Morocco is a conservative Muslim country, but it’s also experienced a HUGE boom in tourism recently — which means you’ll now see women in chador walking down the street next to tourists in tank tops. How are you supposed to know how to dress when locals are in headscarves and Instagrammers are in festival fashion?
From my experience, the sweet spot for tourists is somewhere in between. I don’t recommend drowning yourself in shapeless clothing – it’s not necessary. I also don’t recommend dressing like you’re going to Coachella – it’s not appropriate.
SO. This post will tell you exactly how to dress practically, fashionably, and respectfully in Morocco. I’ll go over street harassment (and how it changes based on what you’re wearing), what to wear in Morocco’s markets, and extra tips on how to dress like a bohemian goddess but still respect local custom. You’ll find allll the Morocco outfit inspiration and outfit ideas here.
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How Conservative is it REALLY?
Short answer: very. Most Moroccan women wear neck-to-ankle clothing and hijab in more tourist-friendly areas like Marrakech. As you get outside the big cities and into smaller towns (like the ones on the way to the Sahara), dress gets progressively more conservative.
A few hours out of Marrakech you won’t see a single woman without chador or niqab. Surprisingly though, the full burqa is actually REALLY uncommon in Morocco, and its sale/production was recently banned!
Do You Really Have to Cover Up?
Short answer: yes, at least somewhat. There’s no official dress code in Morocco, and women aren’t required to cover up or wear a headscarf. But local customs definitely still dictate what is, and isn’t, acceptable.
It’s important to recognise that you’re a guest in this country, and that means you should make at least a BASIC attempt to integrate. If you can’t do it out of respect for their culture, at least do it for your own self-interest. You’ll minimise street harassment and blend in a whole lot better if you dress more modestly.
You don’t need to wear a burqa, you don’t need to cover yourself neck-to-ankle, just don’t dress like you’re about to hit the club. This is not the place for tight clothes, short-shorts, or cleavage.
Good rules of thumb to follow:
-Loose clothing is best, don’t wear anything tight or revealing
-Keep your chest covered (no low-cut tops or cleavage)
-Keep your stomach covered (no crop tops)
-Keep your legs at least mostly covered (no shorts, no skirts above the knee)
-Don’t wear anything sheer
How Bad is Street Harassment?
Short answer: honestly, it’s really bad. Near-constant. Men would bother you/hit on you here if you were wearing a freaking burlap sack, let alone a short dress. So depending how comfortable you are with this, my advice is to minimise attention as much as you can.
Dressing less conservatively is often interpreted as an invitation by men who perceive Western women as easy, trashy, etc. “Showing off your body” communicates that you are “available”.
(I won’t even get into all the ways that pisses me off, that’s a story for another day. My point is just that anyone traveling to Morocco needs to be aware that – like it or not – this is the current mindset)
Expect to deal with harassment no matter what. But it does vary some based on what you’re wearing – you’ll get less attention in pants than a skirt (even a long one), or a blouse/pants vs a strapless maxi.
Steer clear of any guide that tells you to “wear whatever you want”. They’re technically not wrong — you can wear denim shorts and a crop top… but it probably won’t be worth it. If dozens of judgmental eyes searing into your skin is your idea of a good time, then wear shorts. Otherwise, keep reading.
What to Wear in Morocco’s Souks and Streets
Big cities like Marrakech, Casablanca, or Fes are very used to tourists. You have more flexibility in what you can wear here compared to smaller towns. Just remember to at least keep your chest + knees covered and you’ll be fine.
Think lightweight, breezy, flowy. Aim for fashionable, light, reasonably modest, and easily layerable clothing. Peak tourist season is HOT so make sure to bring nice, moisture-wicking fabrics like cotton, linen, rayon, or silk.
Lots of tourists walk around the cities with bare arms and shoulders, even though it’s technically “risqué”. The most important thing is to keep your chest covered as that will get the most attention.
Pants & Skirts
As long as they are at least knee-length, you’ll be fine.
Dresses & Jumpsuits
Long dresses & jumpsuits are very common with tourists. Bring a lightweight scarf or shawl if you’re wearing anything that leaves your shoulders exposed. If you ever feel uncomfortable, just drape it around your shoulders when walking around, and take it off once you’re at your destination.
Leave the heels at home. You’ll be doing a lot of walking, and the streets are uneven. The medinas (city centers) are carless, so there won’t be a taxi to save you if your feet hurt. Wear comfy, broken-in leather sandals or sneakers!
What to Wear in Riads, Tourist Areas, and Restaurants
If you’re anything like me, you’ll bring 800 impractical outfits with you to Morocco anyway and wear them any chance you get. But I wouldn’t recommend wearing this style of clothing for a day of walking in the streets. Again, you could do it, but I don’t think it will be an enjoyable experience.
This is the kind of stuff you can wear grabbing a rooftop lunch, lounging around at your hotel, making a run to a tourist-friendly dinner spot like Le Salama, or somewhere that’s not out in the general public (like Cactus Thiemann Gardens, La Jardin Majorelle, YSL Museum, etc).
That said, these were all my favorite outfits (and photos) from Morocco, even though I couldn’t actually wear them out and about. What can I say, I love to dress up.
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Moroccan decor is begging for some elaborate, girly outfits. I busted out all my favorite frilly lace dresses and found perfect backdrops for them at my riads.
Don’t forget to bring a swimsuit if your riad has a pool or if you’re planning to visit La Mamounia on a spa pass!! Feel free to wear either a bikini or one-piece, you don’t have to worry about modesty in these locations.
What to Wear in the Sahara Desert or Agafay Desert
You’ll want to bring clothing appropriate for a hot, dry climate. You have more freedom to wear what you want out here as you’ll be in a private camp, so basically bring whatever you want! Keep in mind that the towns on the way to the Sahara are VERY conservative so keep some modest clothing handy for any stops.
I personally like wearing white in the desert because it photographs so nicely, plus it’s great for keeping cool in the heat. I’d suggest a jumpsuit or pants over a skirt because desert tours usually include a camel ride (which I know from experience is a strug in a dress).
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Don’t forget to pack a sweater – the desert does get really cool at night! Stargazing is an absolute must and you definitely won’t want to be freezing cold.
Best Accessories for Morocco
Other than a lightweight scarf (essential) like I mentioned above, there are SO many accessories you should bring to Morocco. The decor is just begging for head wraps and layered necklaces and dramatic tassel earrings. All that ridiculous costumey jewelry that you never get to wear anywhere else — this is THE spot to bust them out.
Hats & Hair Accessories
Thanks for reading! Hope this helped clarify how to dress in Morocco, and gave you some outfit ideas and inspiration for your trip. Don’t forget to PIN this post below if you liked it or drop a comment with any questions!