What to Wear in Doha Qatar- Essential Guide

What to Wear in Doha Qatar- Essential Guide
Whenever I’ve asked about life in Qatar probably the number one question I get asked is about how to dress in Qatar particularly ‘Do You Have to Wear a Hijab in Qatar?’ The answer is no but I think the frequency of these questions shows that there are many misconceptions about what to wear in Doha. Now I will be the first person to admit that I am not a fashionista however, I do like to think that I have got the dress code in Doha down and am never disrespectful to my host culture. So if you are worried about the Doha Dress Code then check out this guide on what to wear in Doha which will offer a practical perspective on how to dress in Doha while respecting the Qatar dress code.

Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you!

Updated: July 2019

What to Wear in Doha

The Rules of What to Wear In Doha Qatar

When my mum was coming here she kept checking with my about everything because, in her word, ‘She didn’t want to break the Doha clothing rules and wanted to make sure she stuck to the proper dress code for Qatar.
I don’t think anyone wants to offend or be disrespectful to their host country so here is a quick overview of the rules of dress in Doha:

 Rules for what to wear as a woman in Doha aka the Tourist Dress in Qatar code

To adhere to the Doha women’s dress code you should:

  • always keep shoulders and knees covered. Short shorts and strappy tops are out.
  • The dress code for women in Qatar also rules out having too much cleavage on show
  • Although tightness isn’t against the Qatar women’s dress code I always like to keep to the spirit of the guidance rather than look for loopholes. I therefore avoid wearing overly tight clothing (Not that I ever really wore tight stuff to begin with).

 Rules for What Men Should Wear in Doha

  •  Keep shoulders and knees covered. If you are wondering ‘can men wear shorts in Qatar’ please check the FAQs at the bottom of the post.

Rules for What Children Should Wear in Doha

If you are travelling to Qatar with children, you may be worried about the Qatar girls dress code. However for young children the same rule for Qatar dressing don’t apply.
With young children it is all about dressing for the weather. The shoulder and knee rules don’t apply. Keeping them safe in the heat is the main concern.
Therefore when looking for appropriate Qatar outfits for children I recommend light fabrics, UV protection and breathable fabrics.

Exceptions to Doha Dress Code

Whenever you are in the grounds of a 5* hotel you don’t have to worry about the Doha clothing rules as you can wear whatever you want. Short, tight, straps, strapless, bikini you name it.  However it is best to be mindful if you are traveling in between places.

What to Wear in Ramadan in the Middle East aka the Ramadan Clothing Rules 

While there aren’t any additional Ramadan clothing rules, I always err on the more conservative side! Ramadan is all about abstinence and restraint so I try and adhere to everything a little more closely.
For the past few Ramadan’s there has been a campaign, called Reflect Your Respect all about clothing and educating expats on appropriate dress. I think this shows that clothing is actually quite important in terms of cultural respect.
For more information on life in Qatar during Ramadan check out my essential guide.

Traditional Qatar Clothing and Qatar National Dress 

Ever wondered what Qatar traditional clothing or the National Qatar Dress looks like? Well the traditional Qatar women’s clothing is usually the abaya –a black robe worn over clothes alongside the black headscarf known as the shayla.
You will see some older members of the Qatari community wearing a batoola – a golden metal face covering – this is very traditional Qatari clothing.
Fun fact: the museum of Islamic Art along the Corniche is said to represent the figure of a woman in a batoola. When you are on the corniche see if you can see it.
For men the Qatar National costume is the thobe. A white robe, that always looks pristine with a gutra (Headscarf) completes the Qatar traditional dress for men.
Boys will also wear the national costume of Qatar from a young age.

What to Wear in Doha

My Qatar attire is all about loose and comfortable clothing. The Qatar summer temperatures can get to up to 50 degrees so you really need to dress for the heat.
My number one Qatar dress style items is the Maxi Dress. I have a whole wardrobe full of them. So long as they aren’t strappy or have large slits these adhere well for the Qatar dress code for women.
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What to wear in the desert. What to wear in Doha.

Saying that my instagram account makes it look like I only have this one.

Enjoying the Gardens at La Veranda

It’s great because my shoulders are covered and isn’t too low. It’s made of cotton so very breathable and comfortable even in the desert.
Following on from the above, Maxi Skirt are my next favourite. Lose and flowing I feel like they are the perfect clothing for the Middle East. They can be made to look casual or fancy depending on where you are going.
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How to dress in the desert.

Tshirts are also always great for a casual day out but be sure to by ones that have more than just cap sleeves.
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What to wear in the desert. e

In many respects the most important thing to consider, after areas that the outfit covers is the fabric its made of! Man made fabrics are not your friend in the hot desert country. Look for cottons, silks and linens. These cotton trousers are one of the staples in my wardrobe. 
What to Wear in Doha

Desert Dress Code

A key staple for work and every day for me are long sleeve blouses and light weight chinos. You remain covered while keeping cool.

Number One What to Wear in Doha Tip

But perhaps my number one tip for what to wear Qatar is always carry a Pashminas. It is great if you need to cover up to adhere to the dress code for Doha say for travelling between home and a hotel, for in air conditioning and is great for those cold desert nights. Yes we do have them. The winters can in fact get quite chilly and anyone who has spent time in the desert will tell you how quickly the temperature drops. The air con can be very fierce in malls and I swear that Qatari cinemas are the coldest places on Earth. I recommend always having a pashmina or cardigan to hand.
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What to wear in Doha. What to Wear in Qatar. Doha Packing List. Qatar Packing List.

Also they are very handy if there is an unexpected sandstorm.
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Doha Packing List. Qatar Packing List.

Shoes – there are no rules here about the type of shoes you wear but I would recommend lots of flip flops and sandals.
Don’t forget to bring those sunglasses and sun hats.

What to Wear in Qatar On the Beach

Wondering about the Qatar beach bikini rules? Well the answer to this is simple – it depends on if you are at a public beach or a beach within the grounds of a 5* hotel.
There is only one public beach in Doha itself and that’s at the Katara Cultural Village. Here women would expect to covered as they would in the city.
At all hotel beaches feel free to wear a bikini but make sure you have a cover for when walking in the lobby etc.
There are some beaches outside of the city not on hotel property. Usually these are very remote so you have a bit more freedom in attire but I would still try and be as respectful as possible.

What to wear in the Doha Desert

Even i you are just travelling to Doha on a stopover, a day trip to the Doha desert is likely to be on your itinerary. Dressing for the desert is difficult because during the day it is very hot but at nights in the desert the temperature can plummet. If you are travelling to the desert and will be there after sun down be sure to pack plenty of layers.

Packing list for Qatar

So a quick reminder of things that should be on your packing list for Doha

Qatar Packing List for Women

  • Breathable fabrics such as linens and cottons
  • Pashminas
  • Maxi Dresses and Maxi Skirts
  • Sunglasses
  • Sandals
  • Shorts that cover the knees

Men’s Packing List for Qatar

  • Breathable fabrics such as linens and cottons
  • Shirts and T-shirts
  • Sunglasses
  • Flip Flops
  • Shorts that cover the knees

Frequently asked questions about the Dress Code in Qatar

  • Can you wear skinny jeans in Qatar?

    There is no rule specifically against wearing skinny jeans in Qatar however I personally do not advise wearing skinny jeans in Qatar due to the heat. Skinny jeans are definitely not the most comfortable attire in Qatar especially if you are visiting in the hotter months. 

  • Can you wear shorts in Qatar?

    Wearing shorts in Qatar isn’t strictly prohibited but the answer is it depends on the length of the short. Men and Women both should keep their knees covered when in public so only long shorts are permitted. So if you are wondering if shorts should cover the knees in Qatar the answer is absolutely yes unlessAt 5* hotels where you can wear shorts but I would always remember to be mindful of culture and be sure you adhere to the clothing rules whilst travelling to and from these places So overall wearing shorts in Doha is allowed with provisos. Someone recently asked me “Can I wear shorts in Doha airport?” and this is a difficult one to answer which comes to my next question:
  • What is the Doha Airport Dress Code? And can you wear shorts in Doha Airport 
    I would say this depends whether you are landside or airside as to what the dress code Qatar Airport is.Airside, you technically haven’t crossed into Qatar so you can wear what you would like. Though I would still say I would personally prefer to be covered to be respectful for citizens using the airport. As soon as you are landslide at the Qatar airport dress code is the same as the rest of the Qatar dress code.
  • Is the Qatar dress code for foreigners different to residents or citizens?
    In short no! The Qatar dress code for tourists is the same as for anyone else in country!
What are your fashion staples for living in the Middle East? How has you style been influenced by living in the Middle East? I’d love to hear how you navigate the Qatar dress code. 

Further Reading on Qatar:

For Booking Your Trip:
Ultimate Guide of Where to Stay in Doha

What to see in Doha Qatar:
Flying From Qatar 
What to wear in Doha. What to Wear in Qatar. Doha Packing List. Qatar Packing List. #whattowearindoha #whattowearinqatar #dohapackinglist #qatarpackinglist #qatartravel #dohatravel #muslimcountrydresscode #qatardresscode

What to wear in Doha Qatar



What to wear in Doha Qatar

What to wear in Doha Qatar

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click and make a purchase eI make a small commission at no cost to you


  1. May 8, 2017 / 12:46 pm

    Some really good recommendations for most moderate Muslim countries. We just got back form Morocco and these guidelines would work well there as well.

    • May 8, 2017 / 1:08 pm

      Thank you – you are right they would be applicable across the Middle East North Africa region! I just know most about qatar – hope you enjoyed morocco

  2. May 8, 2017 / 4:01 pm

    It seems that you have to be very careful with your dress code in the Middle East, not sure I would want to visit for a holiday. I suppose that I am too used to wearing what I want to here in Spain.

  3. May 8, 2017 / 4:24 pm

    Yikes – I don’t know how I’d manage those temperatures, I can’t even mentally process 50 degrees!! I can definitely see why the scarf would be handy if you’re going in and out of air conditioning all the time!

  4. May 8, 2017 / 9:20 pm

    Excellent post, so many people haven’t a clue what’s appropriate, it always surprises me! And the pashmina tip for air con is hilarious, I hate air con and feeling cold, will defo remember that!

  5. May 9, 2017 / 2:14 am

    Great tips, thanks for sharing. I have a friend that just got back from the Middle East and she pretty much did what you outlined.

    • May 9, 2017 / 5:04 am

      I’m glad she agrees. I’ve been here almost four years so like to think I have a good understanding

  6. May 9, 2017 / 5:04 am

    Thanks – a lot of people worry about it so thought it might be useful

  7. May 9, 2017 / 7:38 am

    Very useful guide, probably for more than just Doha! #CityTripping

    • May 9, 2017 / 8:12 am

      Thank you – definitely applicable across the Middle East and North Africa but I know Doha best living here

  8. May 9, 2017 / 12:58 pm

    This is a wonderful informative post! We were in Morocco and so much of this applied. Its not a problem once you know what is considered respectful. Thanks for answering all the questions people are too embarrassed to ask! #CityTripping.

    • May 9, 2017 / 2:18 pm

      Thanks for the lovely comment! I hope it will be useful across the mena region

  9. May 9, 2017 / 4:20 pm

    A really informative post on being respectful too, too often we forget. #MondayEscapes

    • May 9, 2017 / 4:27 pm

      Thank you – it is so important to be respectful when travelling

  10. May 9, 2017 / 4:41 pm

    very similar to Dubai. when the younger generation visit i always advise them to dress appropriately for their first day out and get a feel of what others are wearing and then make their own choices, i tell them they are adults now, but on their own if they get into trouble with not being suitably dressed. i tend to follow the rule of shoulders and knees covered for government buildings, if i wear a stripy top i wear long trousers, or if I’m wearing shorts I wear a tshirt with sleeves, an evening out and it’s anything goes, but i advise against getting a taxi on your own if scantily clad

    • May 9, 2017 / 4:53 pm

      It’s great to hear another perspective. You are right about government buildings. It does always surprise me how some people dress in Dubai. Doha is definitely more conservative and people in general I think adhere more to the rules

      • May 10, 2017 / 6:23 am

        I’ve seen people in Dubai, mainly young girls with midriff and arse hanging out, being approached discreetly and asks to go home and get changed or buy something to cover up, it’s all done very nicely and i must say i rather like the ‘rules’

        • May 10, 2017 / 7:32 am

          Yes I have seen people be given sarongs to cover up!

  11. May 9, 2017 / 7:33 pm

    These are great tips! I try to dress similarly in Jerusalem as well, but I can’t imagine how hot it gets in Doha! #citytripping

    (I think your link for Doha during Ramadan is broken)

    • May 10, 2017 / 7:31 am

      The Ramadan post goes live next wk – sorry for the confusion

  12. May 9, 2017 / 10:03 pm

    This is a really helpful post Leona! It can be confusing in places like Dubai because the 5* resorts allow so much freedom but so important to dress appropriately outside those areas. A pashmina or cardigan always comes with me in. I’m not an air con fan in general but it has its merits! Love the maxi dresses! Thanks for linking #citytripping

  13. May 10, 2017 / 3:42 am

    Thank you for giving out this helpful suggestions. Bringing the appropriate clothes to wear can be a bit of a dilemma for some. These tips help us to know that we can wear comfortable clothes by not breaking rules with their tradition.

  14. May 11, 2017 / 1:46 pm

    That’s a useful guide, I really like the maxi dress idea. It’s intimidating to plan a trip to some countries because I’m a bit concerned about what to wear, for modesty and the heat.

    • May 12, 2017 / 8:06 pm

      Yes the modesty combined with heat is a difficult coupling

  15. May 11, 2017 / 5:38 pm

    I remember once being in Egypt and feeling very uncomfortable about my fellow travellers lack of regard about local customs with dress – not out of disrespect but lack of knowledge. This seems like a great guide. #farawayfiles

    • May 12, 2017 / 8:05 pm

      Thank you! I agree people don’t mean to offend but often are unsure about how to respect the local culture

  16. May 12, 2017 / 1:47 pm

    This is really useful. We do get confused about what to wear in the Middle East and it’s so important to be respectful of local customs. Having a scarf in your handbag is a great idea. It can also come in handy if you’re visiting a cathedral or church in a Catholic country too. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    • May 12, 2017 / 7:57 pm

      You are right – it is applicable across all holy sites really regardless IOC religion

  17. May 12, 2017 / 2:58 pm

    Great post. There is a lot of confusion out there about customs and dress requirements in Middle Eastern countries. I think erring on the side of caution as you do is the best approach and at the end of the day it is about showing respect for the country you are visiting’s culture. Thanks for clearing things up on #FarawayFiles

    • May 12, 2017 / 7:57 pm

      I always err on the more conservative side as I would hate to offend anyone

  18. May 13, 2017 / 8:56 pm

    Thank you that means a lot. I know everyone who has visited us has been worried about what to wear. I may not be the most fashionable but hopefully always respectful

  19. May 14, 2017 / 8:15 am

    Nice article!!! There is no harm in respecting the local culture.. And your dress looks very neat and stylish…

  20. May 14, 2017 / 11:26 am

    Excellent guide! and I deeply appreciate how you are very careful about respecting the culture of the host country.
    Ohhh and I love maxi dresses too. Invariably I have one under my abaya when out and about. ?

  21. May 14, 2017 / 1:56 pm

    Girl, I was never a dress girl but I’ve come to appreciate those maxi dresses in this ridiculous heat! These are excellent tips for those coming to Doha. May I also add, SUNSCREEN. Never leave home without it!

  22. May 15, 2017 / 7:35 pm

    Great read …: being in Doha for almost all of my life, I love and keep wearing maxi dress … it’s one of th comfortable outfit and apt for the country

  23. May 18, 2017 / 8:11 am

    Great tips. I think the fact that there are so many questions is a positive that people want to be respectful of the culture that they are visiting. Good thing I love a good maxi dress and skirt anyway! Excellent information – thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

    • May 21, 2017 / 5:06 am

      Yes, I think you are right. People don’t want to offend its more misunderstanding

  24. November 24, 2017 / 6:41 pm

    All your outfits look lovely despite the heat!

  25. November 24, 2017 / 6:59 pm

    I love the dresses! Something that flows always helps in the heat.

  26. November 24, 2017 / 7:35 pm

    A very information post and lots of beautiful outfits – it’s so important to respect other cultures 🙂

  27. November 24, 2017 / 8:00 pm

    I’ve got a friend at work who’s just come back from Doah and had nothing but positive things to say about it. Looks like you’ve had a fantastic time!

  28. November 25, 2017 / 7:26 am

    Great recommendations here, I would worry about wearing the wrong thing but it sounds pretty striaghtforward

  29. November 25, 2017 / 8:34 am

    You look lovely in all your photos and it is great to respect the culture where you live.

  30. November 25, 2017 / 10:23 am

    This is such a useful post, I bet there is so much confusion over what people can wear x

  31. November 26, 2017 / 6:02 pm

    Great informative post, it’s always been something that has worried me but this explains it very well

  32. November 29, 2017 / 9:19 pm

    Great post, I wouldn’t have had a clue but think it’s always important to check the rules before you visit a new country.

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