Iran Dress Code

The dress code of every country is a cultural difference that may seem a bit intimidating or strange at first but should be followed if you want to feel more comfortable and blend into the crowd.  Being an Islamic country, Iran has a specific dress code that must be followed by the travelers as well as locals.

 Due to all the rumors spread throughout the media Iranian dress code has become one of the travelers’ main concerns. However; the Islamic rules about clothing are not as strict as they may initially seem. Against the common belief women in Iran appreciate colorful clothes and have a great sense of fashion, choosing stylish clothes while following the dress code.

Here we’re about to provide you with a complete guide on how exactly the Iranian dress code is and how flexible it can be. 

After the Iranian Revolution in 1979 Islamic rules were legislated, requiring women to wear “Hijab”.  In Islam, Hijab refers to modest dressing, specifically covering the head. 

At the beginning, most of women were used to wear “Chador”, a long piece of black cloth covering their whole body from head to ankles.

Later on most of women wore “Manteau” (a long coat) instead of Chador and covered their hair with shawl (head scarf). As time went by Manteaus became shorter and people started wearing vibrant colors. Today Iranian women wear short Manteaus or Manteaus without buttons over a shirt and jeans or long skirts and cover their head with colorful Shawls.

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An Iranian girl wearing “Chador”

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An Iranian girl wearing “Manteau”+Scarf (shawl)

Dress code for women in Iran

It’s obligatory for women to wear hijab in public areas such as the hotel lobby, restaurants and historical monuments.

They should wear a loose sweater, tunic or Manteau, long enough to cover the lower waist. The sleeves must reach the elbows and the legs must be covered until right above the ankles. Wearing jeans, leggings, ripped jeans and loose skirts and dresses is allowed.

Women also have to cover their hair using a headscarf or shawl, which can be purchased at any market or shopping center in Iran. It’s acceptable to show the front part of your head and wear the Shawl halfway as many Iranian women do. It’s also not obligatory to cover the neck and you can wear your Shawl loosely. 

There are no restrictions regarding footwear in Iran and women can wear sandals, boots, etc.

All colors are allowed but see-through clothes must be avoided.

Dress code for men in Iran

Iranian dress code for men is pretty simple. Any type of clothing is allowed except for sleeveless shirts and shorts. 

Note: swimming suits are allowed in beaches and pools.

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Wearing Jeans & Tshirts are very common among iranian boys

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Makeup and tattoos

Wearing makeup is acceptable and normal among Iranian women. Most women enjoy putting on makeup and nail polish when going to restaurants and other public places;so feel free to bring your makeup kit along. 

Tattoos have become very popular in the last few decades, especially among younger people. If you have a visible tattoo there’s no need to cover it.

Final tips

  1. Iranians are kind and hospitable towards tourists and do not expect you to cover up like a Muslim.
  2. The dress code law only applies to public areas. You can wear your clothes of choice in your hotel room and people’s houses.
  3. The dress code must be followed upon arrival in the airport. 
  4. Don’t be afraid if your Shawl falls off. just relax and  put it back on 
  5. In some cities such as Yazd people are more religious than the capital (Tehran) and may give you a curious look however they don’t mean to offend you in anyway.

Lastly, Iranian dress code may seem more strict compared to other countries, it can be flexible regarding all its changes since the revolution. If you don’t have proper clothes or don’t know what to wear, a long tunic along with a headscarf will suffice and you can buy colorful Shawls and comfortable Manteaus at any Bazaar or shopping center later on.