What to wear in Morocco is one of the most asked and legitimate questions prior to traveling to Morocco. For me, deciding what I am going to wear in Morocco makes me excited, as I love the challenge of choosing clothes that will enhance my experience. In fact, Morocco is one of those destinations that really require you to pack smartly. Depending on the experiences you are going to have in Morocco and the time of year you are visiting the country, you need to make sure you are packing the right clothing items. That’s not all, your outfit can really impact your experience, greatly or badly, because it might affect how Moroccans may treat you. I will get to that in details later in this post.
Besides, your outfits are going to show in your pictures right? And the best would be to take pictures that capture the magic of your trip and that you will be proud of showing to your family and friends. Luckily this is very easy and you won’t need deep technical photographic skills. In fact, Morocco decor is so beautiful and most pictures will look gorgeous effortlessly, especially if your outfits blend in the decor.
All this might seem complicated and overwhelming but you really don’t have to worry, believe me. You got me and I travel to Morocco A LOT! So just be comfortable, I hashed everything out for you so you learn:
- How to dress up correctly depending on the season you are visiting Morocco and the experiences you are going to have
- How to dress up respectfully to the locals’ culture and traditions
- How to dress up gorgeously so your photos scream how magical your trip was
- How to pack smartly and buy gorgeous local clothing items that you can wear back home
What to Wear in Morocco for Women & Men?
Here is a complete guide on what you need to know to make the right decisions when packing for your trip to Morocco. There are many things that need to be taken into account while choosing what to wear in Morocco and here they are.
Respecting Morocco Culture
The Moroccan culture is one of the most interesting and intriguing cultures to explore, and naturally, it has an impact on how women and men dress.
Let’s what with the easiest part. For men, there is only one general rule and that is to always dress neutral. Men usually don’t have rules regarding what they can wear in Morocco. Unfortunately (and like everywhere in the world really), women are the ones being constantly told what to wear and what not to wear.
However, that doesn’t mean that men can absolutely wear anything or … nothing. There is a minimum and it is to dress neutral, which means, to not let the outfit reveal once sexual orientation. I talked about this in my article about safety in Morocco. Morocco is a conservative country that is quite hostile to the LGBT community. So avoid wearing anything that can show your sexual orientation.
For women, it is a little bit more complicated. But girls, I am here to break everything down for you. One recommendation that applies to all your outfits is to choose covering clothes. Morocco being a conservative country, showing a lot of skin draws men attention and can sometimes put you in delicate situations, especially in public spaces where there is a high concentration of locals. The general rule is to avoid showing your generous curves and exposing your décolletage, shoulders, or thighs. I have some girlfriends who dress up sexy in Morocco, and they still haven’t had a bad experience. But this is not wise and not very respectful to the locals’ culture and traditions.
In some places, though very rare, you will need to cover your hair and entire body to be allowed entrance. In this case, a scarf and long dress with sleeves will do the job. If you are visiting Morocco with a local guide, he sure will tell you when to dress like that. I remember, one time, I was in Fez wearing a sleeveless shirt, quite conservative though, and while that was okay for visiting the Medina (Fez’s downtown), I was not allowed to enter one historical monument that happened to be a mosque. The monument guardian told me to cover up and get back, which I did. I shopped a cheap and cute traditional clothing item from a neighboring store and could visit (I’ll give you some ideas and inspiration at the end of this post).
Here are some clothing items to pack and wear in Morocco:
- Long dresses
Long or midi dresses are a must when traveling to Morocco. They are in general very comfortable and if the material you choose is right, they will have a cooling effect and will protect you from the sun.
Try to avoid dresses that show a lot of skin, your curves or decolletage. Sexiness in public spaces is not appreciated. There are so many beautiful dresses out there that are a bit conservative and that will still make you look gorgeous. Another advantage of bringing a long dress with you is that it will blend perfectly with the Moroccan decor. You will look like you are coming straight from a 1001 nights story.
Like long dresses, skirts are an important item to pack when you travel to Morocco. Skirt length doesn’t matter as long as it is below the knees. However, try to avoid tight skirts a-la-kim-Kardashian.
Skirts are very convenient and practical as you can wear them many times without them getting dirty or smelly (unlike dresses where you sweat). So make sure you bring at least one long or midi skirt with you.
- Long wide pants
Long large pants are very fashionable these last seasons and are coming with beautiful colors and designs. If you choose the material right, they can be very cooling and comfortable. Combined with a stylish hat, your photos will be stunning.
- Wide shorts
Even if they show a lot of skin, wearing shorts in Morocco for women is okay especially in touristic places. Just make sure your overall outfit is not too sexy and balance everything with a covering shirt. Also, avoid leather, tight or very short shorts.
- A silk scarf
Don’t worry, you won’t be wearing a scarf during your trip to Morocco. Unlike some Muslim countries, hair covering is not mandatory for women. However, as I mentioned earlier, in order to be given access to some historical religion-related places, you need to cover your head and neck with a scarf. The same scarf can be used to cover up your shoulders when it gets a little bit freezy outside or to cover your head from the sun in the Moroccan desert. So it is a quite practical item to bring with you.
Silk scarves are the best as they preserve your body temperature from the outside heat or cold. Here is a cheap 100% silk scarf I bought and always make sure I bring with me when I travel to Morocco.
What about your Sexy Clothes?
You can absolutely pack your sexy items with you when visiting Morocco. The only condition is to wear them in modern places, like touristic/fancy hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs.
If you are planning on going in an expedition in the desert, it is more likely that you will stay in a small group with your local guide, then you might be able to rock your sexy clothes and poses (but never provocative or vulgar). In public spaces like the citie’s Medina, where there is a big concentration of locals, always keep it low key.
What to Wear in Morocco Depending on the Seasons and your Planned Experiences
I talked about this in details in a previous post: There is a best season for each experience in Morocco. For example, visiting the Moroccan desert is best during spring and fall. That’s why I would never recommend traveling to the desert during the summer as it can get really hot, and many people won’t be comfortable with the heat, including me (and I am Moroccan and used to hot temperatures!). In this particular case and for most people, no clothing strategy can help. That’s why I will make the assumption that you are traveling to Morocco during the best season. If you are not, no worries, all seasons are great in Morocco, you only need to switch to the right activities, and that’s what’s interesting about the country,
If you are planning on skiing, trekking or hiking, pack the same items you would bring with you if you were having the same activity anywhere else than Morocco. There are no general rules, just be practical and bring what will make you comfortable regarding the local weather.
If you are going to visit the desert, large covering items are the best, as they will protect you for the heat and direct sun rays. Don’t forget the silk scarf I mentioned previously, a large hat, sunblock, a pair of hiking shoes or sandals and sunglasses.
While visiting the Medinas, cities’ historical monuments or places with a high concentration of locals, just apply the basic rules I shared with you previously, i.e, men dressing up neutral and women dressing up conservatively.
Pack smartly and buy gorgeous local clothing items that you can wear back home
As I mentioned earlier, you don’t need to pack everything you will wear in Morocco. I am sure you are planning on buying some souvenirs from the country, and what If I tell you that there are beautiful traditional clothes that you can buy in Morocco, wear while visiting the country, that look stunning in pictures and which you can wear back home. Wouldn’t that be perfect? Well, it’s totally possible and that’s what I learned to do after years traveling back and forth to Morocco.
First, there is the traditional Moroccan djellaba. It is a traditional clothing known for being long, having a cap, and which Moroccan women wear on a regular basis. While the traditional djellaba is wide, with sleeves and is very covering, in the last decade many young Moroccan designers started revisiting this traditional clothing and modernizing it. It even inspired many international designers and brands. So now, you can find sleeveless djellabas, slim djellabas to show curves as well as djellabas with modern patterns.
The Moroccan Gandoura is also a traditional clothing that I love wearing in Morocco. It is light and super cute. It resembles the djellaba as it is also long and covering, but it’s more feminine and decorated with embroidery, sequins, lace and so much more details that makes them very feminine.
And there are so many other beautiful items that you can buy in Morocco and use back home. If you are interested in digging the subject deeper, I am currently working on a detailed guide about the best things to buy in Morocco, with the real prices (so you know how to bargain) and the best places to purchase each item. So make sure you come regularly to the website or enter your email below so I let you know once the guide is available.