Iran is located in western Asia and neighbors the Middle East. As most countries in this region, Islam is mainly practiced all around the country and therefore is known as the Islamic Republic of Iran. Islam has a vast cultural influence on most aspects of Iran and its regulations. One of the most important cultural practices observed throughout Iran is the dress code that influences on what both the men and women can and should wear. Being an Islamic country, respecting the “Hijab” regulations is a must but unlike most other Arab countries, the Hijab has a much more moderate meaning in Iran. The Hijab in general is the covering of the hair for woman and extends into also the covering of arms and legs. This is mostly done by wearing a light scarf or shawl on the head to cover the hair on top of a long dress or a full sleeve top with long pants or a full-length skirt. As mentioned, many Arab countries also consider the covering of the face, part of the Hijab but this is not practiced in Iran and is not at all required. It is also good to know that although the general dress code should be followed by all guests in Iran but the regulations are more relaxed for tourists. In this article we shall take a look at what you should carry or purchase to follow the cultural guidelines of the dress code in Iran.
As woman have to take the Hijab and dress code more seriously, we shall first talk about some important points regarding the woman’s dress code in Iran. As mentioned earlier, all woman should follow the “Hijab” regulations so we first recommend carrying a light scarf on your in-cabin luggage to cover the head upon arrival at any International airport or border of Iran. The scarf can be any color and does not have to tightly cover the head, just enough to cover the majority of the hair is great. Woman do need to cover their arms and legs, so we suggest wearing a full sleeve loose shirt or top with any kind of full-length pants. The pants should at least be a bit above the ankles, anything less than that is not suitable.
Most tourists do get surprised at the amount of stylish clothing trends and fashion they see among the Iranian woman especially the younger generation. No more is black the norm color in clothing and a variety of bright colors are worn by woman. Jeans and even tight leggings are worn by the woman, so its completely OK for tourists to wear them but just as mentioned they should reach above the ankle.
Regarding footwear, almost anything goes so there is not much care needed there and most forms of shoes and sandals be it with heels or without, are suitable. Over the past few years the dress code rules have been relaxed a huge amount especially for woman, so just keeping up with the above points are enough. Woman that are have enquires on using makeup in Iran can feel comfortable knowing that moderate designs and nail paints are very OK.
We do recommend taking a bit more care in the dress code in some cities such as Yazd, Kerman, Kashan and Qom as the overall culture there is slightly more conservative. If you are planning to visit the stunning interiors of any mosque or Islamic shrine, using a “Chador” is mostly compulsory for both locals and tourists. The Chador is a long piece of loose cloth that is worn on top of your outfit and travelers can mostly borrow one at the entrance of these attractions.
The dress code for men in Iran is really almost nothing to even think about as men can dress as they do in their own countries. The only exception being short pants that are not very normally worn by Iranian men and therefore wearing them is out of place unless you are travelling as part of a sports team. Wearing short sleeve t-shirts and shirts are completely OK in Iran. Other that these points, men do not need to follow any other dress code regulations.
As in everywhere else in the world, guests visiting Iran should observe certain cultural and traditional beliefs and take the required precautions but other than what we have mentioned above regarding the dress code in Iran, nothing else should occupy your mind when planning to travel to Iran.