HOW SHOULD I DRESS IN IRAN?
Dress code is usually a hot issue in Iran. Lady’s dress code is more important to know. Before you travel to Iran it is wise to learn some lady’s dress code terminology.
HIJAB: the translation for Hijab can be "conceal" or "coverage". The meaning refers to the covering of hair and the body of women with different types of clothing including Chador, Maqhnae, Roosari, and so on.
WHAT IS CHADOR?
It is the oldest type of traditional HIJAB, a long veil from head to foot. Traditionally it comes in black. Committed and practicing Muslim women prefer to wear this type of Hijab. Orthodox Muslim ladies try to conceal their hair even to the extent of one split. They believe they can observe their Hijab best with Chador.
The traditional Chador did not have sleeves, but a new style of chador called CHADOR MELLI, or National Chador has started to add sleeves to it. It is also a belief that if you want to enter shrines you have to wear a chador that is provided to you at the entrance gate.
WHAT IS MAQNAEh?
This is chosen by some Muslim ladies who are less strict about wearing traditional Hijab . Many people believe that Maqnaeh has originated from the wimple worn by the Nuns at the Christian places of worship.
WHAT IS ROOSARY?
It is a triangle type of cloth that is used to cover the hair. Roosary is less expensive and that can be one reason to be more popular. Either of Chador, Maqnaeh or Roosary is a social must for ladies in public places.
SO, IT IS ADVISABLE THAT LADIES PACK A HEADSCARF IN THEIR HAND BAG. They MUST be wearing it the moment they disembark the airplane at any airpot in Iran.
In recent years the society is less strict about what type of dressing one puts on, however still tight and short clothing should be avoided by ladies. It should be loose and covering all the body.
• If your headscarf falls, don’t worry – quickly put it back on again. You won’t be in trouble for this, but just pay attention at all times. Making your hair in a high bun or ponytail helps you keep the scarf in place.
• Dresses must be loose-fitting and three-quarter length sleeves are OK, while it is a little more comfortable in the heat of summers in Central and Southern parts of Iran.
• It has been saying that baggy trousers must be put on but with the relaxation of some restrictions some Iranian women wear brightly coloured leggings. For tourists, leggings worn with a long, loose-fitting top are accepted. However, in the more conservative areas such as Isfahan, Mashad and Qum, it is wise to respect the social values and revert back to looser fitting trousers.
• Open toes sandals are fine. Pack some sports shoes for longer day-trips where you might be walking a lot (such as at the Persepolis). Interestingly you’ll soon see how sports shoes especially in bright colores are fashionable in Iran.
• If you are worried that you do not have enough appropriate attire, as soon as you arrive in Tehran or even Shiraz (if you fly there), hit the bazaars and the local markets and shop away. There’s plenty to be sought out.
For men it’s more simple – you will be dressing much the same as you do in your country, except no shorts, no super short sleeves and no extreme tight-fitting clothing.