Dress code in Iran is an important part of its norms. Iran is a Muslim country and due to its laws, tourists must be careful in what they wear.
This article is about Iran female dress code and generally dress code in Iran.
In Iran, younger people’s styles show a stronger Western influence than those of older people. Much like in the West, younger men tend to wear leisure items indoors, such as polo shirts, T-shirts, and sweatshirts, which are often used as sleepwear too.
Women’s indoor clothing
Women’s indoor clothing follows fashions similar to those in the West when no nâmahrams are present: T-shirts, slacks, denim jeans, with younger women generally favoring pants rather than skirts.
In the presence of nâmahrams, women who wear chador outdoors will most likely wear a patterned chador over whatever they are wearing.
Women who observe the hijab and Iran female dress code but do not wear a chador will most likely change into a loose, long-sleeved top and long skirt, or loose slacks and scarf.
When a nâmahram man is about to enter a room or any other space where women may have removed their hijab and official Iran female dress code, he will announce his arrival with yâllâh, yâllâh (an invocation of God’s name) so that the women can replace their scarves or chadors before he comes in, and he will wait for permission to enter. This permission is often expressed as befarmâ’id (please come in).
Formal Wear for Men & Women in Iran
In Iran the two-piece suit, often with a vest, is worn more than in the West. Office workers, technocrats, civil servants, doctors, teachers, and bank clerks wear suits not only to work, but also when visiting friends and family, going shopping, or traveling, especially if they are middle aged or older.
Artistic and engineering types, and those who have lived abroad, tend to dress less formally, with trousers and coat of different fabrics.
Dress code in Iran has some tips. Ties are rarely worn, especially among the more conservative and pious strata, and are seen as a Western irrelevance.
What Male Tourists can wear in Iran?
Anything middle-of-the-road is acceptable, with only two no-nos: avoid shorts at all times, as well as loud, bright shirts and tops (e.g., Hawaiian shirts).
Some Iranian youngsters have recently taken to wearing tight fitting, sleeveless tops, but this fashion is generally disapproved of and is limited to the very young and trendy.
All other leisure wear is acceptable, although be aware that tracksuit bottoms are only used indoors or in gyms, so wearing those pants in the street is likely to attract puzzled glances and smiles.
Short sleeves are acceptable when sightseeing and shopping but not for formal or business occasions.
Male Business Visitors in Iran
As in the West, a suit is the generally acceptable dress code in Iran for men on business and formal occasions.
The main obvious difference is the almost general absence of a tie, at least in government organizations and government-affiliated companies.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t a wear a tie, because Iranians are aware of the different dress styles and may even expect you to follow your own—foreign leaders and diplomats always do. Iranian private businessmen are more likely to wear a tie.
Women: General Guidelines for Women visiting Iran
Iranian law requires that all women wear Islamic hijab upon reaching puberty, but it doesn’t specify the form.
Despite the common misunderstanding, the chador is not compulsory except when visiting some mosques and holy shrines, where you can borrow one at the gate or even, if fancy takes you, buy a ready-made one from a nearby bazaar.
Women visitors have to observe the hijab law and Iran female dress code, which at the time of writing applies not only to native Iranians but to all women.
If you find others around you being more relaxed about hijab, you can do the same.
However, don’t forget that Iranians are well disposed toward foreigners and generally appreciate an effort to fit in and show respect for their conventions, so a small inconvenience may be worth the goodwill it generates.
Technically, all hair should be covered, but you will soon notice that this isn’t the case in practice.
If you want to be comfortable and not have to worry about your scarf slipping back, tie long hair back and choose a light cotton or non-slippery scarf or shawl (Indian silk or cotton scarves are good, too) tied under the chin or draped back over the shoulders.
What Colors to Wear in Iran?
Generally there is no limitation on color, although it’s best to avoid bright reds and pinks, especially during the month of Moharram, when Iranians observe mourning for Imam Hussein, and during the fast of the month of Ramadan.
Apart from these, the anniversaries of the Holy Imams’ martyrdoms are also scattered throughout the year, so you would feel rather awkward walking about in bright colors among people dressed in somber ones.
I find that any shades of blue and green, from pastels to deeper hues, and browns and creams are generally acceptable. Turquoise is a favorite of mine, and matches the lovely multi-color tiles in the Isfahan mosques.
What Women Tourists can wear in Iran (Iran female dress code)?
Generally, women have to wear clothing that adequately conceals feminine curves and does not show bare flesh, except for the face and hands, and often a bit of forearm, lower calf, and feet.
Foreign visitors can wear a pair of not-too-tight slacks under a loosely fitting, long-sleeved top or tunic that covers at least half the thighs, though ideally longer.
If you would prefer to wear a skirt, it should be at least mid-calf or longer, with nontransparent, darkish hosiery underneath.
Ankle length skirts are unusual but acceptable. During late autumn, winter, and early spring (October to March), these requirements are easier to follow, as women visitors can wear a raincoat over pants.
In the warm and hot months (April until late September), my advice would be to choose a linen jacket or even an over-sized but ton-down blouse to get to Iran and then have your first shopping experience hunting for a cool overcoat once you get here. Your tour operator or host should be happy to advise.
Female Business Visitors in Iran and the dress code in Iran
Apart from the general guidelines for the Iran female dress code already described, if you are a business traveler, aim to have at least one dark color outfit (black, navy blue, brown, or dark green) and a similarly muted or dark color scarf to wear over your head. Beige raincoats are also appropriate.
Is it allowed to take drugs or alcoholic beverages?
Both carrying and drinking alcohol as well taking drugs is prohibited on the territory of Iran.