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.

What to wear in Iran (2020)

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.

Hijab

Hijab refers to modest dressing in Islamic vocabulary. Nowadays, it mostly refers to covering the head. All Iranian women and tourists are obliged to cover their hair or wear hijab in public areas. Many Iranian women choose to only cover up the top of their head and let a little hair out from the back and front of the head scarf. The most common way is to use a head scarf that you can easily find in local shops, but it’s also possible to use hats especially during winter. Hijab may also refer to covering the body and dressing according to the Iranian dress code as explained in this article.

Do tourists have to wear hijab in Iran?

Like any other country in the world, most of the general laws in Iran have to be followed by travelers. As an Islamic country, there are laws regarding women’s clothing in Iran that must be followed by travelers as well. All women regardless of their nationality are obliged to follow these rules requiring them to wear hijab; however, the rules are not as strict for travelers and their unfamiliarity with Hijab is taken into account. Note that women are required to wear Hijab as soon as they get off the plane in an Iranian airport.

Indoor clothing in Iran

Men and women are only required to follow the dress code in Iran in public areas. Therefore, travelers and locals can freely choose their clothing when they’re inside someone’s house or in a hotel room. However; if you’re invited to a local’s house you may respect their beliefs and avoid wearing revealing clothes. You can also take off your Hijab in women-only areas such as beauty salons and gyms. Note that inside cars, hotel lobbies and restaurants are considered public areas.

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.

Painted nails are fine

Similar to women all around the world, Iranian women enjoy wearing colorful nail polish. Wearing nail polish of all kinds and colors is normal and acceptable in Iran. In fact long nails nail extensions and polished nails are quit common between Iranian women so feel free to use nail polish during your trip to Iran.

How about the legs and body?

The Iranian dress codes requires women to have their legs covered down until the ankles and wear loose tunics or coats that cover their lower waist and have long sleeves. Against the common myth, skinny pants and leggings are very common in Iran. Long dresses and skirts are also often worn by women during the summer and are accepted; however, they mustn’t be see-through. As for men, pants must be long and sleeveless shirts are forbidden; however,t -shirts are accepted. Note that these rules only apply for public areas.

Colorful clothes are allowed

Iranians appreciate the sense of fashion and thus put time and thought in choosing their clothes. Wearing colorful clothes is highly accepted and has no restrictions in Iran. Men are often seen wearing t-shirts in different colors and many Iranian women tend to improve their style by wearing colorful head scarfs and Manteaus. So as a traveler you can bring along your colorful clothes as long as they are in accordance with the rest of the dressing rules in Iran.

Footwear

There are no restrictions regarding the footwear in Iran. Men and Women can wear any kind of footwear such as boots, high heels, sandals, etc. depending on the weather and their preferences. In fact sandals are quite popular among Iranian women during summer.

Manteau

Manteau is a name given to overcoats that are long enough to cover the lower waist. Manteaus are the most common form of clothing among Iranian women and are usually worn over a shirt and with long pants or jeans. They are made out of different types of material to be suitable for different weathers and they come in many colors and styles. If you don’t have a long coat or tunic, you can buy a Manteau from every boutique or shopping center in Iran to wear throughout your Iran trip.

Makeup

Many Iranian women enjoy wearing make up in their everyday life as well as for parties and gatherings. They tend to use foundation, mascara and lipstick daily and wear heavier make up including eyeliner and eyeshadow for parties or friendly gatherings. Heavy eyeliner, highlighters and vivid lipstick colors are also quite acceptable in Iran. Wearing makeup is very common among women of all ages and it’s even more normal in big cities. If you’re one to enjoy putting on makeup you can be sure that you’ll blend , so feel free to bring your makeup kit along.

Tatoo

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.

Chador

Chador is a large piece of cloth that covers the whole body. Religious women in Iran may use black chador to cover their bodies. Wearing chador is not obligatory in Iran except when entering mosques or holy shrines. All women are required to wear a chador as a sign of respect when entering these holy places; however, it will be given to them at the door and there’s no need to bring one along.

Iran Dress code for women how to chador manteau scarf legs girls

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

Iran Dress Code Hijab safe manto scarf how to dress like iranians chador

An Iranian girl wearing “Chador”

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 that these rules only apply for public areas.

Note: swimming suits are allowed in beaches and pools.

Tatoo

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.

Iran Dress Code Hijab safe manto scarf how to dress like iranians (8)

Wearing Jeans & Tshirts are very common among iranian boys

What to Pack for Iran – Iran Packing List

  • Underwear and bras
  • Socks
  • Head scarf
  • Hat: to protect you from the sun
  • Long pants, jeans, leggings , skirts or long and loose dresses( alternatively)
  • a coat or tunic long enough to cover the lower waist
  • Sandals for summer and boots for winter
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Shampoo, conditioner and lotion
  • Dry shampoo: in case you intend to camp out or go hiking
  • Sunscreen: at least SPF 30
  • Toothbrush and floss: most hotels only have toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Baby powder: to avoid heat rash
  • Make up
  • Mosquito sting reliever : especially if you’re travelling north or south of Iran
  • Hair brush
  • Sunglasses
  • Personal medication and copy of prescription
  • Toilet paper: There won’t be any in most public restrooms
  • Travel insurance and passport
  • Cash money
  • Chargers , headphones and cables
  • Adaptors : The standard voltage in Iran is 220 V and the plugs are the European type( type c)
  • Portable chargers
  • Travel pillow

Note: Most of the items on this list can be bought in Iran in case you forget to pack them.

Note: In case you intend to go trekking or skiing check out the related pages for a list of extra essential equipment.

What not to pack for Iran

  • Alcohol: Alcoholic drinks are banned in Iran and will be taken away from you at the airport
  • Drugs and Marijuana
Iran Dress Code Hijab safe manto scarf how to dress like iranians (12)

Final Iran Dress Code 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.

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