It would seem wrong to do a stylish travel guide to Marrakesh and not do a post that’s actually about style. But seeing as that post was so photo-heavy, I thought I’d make an entirely separate one dedicated to how to dress in Marrakesh – because unlike your trip to Costa Wherever in Spain, it requires a little more thought.
There’s a lot of discussion online and amongst my friends who have visited Marrakesh about how to dress appropriately, as because it’s a Muslim country you do need to be respectful of local customs. What’s considered appropriate? Do you really even need to dress ‘appropriately’ these days? It’s going to be 36 degrees so I really don’t want to have to wear any clothes at all, let alone dress in long layers?! What’s a girl to do, really? I’ve had people say they wore shorts and vests “because it was hot and I was on holiday – why shouldn’t I?!” – and well, yeah. Absolutely fair point. It is hot and you are on your hols. But picture the scene: a blonde lady wearing a bum-skimming white denim skirt and a pink tank top walking through the old Medina. No, she wasn’t shouted at. She wasn’t touched. Nobody spat at her (although I have heard others report of things like this!) But everyone was staring.
Men in the shops. Men driving cabs. Women and children. Other tourists. Even me – I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself! She stuck out like a sunburnt thumb and it was quite uncomfortable to watch. Whilst a lot of tourists do wear skimpier clothes, against the vast majority of people in Marrakesh, the less clothes you wear, the more you stand out. The locals wear a mixture of more traditional dress – hijabs, headscarves, long flowing dresses – and even the ones who dress more western in jeans and tops still keep the majority of their bodies under wraps.
So personally, I feel to avoid unwanted attention and to not offend local customs, you’re better off dressing conservatively. What’s conservatively? Realistically, try keep your shoulders covered (T-shirts rather than vests – or take a scarf if you’re going sleeveless!) and wear skirts and dresses that fall below the knee. I did during my trip, and I said I had no problem with being harassed or approached. Wear what you want inside the resort, but it’s time for something more modest when leaving for the traditional parts of the city.
So you get the modesty box ticked – but now you’ve got to account for the weather. Wear lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen blends – don’t even think about taking anything with polyester! Loose silhouettes because you are going to sweat! Here’s some more tips on how to dress for Marrakesh.
1) Light colours by day – like a simple white T-shirt. Avoid black! It’ll soak up the sun and make you hotter.
2) Take a scarf wherever you go – The cold-shoulder trend has been the bane of my LIFE whilst choosing outfits to take on my trip, and whilst I do think you can get away wearing sleeveless options so long as it doesn’t come above the thigh, it helps to have one in your bag to cover up as and when you feel the need.
3) Kimonos are a great coverup too – especially at night – and look super glam at the pool for a 70’s inspired shot for the gram. New Look have an amazing collection worth checking out.
4) Don’t wear maxi skirts, dresses, or wide leg trousers in the medina – they can drag in the dirt a bit much!
5) Wear closed shoes in the medina and souks – espadrilles are perfect
6) Wear sunglasses – helps avoid making too much eye contact with people trying to sell you things. I’m very good at saying no and walking off, but if you struggle with this, then sunglasses will definitely help create that barrier!
For more holiday inspired outfits, check out my shop here!