Answers from Our Experts (1)
First-time visitors to Doha may feel out of place among the many Qatari men and women who proudly dress in white thobes and black abayas, robe-like tunics and dresses common in the Gulf, even during the sweltering summer months. But no more out of place than Qataris themselves feel among the sea of foreigners who make up the majority of their country’s nearly 1.8 million population. You’ll quickly discover that most of the expats dress in American and European clothing, but there are some restrictions.
Women should avoid tank tops or short shorts; wear blouses and shirts that cover your shoulders and skirts or pants that hit at least below the knee. Leggings are fine as long as your dress or shirt covers your posterior. Men should also refrain from exposing too much skin. That means no shirts that expose the shoulders; long shorts are okay. This may seem like an excruciatingly painful rule to adhere to during Doha’s unbearable summer, when temperatures can reach as high as 50 C or 122 F. But remember, Qatar, although liberal compared to other countries in the Gulf, is still a relatively conservative Muslim society. Qataris have been known to complain about scantily clad Westerners, even going as far as to ask security guards to remove offenders from shopping malls and other public spaces. Dress modestly and you will be fine. Besides, during the summer, malls, hotels and buildings gleefully crank up the air conditioning — so don’t forget to pack a cardigan.