As Morocco is predominantly a Muslim country, modesty really is the best policy when deciding on what will end up in your suitcase for the upcoming trip. Apart from the unwanted attention which you’ll inadvertently receive by baring your shoulders or knees, you also want to be considerate of the local customs and dress code.
It absolutely is possible to look both appropriate and photo-worthy. And Morocco is, after all, the destination du jour for stylish trailblazers, photographers and travel lovers alike.
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Boho-chic, Moroccan-inspired clothing has been enjoying a fashion moment in the Western world, so you may find that your existing wardrobe is already packed with key Moroccan fashion pieces. If not, try rummaging through your wardrobe for a few interchangeable items of clothing that can be layered or adapted.
Consider purchasing a few staples that mix well into your outfit itinerary before you travel, so that you don’t burn valuable sightseeing time trying to figure out what to wear each day. Never fear though, the souks of Morocco are an absolute treasure trove of the most beautiful handcrafted fashion and decor.
So, keep a little (or a lot of) space open in your suitcase to stash your newly acquired heirloom pieces on your way home. Whether poised against the azure-washed walls of Chefchaouen, or with the earthy red Medina of Marrakech as your backdrop, your holiday photo opportunities are filled with promise. Get ready to induce some serious envy across your social feeds!
Still not sure? Read on for more inspiration on what to wear to Morocco.
Destination Morocco: clothing for Women
Traditional Moroccan women’s clothing differs somewhat from that of the morocco dress code for tourists. Moroccan girls and women traditionally would wear a hijab to cover their hair, and in adulthood, a djellaba (a long, hooded robe) over their clothing while outside of their homes.
You’ll want to pull out anything that’s equally long and billowy from your wardrobe for your Moroccan outfits. Tight, revealing clothing or anything that exposes the thighs, stomach, décolletage or shoulders are a no-go.
The key here is to err on the side of conservative. Add to that the searing heat, particularly if you are traveling between the summer months of June to August, and your future self will thank you for choosing modesty and comfort over your habitual style of dressing from back home.
As for the question of covering your head and hair, most of the time you will do just fine by keeping your shoulders covered while out and about, with the exception of more remote areas, or when visiting religious sites.
How you decide to dress also largely depends on the city you are travelling in, and locals in the major tourist mecca’s are pretty accustomed to seeing troupes of visitors passing through in an array of ensembles.
Your Morocco dress code for women:
- Maxi dresses
- Long or mid-length skirts
- Wide palazzo style pants
- T-shirts (side note: nothing sleeveless)
- A billowy button-up blouse for layering
- Bikini or full piece swimsuit for lounging at the hotel pool
- Venturing for a swim outside the hotel warrants a few modest beach outfits
- Scarves, scarves and more scarves
- Flip-flops and sandals
- Closed shoes for walking
- A hat
- Something dressy for an evening out
Destination Morocco: clothing for Men
Not to be forgotten, there are a few rules when it comes to what to wear in Morocco for men. Some of the same principles that apply to Moroccan outfits for women, also apply to Moroccan attire for men.
There is an emphasis on modesty in Moroccan dressing (even for the boys) so it’s best to avoid wearing anything that is too flashy or ostentatious. This is especially true in the souks where an elaborate display of wealth contrasts starkly with the humble lifestyle of the local merchants.
While Moroccan boys are accustomed to wearing shorts, you are more likely to see a Moroccan man in long pants with a collared shirt and closed shoes, even in the summer.
During the colder winter months, and on special or religious occasions, a djellaba will also be worn by a man. As a tourist, you will be able to pack most of the items from your existing wardrobe like jeans, chinos or longer length shorts.
Just keep the sleeveless vests and super short trunks for relaxing in the privacy of your Riad or by the pool.
Your Morocco dress code for men:
- Polo shirts
- Button up collared shirts
- Swimming trunks (let’s leave the speedo behind for this one…)
- A cardigan or lightweight jacket
- Closed shoes for walking
- A hat
- Something smarter for an evening out
The Moroccan scarf
The humble scarf is about to become your best friend and an indispensable part of your Moroccan attire. Apart from being a ritual of respect for the local culture in which you are immersed, it serves another purpose. The idea of covering yourself modestly is not intended to be oppressive, but rather offers a sort of protection against the misconceptions and notorious advances from the locals.
Although you undoubtedly will gather up more than one Moroccan headscarf as you make your way through the souks, it’s a good idea to pack one from home just to get you started. Depending on when and where you plan to travel in Morocco the weather can range from mild through to sweltering, but becomes deceptively cool in the evenings.
Although it seems counterintuitive to layer up in the heat, covering sun-exposed skin during the day with a soft, sheer scarf can actually help to keep you cool while also protecting your modesty.
Now you know how to dress in Morocco
The uncertainty of what is and isn’t appropriate to wear in a conservative country shouldn’t take the fun out of dressing in Morocco. Ultimately when it comes down to deciding on what to wear in Morocco, don’t let the process overwhelm you.
Rather spend a little time on planning and whole lot more time on getting excited about the journey ahead. In the words of Bob Basso, “If it’s not fun, you’re not doing it right.”