What to Wear in Jordan (and Still Look Cute!)

December 1, 2021

what to wear in jordan

When deciding what to wear in Jordan it’s important to understand the culture and customs of the country along with the time of year and practicalities of the clothing, as well as what you will be doing, such as exploring Petra, riding a camel in Wadi Rum, hiking Wadi Mujib, or other activities.

what to wear in jordan

As a blonde western woman, I wanted to make sure I was respectful of the Jordanian culture. While Jordan is a progressive Muslim country, conservative (but stylish) dress and etiquette are still the norms. That said, they do not hold Western women to the same standards as local women, but you should endeavor to be respectful. Since I’d already been to several other Middle East countries – Egypt, Qatar, UAE, and to a lesser extent Israel – I had a pretty good idea what to pack so that I’d look attractive but would not draw unwanted stares from locals or cause embarrassment to my G Adventures tour group.

What you wear in Jordan also depends upon when you are visiting (October for me) and what you plan to do. Carefully consider your itinerary… will you be exploring Roman and Nabataean ruins, hiking in the desert, trekking through river slot canyons, riding donkeys, scrambling to mount camels, and sleeping in a Bedouin camp, or exploring the souks and museums of Amman? These are just a few of the possible activities you’ll want to be outfitted for.

In the cities, keep in mind that Jordan also values appearances and has high expectations when it comes to clothing. I found the Jordanian women to be more fashionable than other Muslim countries, including exquisite makeup and perfume, and showing off their curves didn’t seem to be as much of a negative as covering cleavage, shoulders, and knees.

Below you will find links to what I wore in Jordan.


how to wear a keffiyeh

I did not see many burqas at all, but most Jordanian women covered their hair with a scarf or a hijab. There is no assumption that Western women will do the same, and I did not (except when I wore a red and white keffiyeh in the Wadi Rum desert to shield from the sun). My blonde hair was looked at, but never rudely and no comments were made.

One note, be sure your hair is thoroughly dry because parading around with wet hair is taboo. Surprisingly, unlike hotels in the US and Europe, most of the Jordanian hotels we stayed at did not supply a hairdryer. I don’t travel with a hairdryer or a straightening iron because they take up too much precious room in my suitcase, so I braided my hair after showering at night so it would be dry and have a stylish crimped look for the next day.


what to wear in jordan

Palazzo, harem, and Boho hippy pants, as well as flowy wide-leg capris, are perfect and frankly, they looked cute and photographed well! Leggings are okay if they are paired with a tunic top that covers your butt. I opted not to wear leggings because it was too hot in October, but colorful loose-fitting pants went from day to night without a problem.



Here’s the most important tip: cover your cleavage. Leave the plunging and deep V-necks at home as they are considered sexual in Jordan. Also, tank tops and camis are considered to be underwear, so those are tabu too. Am I clear? Hide the ta-tas.

Tight clothing that covers the skin is not as much of a faux pas. I wore crop tops with my flowy pants that just touched the waistband, and I felt comfortable. A long loose top with loose pants is just too frumpy for me but make your own decision.

Not only does dressing like this follow local customs, but respect for Jordanian culture will emanate from you and will be appreciated. The Jordanians are very friendly and love to practice their English – they will be much more likely to strike up a conversation with you if you are respectfully dressed. I love interacting with locals!



At the beach resorts in Aqaba or The Dead Sea, the dress is a little more lenient when it comes to swimsuits. We saw one woman in each place wearing a full-coverage burqini, but it was certainly not the norm.

While one and two-piece swimsuits are fine while swimming in the pool, sunbathing in Aqaba, or floating in the Dead Sea, you are expected to wrap your towel around you or wear a sarong or cover up while walking around the resort.

Hiking in Wadi Mujib I wore swim shorts — that was not the place to worry about my swimsuit riding up!

In Aqaba, I wore this cute tankini, and at the Dead Sea, I wore this pink one-piece.


Discrete shorts can be worn around your resort, but nothing says “tourist” more than skimpy booty shorts. Leave them at home.


A sarong is probably the most versatile item you can pack. You can use it as a cover-up at the beach, headscarf for mosques, skirt for temples and monasteries, head protection from the sun in the desert, and a wrap against cooler evenings. I’d suggest packing two with different thicknesses that will coordinate with all your outfits.


hats in jordan
If you don’t want to wear a scarf to shield your head from the sun, a hat will do. I brought two foldable ones, different styles, one red and black reversible, and one multicolored that worked and traveled well.


I only brought one dress for dinners at nice restaurants, but I only wore it once. It was a turquoise flowy bohemian-style maxi dress with short sleeves that I’d also worn in Doha.

Note: While I’m branded for my Instagram photos of great big swish skirts, I didn’t bring any on this trip. It just would have looked ridiculous hiking in Petra or the Wadi Rum desert, not to mention the possibility of tripping on all that fabric.


I brought my favorite pair of white Clark’s walking sandals for sightseeing and black Jambu walking shoes for the light hiking in Petra and Wadi Rum. You don’t need hiking boots but sneakers would also be fine – I just wanted something a bit more stylish. My cute Jambu walking shoes did get very dusty/dirty and had to be cleaned often.

I also brought a pair of sturdy-but-stylish water shoes, which are a must if you are planning to do the hike through the river canyon at Wadi Mujib. Also, the shoreline of the Dead Sea is a veritable field of stones which makes it difficult to walk, so water shoes would be beneficial here too


Sunscreen and fashion-forward sunglasses, of course – the sun in Jordan is strong.

I always use a daypack rather than a purse or backpack during the day; also, a small drybag is great for Wadi Mujib if you have one (if not, they rent them).

Bonus Tips

No matter how long I will be traveling, I always use a hardshell rollaboard that I can stow in the overhead compartment of the plane. I’ve just had way too many instances of airlines losing and/or damaging my luggage.

My favorite travel underwear is now lightweight Jockey bikinis which if needed can be washed in the sink at night and are dry by morning.

In order to maximize space, I always recommend (1) rolling your clothes tightly, and (2) using packing cubes.


When in doubt, layer your clothing so you can add or remove pieces as per your comfort level as well as adjust to the heat and/or cold. With these simple guidelines, you should feel comfortable that you are fitting in wherever you go.

Relax and have fun… the Jordanian people are so friendly and hospitable and will not clothing-shame you!

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Disclosure:  The author partnered with G Adventures during her visit to Jordan, but as always, the opinions, reviews, and experiences are her own.

About the Author

Patti MorrowPatti Morrow is a freelance travel writer and founder of the award-winning international blog Luggage and Lipstick and southern travel blog Gone to Carolinas. TripAdvisor called her one of “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having More Fun Than Millennials” and she was named one of the “Top 35 Travel Blogs” in the world.

Patti is the author of the book “Girls Go Solo: Tips for Women Traveling Alone,” and has over 150 bylines in 40 print and online publications, including The Huffington Post, International Living Magazine, Washington Post Sunday Travel, Travel Girl, Travel Play Live Magazine, and Ladies Home Journal.  She has traveled extensively through six continents looking for fabulous destinations, exotic beaches, and adventure activities for her Baby Boomer tribe.

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