What to (and NOT to) wear in Dubai | Packing list and tips

By: Sarah Funk

I recently returned from a luxurious trip Dubai. This city is a glamorous playground for locals and visitors alike. It was one of the best vacations of my life! Since coming back to the states, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what to wear when visiting this incredible Arabian city, so today I’m going to give you all of my tips on what to pack for your trip.

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Before I get into that though, if you are planning a trip to Dubai watch my videos linked below on the best things to do, what to eat and drink, and where to stay.


Depending on what time of year you go, your packing list could change slightly. From November to March the temperature is from 87F to 59F (31 C to 15 C). From April to October the temperature is from 107F to 92F (42C to 22C). I went in November. What I love most about the weather in Dubai is that it is the land of eternal sunshine, raining only about 4 times a year on average.

Photo by  Aleksandar Pasaric  from  Pexels

Also, you’ll never be too hot because many of the famous sites are air-conditioned and there are ample pools and beaches. With that said, let’s hop into my first section on what to wear to swim!

Section: Beach/Pool/Waterpark

I stayed at the Jumeriah resorts during my trip. They are ideal for a luxury getaway, right on the beach, and have several stunning pools. The Jumeriah Beach Hotel also has free access to Wild Wadi Waterpark for those that stay there. The resort also has 200 meters of private beach front. Since this is a private beach it doesn’t matter what you wear. However, if it is a public beach then you need to dress modestly.

When I went to the pool, beach, or waterpark I wore a bikini with my white floor length cover-up. This lace cover-up is beautifully hand made. I love this brand for Dubai because they make elegant high-end beach wear, which fits in perfectly with the luxurious vibe at Jumeriah.

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Since the sun in strong there, I also wore my Lazos de Seda hat, which I bought from a local designer in Lima, Peru. This sunhat is classic, complimenting the sophisticated vibe at Jumeirah’s many gorgeous pools. I complimented the hat with a colorful pair of Bolon pure navy sunglasses.

Section: Dinner/Brunch

Dinner and brunch in Dubai are exciting because it is a fun opportunity to wear your most fabulous looks. Each night we would go out to some of the most magical restaurants and bars in the world, such as Al Mahara, which is located surrounding a massive aquarium, and Gold on 27, which is a bar covered in 24 karat gold leafing.

For cocktail hour at Gold on 27, I decided to play with the gold theme by wearing a gold floor length dress. It fit in well with the glamorous vibe of the lounge, and made for great photos. Then I brought a pashmina with me to cover up, for a more modest dinner look.

One of the most famous things to do in Dubai is to go to brunch at Jumeirah Al Qasr on Fridays. This event is chic and sophisticated with over 100 stations around the world serving gourmet cuisine and drinks. Dubai locals love to dress to the nines in the best designer brands at this special brunch so you should too!  

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I wore my petite floral silk cutaway blouse, ivory twill blazer, and matching ivory twill pants from Worth New York. This graceful yet relaxed pant suit is ideal for reflecting the refined atmosphere and the light colors helped keep me cool. I further elevated the look by pairing it with stilettos  and my nude pink Angela Roi vegan leather purse.

Section: Mall/Souq/Al Seef district

There are so many interesting things to do in Dubai. A few of the places you shouldn’t miss are The Dubai Mall, the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building), the local souqs (markets), and Al Seef district. I stayed at the Al Seef Jumeriah hotel and adored the authentic Arabian architecture. I have more information on what to see while you’re there in my best things to do in Dubai video which is linked below.

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Since these fascinating sites are outside of the resort, it is respectful to dress modestly. One of the outfits I wore when I explored these areas was my kimono, and fluid velvet v neck tank from W by Worth paired with black jeans, and my hand-made heeled sandals from Antelope shoes.

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Another outfit was a simple white cotton tee with my Saks Off 5th asymmetric hem slip skirt in red clay color. I felt its rustic hue fit in beautifully with the traditional Arabian colors in the Al Seef district. The look was modern yet refined, and breathable in the warm weather. To protect my eyes from the sun, I matched this look with my Bolon legend denim sunglasses with a gold frame. I also paired this with my hand-made heeled sandals from Antelope shoes.

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Section: Mosque 

Dubai and Abu Dhabi (a short hour and a half drive) are home to a few of the most beautiful mosques on the planet. They are also a great way to learn about the local culture. Abu Dhabi hosts the famous Sheikh Zayed Mosque. When attending any mosque, it is important to be respectful by dressing conservatively.

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Jumeirah kindly gifted me a beautiful abaya, which is the traditional dress that visitors wear when they go to a mosque. It is made with one of the softest materials I’ve felt, and is a beautiful slate color. I wore it when I went, however, it is possible to rent abayas while at the mosque. At the Sheikh Zayed Mosque abaya rentals are complimentary. You’ll also notice that upon entering the mosque you’ll be asked to remove your shoes. This is normal and there is a place to store them outside of the mosque. I actually loved removing my shoes here because the floor was a smooth, white marble which was wonderful to walk on.

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If you can, I recommend going during prayer time so you can listen to the prayer call. I went during the evening prayer and it was enchanting watching such a special moment in person.

Section: Safari

One of my top travel experiences ever was going on a desert safari in Dubai. We booked this through Platinum Heritage and I highly recommend it. During this six-hour tour, you’ll have an authentic Bedouin experience; including driving through the sand dunes in a vintage 1948 Land Rover, riding camels, a falcon demonstration, and a traditional dinner and performance at a Bedouin village.

Photo by  Nizam Abdul Latheef  from  Pexels

For this experience, I wore a simple wrap dress, my Bolon aviator rose gold shades, and brought a cover-up because it can get cold in the desert at night. I recommend wearing sandals you can easily take off because it is easier to walk through the sand barefoot. When we arrived, they gave us each a Shyla to help protect from the sun and sand. There were many colors to choose from. I went with a mint colored one because it went well with my slate dress. I recommend wearing something comfortable during this experience because you’ll be moving around a lot!

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That’s it! I hope you have a great trip to Dubai and for more tips on things to do, and where to stay, eat, and drink watch my other Dubai videos linked below.

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