Iran is a country with a dress code and respecting Islamic rules including “Hijab” or the Islamic dress-code is a necessity in Iran. However such rules are not observed strictly, especially for tourists and foreigners.
Usually more tolerance tends to be shown towards foreigners over the detail of the dress code than is the case for Iranian women.
Basically, the rules are quite simple: for men, no short pants or extreme short sleeve and tight shirts. For women, head and hair must be covered, and it is also necessary to wear something loose to cover the body.
In most private residences, women can dress in normal western clothes. However, in public, Islamic covering of the body and hair is mandatory.
“Acceptable” outfits may include a long, loose dress or shirt worn over loose skirt or pants and a scarf in the summer, and a full-length woolen coat and scarf in the winter (calf-length is acceptable if worn over pants). All colors and modest designs are generally acceptable, though it is better to stay away from particularly loud colors. Even when undertaking sporting activity in public (such as tennis or jogging), the dress code described above must be maintained.
Most people are shocked by the way people dress in Iran once they arrive, as the reality is far from the stereotypes. Iranian women are typically stylish and take great care in their appearance. It is not uncommon to see hair exposed under very small loose fitting scarves. Many Iranian women wear jeans or related clothes with a loose fitting long sleeve top. It covers them down to the mid thigh area. It is also common to see makeup and varnished nails.
Here are a few tips to specify and describe the dress code in Iran:
Gentlemen ! Shorts are not acceptable in public. Wearing ties or bows and T-shirts is all right. For men, generally, shorts, T-shirts and ties are not worn in public.
Ladies! You don’t have to worry about maintaining your hijab all the time. Normally the maximum penalty for disregarding the Hijab rule is a simple request (usually in a kind way) by police or authorities to make it correct. There are some minimum requirements for female traveler’s dress-code in public places:
- Color: It’s only a rumor that wearing must be dark in Iran. There is no limitation in this case and we recommend you use light colors especially in summer.
- Head: Although hair must be covered but it does not mean you should have a tight scarf around your head. It’s quite acceptable for women to let some of their hair fall freely. You can also use appropriate hats & caps as well as scarves. The scarf is the most common covering for head and it’s called “Roosari” in Persian.
- Body: Body and arms should be covered by loose clothes called a Manteau which is similar to a light overcoat.
- Legs & feet: Legs should be covered down to ankles. Tight jeans are no problem and you can wear sandals with bare feet.
Tip1: In winter time, apart from covering the head, the rest is the same as what you wear in your home country.
Tip2: Its best to enter Iran with a coat or Jacket and a scarf and then select your own style by watching the Iranian women in the streets.
Tip3: In some holy shrines you need to wear a Chador to enter, You can ask for it at the entrance.
Tip4: In international flights to Iran, you need to respect the dress code rule as soon as the plane enters Iranian air space.