Dubai is a real melting pot of cultures now, but it is a Muslim country and you will cause offence if you expose too much flesh.
In the shopping malls, restaurants or main tourist areas the attitude is more relaxed and it is fine to wear shorts, camisole tops, sundresses etc – although bear in mind the air-con can make it very chilly indoors.
It's hot outside, so choose light loose-fitting clothing in natural fabrics such as cotton, linen or bamboo.
But if you opt for long pants and longer-sleeved tops, they will protect you from the fierce sun, be more comfortable in the air-con, and they are more in keeping with the local attire.
It is a good idea to pack a versatile travel jacket during the cooler months. We love the SCOTTeVEST travel jacket because it has over 23 pockets, removable sleeves and RFID protection
Quality sunglasses and a sunhat are an absolute must in this heat.
Shoes to pack for Dubai
Make sure you take light comfy footwear for daytime (and remember your feet may swell in the heat) – we love Hotter shoes, for total comfort along with style.
Save your high heels for the evenings or opt for some pretty flat sandals. Try the Lindsay Phillips Switch Flops range – using interchangeable shoe and flip-flop bases with snap-on decorations, you can change your look from day to evening in an instant whilst still packing light.
Clothing tips for women
The guide books on what to wear in Dubai suggest moderate dressing for women and we would agree
Topless sunbathing is a definite no-no.
The evenings are the time to dress up – be glamorous and accessorize with lots of bling.
Be sure to take a pashmina or wrap because even though it's 45 degrees outside the air conditioning works well and it can be cool in tourist buildings, shopping malls and restaurants.
When visiting any religious sites then out of respect cover your shoulders and bare legs – again your pashmina or a sarong can come in very handy.
And a loose cotton shirt is always very useful – comfy, stylish and easy to wear, you can throw it over swimwear, cover up for modesty or pair it with jeans and heels for a night out.
Clothing tips for men
Keep it cool and casual; linen pants and shirts work well, and shorts are perfectly acceptable when shopping.
Even though it's 45 degrees outside the air conditioning works well and it can be cool inside buildings; you may like to carry a light jacket or sweater.
We love the Madda Fella range of stylish shirts, shorts, polos and swimwear.
Regions of Dubai
If you are planning on traveling further afield then our advice would be that short tops, short skirts / shorts, tight or body-revealing clothes etc. should be avoided entirely. Cotton or other natural fiber shirts or t-shirts, with cotton pants or an ankle-length skirt are good, and do cover your shoulders. Keep clothing loose – it has the double benefit of keeping you cooler and attracting less unwanted attention.
Other things to pack
Toiletries and sunscreen (we love the Riemann P20 range for 10 hour protection) are expensive in Dubai, so ensure that you take plenty with you.
Before packing medicines and toiletries, check on this website for the list of banned substances. You'll be amazed at what's on there, and, there is a zero tolerance approach taken by the authorities. You really don't want to ruin your trip – for the sake of a few minutes' extra reading.
Some of the tap water is ‘safe to drink', but it may not be what you are used to at home. If you prefer to buy bottled water, consider carrying a LifeStraw Filtration Water Bottle instead – fill up from any source and get clean, safe drinking water without wasting plastic bottles.
A lightweight day sack or shoulder bag will come in handy to carry your sightseeing essentials.
If you're aiming to travel with just carry-on baggage, try the CabinMax soft-sided rucksack – it's light, roomy and has plenty of pockets to keep your stuff organized.
Avoid paying unexpected baggage fees – use an accurate luggage scale to ensure you keep within the weight allowance. Don't forget to leave room for souvenirs on the way home! Look for embroidered linens, jewelry or Arabic perfumes (just remember any liquids will need to be packed in your hold luggage when you fly home).
If your visit coincides with the Holy Month of Ramadan, be particularly careful to respect local customs: do not eat, drink or smoke in public places during daylight hours and dress sensibly. Your hotel should be able to give you more information on their policy e.g. bars may be closed during the day.