I travelled to the countryside with a Mongolian girl and we both
wore jeans. It is fairly conservative outside of the capital but
the weather is the biggest factor. I recommend jeans, short sleeve
tee shirts and a long sleeve shirt to wear over it. Most women wear
a headscarf to protect from the VERY strong sun - I burned faster
in northern Mongolia than I did on a beach in Thailand. Even in
June we both wore a sweatshirt at night as the temperature changes
very much. Pack nothing fancy and nothing that cannot be washed
easily since even UB is very dusty and outside of that there are
few paved roads.
Shelley, Tampa, USA
I would like to add my experiences of travelling to Morocco and
Marrakesh in particular. I took with me a headscarf and wore below
the knees cropped trousers or a long linen skirt, coupled with ordinary
t-shirts with round neckline. I found that I was not hassled at
all by anyone there when I wore my headscarf and sunglasses –
even though I was on my own and wasn’t wearing a wedding ring
and have blond hair and blue eyes. I saw women of many nationalities
wearing extremely revealing clothing and I was offended on behalf
of the locals as I believe in dressing appropriately and respectfully.
Another tip is to wear shoes that cover your feet and not flip-flops
/ thongs or sandals. The streets are not fantastically clean and
the sewerage system was non-existent and so wearing shoes that protected
your feet from manure are essential.
Abi, Cambridge, U.K.
The airline flying me to Morocco lost my luggage. It came on the
next flight - 3 days later. As a result, I had to wear the pants
and shirt I'd worn on the plane until it arrived. Pants are considered
very revealing in some countries and here my outfit got me a lot
of unwelcome comments. Men followed me and strangers touched me
when I was in large crowds. I highly recommend packing a skirt and
long-sleeved shirt in your carry-on when travelling to a muslim
country -- just in case.
Melanie, Alexandria, USA
Moroccan men usually think that all Europeans are easy and therefore
they feel free to pinch and touch. I discovered that for some strange
motive they didn't bother me if I wore long black skirts and long
sleeved black shirts (even if form fitting). The color black seems
to 'cool them down.' And my hair in a pony-tail seemed better than
loose curly hair.
Sofía, Sevilla, Spain
Travel in a Moslem country is very different from that in European
countries. Fortunately, I was with a tour group and we were told
what and what not to wear each day. No shorts ever, no jewelry,
a secure money belt and bum pack for other objects. Moroccan men
were very bold about touching and/or pinching foreign women. They
followed us with their eyes wherever we went and so we had to appear
modest and unassuming in public. It pays to be very careful and
aware in Morocco. Children clung to us and held our hands as soon
as they saw us -- maybe they were just friendly, but maybe not.
Betty, Vancouver, Canada
Ed. note: It pays to keep your
eyes and ears open wherever you travel. A female traveller does
best when she's not complacent.
During my month in Morocco, I wore long skirts and long-sleeved
button-up shirts and was free from harassment (and sunburn!). Wearing
more conservative clothing made me feel more respectful and less
like a target. If you journey to the dunes, bring along a scarf
or piece of fabric to tie around your face to keep out the blowing
Lindsay, Colorado Springs, USA
My husband is a Moroccan and I have travelled there once with him.
This is what I learned about culturally correct clothing. It's true
that Moroccan women do often wear Euro fashion. However, please
understand that if you wear tight or short clothing there is a chance
for harassment. When I went there I wore pants and knee high skirts
and men did make remarks even though I was with my husband. From
experience I can say, my best advice is to dress modestly. If you
are still attracting attention you can buy an inexpensive djelleba
while you are there. They are comfortable and nice.
Janah, San Diego, USA
When in Morocco, some Western women have the idea that it's a strong
political statement to wear western clothes, the likes of which
you might see in a park or on a beach in Toronto or Vancouver. Although
I readily call myself a feminist, I think the unisex Djellaba (long,
loose coat worn over clothes) is a wise idea. Here's why:
1) You can easily string your money/passport pouch under the dress
and while you can easily access the cash and ID via the slits in
the side of your djellaba, a thief will have to work much harder
2) If you get a thick or dark colored djellaba, you don't really
have to wear much under it. Very freeing (also true of the chador
3) If you put on your djellaba the first day, it looks like you've
been there longer than you have and you're less likely to be hassled
4) For the same reason as above, you'll get better prices in the
souk (unless the djellaba is blindingly new).
5) You'll never get to speak to any women, if you appear to disregard
6) It cuts out the "what am I going to wear today" stress that's
a real annoyance when traveling.
And, besides, they're quite cool in the heat and beautiful as well,
in the wide array of colours and variations on the basic design.
Happy souking, ladies!
Buffy, Toronto, Canada
"Western" women are not expected to dress like traditional native
Moroccan women, and indeed many sophisticated or foreign-educated
Moroccan women have adopted European fashion styles. However, no
matter how tight the pants or short the skirt, they always keep
that collar bone covered up. Your vee-neck sweaters, even blouses,
no matter how chaste you think they are, may be interpreted as risque,
disrespectful, or inappropriate in Morocco.
Pamela, Minneapolis, USA
Advice: Wear loose clothing such as baggy pants or long skirts
and a loose-fitting blouse or t-shirt. Not only will it keep you
cool and protected from the sun, but it will lessen unwanted attention
received by local men. Tight or revealing clothing always invites
attention (the local women get harassed too); short pants are not
worn by Moroccan women. Note: you will see all dress styles in the
large cities in Morocco from total veiling to revealing. As a foreign
woman you will be an attraction to the local men; wearing loose
clothing will reduce the harassment. Remember that Moroccans are
friendly, curious people who like to find out about you. Don't be
afraid to chat with them, especially the hanout (small store) owners.
Many people speak some English and will be delighted to hear you
say a word or two in Arabic. Final tip: wear a wedding band and
invent a husband if you don't have one.
Sheri, Rabat, Morocco
In Morocco, foreign women should try to buy a djelleba (traditional
dress with hood, that so many of the Moroccan women wear). If you
do this, you'll be very comfy and will not stand out as a foreigner.Covering
your head isn't necessary as many women don't, but you can if you
want to. If you dress to blend in, you will not be a target for
the beggers and con-artists. Please note that Moroccans in Marrakech,
Fez and small villages are more traditional then Moroccans in Rabat,
Casablanca and Tangier..etc..
Bailey Varos, Erie, USA
Take along a large, long, lightweight, rectangular scarf is my
best recommendation. I used it to cover my head or cover my shoulders
in the souk, as a cover-up at the pool, it prevented sunburn and
protected my hair.
Gillian, Castletown, Isle of Man