you must wear t-shirts make sure they are baggy
and the sleeves come down at least to your elbows.
Don't wear tight fitting anything. Remember,
long skirts past the knee, please. The less
flesh showing the more respect you will be shown.
If you have long hair try and keep it tied back.
If you smoke try to refrain from doing it in
public (women smoking is still not accepted
in some parts of the Middle East).
Jennifer, Warriewood, Australia
Egypt, I cannot emphasize that conservative
clothing is better. No Shorts, halters, tank-tops,
even short sleeves will get too much attention.
You don't have to look like a nun on vacation,
but don't be stupid enough to think that you
can dress like you do in the U.S./Canada overseas.
Also, being neat and clean (no raggedy jeans),
combed hair counts for a lot overseas. Many
cultures, especially the Egyptian and Bolivian
(and many other Latin cultures) take much more
pride in dressing up than North American culture
Brooke, Cambridge, USA
recently spent 10 days in Egypt, mostly Cairo
and Luxor; best advice is for women to bring
mid calf cotton skirts and long sleeve linen/cotton
blouses to wear when venturing out in public-
you'll feel more at ease in the culture and
still remain cool. You're going to attract attention
as a foreigner anyways, but at least it won't
be because of "provocative" dress. It will also
show a degree of respect for their culture.
If you have allergies, bring your meds - Cairo
is extremely polluted - worse than anything
I've experienced from LA to New York - some
days are worse than others but all days were
bad - my lungs and eyes burned! Luxor was a
welcome relief but the air was still bothersome.
Mara T. Harrington, Fox Point, WI, USA
in the Middle East, I found my two most useful
clothing choices were: a puffy, white, long-sleeved
cotton blouse, and a full, calf-length, black
cotton skirt. Both were cut generously enough
that I was cool and comfortable, sober enough
that no one could confront me, and formal enough
that I could wear them to Shabbat dinner (Israel)and
to mosques (Egypt) alike.
Miranda, Victoria, Canada
I arrived in Cairo and saw what women were wearing,
I felt relieved. I was expecting more veils
and coverings on women. (It is true that acceptable
attire ranges with who is in political power).
I was fine -- I wore light (not see through)
long skirts, a cotton longsleeved button down
shirt, and my hair pulled back. Outside of Cairo,
a light colored patterned scarf tied or wrapped
below the chin with no jewelry was more appropriate.
If you are going to be outside most of the time,
a wide rimmed hat with a scarf around your neck
will keep you cooler. Carry a fan. It's ve-r-r-ry
Jody, Boulder, USA
in Cairo, I've found that sarongs (cotton) are
absolutely invaluable for roaming around, touring,
shopping, etc. You can adjust the length according
to taste and surroundings (i.e., to your ankles
for mosques, mid-calf while shopping, above
the knee in Hurghada), they are cool in the
hot weather, and can also serve as towel, scarf,
or blanket while traveling. I use safety pins
to fasten them. Also, wear sunglasses dark enough
to hide your eyes. Making eye contact is considered
flirtatious, even if it's unintentional. When
touring, a silk chiffon scarf is also useful
when going into mosques, etc. but also to protect
your bare head from the sun. The chiffon isn't
bulky to stuff or tie somewhere when you don't
Susan, Cairo, Egypt
travelled in Eqypt and I wore a loose, midcalf
length cotton skirt and long-sleeved white blouse
with a big, square white cotton scarf. I was
as cool as I would have been in shorts, I was
ready to visit a mosque whenever we stumbled
upon one, and I could "hide" under the headscarf
anytime I felt uncomfortable. I had no unpleasant
interactions with men - one shopkeeper even
made a very favourable comment about my mode
of dress--i.e.that I looked like an Egyptian
woman. My whole experience of Egypt was very
different from many women travellers I met who
had been there -- I attribute this to the message
my clothes sent. And, unlike one woman I met,
I didn't have to go to the extreme of dying
my naturally blonde hair to avoid unwanted attention!
Jolie, Toronto, Canada
travelling with a group in Egypt, we came across
one situation quite often and at first unexpected.
Women MUST cover up any bare skin when entering
most mosques. The first time (when we were unprepared)
we ended up tying the men's sweaters and coats
around our legs so we could get into these sites.
This was definately frowned upon by the locals
and the employees. I suggest travelling prepared
with a skirt or pants that you can slip on before
entry if you find them uncomfortable to wear
as you're travelling.
Jennifer, Toronto, Canada
Editor's note: A long
skirt in a "cool" fabric is invaluable for day
and evening wear. They are far less constricting
in hot temperatures and a blessing when using
toilets in some countries.
walking shorts are alright for touring in Egypt,
I would not recommend mini skirts or short-shorts.
Not only is this culturally not acceptable,
it can be dangerous (due to religious extremism
outside of the large cities of Cairo and Alexandria).
I wore long skirts or those casual, comfortable
elastic waist, drawstring pants. A woman,( and
a man for that fact), should be very considerate
of religious "dress" while in mosques. While
no one may prevent your entrance, it is considerate
not to enter mosques in shorts (men & women)
or with bare shoulderss. You should also remove
your shoes before entering. You will find that
if you respect this culture's "semi-conservative"
dress code, you will be harassed less and accorded
more respect by men as well as women.
Lori, San Francisco, USA
traveled in Egypt. My advice is as follows:
skirts are cooler than jeans in a desert climate.
For women, shorts are just not an option in
a Muslim country, unless you want tons of whistles,
stares, and very high "tourist" prices for cab
fares and souvenirs. I like wearing "broom"
skirts, as they are long (past your knees),
cool, inexpensive, and pack well in a backpack
(or suitcase). T-shirts are fine to wear in
public. You'll almost never need to wear sleeves
to your wrists, unless going into a mosque.
have just read in my local paper that according
to Travel Holiday Magazine,it is illegal for
women to expose their arms in mosques in Cairo.
Evelyn, Toronto, Canada