A girl with a headscarf playing with her hair against a wall in Tehran

What is Iran Dress Code?

Time to read: 8 Mins | Published on January 20, 2020
We'll tell you all about Iran dress code and what you should wear during your vacation to Iran. If you have any questions about Persian clothing, this article will have answers for you.

This is a question many foreigners – especially women – face when they decide to visit Iran: what is Iran’s dress code? What should I pack for Iran?

Despite the content provided on the internet, there is a lot of false information regarding this matter. But today, we are going to break down Persian clothing for everyone who wants to visit Iran. We will talk about what to wear, what not to wear, and the other rules that apply to outfits when it comes to Iran.

Note that the information provided in this article is solely about Iran’s dress code, not the Islamic dress code. The way Muslims dress depends on the country they’re in and how religious they are.

What Should Men Wear When They Visit Iran?

Fortunately, Iranian men’s clothing is not that restricted. The only rules men should follow are:

  1. Not wear any shorts. In other words, men should not wear anything that doesn’t cover their legs from the ankle up.
  2. Not wear sleeveless shirts.

And that’s it! Other than shorts and sleeveless shirts, you are allowed to wear anything you want.

Also, ties are not that normal to wear, but they’re not prohibited.

Now, we’re going to cover the most important thing you probably came here for.

A male tourist looking up inside a salt cave at Qeshm.

Men can wear anything they like besides shorts.

What Should Women Wear in Iran?

For better accessibility, we have answered every question that you might have about the Iran dress code. Just keep reading, and if by the end of this article, you still have no idea what to wear in Iran, do not hesitate to drop a comment.

What colors am I allowed to wear?

A lot of people think that the only color Iranians wear is black. Now, that might have been true if the dress code was Chador, but that’s not the case. What’s Chador, you ask? The chador is a piece of clothing that covers your entire body except for the face. It mostly comes in black, but some light-colored ones are in use as well.

As we mentioned, though, not all Iranian women wear chador; it depends on how religious they are. Only the most religious people wear Chador. So, what colors are you allowed to wear in Iran? All colors! Yes, there are no restrictions when it comes to color in the Iran dress code. You can wear red, yellow, green, or any other color that might seem a bit loud to wear in an Islamic Republic country.

So, don’t worry. Just wear whatever colors you wear in your own country and whatever you feel comfortable in.

A group of female tourist walking together.

Women are allowed to wear any color they’d like.

How long should my dress be?

Persian clothing is a little bit complicated, but don’t worry. Cause we have gathered all the information you might need.

Manteau

Manteau is a kind of hijab dress similar to overcoat, which women wear in Iran. There are many different variations of it, suitable for every taste and fashion style you have. But how long Manteaus should be? If you’re naturally a cautious person, choose something that covers your entire upper body plus your bum. Since Persian clothing requires all women to have Hijab (Covering yourself from head-to-toe, except for hands from the wrist down; legs from ankles down, and face), all women try to live by this rule as much as they can. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not fashionable and stylish!

Many foreign tourists – especially females – travel to Iran, with the most oversized and hideous clothes they can find. They soon regret it, though, because Iranian girls and women care about their appearance very much, and it shows!

Where can you find a manteau? Just wear an overcoat or a long cardigan or any other thing you own. Upon your arrival in Iran, shop for one. They’re pretty cheap. And because they’re an integral part of Iran dress code, they can be found easily all over the country.

Three frames of different girls wearing mantaeu

Manteau can come in a variety of lengths and designs.

Sleeves

How much of your hands should be covered? Persian women’s clothing is not very restricting in this matter. You can show up to your elbows, and no one would bat an eyelash. Shorter than that is frowned upon and most likely to draw stares from strangers.

So, how long should your dress be? As long as it covers your bum, you’re good to go.

Scarf/Veil

Yes, it’s a myth that Persian girls all wear Chador, but Scarves are one hundred percent real. Scarves are pieces of clothing that Iranian females use to cover their hairs. Headscarves and veils are a significant part of the Iran dress code. They are – again – very stylish and come in various colors, patterns, and models.

Exactly how much hair should my veil cover?

Covering every strand of hair might seem a hard task to someone who’s never had hijab before, and it is. However, the Iran dress code doesn’t require women to cover all of their hair. Long braids and straight hair is a natural scene walking in Iran’s streets. Nobody cares about the amount of hair visible as long as you’re covering the top of your head and your scarf has not fallen on your shoulders.

Our recommendation? Pay a visit to the local stores and take a look at the scarves. You might even end up buying some of them for your friends as souvenirs!

An Iranian girl with a scarf smiling in front of a historical wall.

Scarves can be worn in many ways to create a stylish look.

Pants

Iran dress code requires women to cover their legs entirely. They should not wear anything that shows anything above their ankles.

Skinny jeans, tights, yoga pants, and thick pantyhoses are acceptable. See-through items should be avoided as they show too much skin, and that is prohibited in Iran.

The same rule applies to skirts. As long as you’re not showing your leg from the ankle up and it’s not see-through, you’re good. When wearing skirts in public places, pay attention to the way you sit; the skirt should cover your leg at all times.

Footwear

There are no restrictions when it comes to footwear. Sandals are completely appropriate in the Iran dress code. They’re considered beautiful and trendy!

Also, if you’ve recently had your nails done, let it be! You don’t need to remove your nail polish or anything. Iranian women get their nails done pretty often.

Makeup

Are women allowed to wear makeup in Iran? Absolutely. Iranian women love wearing makeup. It’s no wonder beauty salons are one of the most profitable jobs in Iran.

Most of the Iranian women never leave their home without makeup. Some older people consider girls who don’t wear makeup to be lazy or depressed. So, you can wear makeup without having to worry about anything.

An Iranian girl applying brow makeup.

Iranian women love shopping for new and trendy makeup tools.

How much makeup is too much?

Well, as a foreign tourist, you’re probably trying to blend in as much as possible. Thus, we would advise against wearing bold makeup items such as black lipstick, long or thick eyeliner, or any face jewels and crystals. Other than that, you should be fine.

Tattoos in Iran Dress Code

In the past, it wasn’t that common to see people flashing their tattoos on the streets. But nowadays, you see a lot of Persian women with their beautiful ankle tattoos showing. But we know the question you’re asking yourself:

Should I hide my tattoos when traveling to Iran?

The short answer would be: No, you don’t need to cover your tattoos when traveling to Iran. But if you have any tattoos that might be considered rude in Islamic religion or you have some tattoos on your face, it’s better to cover it up. Skeletons are pretty mainstream, though.

A woman sitting next to a man exposes her arm tattoo reaching for the micrphone

Taraneh Alidusti, an Iranian actress shows off her feminist tattoo during an interview.

What about my piercing? Should I remove them when traveling to Iran?

Face piercings are okay in Iran as long as you don’t have a lot of them. Ear and nose piercings are entirely normal. A tongue piercing is okay, too because no one can see it. These days, you see a lot of art students with their eyebrows pierced. So, in most big cities, that is accepted as well. Other kinds of face piercings are not that common and are likely to draw stares from strangers.

Do These Rules Apply to Smaller Cities and Villages?

As you probably know, Iran is a big country. The dress code we covered in this article is mainly about big cities of Iran such as Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, and Yazd. But what if you’re planning to visit other smaller provinces in Iran?

When you’re on a tour to Iran or visiting different regions on your own,  you need to live by their customs and traditions. This is a kind of respect tourists pay to locals. So, it’s better to dress more conservatively when visiting smaller or religious cities like Mashhad.

Responsible travel

Iran dress code is not just about the big cities; it’s about everywhere. As a responsible travel agency in Iran, we care about different cultures in Iran. Wherever we visit, we try to follow the same rules they do. And this isn’t just about paying respect to the locals; this is about not changing the culture of the people you’re visiting.

This is why we care about sustainable tourism. We need to conserve the culture and environment of a place we’re visiting for future tourists. If we don’t, we might change the way locals act towards the other tourists that come after us. We care about these little things.

What should you do when you’re visiting a small city or village then? Just ask a native person. Almost everyone can provide relevant information.

A quick tip: just because you’re visiting a small city or village doesn’t mean you have to dress more conservatively or cover yourself much more. Women in the villages wear more feminine and colorful. And often, they’re more hospitable than city people.

Indoor Clothing

All of the tips covered in this article so far were about how to dress outdoors. But what about what you need to wear when you’re in your hotel room? Or a guest in somebody else’s house?

What should I wear indoors?

Just pay attention to how everybody else is dressed. The way people dress in their homes in Iran varies among different households. Some girls might be dressed in fashionable short and flowery dresses. Others might be more modest and dressed in pants and t-shirts – not showing too much skin. Follow how they’re dressed, and you’re good to go.

Another thing you should know is that the Iranian people are very hospitable. They’re famous for how nice they act towards their guests. Chances are, if you don’t dress like other members of the family, they will be understanding and won’t think anything of it. Just be sure to take off your shoes whenever you want to enter somebody’s house. It is considered dirty and unclean to use your shoes inside the house in Iran.

That’s It

And that’s it! We hope by now, you don’t feel scared of Iran dress code anymore. If you still have no idea what to pack for Iran, try following some of Iranian Instagram accounts. They show life in Iran better than anything. And they’re always up to date, so you don’t need to worry about outdated information.

Happy traveling!

What should I wear upon arriving in Iran? What's Iran's Dress Code?

Newsha Hoseiny

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