and it definitely varies from culture to culture.
      I’ve seen so many foreigners who were thrilled to visit Iran and found it a life-changing experience. I don’t think any of us necessarily agrees with all the laws enforced in the countries we travel, but we do, because that’s what brings connections and communications and urges for change.
      But of course we are free to choose and while you would be certainly welcome to visit to Iran, you also have the right to avoid it. 😉
      Cheers!

  • Najeeb Bhutto

    I have travelled iran 5 times , the reason is that people of iran are very hospitable and friendly and enviorment and places are very beautiful , specially like aradabil , sari ,amol, chaloos,and up up to aroomia very nice view and very natural beauty.traditions and culture is very nice only one thing is needed that tourism is not supported too much i mean if u r new u have to manage every thing urself means there are no travell agencies who book tours this thing must be taken step on it according to me iran can earn good revenue by tourism from locals as well as forigners.

    • Agreed! When it comes to tourism Iran has a long way to go, but there’s definitely a lot of potential 😉

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  • Diana Diana

    Many of these photos are made in the iranian winter. I just came back from our 2 – weeks trip. Luckily I found a long thin dress before , which I could wear on 30 degrees. In yasd I even had a thin light bluse. There in the quarter, where all this small hostels are located, they sell thin long bluses there in dark colours for the tourists – found that great ! We made a trip to the north, where it became harder, because its more humid (sweating !). You see more woman there with open shoes – they seem to be more relaxed, in teheran some are overfashioned. The Majority feels comfortable in dark coulours or tschador, in different shades of black 🙂

    • Diana, you’re absolutely right. I took these photos from my friends on a trip we had during winter. But in my explanations, I’ve actually given more tips for summer than winter.
      I totally get what you mean by overfashioned. haha!

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  • Kulifay Bálint

    Is this even compulsory for non-Muslims? Seems rather pointless to me to demand it from a Christian tourist, for example.

    • Yes it’s compulsory for everyone. I get your point and I’m with you on this one, but this is how it is for now.

    • hanous

      Yes it’s compulsory. the problem is if they say only Muslims should follow the dress code then they wouldn’t be able to enforce the law (since there are no immediate ways to verify if someone is a Muslim or for example an Armenian/Christian then it will be impossible for an officer to say if the law is being broken or not) furthermore one half of the population will convert to other religions if the government say followers of other religions can wear what ever they want 🙂

      • Kulifay Bálint

        That is a fair point, actually. From their perspective.

  • Valeria

    Hi Matin ! Just came across your blog and wanted to say thank you for giving us some tips about your wonderful country. I just visited Iran like month ago and planning to go back in march. I highly recommend Iran to all my friends and I did really fall inlove with it’s people and culture.

    • Hello Valera. Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you’ve had a lovely time. I keep seeing people coming back for Iran. It’s a good sign. 😉

  • Behjat

    Well, here I go again. As much as I try to tell people things are different in Iran, and much easier for people to travel to, as I try to get paper work done for my American husband to go to Iran with me, I’m wondering if what I tell people is true?
    We have been married for more than 35 years, both american and Iranian marriage. My husband has been trying to go with me every time I went to Iran, to meet the rest of my family, and see the wonderful country I remember and left behind more than 50 years ago. But every time I started the process, either some political problem between the two country changed our mind or I became so frustrated with the unfair amount of paperwork we had to do, and all the other requirements, I gave up. I abandoned the process every time, rather than being subjected to so much red tape and unfair inequality between what is required from an Iranian woman married to a foreign man verses an Iranian man married to a foreign woman.
    The first time we started the process was five years after we were married, and the last time was a few months ago, which is 30 years later. Of course, he thinks, we should comply so he can see Iran and meet the rest of my family, but it is I who gives up every time. I, as an older, educated, and free woman who has lived in this country for more than 50 years, refuse to be subjected to such an unfair treatment.
    This is 21st century, and I expect more from Iran than Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, or any other third world country. At least if these requirements were expected from people who were politically involved, I can understand, but my husband is a dentist and I’m a retired teacher and not politically involved in either country, but this is the norm.
    Let me give you an example of what is required from us, just so a member of my family can send an invitation to my husband, to travel to Iran.
    My father died when I was 27, I am 72 years old now. In order to register my marriage in my birth certificate, I either need a copy of my father’s death certificate or his permission for me to have been married. Please read the numbers again. He died 45 years ago, and I’m 72 now. I have to send his death certificate, 4 pictures, my birth certificate, Iranian and American marriage certificates, my husband’s birth certificate, a certified letter that he has not been married before, a couple of pages of paperwork, and money to Iranian interest in Washington DC. These are just to enter our marriage in my birth certificate.

    Once we take care of this step, I have to send certified copies of my birth certificate, our marriage certificates, his and my pictures, my citizenship certificate, a certified letter from our police department showing that my husband has no priors, a certified letter from his doctor or health department showing that he does not have HIV or other illness, to a member of my family in Iran. Once my sister or brother has these, he or she can take them to wherever, to get permission and the form to be able to send an invitation to my husband.

    Guess what, it takes months to have all these in place. Once we have the invitation, we have to send it and everything else I mentioned again back to Iranian interest in Pakistan’s embassy in Washington DC, in order to get visa for my husband to travel to Iran. Now you can see why I gave up every time I got started the process.

    My father died more than 45 years ago, I’m a 72 year old woman now. I didn’t get my father’s permission when I got married the first time, and I was a very young woman then, why now? It is nobody’s business but mine who I’m married to, why all these stupid requirements, if they are not trying to keep women in 7 century? Why what they require from an Iranian man, varies from what they require from an Iranian woman?

    Iran is a beautiful country with wonderful, kind and hospitable people. Why not make it easier for people who are not politically involved, to travel there? When people who have never been there hear about Iran, they think turbans, vail, mullas, dirty streets, and a frightful place with nothing else to offer. I want everybody to see that Iran is the place of beautiful women, handsome men, delicious food, incredible ancient places, and so much more. It is up to the new and young generation of women to try and change things. Iranian women should not feel equal to men only when they live outside of Iran, they should be and feel equal when they live in their own country.
    Just because my husband can hardly wait to see the place he has heard about for over 35 years, I’m going to give up and comply with all the unfair requirements, in order to get a visa for him, but never again.

    • Behjat, I’m so sorry you have to go through all this. Even though visa regulations for Iran have eased very much, they are still very strict with Americans. But it’s really the both way around.
      I wish you could just join a tour or something, so your husband can get a visa without needing a marriage certificate. I’m totally aware of the difficulties women with non-Iranian husbands go through. I do really hope it changes. I know it’s a big process and everything but it’s totally worth it. I’m sure your return to Iran will be a memory you will never forget. 😉
      Don’t give up just yet. Cheers!

  • So helpful for a first time traveller to Iran. Thank you very much!

  • AKK

    Thanks for the helpful blog post – I’ve just read it ahead of my second trip to Iran. I just wanted to explain why I think some female tourists may choose to wear non-colourful clothing. I have (and will, in future visits) tried to wear non-colourful clothing as I want to look as inconspicuous as possible. I already look very different to local Iranian women, and do not really want to draw further attention to myself. I suspect this maybe one of the reasons other female tourists do the same.

    Anyway, thanks for the helpful blog. I will definitely have a look at your other posts. Merci.

    • It could be it. But I guess the blonde hair and super white skin still sells them off. :)) Not to mention we Iranians know an Iranian only by certain features.

  • Esther Ng

    Hi Matin. My mother and I are planning to travel to Iran during June this summer. We were wondering if it’s okay to wear a long dress and then cover up with a waist-length cardigan. And do you have any other suggestions for what to wear to Iran during summer? Thanks!

    With best wishes,

    Esther

    • Hello Esther,
      A long maxi dress is totally fine as long as it doesn’t have cuts on the side that would show your legs. Anything loose and breezy for the summer is your best option.

      • Esther Ng

        Thank you so much Matin 🙂 And is it a must for women to wear a manto?

        • I see a lot of Asian tourists who don’t really respect the dress code and seem to get away with it. What’s recommended is that you wear something that covers your bum and that’s it. So it doesn’t really matter if it’s a manto or anything else. 😉

          • Esther Ng

            Ah okay. Thank you Matin 😀 !!!

  • Esther Ng

    Hi Matin,

    Sorry for asking another question. I saw some pictures online of women tying their headscarf into a turban. I was wondering if this sort of hijab is allowed in Iran since it exposes the ears and the neck fully?

    Many thanks,

    Esther

    • Hello Esther,
      Turbans are not really considered appropriate and not common in Iran. Sometimes girls would wear hat during the winter with turtle necks but I guess that can’t be done in the summer. But I’ve seen plenty of turbans on tourists, so I guess you’ll be fine with it. Just make sure your top is not very open on the neck. 😉

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  • laialy

    Hi…umm…I was just wondering if it’s expected for a thirteen year old to follow these rules???

    And if so is knee long skirts and tights underneath acceptable or not????

  • laialy

    Hi…umm…I was just wondering if it’s expected for a thirteen year old to follow these rules???

    And if so is knee long skirts and tights underneath acceptable or not????

    • It has very much to do with her looks and how petite she is. If she’s got obvious female features then she should be following the rules. If she still looks very childish then perhaps she can only adjust to them to some extent. Knee long skirts and tights would be acceptable for her. 😉

      • laialy

        Ok thanks 😉

  • This is super helpful! I’m going to Iran in November and have been stressing about what to wear (my closet consists solely of tank top and short sleeved shirts. Definitely feeling a bit better about choosing clothes now that I’ve read this 😀

    • Hello Alex. I’m so glad you’ve found the post helpful. I can totally understand where you’re coming from. No body wants to purchase a full wardrobe after having spent so much on a trip. You can definitely still use the clothing you have an perhaps only buy a few layerings to top them off. Wishing you a pleasant journey to Iran. 🙂

  • Lisa

    Hello,

    Thank you so much for this useful, informational article.
    I will be coming to Iran in two weeks and I bought a sort of manto. But I also want to look a bit more modern (when I will be in Tehran and Esfahan) and I was wondering if I can wear my loose sweater which covers my bum and thighs, wear a skirt under it for some extra length and leggings? Or will I take it too far then and offend/disrespect people by wearing that?

    thanks 🙂

    Lisa

    • Hello Lisa. That would be absolutely fine. Even if your top doesn’t cover your thighs, wearing a skirt would justify it. Don’t forget that you’ll be a needing something warm for this time of the year. You could also wear a midi skirt with leggings and ankle boots. 😉

      • Lisa

        Hi, thank you so much for your reply.
        I do have my merino base layers with me (I’m also going to do a 3-day hike in the Alborz Mountains where, as I heard, it’s already snowing, so I’m covered for all temperatures 😉
        Just didn’t want to insult people by not dressing appropiately.

        Again, thank you very much for your site and stories. I have written so much of your tips in my travel guide, I am sure they are going to be contributing to my trip!

  • Eowilinde

    Hello, I’m planning trip to Iran next month, November, so can you give me some tips on what to wear? How many degrees? Do i have to bring jacket etc.? Thank you. 🙂

    • Well I’ve already given all my tips in the post but yes you do need to bring a warm jacket or coat. It’s already getting chilly.

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  • Amelie

    Thank you for this piece! I feel much calmer and happier about my upcoming trip now 🙌🏾💕

  • Daniela

    Dear Matin,
    In August me and my husband will be in Iran.
    We plan to couchsurf sometimes.
    I’m wondering what to wear at night in private houses as a pyjama? It’s going to be very hot in August. Are long sweatpants and a t-shirt ok? I just don’t wont to be unpolite in case our host is more conservative.
    I’m sure we will join your food tour!
    Thank you for your great blog!
    Daniela

    • Hello Daniela, if the family you’re staying with are conservative than sweatpants and a t-shirt would be fine, if not, wear whatever you would wear back home. If there are women in the house, just see how they dress. But you certainly don’t have to wear the hijab. People who are willing to host foreigners are usually very open about these sort of things. 😉
      Have a great trip! 🙂

  • Marfe

    Excluding jeans, what type of pant or legging should one wear under the tunic?

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  • Noemi Purkrábková

    Hi, thanks very much for the article, it’s really helpful:) I have one question – how is it with swimming for example in the Caspian sea as a woman-tourist? I surely understand I can’t take regular (at least for me) swimsuit, but also don’t really know what to wear, when I want to stay polite.
    Thanks a lot!
    Noemi

    • Saiena Shafi

      There are separate times/shifts for men and women by the Caspian Sea. So, you can wear a swimsuit when you go to a women only beach/time.

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