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What to Wear in Oman as a Woman

Here’s a comprehensive guide on what to wear in Oman as a woman.

Are you planning a trip to Oman but are still deciding what to wear? 

With values that put a lot of emphasis on respect and hospitality, modest dressing is crucial and rooted in deep cultural traditions. 

While Oman’s conservative values may make deciding what to wear challenging, don’t worry—I’ll review your options. 

From loose-fitting tops to swimwear etiquette, I’ve put together this guide to help you decide what to wear in Oman as a woman

Let’s look at the kind of wardrobe you’ll need to respect Oman’s traditions and ensure you have the most enjoyable time traveling there!

a woman on a dress and hijab behind beautiful blue tiles

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Overview: What to Wear in Oman as a Woman

1. Understanding Omani Culture

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It’s important to examine certain things to clearly understand what to wear in Oman as a woman and why. 

This includes Omani traditional clothes, culture, why modesty is significant, and what local customs and values are in place. 

The traditional dress for men is a long, ankle-length robe with long sleeves called the dishdasha or kandura in some regions.

  • Lightweight white fabric – combats the hot desert climate in Oman.
  • Loose-fitting – provides comfort and allows airflow. 
  • Mussar – head covering or a turban commonly worn with the dishdasha

Although the mussar isn’t very common (not all men wear them), I still saw quite a few who had them on in select places, especially in mosques and traditional markets. 

Meanwhile, the Omani women’s dress is called the abaya, a full-length cloak often worn over regular clothing. 

  • Typically black – but there are now variations in designs and colors.
  • Hijab – a head scarf paired with the abaya to cover the hair.
  • Niqab is a face veil, though it is less commonly used. 

As the national dress of Oman, the dishdasha and abaya are worn in various social and religious contexts to adhere to cultural and Islamic principles of modesty. 

But why is modesty so emphasized and significant in Oman clothing? 

Being predominantly Muslim with a majority following the Ibadi sect, this is in line with the country’s Islamic beliefs on modest behavior and attire as a reflection of their religious principles. 

As visitors, we must respect the local customs and values by dressing considerately. 

Based on my experience, I didn’t necessarily have to dress like them, but there seems to be an unofficial Oman dress code for tourists.

Buy abayas here online.

2. What to Wear in Oman in Different Settings

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You’ll want to be mindful of what to wear in Oman as a woman when visiting certain tourist attractions and historical sites. 

For example, at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque Muscat dress code is strictly enforced, and visitors can be denied entry for wearing inappropriate clothes.  

Thankfully, they have a place to rent more fitting clothes, so you can still enter the grand mosque. 

What to wear in Oman as a woman to visit a mosque

  • Long-sleeved tops – choose breathable fabrics for maximum comfort
  • Long pants 
  • Ankle-length skirts – as far as skirts go, this is almost an Oman dress code for women: make sure to choose long skirts only.
  • Headscarf – to cover the hair and may be required in certain places. 
  • Dress – even while dining out, dresses should be ankle length with sleeves. 
  • Comfortable footwear – Oman isn’t as strict with shoes, but note that you will need to take them off in mosques. 

In stricter areas, it’s preferable if pants or skirts go beyond the ankle to hide them, so if you’re unsure, check in advance or ask. 

If you’re already deciding where to stay in Muscat, also note your accommodations’ rules, just in case. 

The general guidelines for clothing are the same for shopping and visiting markets—just dress up or down as appropriate, and think of it as an unofficial dress code for Oman!  

It’s a little easier to figure out what to wear in Oman as a man, but it’s advised to cover up a little more for women. 

But where do you go and what places should you see? Here are some personal suggestions! 

Mosques to visit in Oman

  • Sultan Taimur bin Faisal Mosque – this mosque was built in memory of Sultan Qaboos’ grandfather.
  • Talib bin Mohammed Mosque is slightly different in architecture, and the colors are reminiscent of Hindu temples. 
  • Al Zulfa Mosque – Like many other mosques, the architecture looks fantastic, but in this mosque, I particularly liked the unique glasswork close to the mihrab section right in the prayer hall.

Check Muscat, Oman tours now.

What to wear in Oman as a woman: Shopping and Markets

  • Souk – these local bazaar-like markets are packed with little shops offering different items from handicrafts to produce like honey. 
  • Muttrah Souk is one of the oldest marketplaces in the world, and it’s worth a visit to get a feel for the Omani way of life! 
  • Souq es Sabt – not considered a traditional souk but more a flea market selling local cuisine, arts and crafts, and fresh produce. 
  • Seeb Souq is called “Muttrah’s sister” and is a place where you can find nearly anything- accessories or a sofa!
  • Malls 
    • Oman Avenues Mall
    • Muscat City Centre
    • Al Araimi Boulevard
    • Mall of Muscat (previously the Palm Mall)

Dining Out – What to wear in Oman as a woman

  • Bin Ateeq – I loved eating here for the experience: not only does it have Omani dishes, but eating is done on the floor and is communal. 
  • Al Seeb is where you want to be if you want to try Omani street food. Though it’s a bit of a drive, it’s so worth it! 

Dressing up is a little different at beaches and resorts. Depending on where you are, you can show a little skin but not too much. 

Swimsuits are possible to wear in resorts or hotels, but as always, check for signs that indicate a dress code or ask the staff in your accommodations in consideration of the locals. 

Of course, what to wear in Muscat may be different if you’re planning to head to other regions, as some areas may be more conservative than others.

3. Recommended Accessories for Women

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Despite how conservative the dress code is, this doesn’t mean you can’t add accessories to your fit—just look up Omani women’s clothing! 

Here are some recommendations and what I added to my wardrobe while visiting. 

What do female tourists wear in Oman accessory-wise? 

  • Head scarf – go to town with the colors and prints!
  • Shawl – this isn’t only stylish but does a lot to cover your body and keep you warm as needed. 
  • Sun hat – since Oman can get very hot it also provides heat protection. 
  • Sunglasses – additional sun protection for your eyes!

When in search of what to do in Oman as far as activities are concerned, you’ll find you may need a variety of footwear for different landscapes, and here are my suggestions: 

  • Sandals or sneakers – for sightseeing and walking around the city. 
  • Hiking boots or running shoes – preferable for desert, mountainous, and wadi areas.
  • Heels – like dress shoes, a nice pair will be great for dining out in high-end restaurants. 
  • Flip flops – for the beach or hotel pools. 

Of course, don’t forget a few sun protection essentials if you decide what to wear in Oman as a woman—or man! 

Buy shoes online.

4. Oman Packing Tips

eco-friendly backpacks, person wearing a backpack on their shoulder

You may be wondering what to pack for Oman, seeing as there are a lot of considerations to take note of, but it’s all about versatility! 

Here are some general guidelines to remember when choosing what clothes to pack. 

For women: 

  • Avoid sleeveless or strappy tops if you can to save luggage space.
  • Don’t bring shirts with plunging necklines. 
  • Opt for skirts that fall past the knee or longer, preferably until the ankle. 
  • Choose breathable, loose-fitting fabrics to combat the heat. 
  • Though shorts are welcome in some places, you won’t need to bring many of them, depending on your location.
  • Avoid sleeveless tops since men must keep their shoulders covered in certain areas. 
  • Loose-fitting clothes made of breathable fabrics are the best options. 

While there can be a lot of sun in Oman, expect temperatures to drop, and depending on where you are, mountainous areas can be cold. 

Choose clothes that you can layer over each other for chilly evenings or hikes to cooler areas. 

  • Zip-up hoodies or pullovers – for additional warmth and can easily be removed/worn. 
  • Cardigan or blazer – for more formal places like restaurants and the like. 
  • Shawl or scarf – perfect for the chilly climate when a jacket isn’t needed. 
  • Sarong – when it comes to versatility, this one takes the cake since you can use it as a cover-up, to add style to your outfit, and even as something to sit or lie on!

Aside from deciding what to wear in Oman, here are other packing essentials you’ll most likely need during your trip. 

  • Sunscreen – preferably with an SPF of 30 that you can apply every two hours for maximum coverage. 
  • Insect repellent – while your clothes can protect you from bugs, you still want to apply bug spray. 
  • Sunburn cream – if the sun becomes too much and you do get sunburns, this will give you some relief. 
  • Waterproof bag – if you plan to go hiking, it’s best to choose a bag that can withstand elements, including water. 
  • Umbrella – it’s better to have one and not need it, right? 
  • Power bank – to make sure your gadgets have the means to charge!
  • Sun hat or baseball caps – a headscarf may not be enough to shield you from the sun, so having these extras can be helpful. 
  • Sunglasses – the Omani sun is pretty intense, and this provides extra protection. 
  • Reusable water bottles – the climate can be scorching, and having water with you anywhere is always good. 

Check water bottles now.

5. Climate Considerations

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One other thing to keep in mind when it comes to what to wear in Oman as a woman is the climate; here are some things to consider when choosing clothing: 

  • Oman experiences high temperatures, especially during summer, and has a desert-like climate.
  • Summers can be sweltering, and daytime temperatures can exceed 40°C in certain regions.
  • Coastal areas, like Muscat, may have milder temperatures, but inland areas like the desert can be scorching.

With this in mind, it’s important to choose certain fabrics to keep yourself as cool as possible so you can enjoy your trip. 

  • Cotton
  • Linen
  • Silk
  • Bamboo and lyocell
  • Merino wool

You can always layer when the temperature drops, so pack up a hoodie, cardigan, or jacket with you. 

The key is to strike a delicate balance as you consider what to wear in Oman as a woman, so here are some tips from me: 

Shop online for women’s clothes here.

My final thoughts on what to wear in Oman as a woman 

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Going over what to wear in Oman as a woman is easy if you keep the considerations listed here in mind. 

It’s all about balancing a few key things: modesty, comfort, and the weather to ensure an enjoyable trip! 

The Omani people are some of the kindest I’ve met in the world, and the least we can do as tourists is to respect their traditions and culture by dressing as closely as they do. 

While they probably won’t call you out in public for wearing something inappropriate, it’s best to be considerate to the locals. 

Have you ever been to Oman? If yes, what was your trip like feel free to share them with everyone planning their visit soon!