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What to wear in Morocco: Packing and dress code tips for women

Booked for a Moroccan vacation but not sure what to pack clothing-wise? Here’s my guide for what to wear in Morocco– so you’re not only fashionable, but within dress code.

Are you a woman who’s planning a trip to Morocco or thinking about it?  If so, congratulations– you’ll have a fantastic time!  Morocco is so mystical, magical, and marvelous that I’ve been three times already and am mentally planning my fourth trip.  (Sidebar: be sure to check out my blog post on things to do in Marrakech— it’s the ultimate guide for how to get your life in one of Morocco’s most exciting cities!)

🎶Horse and carriage/ is for hire/ Mamacita/ please senorita/ We gonna riiiiiiise to the top…🎶 (100 points to those who recognized the Cam'ron lyrics lolz…) In Barcelona now but reminiscing about the experience that was Marrakech. So. Much. Fun. And loads to do even during a 6-day stay! These days I move pretty fast when I travel (especially alone)– more than 72 hours in one city and I start to get the itch to move on. But not so with Marrakech! I had initially decided to stick around so long because I didn't want to exhaust my mom with too hectic of a pace and also because I wanted her to get a real feel for the city. But turns out a bit of slow travel was exactly what I needed myself… time to stay put and really sink my teeth in as opposed to flitting off to the next destination. My one regret, though? Not doing a horse drawn carriage ride around the old town. Guess I'll have to save that for my 4th visit… I KNOW I'll be back!

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However, before you dash off to experience it for yourself, you should take a brief moment to consider what to wear in Morocco, an Islamic nation. It’s no secret that the style of dress for women in Morocco is on the more conservative side; if you’re a female Westerner, this dress code may be different from what you’re used to back home.

Planning what to pack and what to wear in Morocco as a female traveller thus requires a bit more thought and effort, especially if you still want to express your personal style! But never fear!  Here are my suggestions for what to wear in Morocco– so you’re not only comfortable and within dress code, but also fashionable.

For the ladies: What to Wear in Morocco

Covered knees, shoulders, and looser-fitting silhouettes are the standard for women in Morocco, so adhering to cultural clothing norms as a female travelling throughout the country is not only a sign of respect, but will help you to blend in more as you move around the country.

If you travel to Morocco in the summer as I’ve done, you’ll have to balance this conservative style of dress with the excessive heat.  When I travelled to Marrakech with my mom in July, the temperatures were routinely over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celcius) during the day!  Breathable fabrics are thus a must.  Here’s a sampling of what I wore on my trip this past summer!

(Please note that this post includes links to exact or similar articles of clothing– so you can purchase if you’re interested. Also note this post includes affiliate links!)

 

Long-sleeved maxi dresses

I made the decision in university to try to live the life I've always wanted. I longed to eke out an existence that was at once bold, fearless, and unconventional. I strived to meet interesting people and to do things that bring me joy. And I was eager to observe and interact with beauty. I wanted to be challenged, stimulated, and excited every single day. I didn't know how to achieve this until I discovered I could study abroad for a year. I realized that the bold, fearless, and unconventional life I was looking for was but a plane ticket away. I moved to France and never looked back. Nearly 15 years later, while visiting the Majorelle Gardens in magical Marrakech, it dawned on me that I'm living the life I longed for all those years ago. One filled with dazzling colour and pregnant with possibility. One ripe with excitement and simmering with growth. I've lived in languages and cultures that are not my own and made the world my office; every day I meet someone and learn something new. Every day I look forward to the adventures that await me. And that's a fantastic feeling. I am not special and my life isn't without its issues. But taking that leap all those years ago has filled my existence with so many blessings that I can't help but encourage you to do the same.

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I’m a huge fan of maxi dresses in general because I find they are often easy to wear, culturally appropriate (as they cover the knees), and effortlessly stylish.  Given this, I was thrilled to find this gorgeous yellow dress on Amazon— it’s now one of my favourite pieces of clothing I own!  It has a really flattering A-line silhouette that can be dressed up or down, and floral prints are all the rage this season.  Loads of people complimented me on it, with a few even asking me if it was a designer dress (which it isn’t).

Long-sleeved blouses and culottes

This clothing combo is both comfortable, covered up enough, and stylish. I generally love wearing button down blouses like the one I have on above when I travel to countries where I’m required to dress conservatively.  I find that the lightweight fabric and loose fit result in a look that’s both cute and breezy.

Cropped culottes are also a fave of mine!  Here’s a wide legged patterned pair similar to the ones I’m rocking above; if a straighter cut is more your thing, here’s a solid cropped pair similar to what my mom has on.

Kaftans or Djellabas

When in doubt about what to wear in Morocco as a female traveller, rocking local garb is always a great option!  Moroccan medinas are chock full of textiles for to put in your home or on your person, and shopping (for me!) is always an awesome cultural experience.  At any rate, I found this beautiful djellaba at a stall in Marrakech’s Djema al Fna souk, and while I didn’t end up purchasing it, bargaining with the vendor was fun in and of itself! However, if you prefer to do your shopping before hitting the medina, you can pick up a similar piece, like this oneKaftans like this are also amazingly chic!

Sleeveless maxi dresses (but pack a pashmina for your shoulders!)

While major cities like Marrakech don’t seem to be as conservative, as a general rule, you should keep your shoulders covered your shoulders in public or densely populated areas in Morocco.  However, my wardrobe for this trip did include the sleeveless dresses you see above; while I bared my shoulders for these photos, I did make sure they were wrapped in a gauzy white pashmina while out and about. I picked both dresses up at H&M, but you can find similar styles here and here.

What to wear in Morocco: outerwear and accessories

A jean jacket and a pashmina scarf

While Morocco is blazing hot during the day most of the year, nights in the mountains, on the coast, or in the desert can be cool.  Furthermore, the over-zealous use of air conditioning inside some establishments can make your time indoors uncomfortable and chilly.  For this reason, a lightweight jean jacket and/or a pashmina can aid greatly.  I never leave home without them!

Floppy hats

A brimmed hat is a must for protecting your noggin from the merciless Moroccan heat.  While any kind of hat is suitable for wear in Morocco, I suggest a floppy hat similar to the ones my mom has on because they are easy to pack (the straw is soft and pliable) and they retain their shape even when folded.

Flat leather sandals

If you look at the pictures above you’ll see that my flat black leather sandals were a staple throughout my trip to Morocco:  they were comfy, easy to slide on and off, breathable and could be dressed up or down!  Footwear is an important consideration, especially when you’ll be walking loads through the medina.

A leather tote bag

I don’t know about you, but I tend to carry larger purses when I’m travelling: their size allows me to carry my camera, one or two camera lenses, my money/identification, pashmina scarf, and jacket.  I purchased the one in the picture in Marrakech (and looooove the colour), but you can find a similar one here.

Sunglasses

Protecting your peepers is always a good look!  I got the pair in the picture at Loft but they seem to have sold out;  this pair from H&M is similar and just as cute!

***

And thus concludes my suggestions for what to wear in Morocco as a female traveller!  Travelling to countries with a conservative dress code can be daunting, but I hope that the outfit ideas above have not only helped you with what to pack, but have also shown you can be culturally sensitive and stylish at the same time!

Have you ever been to Morocco or another conservative Muslim country?  What are some of your packing and clothing tips for the ladies?

Like this post?  Be sure to check out my suggestions for What to Wear in Egypt!

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5 Comments

  • Reply
    Jen
    November 12, 2017 at 12:24 am

    One day I’ll get to North Africa and the Magreb, and I hope my son will come along. The pictures of your mother are so nice! It’s wonderful that you have such a good relationship. It sounds like you love this country, but then I scratched my head at your use of “err” and “rife”, both of which have negative tones.
    About visiting places with conservative dress codes—when I went home to Ogadin with my ex, his sisters were excited to get me clothes like they wore—long, thin dresses, with a half slip underneath and a scarf over my hair. He liked that at first, but then a couple days later was at least as proud when I broke out the Levi’s and cowboy boots.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      November 12, 2017 at 12:56 am

      Thanks for the comment! I’m really lucky that my mom is up for these types of adventures– every year we do a trip! And thanks for your comments re: vocabulary– twas an oversight on my part! I have nothing but love for Morocco and wouldn’t want to convey anything less. Just edited! x

  • Reply
    Alyssa
    November 12, 2017 at 12:42 am

    Thank you SO MUCH for this. I’ve seen tons of travel/fashion bloggers posting photos from Morocco in remarkably disrespectful attire, and I wonder if others traveling to the region will follow their lead, not realizing that it’s so culturally insensitive.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      November 12, 2017 at 12:57 am

      I can’t speak for anyone else, but I always try to adhere to cultural norms where and when possible. I actually find it fun to do so!

  • Reply
    Victoria @TheBritishBerliner
    November 13, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Great clothes Oneika!

    I haven’t yet been to Morocco, but I’ve been to Egypt 3 times and also Tunisia. That was pretty cool as we took the train and went to a few other destinations. We also rented a car and drove to the Sahara Desert which was pretty scary as we went on impulse, and didn’t see a single car for miles!

    I generally wear long-sleeved shirts, a zip-top over a T-shirt, summer dresses, and your every day jeans if I’m doing camel riding, going to the market, or having to sleep in my clothes!

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