How to Dress for Morocco
By Laura Rocha
These tips will make your experience in any Moroccan city significantly better and allow for successful interactions with locals
Learning about the culture of the place you are visiting and the basic norms of and gestures of respect is the best way to ensure you have a good time. In general, locals react best to travelers who are willing and able to abide by their culture. In Morocco, and Arab countries in general, this is reflected, in great part, on the way we present ourselves, particularly in the clothing we wear.
The following tips should help guide you in choosing what to pack for your upcoming trip to Morocco:
Women and Girls
1. Cover your arms and legs:
This is a practice that reflects the value of modesty that pervades many Muslim and Arab cultures. For girls and women, the best practice is to show the least skin possible, choosing long-sleeved shirts and long pants or skirts. Skirts should show very little of your ankles.
2. Cover your hair:
If you have longer and/or lighter hair, your experience in Morocco will be better if you opt for using a headscarf. This is part of the modesty practices of the local culture and will help you and the group you are traveling with attract less unwanted attention.
3. Avoid yoga pants:
In general, it is recommended that girls and women do not wear yoga pants or tight clothing at any point during a trip to Morocco. This type of clothing is considered revealing and disrespectful. It will also make you stand out and attract unwanted attention. We recommend staying away from yoga pants altogether for a smooth trip.
4. Wear comfy shoes:
All participants, regardless of their expressed gender, can wear sandals with a heel, but flip-flops are not recommended due to the uneven surfaces in most cities. Closed-toed shoes make all the walking we are doing much easier!
Men and Boys
1. Cover your shoulders:
While it is mostly okay for men to show a portion of their arms, it is generally best to wear shirts that cover the shoulders. Be sure to choose items that go past the deltoid (the shoulder muscle), as this will show locals that you respect their culture around modesty.
2. Avoid shorts:
It is best to opt for pants. Shorts are okay in instances such as hiking trips, but walking around Moroccan cities with your legs covered is considered more respectful. Men or boys with bare legs will not attract as much attention as women or girls, but it will still make their interactions with locals harder.
3. Wear comfy shoes:
Just like tip 4 for women and girls, it is recommendable that you wear closed-toed shoes or hilled sandals for comfort and ease when walking on uneven surfaces.
Wherever you go, the way you present yourself speaks before you do. It is what people see and in many cases, it can affect how or if people approach you. In countries like Morocco, it is important to keep in mind that there are very strong cultural norms around modesty in place. Respecting these rules will help you have a safer and more enjoyable experience. It will also help the locals feel more at ease around you, knowing that you respect their culture and showing that you are willing to learn from them.