The issue of clothes and a headscarf was one of the major, if not the main, concern for me, while planning our trip to Iran. We hear a lot of different information on the levels of cover-up. With all this controversial information, you may have no clue, what to pack and how to manage. It is even more difficult, if you, like me, hate over-sized clothes and trousers.
For men, the issue is easy. The only requirement is that they don’t wear shorts and sleeveless shirts. They can wear t-shirts and short-sleeve shirts. That’s all.
However, for women, the clothing is a bit more difficult, although not as daunting and terrible, as I had expected. The rules for foreigners, and nowadays even for locals, are no longer as strict as they once were. You don’t need to be fully covered (i.e. you don’t need to wear burqa), just need to follow several major rules. Let me tell them, and show what we wore in Iran:
- Wear long sleeve or ¾ sleeve shirts. They don’t need to be too long and fully cover your bum, just down to the pockets of the trousers are perfectly fine. They also don’t need to be totally over-sized. You can use the normal shirts or the tunics with or without a belt.
- Belts were a life saver. They were nicely completing the look. The fact that your silhouette shouldn’t be visible is not true, as long as your skin doesn’t show and the clothes don’t tightly hug your body 🙂
- Necklines – obviously no decollete, but you don’t have to wear turtlenecks either. Your neck will be anyway partly covered by the scarf.
- You can wear trousers or even tights, as long as they are up to the ankle and not transparent. In most major cities, tights are very much in fashion and you see them on so many girls. Girls love to experiment and stretch the rules further and further. If you wear tights, be sure to have a tunic on, which, at least mostly, covers your bum. If you wear trousers, they can be tight with a tunic or slightly baggier and with a shirt not necessarily covering your bum.
- As for dresses and long skirts, this seems a bit more difficult, as you don’t see local people wearing them and it’s confusing to understand, what is ok. As far as I know, the maxi dresses are perfectly acceptable, but again, we didn’t see it on anyone. We didn’t wear maxi dresses.
- Now the major problem – headscarves. I suggest bringing only a couple of headscarves, unless you like them and have a huge collection of them 😊 you can buy them there for extremely cheap prices. We paid something around 2-4 dollars, some scarves were very beautiful, and some were even silk material. The scarves should be big enough, so that they cover your hair behind. In front the hair doesn’t need to be covered. You can even keep it at the back of your head. We struggled during the first couple of days and then learned how to put it in place with a bobby pin or two. They are a great help, so that you don’t have to mass with the scarf 😊 your scarf can fall off, even without you noticing, etc. but no one will tell you anything about it. In fact, we didn’t ever encounter anyone, who criticized us for our clothes.
These is from before we figured scarves out.
Afterwards, we already managed to use the bobby pins.
These are the major rules. The main problem is a headscarf, but Iran’s beauties are worth the hassle of wearing one 😊
If you have any questions or concerns, let me know. I will be happy to help with any advice.