It can be confusing knowing what to wear in Morocco as a female traveller, but really it’s quite easy. Just dress modestly whilst remembering that it’s probably going to be hot. It’s that simple.
Morocco is a relatively conservative country, but that doesn’t mean you need to go around covered from head to toe. In cities and more touristy areas you’ll see locals wearing everything from skimpy shorts and crop tops to full djellabas, which will have you wondering just what the rules are.
What to wear in Morocco: the rules
Some people will tell you to cover up, whilst others say wear what you want, but following a few easy rules will ensure you’ll be both comfortable in the heat, and unoffensive to locals. It goes without saying that the more flesh you reveal as a woman, the more unwanted attention you’ll receive, so:
- Dress modestly, especially in more rural locations (we’ve driven through villages and towns where it’s rare to see a woman out on the streets).
- Always Cover your knees, shoulders and chest when out and about.
- Wear loose clothing that don’t emphasise your body contours.
- Don’t wear see-through clothing.
I’m never going to be a fashion blogger. Yawn. My packing list for Morocco doesn’t revolve around looking cute for Instagram (do these girls never sweat??), but rather on comfort and trying to keep as cool as possible whilst remaining respectable. Yet I still like to be stylish when I travel.
So to minimise hassle, maximise comfort and enjoy a touch of fashion, follow my tried and tested guidelines on what to wear in Morocco:
Tunics and short kaftans
If you’ve spent more than 5 minutes on the blog, you’ll know that my go-to outfits in Morocco (and anywhere hot!) nearly always consist of tunics or kaftans. They’re comfortable, cool, and stylish.
I often pick up tunics and kaftans on my travels, but one of my favourite online stores is Simply Beach, which has a superb collection of designer labels with everything from stylish Melissa Odabash beach dresses to stunning kaftans by Camilla. They often have great sales too, which makes looking stylish very affordable!
Trousers and leggings
I always couple my kaftans and tunic with either leggings or cropped trousers. Unless you’re doing some serious hiking in the Atlas Mountains or it’s the middle of winter, you really don’t need anything else.
Definitely leave your jeans at home, unless you’re visiting during November – March when it’s cool enough to wear them. Visiting Morocco is also a chance to wear those hideous elephant trousers that seemed like a good idea in that Thailand night market. Go on, you know you want to.
If you are going hiking, visiting the desert, or doing activities, you’ll want clothes you don’t mind getting a bit dirty. Especially if you’re going quad biking! I recommend walking trousers or crops, and simple cotton t-shirts which I find the most comfortable when I’m out being active.
Read more: Quad Biking in Ouarzazate
Long kaftans and maxi dresses
If you’re wondering what to wear in Morocco when it comes to a touch of glamour and dining out in Marrakech, there’s just one answer. Long flowing kaftans. There’s definitely something about the country that drags out the romantic in me, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t sometimes want to be that 1001 nights princess floating regally around seductively-lit riads in her finery. So I always pack a long, silk kaftan, which not only ticks all the boxes for style, it’s also really cool and super lightweight when it comes to packing.
If you don’t have a kaftan, a maxi dress will do fine too, just take a pashmina to cover your shoulders. Or by all means buy your own djellaba from the souks. Just don’t delude yourself that you’ll actually wear it back home (we use ours as dressing gowns), and understand that it’ll make you stand out far more as a tourist than by just wearing your own clothes!
Have I mentioned that Morocco is HOT? If you’re a normal person, like me, the chances are you’ll find the heat quite intense and rather than worrying about your hairstyle, you’ll be wondering how to stop looking so sweaty! I’ve years of experience in this department (my favourite mantra on our holidays is “next time we’re going somewhere cold”) and without doubt, the answer is a buff. Or headscarf. Soaks up the offending sweat, hides the fact you haven’t been able to wash your hair (because you’re in a desert), and can look stylish too!
Scarf or pashmina
One of the most important things you’ll wear in Morocco is scarf or pashmina, invaluable for covering up bare shoulders as well as protecting yourself from the sun. They’re great in desert sandstorms too, covering your face as you stagger through camp with the sand particles swirling all around your face. Also, there aren’t many mosques you can visit as a non-Muslim, but if you’re in Casablanca you’ll want to see the fabulous Mosque Hassan II. Take a scarf with you – you won’t need to cover your head but depending on what you’re wearing you may want it for your shoulders.
There are plenty of scarfs to buy in the souks, if multi-colours are your thing. Personally I prefer something plain, so it goes with more outfits!
Read more: Is Casablanca really worth a visit?
Whilst in your resort, riad or hotel, or at the beach, it’s perfectly acceptable to wear swimwear, so bring your favourite tankini or designer swimsuit and enjoy the sun. In fact bring a couple as you’ll be in and out of that pool like a yo-yo!
Sunglasses and Sunhats
Sunglasses are essential in the sun, but I also find them a really useful accessory when I’m walking around busy cities or markets, especially in the souks. If people can’t see my eyes, I feel a lot more confident, and enjoy my experience much more. It makes it easier to ignore the hassle, and to stick to my number one rule in Marrakech: never make eye contact with a snake charmer.
Now let’s talk about hats. Some people look good in them, some don’t. I’m well and truly in the latter group, and rarely take one with me on holiday. Yet sometimes the sun is just too hot to go without. Many hotels and riads have straw hats that guests can use, but beware, there are very few people who can pull off that look. I’m not one of them.
Layers for Winter
When we’ve visited between April and October, we’ve never worn a jumper, let alone a jacket, except at night in the desert. However, if you’re visiting Morocco in winter (November – March) you’ll find the evenings can get chilly, and will need some layers to keep warm, especially out in the coast, the desert, or at altitude. Visiting Marrakech in winter we found we just needed a light jacket or shawl in the evenings, and it was also cool enough to wear jeans.
When I’m in Morocco I live in comfy flats, as we always end up walking miles, whether that’s through city streets, or exploring out in the countryside. If it’s your first time in Marrakech or Fes I suggest taking closed-toe footwear for wandering around. There are all manner of hazards out there to terrify your toes, from donkey carts and bicycles to motorbikes and piles of steaming animal excrement (although to be fair the latter could be a lot worse!). Once you’re more confident at leaping out of the way of oncoming wheels and hooves, then sandals are fine.
I then take a pair of stylish flipflops or sandals for wearing around our riads and hotels, and to jazz up an outfit for an evening out. For hiking we generally make do with trainers or trail shoes rather than lugging a heavy pair of hiking boots along, although if you’re going trekking in the Atlas Mountains then these are a must. Top tip for the desert – sandals are really difficult to climb dunes in as the sand gets everywhere, so we recommend trainers!
Lots of people will advise you to buy a pair of leather sandals from the souks as they’re really comfy to walk around in. Wrong. Everyone knows that new shoes need to be worn in before they feel comfy, so to walk for miles around Marrakech in your new sandals isn’t the best idea.
Top Tips for what to wear in Morocco
- Wearing loose clothing will help combat the heat.
- I prefer plain colours rather than bright patterns so I’m not drawing attention to myself. Just a personal preference.
- Avoid black. Did I mention it’s hot?
- People often suggest wearing linen in hot countries, but I hate the stuff. It always looks crumbled and in need of a good iron, makes me feel old, and I’ve never found it cooler than my other clothes. Just saying.
- Don’t wear anything too long that drags on the ground, which is dusty, dirty and not unaccustomed to piles of donkey dung!
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