dress code in UAE offices: learn about it’s policy in Dubai, and the consequences for breaking it

Walaa Alaghbar
Published 9 months ago on 8 July, 2023-2878 views
dress code in UAE offices: learn about it’s policy in Dubai, and the consequences for breaking it

It is important when visiting any country for the first time to be aware of the customs and traditions of this town and the way they dress. The same is true when visiting the United Arab Emirates. Among all the countries in the Middle East, UAE has a unique and distinctive dress code for men and women. What about the employees in their offices and on top of their work? Respect for work and co-workers is by following and adhering to their dress code. 

Learn about the dress code in UAE offices for men and women, and what is the policy for the dress code in Dubai.


What is the dress code in UAE offices 

The dress code in UAE offices is generally conservative and modest. Men typically wear business suits or traditional attire dress such as a dishdasha or kandura (long white robe) with a head covering called ghutra or shemagh. Women are expected to dress modestly, usually wearing conservative business attire that covers their shoulders, arms, and legs. It is common for women to wear an abaya (a loose-fitting black cloak) over their clothing when in public spaces. However, the specific dress code may vary depending on the company and industry. It is always advisable to check with your employer for any specific guidelines they may have.


UAE dress code for men

UAE dress code for men
Dress code in dubai offices for men

One of the main things that must be taken into account when wanting to wear the Emirati dress is to take into account the hot weather, as light fabrics must be chosen when the heat returns. What distinguishes the official uniform of the Emiratis is its color and length, as they wear a long white galabia, because the white color repels them from the sun’s heat, but they may wear black and gray in the winter. The traditional dress of the Emirati man includes: (Agal, the kandura, the bisht, and the ghutra).

Dress code in UAE offices for men

The dress code in UAE offices for men is generally formal or business attire. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Suit: A well-tailored suit is the most common choice for men in UAE offices. Opt for a dark-colored suit, such as navy blue or charcoal gray.
  • Shirt: Wear a long-sleeved, button-down shirt in a solid color or subtle patterns. White, light blue, and pastel shades are popular choices.
  • Tie: Pair your suit with a conservative tie that complements the color of your suit and shirt. Avoid loud or flashy patterns.
  • Trousers or dress pants: Choose tailored trousers that match your suit jacket. Stick to neutral colors like black, gray, or navy blue.
  • Shoes: Wear closed-toe dress shoes in black or brown with matching socks. Avoid wearing sandals or sneakers to the office.
  • Accessories: Keep accessories minimal and professional. A simple belt, watch, and cufflinks can add a touch of sophistication to your outfit.
  • Grooming: Maintain a well-groomed appearance by keeping your hair neatly styled and facial hair trimmed and tidy.

It’s important to note that specific dress codes may vary depending on the industry and company culture. It’s always advisable to check with your employer for any specific guidelines they may have in place regarding dress code in UAE offices.

Read also: “UAE business ethics, learn about the basic etiquette to work in the Emirate


UAE dress code for women

The Emirati women’s dress, unlike the Emirati men’s, is of a dark color, and the black color is prominent in their dresses.

Often, their clothes tend to be more modest and dress conservatively without showing any details of the woman’s body or being seen through it. Details of the dress code for Emirati women and business attire dress for women include: (abaya, niqab/ burqa, or hijab only for the most fashionable women). business attire dress for women include:

Dress code in UAE offices for women

The dress code for women in UAE offices is generally conservative and modest, not showing any part of the woman’s body nor showy or glowing. Meaning that it’s important to dress without looking for attention.

  • Clothing: 

Women are expected to wear professional attire, such as formal business suits, dresses, or skirts with blouses. The clothing should cover the shoulders and reach at least the knee length.

  • Necklines: 

Avoid low-cut or revealing tops that expose cleavage or bare shoulders. It is recommended to opt for higher necklines.

  • Sleeves: 

Sleeveless tops or dresses are generally acceptable, but it is advisable to carry a lightweight cardigan or blazer to cover the shoulders if needed.

  • Skirts and Dresses: 

Skirts and dresses should be knee-length or longer. Avoid wearing tight-fitting or body-hugging outfits.

  • Fabrics:

Choose fabrics that are not too sheer or transparent, as they may be considered inappropriate in a professional setting.

  • Colours: 

Neutral colors like black, navy blue, gray, and beige are commonly worn in office environments. However, you can also incorporate subtle patterns and colors into your outfits.

  • Footwear: 

Closed-toe shoes are preferred over open-toe sandals or flip-flops. High heels are acceptable but should be of a reasonable height for comfort and practicality.

  • Accessories: 

Keep accessories minimal and professional-looking. Avoid wearing excessive jewelry or accessories that may be distracting.

The dress codes in UAE offices for women can vary slightly depending on the specific company culture and industry sector within the UAE.

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UAE Dress code policy in Dubai

UAE and Dubai have a relatively conservative dress code policy due to their cultural and religious values. While Dubai is a modern and cosmopolitan city, it is important to respect local customs and traditions. Here are some guidelines for the UAE dress code policy in Dubai:

  • Modest Clothing: 

Both men and women are expected to dress modestly in public places. This means avoiding revealing or tight-fitting clothing that may be considered inappropriate or offensive.

  • Shoulders and Knees Covered: 

It is generally recommended to keep shoulders and knees covered, especially when visiting religious sites, government buildings, or public areas.

  • No Transparent Clothing: 

Transparent or see-through clothing should be avoided as it is considered immodest.

  • Swimwear: 

While swimwear is acceptable at beaches, pools, and water parks, it should be limited to those areas only. It is not appropriate to wear swimwear in public places such as malls or restaurants.

  • Traditional Attire: 

Emirati nationals often wear traditional clothing known as “kandura” for men and “abaya” for women. While not mandatory for visitors, it is respectful to appreciate and acknowledge their culture by dressing appropriately when attending traditional events or visiting local communities.

  • Business Attire: 

Business attire in Dubai tends to be formal, with men typically wearing suits or smart-casual attire, while women often opt for conservative dresses or pantsuits.

  • Religious Sites: 

UAE is a muslim country so When visiting mosques or other religious sites, both men and women should ensure they are dressed modestly with arms and legs covered. Women may also be required to cover their hair with a scarf (hijab).

These guidelines are not legally enforced but rather expected as a sign of respect towards the local culture and customs in Dubai.

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Consequences for breaking the UAE dress code in the offices

Consequences for breaking uae dress code
Consequences of breaking dress code in UAE offices

The consequences for breaking the UAE dress code in offices can vary depending on the severity of the violation and the specific company policies. However, here are some 4 major consequences that individuals may face for not wearing the professional dress:

  • Verbal warning:  In less severe cases, employees may receive a verbal warning from their supervisor or HR department. This serves as a reminder to adhere to the dress code policy.
  • Written warning: If an employee repeatedly violates the dress code policy or commits a more serious violation, they may receive a written warning. This is usually documented in their personnel file and can affect future evaluations or promotions.
  • Suspension: In some cases, particularly if an employee continues to disregard the dress code policy after receiving warnings, they may face temporary suspension from work without pay.
  • Termination of employment: For persistent or severe violations of the dress code policy, an employee may face termination of their employment. This is typically considered a last resort and is more likely to occur if an individual shows a consistent disregard for company policies.

The consequences can vary between different companies and industries within the UAE. It is always advisable for employees to familiarize themselves with their company’s specific dress code policy and adhere to it accordingly to avoid any negative repercussions.


How strict is Dubai’s dress code?

UAE dress code is strict but acceptablein the same time. It is advisable to avoid wearing revealing clothing. However, visitors and residents can generally wear whatever they want in the emirate. 

Can men wear shorts in UAE?

Men can wear shorts, pants, shirts, or T-shirts. Women can wear dresses, skirts, shorts, and T-shirts, blouses, tops… The UAE dress code is somewhat stricter at shopping malls, local areas, and mosques, and also during Ramadan. When in doubt, cover your knees and shoulders.


The code in Dubai is quite liberal, government offices allow the tourist to dress freely but the government strictly punishes those who dress immorally without respecting the culture and tradition of UAE. So The dress code in UAE offices is considered strict but moral also.

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