Perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions for travellers before coming to Iran is related to clothing. Here we are about to give you a bit of explanation about the various dress codes in Iran to respect the norm and culture and blend into the background.
We intend to provide you with a what-to-wear guide that will be the most convenient possible, to get ready for your trip. Then, as soon as you step into the country, you can discover a reality that is far from the prejudices and pre-conceived images about clothing in Iran. Indeed, do not expect to see women wearing a burka or black of any kind! On the contrary, be prepared to discover people who deeply love fashion and show endless creativity in clothing.
Ethnically, culturally, and religiously, Iran has various dress codes based on a basic standard. This latter is quite easy: while in public, it is mandatory for women to cover their hair. Clothes are worn a bit loose, and they cover the hands up to the ankles, the arms up to the elbows, and are long enough to cover the bottom part. You should also avoid wearing a low-cut neckline. However, you can wear open shoes and sandals. For men, the dress code is easy: the only requirement is not to wear shorts and avoid sleeveless shirts even if T-shirts are accepted. From these simple instructions, women and men are free to apply any modifications to their style, wearing bright colours and different fabrics. Of course, these rules are meant for public spaces. Indoors and among members of the family, people follow their own rules according to their beliefs and comforts.
The capital city, Tehran, is a full showcase of various styles and trends, from strict Islamic clothing to a modern and fashionable way of dressing up. You’ll notice the clothing diversity, their tastefulness and a strong sense of fashion among Iranian women and men. People have been creatively modifying their styles and simultaneously colouring inside the lines. Regardless of each person’s religious beliefs and clothing tastes, people live peacefully alongside each other. Do not be surprised to see an Iranian lady wearing a black chador chatting with a fashionable and on-trend woman in Tehran’s subway for instance. What you witness in Tehran and other big cities is simply reflecting the international trends in terms of colour, textile design, and clothing style modified ingeniously to befit the country’s clothing rules and regulations.
The story might be a little different in smaller and more religious places. In cities such as Qom, Hamadan, Kashan, and Qazvin, aside from their local and traditional costumes, dress codes are slightly different and people dress more conservatively. It will catch the attention of the locals if one keeps a really modern and trendy clothing style, as it’s different from what they are used to seeing every day, however, there are no specific concerns to have regarding these places, as people always show a great tolerance toward the visitor.
Here are some extra handy tips from experienced local women to the first time travellers to Iran:
At last, don’t worry if you could not pack the proper suit to fit Iran’s dress code before departure. Once in Iran, you can find anything you want to wear in any bazaars or modern shops in the cities. While intimidating at the beginning, clothing rules in Iran are rather simple and flexible. The best way to figure it out is to come and see it by yourself. Meanwhile, we hope that this guide has been helpful in order to clear up some doubts you might have had regarding what to wear in Iran.