“What’s appropriate to wear in Morocco?” “What should I wear in Morocco?” “Are there clothing restrictions in Morocco?” “Am I allowed to expose my shoulders in Morocco?” “Do I have to cover my hair in Morocco?” “Can my knees be exposed in Morocco?”
If you’ve found yourself asking any of the above questions – fret not – I’m here to answer all of your “ what to wear in Morocco ” questions – followed by some photos, as well!
Short answer: wear what you want.
I know, I know, you’re all, “seriously, Jackie?”
But, yes. You can wear whatever you want.
Long answer: There are a few realities of Morocco that stir up these wardrobe questions… one fact about Morocco is that nearly 99% of its residents (according to Wikipedia) adhere to the religion of Islam. Since many traditional Islamic countries require the women to cover their hair, shoulders, knees and in some very traditional countries even ankles and face – Morocco comes with assumptions of how a woman should/has to dress.
Being that I thought the rules were strict in Morocco prior to my arriving there, most of my outfits cover my shoulders and knees like this ensemble at Ben Youseff Madrasa in Marrakesh.
Here I am again, shoulders and knees covered, at Dar el Makhzen Palace.
However, another fact about Morocco is that it’s an extremely liberal country. On my first day in Morocco I was shocked to see local women wearing short skirts and crop tops (as I had heard/read that you must cover your shoulders and knees when in public). However, local and tourist women alike were bare shoulders, knees blaring, with hardly anyone blinking an eye!
Exposed cleavage or provocative clothing may warrant some unwanted (or, perhaps wanted – no judgement here!) cat-calls – but this is no different in my home city of New York or some of my favorite cities in Europe (Paris, Milan, etc).
Something else to consider – the weather. It is HOT in Morocco. When packing for your Morocco trip try to remember to pack light, loose clothes. Opt for airy kimonos, linen and light cotton options.
Here’s my friend Christine from Tour De Lust in Rabat and Marrakech:
Christine felt completely comfortable while exploring Ben Youseff Madrasa with bare shoulders and exposed knees.
Here’s another of Christine, casually comfortable at the Mausoleum of Mohammad V in Rabat.
Here’s my friend Zory from Zory Mory in the Sahara and in Fes:
Here’s Zory sporting a GORGEOUS dress with a fun slit in the Sahara – shoulders and knees bare and not a care!
Zory again with shoulders and knees exposed, comfortably, in Fes at Bou Inania Madrasa.
Here I am after learning about the “loose rules”… I was happy to let the cover-up go!
This was at the Roman Ruins at Volubilis, and it was H-O-T.
However, although I became quickly aware of how liberal Morocco was I still tried to remain respectful to those citizens of Morocco who may not be as liberal as their government is. It was not unusual to see a woman in a complete abaya – or aba – (which is a robe-like dress that covers most of a woman’s body) and it’s also typical to see a woman in a hijab which covers their face and hair with the exception of their eyes. I, personally, wanted to remain respectful for those women and I covered up for most of my trip in Morocco.
Here I am on my first day in Morocco (in Rabat) almost completely covered from ankles to neck.
Here I am just outside of Aït Ben Haddou, near Ouarzazate, remaining fashionable while still covering my knees and shoulders.
I still stand my short answer when it comes to “ what to wear in Morocco ”, whatever you want! Be comfortable, be you – the same way the locals are!
*Disclaimer: I was hosted in Morocco as a guest with Visit Morocco – Moroccan National Tourist Office. My opinions, as always, remain my own.