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thursdaysd Jun 11th, 2009 06:59 AM

Fodors tip: skirts not pants for women in the Middle East??
Fodor's Tip of the Day is about checking the dress code before you travel - fine. For the Middle East it says "women are expected to dress modestly " - fine, although doesn't that also apply to men? But then, "(long skirts, no pants)". Really? My slightly dated Lonely Planet "Middle East" doesn't think so - baggy trousers, maybe, but trousers (or pants, depending on which form of English you speak). I haven't been yet, but I can't imagine Israeli women are all going around in long skirts, or women in Amman or Beirut for that matter. What have you found?

maxwell Jun 11th, 2009 07:41 AM

Thursdaysd - funny catch. While I have always dressed extremely modestly in the Middle East, I've been to Egypt, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and a teeny bit of the West Bank, and have never worn a skirt. Ever. I have had to wrap myself in a chador in certain places, but anywhere something like this was required for entry, it was provided at the entrance.

Are you going to Iran? I saw one of your comments on another thread - nice to see the increased interest in tourism in Iran.

thursdaysd Jun 11th, 2009 07:52 AM

maxwell - I'm in the planing stage for a possible fall trip - Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran. Jordan, Lebanon and Syria as a back-up if I can't get an Iranian visa, or a possible add-on. I'd like to do NE Turkey at the start, but I'm a bit leery of traveling there during Ramadan.

This is the second oops I've found in Fodor's "Tips" recently!

sandi Jun 11th, 2009 08:50 AM

Even in those countries where women cover completely (Saudi Arabia), they often have pants beneath. Many women in Iran, especially the young (where heads must be covered) wear pants with a longer jacket or coat. And, though women in the very observant areas around Israel, almost all wear long skirts... it's not necessary for visitors.

Just, no exposed skin (skimpy skirts, short-shorts, sleeveless shirts, low-cut or halter tops, etc.) Skirts if you like would be fine, otherwise, slacks/pants work. Loose comfy is best especially in these warm/hot climates.

And have a scarf in your bag for head covering where required.

Recall when we were in Thailand, short skirts or abbreviated clothing weren't permitted by women or men for entry to the Palace... so this mention isn't only for Middle East countries. Overall, it's just a matter of being respectful.

ahasan Jun 11th, 2009 09:44 AM

for Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan unless you are visiting a mosque you can get away with wearing anything including surprisingly a mini skirt. You would be surprised. spent 10 years living in Lebanon and have traveled extensively in the region. Iran, like the previous posters mentioned (i have not been there) is a little different. The need for a head scarf around mixed company and not showing skin alas is the norm.

sandi Jun 11th, 2009 09:54 AM

Lebanon and Syria both have large Christian populations, so more liberal than other countries.

For Jordan, we regularly see Queens Rania (current wife of Abdullah) and Queen Noor (wife of deceased King Hussein) in western clothes with a head covering when required.

Grcxx3 Jun 11th, 2009 03:08 PM

I used to wear a lot of skirts in Cairo - mainly because they were cooler.

As for Azerbaijan - I wouldn't stress it. Altho the number of women who cover in Azerbaijan has increased in the past couple of years (with families moving north from Iran), it's still a VERY small number. If anything, we used to laugh that the dress code was basically "the skimpier, lower cut the better). And geez.....the heels that those women wear!

I don't know how they manage to walk around the streets without breaking an ankle!

Georgis is primarily orthodox christian, so I didn't see anyone covered. Altho I am sure there are some.

Still - dressing modestly is always the best policy, and just keep a headscarf in your bag in case it's needed.

As for men, the main thing to remember is that men in these countries don't wear shorts. Shorts are like underwear to them. So - unless you're at the beach - wear long pants!

Grcxx3 Jun 11th, 2009 07:40 PM

thursdaysd - I am fascinated by your desire to go to Azerbaijan. I lived there and really enjoyed it - altho after 3 years I was ready to move on. If you have any specific questions about what to see/do - please let me know. My email is [email protected]

thursdaysd Jun 12th, 2009 07:25 AM

Thanks so much Grcxx3 - how exciting! I'll be sending an email - "fodors" in the subject line.

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