“Arrive as guest, leave as a friend…”
Last year, travel still seemed up in the air. But, Dec and I were eager to put our passports back to good use, after having a year of staycations and remaining on home soil in the UK.
After wading through traffic light systems and entry requirements, we decided to take the plunge and spend 10 days travelling Jordan- and boy, was it worth it!
As a first trip to the Middle East for the both of us, we certainly took the time to plan our trip out carefully. But for me, not only was it a case of checking for travel requirements, but also for what to wear.
As a very conservative country, I was certainly mindful of the type of clothing I wanted to wear out there. I wanted to be respectful, but also ensured that I stayed comfortable and kept a level of my own personal style throughout.
First thing about visiting areas of the Middle-East is to be respectful. I have heard on numerous occasions of people wanting to visit the Middle-East, but complaining or feeling deterred about getting stared for baring their skin. When visiting another country, I stand by the belief that you should respect the culture where you are going.
A large part of that should be in how to dress and present yourself. As a general rule of thumb, to hit the basics, I would recommend covering the knees and shoulders as a minimum where you can. For women, also having a scarf or hat to cover up your hair is also recommended (even at the very least, tying it back into a low bun).
So, here are my top picks for outfits that are conservative, comfortable and ready for exploring Jordan and other areas of the Middle East:
These were my go-to out in Jordan. As the weather in October can still be extremely warm, with temperatures averaging around 27°C, you want to ensure you wear clothing that is light and floaty, yet still covering those key areas. For me, long dresses ticked all of these boxes for me, particularly this beautiful blue ditsy spot maxi dress from Mango:
I did also wear a dress for a photoshoot we planned out in the desert, which did bare my shoulders. However, we did communicate with the locals beforehand and ensured they were happy for me to wear it out.
Wide leg trousers
When travelling areas of Jordan, such as Petra or the Wadi Rum Desert, you’re spending a lot of time climbing up mountains, rocks and over sand dunes, so you want to be wearing clothing that allows for a bit of flexibility in movement. Wide leg trousers, particularly with a linen blend, not only solved that issue, but also kept me cool during those hot desert climates.
During our stay in Wadi Rum, where we weren’t out in public as often, it was perhaps one of the few times that I did get my shoulders out more.
Top and Trousers: both from H&M
Paired with wide leg trousers, I also opted on numerous occasions for a linen or long sleeved blouse. Again, wearing this ensured that I kept my shoulders and midriff covered at all times.
Head coverings scarves
As a blonde, I knew that I was likely to receive a few stares walking around most areas of Jordan- which was very much expected and I was okay with! However, if you would like to reduce the attention slightly, I would recommend wearing a hat, or a head covering, such as a scarf.
I bought this beautiful blue scarf during our time in Petra, which was embroidered with the Jordanian’s national Iris flower (Iris Nigricans). Luckily as well, the Jordanian locals also taught me a number of ways to tie and style the scarf.
The scarf not only detracted some of the attention away from my hair, but it also kept my head and neck cool and out of the sun, so a bonus!
I did also take my fedora hat for exploring the Citadel in Amman.
Swimwear was perhaps more difficult to navigate, especially when either going to the Dead Sea, or visiting Wadi Mujib. However, luckily our wonderful tour guide Ibraham was able to recommend some areas along the Dead Sea, where I could wear swimwear.
We came across a hotel resort, which allowed you to wear a mix of swimwear.
I still personally chose to stick to a one-piece suit, however I did see plenty of tourists around in bikinis, so don’t feel like you have to cover up in those particular areas.
So those are my top picks for styling when out in the Middle East.