What to Wear in Morocco
“What should I wear in Morocco?”
This is a question that we very often get asked before people come over on holiday and although there is no one correct answer, we can try to give you some good ideas and options for things to pack.
Morocco is a Muslim country but also a modern, developing nation, so the dress code caries a lot depending on whether people are from the cities or the country and whether they have had a modern upbringing or a traditional one. In the countryside and in poorer areas of the city, you will see a lot of traditional dress.
How the locals dress in Morocco
For a Moroccan woman, this is a jellaba (kaftan), a long dress with a hood, and a headscarf. It is relatively unusual here to see women with the full veil, although you do see some women (often widows) wearing lower face veils in the cities. You may also see women wearing gloves in the summer but don’t be misled, this is not for modesty, it is to stop their hands getting too tanned in comparison to their covered arms. Another unique style that is certainly Moroccan-chic is to wear a cap or bonnet over a headscarf to protect faces from the sun.
Traditional wear for men is also a jellaba. In addition, there is a long shirt and trousers that is worn for special occasions and you might notice that on Fridays or for special holidays, the men wear bright yellow babouches (a traditional style of Moroccan shoe). In the south, the men may wear their headscarves wrapped into a turban.
Tips for women on what to wear in Morocco
There are a couple of things that very different here. For example, exposing your shoulders and tops of your arm are considered overly-revealing, so we recommend always keeping these areas covered. The best way to do this whilst also managing the intense temperatures is by wearing loose-fitted clothing and always carrying a scarf to cover your shoulders when travelling through busier parts such as the Medina or for a quick cover-up when you want to wear slightly more revealing clothing to manage the intense heat.
Skirts and shorts on the knee are perfectly acceptable in the cities. In the countryside, where locals have had more of a traditional upbringing, it’s recommended to wear long trousers or an over-the-knee skirt. Jeans, including skinny jeans, are commonly worn by modern Moroccan girls here, but they often wear a longer top if the jeans are at risk of being too tight. Another thing to be careful of is the transparency of your clothing. The sun is strong in Morocco and you may draw the wrong kind of attention if your dress goes transparent in the light.
At the beach, it is absolutely fine to wear a swimsuit or a bikini and likewise at the hotel pool, but you will need to cover up for walking around.
Tips for men on what to wear in Morocco
Shorts and t-shirts are acceptable to wear in the cities however vest tops are considered to be underwear. If you are travelling in the countryside then trousers or longer shorts would be more appropriate.
What to wear in Morocco in the Summer
In the hot summer months, the sun is burning hot, so think about covering up rather than leaving your skin exposed to the rays. Maxi dresses, floaty tops and cool trousers are all good recommendations for women. We find these are cooler than shorts and t-shirts.
It is absolutely acceptable to buy and wear local jellabas. They are cheap, pretty and very cooling (it’s no doubt you’ll get lots of compliments as you walk through the market!)
A hat or cap is an absolute necessity and a light scarf is always a good idea in order to cover the back of your neck. You can also wet this to help you cool down.
What to wear in Morocco in the Winter
In winter, the days are often clear and sunny but the nights are cold. Remember that houses in Morocco are designed more for the heat, so you may find them chilly. We definitely recommend you pack jeans, or heavier trousers, a sweater or fleece, closed shoes or boots and a warm jacket for the night time. You might also want to bring something cosy to wear in bed or whilst in your hotel room. A warm shawl during the day (the market has plenty of lovely options) is handy for when you go out of the hot sun into the shade.
Sports clothing for Morocco
People doing sports get a bit of a free pass when it comes to dressing appropriately. But again a t-shirt style rather than a vest top and long leggings or a skort (for women) rather than short shorts would be a good choice. If you are going to be hiking out in the rural areas then it is better to wear hiking trousers. Likewise, if you are mountain biking in remote areas, we suggest packing a pair of baggy over shorts.
You will probably see every kind of style and fashion while you are in Morocco. Moroccan girls are famous for their beauty and they love to dress up! The most important thing is to be comfortable in different weather conditions and also to really enjoy what you wear. For the girls, we suggest 70s kaftan glamour, bright prints, vibrant colours and maybe a sequin or two for the evening!
The most important thing is to feel comfortable, and have fun!
This piece is by Alice Morrison, check out her blog here or for more information on her latest book.