Trailing on the Desert Sands Fashionably: The Do’s and Don’ts

Taking the rather untraveled route to the deserts of the Middle East was not a decision I expected my friends and family to understand or appreciate. And that is exactly what happened when I announced that I was taking off on my own for a vacation to the United Arab Emirates.

They were worried about my safety and security and what I would eat and where I would stay, but most importantly they were worried about what I would wear when I was travelling in this rather conservative part of the world.

That is what inspired this post and here is all that you need to know about staying stylish when you are visiting the UAE.

Packing for the Trip

I was super excited to visit this exotic country that I had heard so much about. Finally, the day of my departure arrived. I had booked my flight to Dubai through I got a really good deal and decided to carry that saved cash with me to shop in the much acclaimed shopping paradise of Dubai.

I wanted to travel light and carried only the staples with me. But that’s where the trick lies. You need to carry staples that are versatile. You should be able to team these basics up with practically everything and they should be ones that can be worn in innovative ways.

Denims and ankle-length pants are as amazing for a day of shopping as they are for night time adventure. I would suggest carrying three pairs of pants at least in basic colors like blue, beige and black. If you want some funk and color, carry one or two pastel-colored pants.

Dubai is a city of paradox. While on the one hand it is considered a fashion haven, on the other hand people are still conservative about women’s dressing. I kept this in mind while packing. Though I am a complete shorts fan, I knew that sporting shorts on the streets of UAE would make me an anomaly. So I packed just two of those and few gorgeous knee-length dresses, maxi gowns, button-down shirts, A-line skirts, t-shirt, and shirtdresses.

Journeying in Style

Remember this is going to be a long flight. You are literally travelling to the other end of the world. Comfort should be your first priority. I stuck with a pair of white cotton pants and a t-shirt that did not fit me too snug. Fitted and body-hugging clothes are a big no-no in any of the Arab Emirates. So avoid them at all cost or you will become a victim of unwanted attention.

Wrap a scarf around you when you land in the UAE if your t-shirt has a low neck. Let this accessory brighten your outfit. Pick one in chiffon with colors and prints that complement the rest of your outfit. Footwear should be just the right blend of style and comfort. Opt for wedges or chunky heels and if you really want to keep it comfy opt for flip-flops or a pair of plush sandals. Accessorize with a nice pair of hoops and a big wood or metallic bracelet to look chic.

Adventure Calling: The Desert Safari

One of Dubai’s most popular attractions, the desert safari and dune bashing, is an experience of a lifetime. I met tons of Asians, Americans and Europeans in my safari who were dressed in cool and comfortable clothes, no need of covering up here. Since the safari takes up most of the afternoon and you are right in the middle of the desert, your best bet is a nice singlet or spaghetti top coupled with khaki or denim shorts.

Do not forget to soak yourself in sunscreen and carry the biggest, swankiest shades you have. In footwear opt for flip-flops or open sandals. Sneakers and any footwear with even a tinge of heel will make it difficult for you to walk in the sand and cause your feet to sink in, affecting your balance.

In the evening I changed into a red, strapless maxi dress teamed with a pashmina shawl for the belly-dancing and dinner. It was thoroughly enjoyable and made for some great photo-ops. One of the dancers was so impressed with my belly-dancing skills (learned only at that moment) that she gifted me for lack of a better word, a waist-belt, very similar to what she was wearing herself.

It’s Bikini Time

Now this was the secret I did not want to let you in right from the beginning. Yes you can wear a bikini in Dubai! I carried a black swim-suit and a coral-colored bikini with me. Book yourself in a hotel that has its own private beach and pool for you to relax in.

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