Dresscode for women in Egypt

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Sep 22nd, 2005, 11:07 PM
  #1
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Dresscode for women in Egypt

I know I can't wear shorts or any sleeveless in Egypt. How about capris and short sleeve tees? Also, can someone tell me about shoes? Can I wear open-toe shoes (eg. flip-flops?)? Thanks!
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Sep 22nd, 2005, 11:40 PM
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Apparently there's no prohibition against shoes which show parts of the foot. I met a woman in black gown (I know that's not the right word) veil and scarf with strappy heeled sandals. The temperature, the uneven ground, the sand, and the floors of the bathrooms will dictate your shoes.
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Sep 23rd, 2005, 03:57 AM
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No societal reason for not wearing flip-flops, but a practical reason not to - sand and pavement is very hot, all surfaces are uneven, even paved ones. If you want open shoes (as I did), heavier sandals like Tevas are a better choice.

The issue with capris and short-sleeves is more of how tight they are than the length of leg or sleeves - I felt comfortable in both as long as they were looser fitting.

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Sep 23rd, 2005, 04:38 AM
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Susanna;

hello from Cairo:
who said you cannot wear shorts in Egypt ? on the beach / resorts / hotel pool you can be in bikinis... in the city / upper Egypt (Luxor, Aswan etc..) you can wear shorts... obviously not skin tight and not too short .. knee length would be ideal. Therefore Capris would be ideal. You will find lots of Egyptians (middle class and upper middle class wearing short sleeved T-shirts).

Of course you "can" wear sandals, open toe shoes etc... but I would recommend otherwise due to dust and that you will be visiting 'sandy' locations (Pyramids, temples etc...) where you would feel more comfortable with shoes and socks... timberland types, Tennis shoes etc..

Egyptians dress conservativel, but that relates to varying degrees of religious beliefs and to a great extend to the social class they belong too... therefore you would find some veiled (covered hair, long sleeves and long dresses) others wearing knee length skirts and toursers with half sleeve blouses.

See for yourself, on the link below are photos representative of what tourists wear in Egypt:
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/d.meeha...photos/c08.JPG

http://www.touregyptphotos.com/data/...pt_2-thumb.jpg

The rule simply is: Egypt is a rather conservative country, therefore when away from the beach or the hotel, to avoid some stearing glances , avoid garments that are too tight / see-through / or too revealing (cleavage, very short skirts etc..).

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Sep 23rd, 2005, 06:09 AM
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Sherif, thank you for clarifying. In reading the posts on this board, I have gotten so many mixed messages my head is spinning. I want to be respectful of the culture, but I think I have been overdoing it and thinking I had to have baggy, ankle-length and long-sleeved everything. I am so happy to hear I can modify my thinking a little, specifically regarding capris.
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Sep 23rd, 2005, 08:13 AM
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We have just returned from Egypt. Like SusannaK, I was very concerned lest we offend Egyptians by our casual style of dress, so I planned to take only slacks and capris. At the last minute, I threw in some shorts, and am I glad I did. Shorts were fine for touring the sites along the Nile and at the Giza Plateau.

For Cairo, I wore capris, slacks, and/or long skirts, however, be warned....getting across the street in Cairo is difficult and I tripped several times on my long skirt.

My husband found that short sleeved 100% cotton and/or seersucker-type puckered shirts worked the best for him. Knit shirts of any kind were just too hot.

Sandals were not a problem, however, he wore socks with his, and I wore the heavier walking-shoe type because of the uneven pavement and dust and sand.

I agree with the other posters about not wearing anything too form-fitting, revealing or see through.

The main thing to remember is light weight, loose fitting and preferably cotton garments work best. And don't forget the sun block and a brimmed hat.
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Sep 23rd, 2005, 08:23 AM
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Oh, I forgot to mention...sleeveless is fine for touring the pyramids and the temples, but we did wear shirts with short sleeves in Cairo. And carry a light-weight scarf in Cairo if visiting Mosques. Long gowns are available to cover up before entering the Mosque, but I'm always more comfortable bringing my own. However, I forgot to wear socks with my sandals that day and my feet got very dusty walking barefoot and made a mess of the suede innersoles of my shoes.
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Sep 23rd, 2005, 09:18 AM
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Thank you Mimi for the very objective and realistic account....

some people who never visited Egypt have a very generalistic view/perception of the whole middle east region... therefore confusing what they read about (or see on TV) regarding places like Iran or Saudi Arabia with other more open / cosmopolitan countries such as Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia etc..
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Sep 23rd, 2005, 10:37 AM
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I believe you just answered my next question. I assume, then, that the same rules apply in Jordan. We are also spending time there.
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Sep 23rd, 2005, 10:40 AM
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Yes they also apply to Jordan... the usual places visitors would go to: Amman, Petra, Aqaba etc...
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Sep 23rd, 2005, 05:20 PM
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Wow! Thanks so much for all the replies! I think I'm getting the idea. =) One more question though... what about the color of the garment? What would be the most safe color for the bottom/top/scarf? Does it even matter? I happen to collect many bright clothings (pink, yellow, green, etc) recently and I'd like to see if I can just take what I already have or buy something new. Thanks!
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Sep 23rd, 2005, 06:47 PM
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Sherif please don't compare Beirut, the fashion capital of the middle east to Cairo!

In Beirut, it's perfectly normal to walk around in a tiny mini-skirt, show as much cleavage as you want, and wear extremely low-rise TIGHT jeans. You'd be wondering if you were actually in LA!

Cairo is definitely more conservative than Beirut where about 70 percent of the population is Christian!
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Sep 23rd, 2005, 10:05 PM
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You'll see that the women wear wonderful colors in Egypt -- even in the middle of the most conservative places.
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Sep 23rd, 2005, 11:51 PM
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I am off to Beirut

No, actually I lived there for over a year and it is the WOW place of the region. That does not deny the fact that Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia etc... could be in one category and Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Iran etc.. would be in a different category.
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Sep 24th, 2005, 10:09 AM
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OH No Sherif!

Qatar, Bahrain, and UAE(Dubai) are in one category. They are extremely rich and open gulf countries. Most women over there dress conservatively becuase they are Muslims, however, foreigners can wear whatever they want in public with no problems at all!

Then there is Saudi Arabia in a category of its own. Saudi Arabia is a very rich country where local women are required to dress conservatively ONLY in public!

However, if you go to shopping malls in wealthy neighborhoods of Jeddah the commercial capital, you will see all kinds of revealing outfits on display: from bikinis to the latest ultra expensive Parisian and Italian haute couture dresses. and Saudi women from large Metropolitan areas wear all of those but not in public.

And Saudis are not all alike my friend. There are the ultra liberal wealthy types who were raised in palaces and own beach houses where they wear bikinis and tiny outfits, and there are the ultra conservatives who live in villages in the middle of the desert.

So You Can't even put Saudi Arabia in just one category, let alone putting it in one category with Mullah-run Iran!!

Go to private beach resorts of Jeddah where the norm is to dress sexy.
And if you are American (there are a lot of those in Jeddah!)you will be admitted with no problem, but if you were Saudi, you need to have a family with you! how unfair is that

Note that these are PRIVATE beaches. But of course in Saudi public beaches, one must dress conservatively.

By the way there is no such a thing as a Saudi tourist visa, so I am not trying to convince people to go to Saudi Arabia. But having lived there myself for quite a few years, I am just trying to convey the fact that big Saudi cities are definitely not as conservative as people from the outside may think.

Happy travels everyone! go to Egypt!
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Sep 26th, 2005, 09:50 AM
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I will be traveling to Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt during late October and early November.I do not know what the temps will be. What type of clothing would be most appropriate. I do not want to be offensive in any way so I understand the need for modesty. I am female.
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Sep 26th, 2005, 12:02 PM
  #17
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nobugs -

No problem in Greece (they're not a Muslim country) or Turkey (a secular Muslim country) as to clothing. For Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, there is no problem with slacks, crop pants, skirts, long walking shorts (if hot when visiting sites), shirts with a short sleeve - all are fine. Keep the abbreviated clothing (if these are part of your wardrobe) for the resorts or beaches. And unless you're in a conservative town or entering a mosque, clothing shouldn't be a problem.

Weather can vary from hot to downright cold in some areas of Turkey. Besides, since you're traveling to so many countries, you only need sufficient clothing for the maximum days in whichever country you visit. Just be sure to have a scarf (for entering a mosque) good walking shoes, a jacket/heavy sweater if the weather changes. Nights to tend to get chilly even if the days are hot.
 
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Sep 26th, 2005, 06:53 PM
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THANK YOU!!
I am fairly well traveled but this part of the world is new to me.
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Sep 27th, 2005, 06:54 AM
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Just wanted to add that Lebanon is even more secular that Turkey since Christian Arabs make up about 35/40 % of the population.
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