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Clothing for female travellers in Marrakesh etc

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London, United...
Level Contributor
425 posts
19 reviews
Clothing for female travellers in Marrakesh etc

Hello all,

Could anyone please clarify whether it is acceptable to wear spaghetti strap vest tops/strapless tops in Marrakesh? Wewill be visiting the normal places i.e the medina etc & We would hate to offend anyone but have been told by someone its unacceptable to show shoulders & knees, are cropped trousers below the knee acceptable or are ankles a problem too?

We will also be travelling to the asni valley & lmlil, essaouira & the Ourika valley & visiting villages, I assume these will be strict areas too? Thank you :-)

109 replies to this topic
marrakech
Destination Expert
for Morocco
Level Contributor
7,955 posts
63 reviews
1. Re: Clothing for female travellers in Marrakesh etc

Hi,

This is a subject which is still of concern to women travellers obviously (as it is constantly being asked about on the forum) and which the guide books don't seem up to date on nor friends who tell you thing are "unacceptable!" If you are in a heavily touristic area for example the towns of Tangier/Fes/Marrakech/Essaouira/Agadir the local people are very used to seeing tourists in various states of dress. They don't take offence but the men will look and probably comment if anything is too short or revealing.

Covering shoulders is just not expected or neccessary. Vest/strapless tops are fine but look around yourselves when you're here and see if you think too skimpy looks acceptable or not.

Ankles are certainly not a problem:-)

Lots of Moroccan girls now wear western clothes and tight jeans and clingy tops are common.

Shorts are fine if they're not hot pants!

Out of town is not "strict", just a wee bit more conservative so cover up a bit more.

Lastly please don't overpack or stress about it. Wear what you would be comfortable with in any hot city and believe me you will see all sorts, some of whom may shock you!

It's lovely that you don't want to offend but be sensible and you won't.

nanette447
Level Contributor
251 posts
23 reviews
2. Re: Clothing for female travellers in Marrakesh etc

We went to Marrakech two years ago, and are returning this year. I went into the medina in a sun dress that showed my shoulders, and got spat at and told to go home! The dress was a long per una one, so didnt show much flesh! This year i'll be wearing trousers and light kaftans

I

London, United...
Level Contributor
425 posts
19 reviews
3. Re: Clothing for female travellers in Marrakesh etc

Thank you so much for such an informative reply & for taking the time to respond so promptly, we travel out on Sunday so i'm trying to think what to pack .I've been to Agadir before and loved it & never had a problem whatsoever wearing shorts and vests but then admittedly I don't wear skimpy clothes he he :-)

I'm going to pack cropped trousers and vests but will always have a light shawl with me to cover my shoulders if necessary & when visiting the medina will wear short sleeves. It's a real shame for the lady that was spat at but there's always 1 person who has extreme views,I was shouted at in Cairo 18 years ago for wearing cropped trousers but I always had a hayabaya in my bag for the mosques & the guy who was shouting was egyptian wearing a short sleeved western shirt ?????? Confused much!

I'm hoping its going to be hot hot hot next week, thanks once again :-)

Delaware
Level Contributor
371 posts
27 reviews
4. Re: Clothing for female travellers in Marrakesh etc

It was super hot last week! We saw tourists in all variety of outfits - some were very much displaying their shoulders, cleavage, etc. Personally I stayed a bit more covered in shirts to my forearm & was glad to be a bit covered as far as both respect for the culture and protection from the sun since I burn easily. But you'll definitely see all kinds of shorts, tank tops, etc. Funniest to see on tourists were the super high heels some women wore - trying to navigate on cobble stone alleyways and around donkey poo and other obstacles!

Chester
Level Contributor
38 posts
5. Re: Clothing for female travellers in Marrakesh etc

Hi, I visited Marrakech in May this year. In the Medina we did see tourists in shorts and strappy vests and they didnt appear to be treated any differently. I chose to wear linen pants and cotton floaty smock tops and found these to be much cooler (on our day trip some of the people in vest tops were finding the sun very very hot). I did read up prior to travelling and the Guide books advised dress code should be respectful but in doing this, it was also very practical. Hope this helps !

swansea
Level Contributor
40 posts
36 reviews
6. Re: Clothing for female travellers in Marrakesh etc

Two blondes - one 50yrs, one 17 yrs - we stuck out a mile - we dressed sensibly - no skimpy tops, no short skirts or shorts - it's odd but you don't actually want to offend once you get there - why go to experience a different culture if you want to offend the locals? But you don't nee do cover up - just think about the difference between a day in a uk town shop[ping and a day at the beach and you're most of the way to realising what to wear. My daughter wore really fashionable surfy type clothes - the latest O'Neill, Roxy, Quicksilver - just not the skimpy stuff and we had a great time - really good fun, no hassle, lots of attention but mega, mega complimentary!! Best way to sum it up is whether you think its appropriate for blokes to go to a pub wearing just shorts in the uk or would you rather prefer they put a top on????

South East England...
Level Contributor
22 posts
12 reviews
7. Re: Clothing for female travellers in Marrakesh etc

I have just returned from Marrakech last Sunday. I too was under the impression that sleeveless clothes and shorts were not allowed in the country. In fact many people were wearing sleeveless tops. Cropped trousers are fine. Would not wear shorts though. When you go to the villages wear trousers. That should be fine.

Nothing to really worry about. Carry a shawl just in case..

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
67 posts
8 reviews
8. Re: Clothing for female travellers in Marrakesh etc

Just got back last week from touring throughout Morocco. Anything goes. I was very concerned before arriving and stressed about the right attire. I saw many, many tourists in sleeveless shirts, shorts above the knee. I don't think anyone took offense. In Marrakesh, there were woman with tops showing off their belly. I found many Moroccan young woman, dressing exactly as they do in the states. Dress attire should not be a concern to any tourists.

Enjoy!

UK
Level Contributor
2 posts
25 reviews
9. Re: Clothing for female travellers in Marrakesh etc

Before my wife and I went to Marrakech, we assumed that female tourists would be covered up and would be respectful of local religions, however after getting there, we were extremely shocked by how little many of the female tourists were wearing.

Some of them were wearing so little, that it actually made 'me' feel uncomfortable - they were wearing less than what girls would normally wear in the UK!? I was surprised that locals didn't seem bothered. I certainly never saw any of these girls getting any problems or harrassment whatsoever whilst I was in Morocco (we were there for several weeks) - it seems to be totally accepted by the locals.

We did see plenty of local women wearing very western clothes which were sometimes tight or revealing, however, it was definitely the female tourists mainly who seemed to be showing the most.

Also - in places like Essaouira there were plenty of female tourists wearing almost nothing on the beaches and with everything hanging out and on display - was pretty shocking and seems to be accepted as normal. It was nothing like how I imagined things to be in Morocco.

Morrocco is very strange - one second you are in the old medinas hearing the call to prayer, with women covered from head to toe walking past you, then the next second there are women walking around practically naked...

Only in Morocco I guess.

My advice to people is to use some common sense really and not to stress over it too much. It's completely fine to wear normal western clothes and you're not going to get any problems doing so to be honest - the place is completely overun with western tourists and the locals are totally used to it. Saying that however, I was honestly embarrased by what some tourists were wearing - they seem to be asking for trouble.

Personally I think it's best not to draw too much attention to yourself and to try and blend in (normal western clothes are fine for doing this). I think respecting local religions and cultures as much as possible is important and can only be a good thing - what shocked me was that there are tons of tourists in Morocco who seem to wear hardly anything and have no understanding or appreciation for local culture or religion at all. Some of these people would honestly be stared at in western countries and I have no idea what they were thinking...

From what I saw whilst I was there, Moroccan people are extremely tolerant towards western tourists and I don't think people should worry too much.

Marrakech
Destination Expert
for Marrakech
Level Contributor
3,559 posts
10. Re: Clothing for female travellers in Marrakesh etc

Excellent post TaZmAnUK. I totally agree. I tend to think people should save their boob tube for the beach and wear their clothes in the city, regardless of which country they are visiting.

I too am shocked by some of the sights that I see in Marrakech from the tourists. I once saw a family walking past the Koutoubia mosque at prayer time. The teenage boy was wearing shorts - no sign of a top. The teenage girl was wearing hot pants that revealed her bum cheeks and a string bikini top with her hair piled onto her head. The whole family seemed completely oblivious to the fact that the people going to pray at the mosque had clothes on and they stuck out quite distinctly.

Recently in Jemaa El Fna I saw a tourist wearing a see-through top with just a bikini underneath - obviously beach wear. Whilst no-one commented to her, the Moroccan person that I was with was appalled.

It only takes a bit of common sense to be polite and respectful.

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