The Qatar dress code is something we get a lot of questions on. Having lived in Qatar for a long time we know the country intimately and know all the rules about what to wear in Qatar. In this guide we answer your most burning Qatar dress code questions whether you are coming on a long layover, for the Qatar World or are simply wondering what to wear in Doha Airport.
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Frequently Asked Qatar Dress Code Questions
How do people dress in Qatar?
Before we get into how to dress as a tourist in Qatar it is worth looking at how local people dress in Qatar. The Qatari National Dress is commonly worn by Qatari Nationals and if you go to the Souq or to one of the many museums in Qatar you will see lots of people wearing the traditional dress of Qatar.
The traditional Qatar dress for women is the abaya. The Abaya is a black robe worn over clothes alongside the black headscarf known as the shayla.
Because of this a lot of people worry if you have to wear a hijab in Qatar but we will cover this in more detail below – so keep reading.
Also unlike its neighbour, conservative country Saudi Arabia you are unlikely to see local women wearing the Niqab – a face covering which covers everywhere except for the eyes or even a burka which is a full covering without the opening over the eyes, instead it uses a mesh.
Fact: if you walk along the corniche and see the iconic Museum of Islamic Arts building you may notice the the building actually resembles a woman wearing a batoola – a traditional Qatari metal face covering which isn’t all that common to see these days.
The Qatar National Dress for men is also worn frequently. They wear a white long thobe with a ghutrah (A traditional head covering).
What to wear in Qatar as a woman?
If you are wondering what to wear in Qatar as a woman there are just three things that you need to keep in mind
- Shoulders must be kept covered (i.e. no sleeveless tank tops, vest tops or sleeveless tops).
- Knees must be covered (no shorts or skirts above the knee).
- Clothing should not be too revealing or too tight.
Overall I would surmise that as a conservative Islamic country your clothing as a woman in Qatar should be conservative too. If in doubt it is always better to err on the side of caution.
Also due to the heat in Qatar, especially in the summer months, it is worth trying to stick to clothes made out of natural fabrics such as cotton, linen and silk which are more breathable and comfortable in the extreme Doha temperature.
For a full break down of what not to wear in Qatar see this post.
Do you have to wear a hijab in Qatar?
When people used to come and visit us in Qatar the number one question we would be asked is do you have to wear a hijab? I think the reason for this is due to the national dress which is frequently worn throughout Qatar.
However as a non-Qatari women i.e. an expat or tourist in Qatar you are not expected to wear a hijab, headscarf, burka or any other national dress item.
If you are visiting other countries in the region be sure to check out our wondering what to wear in the Middle East post which offers a helpful country comparison as well as more information on Islamic culture.
Can you wear a bikini in qatar?
In answer to can you wear a bikini in Qatar the answer is both yes and no. If you are on one of the many beautiful public beaches or in other public places then you absolutely can not wear a bikini in Qatar.
However if you are at a private beach or in a five star hotel you may wear a bikini on the beach or around the hotel pools. I would however still wear a bikini that has more covering than say a thong bikini to be respectful of local customs and culture.
Note: even during the Qatar World Cup the dress code will be enforced so you will not be able to wear a bikini at Qatar World Cup Stadiums.
Can you wear short skirts in Qatar?
The answer to can you wear mini skirts or short skirts in Qatar is no not in public areas and places. However if you are in a 5 * hotel the rules regarding the Qatar dress code are more relaxed and it should be allowed.
In public places a long skirt or a long dress is a much better pick.
Can you wear shorts in Qatar?
The answer to can you wear shorts in Qatar is yes and no, it really depends on the shorts you are wearing and the location you are at.
If you are in a Qatar public place such as Souq Waqif then you can’t wear shorts as a woman in Qatar unless the shorts cover your knees to be inline with the Qatar dress code.
I personally find it hard to find a pair of shorts that cover my knees that I find fashionable. Therefore I usually opt for a midi or a maxi skirt or maxi dress or long trousers instead of shorts but that is personal preference.
However if you are at one of the 5* star resorts then you of course can wear shorts of any length though again I prefer to air on the more conservative side even at the resorts.
Can you wear jeans in qatar?
Yes you can absolutely wear jeans in Qatar. However I don’t recommend it especially if you are visiting Qatar in summer.
The Qatar heat is high and therefore jeans are not the most comfortable thing to wear especially if you are heading outside. The only place I would personally consider wearing jeans in Qatar is in a shopping mall or at the cinema where the air conditioning can be very strong.
Can you wear skinny jeans in Qatar?
Now you know you can wear jeans in Qatar, can you wear skinny jeans in Qatar? I would say you can wear skinny jeans in Qatar but it is against the ethos of the rules.
I personally would opt for jeans other than skinny.
Can you wear ripped jeans in Qatar?
The question of can you wear ripped jeans in Qatar is a controversial one. You can definitely wear jeans in Qatar but ripped ones may be against the rules.
If the rips on your jeans are above the knees then this would definitely be against the Qatar dress code rules.
Therefore I would recommend avoiding ripped jeans in Qatar outside of the 5* hotels.
Can i wear leggings in Qatar?
Similarly to the question of wearing skinny jeans, we also get asked ‘can I wear leggings in Qatar?” As they are tight fitting I probably wouldn’t wear them out in more conservative public places and they can feel quite hot.
However if you want to exercise in Qatar even in a public place then wearing leggings in Qatar is ok.
What is the Qatar dress code for men?
If you are wondering what the Qatar dress code for men is the answer is that it is very similar to the Qatar dress code for women.
For some reason many people think that the Qatar dress code rules and the conservative dress only applies to women in Islamic countries (check out our guides on what not to wear in Dubai and what not to wear in Abu Dhabi for comparison), however this simply isn’t true.
The Qatar Dress code for men says that
- Men must keep their shoulders covered i.e. no sleeveless shirts.
- Men must keep their knees covered.
My husband prefers to wear long pants such as light chinos or linen trousers at many of the conservative places in Qatar.
Note: if you plan on packing linen check out our guide on how to pack linen to prevent wrinkles.
Can men wear shorts in Doha?
Bearing the above in mind any short a man wears in a public place should cover the knee. However if you are in the 5* hotel resorts then this is an exception to the rule.
What to wear in qatar airport
To know what to wear in Qatar airport otherwise known as Hamad International Airport depends largely on whether you re staying airside or coming landslide. For a full breakdown on what to wear in Qatar Airport check out this post.
What to wear at Qatari Government buildings?
If you are an expat moving to Qatar then chances are you will have to visit some government buildings for instance for driving licenses and medical tests. If you are visiting a Qatari government building it is important that you follow the conservative dress code to the letter otherwise you may get turned away.
What to wear at religious sites in Qatar?
Unlike neighbouring Abu Dhabi and it’s amazing Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Grand Mosque in Doha is not usually open to the public.
However if you are visiting a religious site in Qatar it is important that you stick to the dress code and even step up the modesty.
Personally whenever I visit a mosque in the middle east I keep covered from ankle to wrists. I have an abaya, the black dress / overcoat that Qatari women wear as part of their national dress which I find most comfortable to wear in the Middle East. However if you do not have one or would prefer not to wear one then I would recommend you wearing cool trousers i.e. linen and a long sleeve loose blouse as the most appropriate outfit.
What is the National museum of Qatar dress code?
The National Museum of Qatar dress code requires any visitor to dress conservatively as a mark of respect to the local culture.
This in fact is the dress code for all museums in Qatar not just the National Museum of Qatar.
Have we missed your burning question about what to wear in Qatar? Then leave us a comment below and we will happily answer anything else you want to know about the Qatar dress code.