The Sultanate of Oman is an Arab country located on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Oman is a conservative Middle Eastern Muslim country.
Omani traditions and values are reflected in the dress code of the Omani people. Tradition largely contributes to the way Omani nationals dress. The dress code for both genders is conservative and the vast majority of Omanis, particularly those living in rural areas, dress modestly.
How Do Omani People Dress?
Western countries are used to a very liberal dress code. In Oman, on the contrary, people remain rather traditional when it comes to their clothing. Travelers to Oman should always take this into consideration when planning their trip.
The national Omani dress for men is an ankle-length collarless robe with long sleeves, called a dishdasha. The robe is usually white, although it also comes in other colors such as brown, lilac, and black. Men often wear a traditional hat that is usually white and adorned with a variety of elaborate embroidery.
Omani women traditionally wear a long dress over pants called sirwal and a headdress or lihaf. The lihaf is often showing only the women’s face or, oftentimes, just their eyes.
Why Should I Follow the Omani Dress Code?
The Omani people are very friendly and accepting. They will generally not speak up against foreigners or comment on the way they dress. However, it is always important to show respect to local culture in complying with local habits and traditions to the extent that is possible. This applies to any country and especially those with such strong traditions as Oman.
As a general rule, avoid wearing revealing clothing in public places. Wearing low-cut tops and short skirts will attract the wrong sort of attention, and you may quickly feel uncomfortable.
What Should I Wear in Oman?
Expectations are somewhat different when it comes to men and women. Dress codes are less strict for men, although Omani will usually not appreciate it if men wear shorts or singlets. It is, therefore, advisable to always wear long-sleeved tops and pants when visiting Oman. Swimsuits should be reserved for the beach.
For visiting the Bimmah Sinkhole and Wadi Shab, it is advisable to bring water shoes or trekking sandals. These are the best footwear options for wet, rock-strewn terrain.
Oman’s shopping centers usually display signs showing the expected dress code.
In rural areas, dressing conservatively is a must. Clothing items such as ripped jeans, T-shirts with slogans or images, as well as piercings are not acceptable.
Men: What Clothes to Pack When Visiting Oman
Men should avoid tank tops and make sure to wear T-shirts to cover their shoulders. If possible, they should also wear long pants. Shorts are usually tolerated, but long pants are preferred. If heat is a problem, linen clothing is a good option.
When visiting a mosque, men should always wear T-shirts and long pants. Shorts are not permitted in a mosque.
Swimming shorts are most of the time acceptable for men. However, in some places like Wadi Bani Khalid for example, there are signs asking men to cover their upper body and swim in a T-shirt.
What Should Female Tourists Wear in Oman?
Women visiting Oman should preferably wear loose clothing. It is important to have arms and shoulders covered at all times. Strapless shirts and dresses are not acceptable. In addition, skirts should reach at least beneath the knee. Long skirts and dresses comply perfectly with the local dress code. Wearing pants is also a good option. It is always useful to carry a shawl to cover hair, especially in more conservative areas.
In a mosque, women are required to wear shirts with long sleeves covering wrists and long pants or skirts that cover the ankles. In addition, women must have their hair covered with a scarf in a mosque.
The accepted swim attire for women varies strongly from place to place. However, it is best to always be prepared to swim in a T-shirt and shorts reaching the knees. Some popular tourist places, like the Bimmah Sinkhole or Wadi Shab, are less strict when it comes to swimwear and foreign women can be seen swimming in regular bathing suits.