Places: Middle East, Style, Travel, What I Wore

What To Wear – In Dubai

Welcome back to real life everyone!

I don’t know about you, but I managed to spend all of my money on Memorial Day sales.  That was a bit irresponsible of me…  But, I’m confident.

In between all the sales & barbecues I hope people took a minute to remember what Memorial Day is all about – Men & women who lost their lives defending our country.

Whether you believe in the war that’s being fought or not, there’s still people out there fighting it…

(I really can’t imagine… helloooo BRAVERY!)

Changing gears –> What to wear when you visit Dubai.

I get asked this question all the time – Traveling to the Middle East & figuring out what’s appropriate for women.

I’ve previously written about women in the Middle East, and what it was like to live there as a woman… But this post is more for your vacation plans.  No need to get down in the nitty gritty of women’s clothing in the Middle East when you’re there on vacation.

I’ll start with saying, you can wear pretty close to anything you want, especially if you stick to the tourist locations. (<– which you should)

Dubai was created for tourism – locals know you’ll be wearing clothes you’re comfortable in & completely expect you to.

The only time I ever HAD to wear clothing that covered my body was going into a government center to process paperwork.  You likely won’t be going anywhere like that while on vacation and if you do, wear pants and a shirt with sleeves. That’s it.

The one place on my list that will require you to wear an Abaya, is the Grand Mosque. This is Muslim’s place of worship – OF COURSE you will be required to dress accordingly.

You can borrow an Abaya when you arrive, they’re very accommodating.  (You might even be able to borrow an abaya from your hotel – which would be awesome, then you can style it before you leave.  Sounds like an amenity that would be likely in Dubai hotels LOL!)

As far as The Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina Beach, your hotel, the desert safari, or any other items on my list.. You’ll be able to wear whatever you want.

I was watching the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills when they went to Dubai and noticed those ladies LOVED wearing the bright, colorful, kaftans…

You can do that if you want to, but none of the locals will be wearing them.  That style would be more for fun than anything else.  You might find an Arab woman wearing those extravagant kaftan’s at an engagement party, but absolutely not walking around the city.

{And did you know Muslims wear the black abaya because it’s discrete and doesn’t draw attention to themselves?  I wanted to point that out because I wasn’t sure if the housewives thought they were fitting in with their flashy robes, instead they managed to do quite the opposite… hehehehe}

Obviously, a little more conservative than normal, is the way to go.  More to be respectful than anything else.  I always did my best to play the conservative side, even though I didn’t necessarily have to.

But there’s nothing to be afraid of while you’re in Dubai.  WORST case scenario, a mall cop will ask you to change into pants.. LOL!  (Imagine?)

One time I saw this girl walking around Dubai Marina Mall and her entire ass was on full display (I’m not sure if it was shorts or a thong she was wearing).  I don’t think the mall cop told her to put pants on, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

Below is a list with a few options I would wear in Dubai today:

What to wear in Dubai

1. Express Cami Bodysuit

You will do no wrong with a shirt & jeans <—  A perfect go-to outfit while you’re in Dubai.  With a bodysuit, jeans, and a shawl – you’re outfit will look perfectly tied together.

2. Topshop Skinny Jeans

I loooooove white jeans!! But any jeans will do the job, perfect for any Dubai adventure.

3. Waterfall Cardigan 

Complete the jeans and bodysuit with a cardigan or shawl.  The cardigan will also help you feel covered up but still comfortable.

4. Crop Top and Wide Leg Trousers

If you don’t want to ride the Housewives train for your evening outfit – I think this would be an elegant twist!  White is eeeeverything in Dubai (and life) – it totally pops against the orange palette of the desert & sky.  This outfit would slay an evening dinner.

5. Cashmere Travel Wrap

A large scarf is kind of my travel advice for any destination, especially Dubai.  I carried a large scarf with me everywhere in case I went somewhere that I needed to cover my shoulders.  The scarf also comes in handy when you’re in a super air conditioned building OR during travel on planes. (Everyone needs one.)

6. Ruffle Front Maxi Dress

To get your Kaftan cravings in! Isn’t this dress gooooorgeous?! Major wish list item.  Even comes in Nude, which would also look extra stunning with your jewelry.

7. Embellished Caftan Dress

I thought this caftan or this shirt would look great over a pair of white jeans for the desert safari day… Like I said, white looks so pretty in pictures against the orange of the desert, and a flowy top in the wind? <— You’ll nail all your photo ops while out in the sand dunes.

8. Fallon Shalom Choker and Tory Burch Fitbit-Case Double Wrap Bracelet 

Don’t worry about over glamorous outfits, Dubai goes hard on the jewelry.  If you every wanted to experiment with your accessories, give it a try in Dubai.  Watches, necklaces, purses, bracelets —> That’s where you want to shine.  Dress up your average outfit with some shiny pieces.

9. Christian Louboutin So Kate Pump 

Similar to jewelry, shoes are what people watchers look for.  If you ever needed a reason to go for the fancy shoes, now is the time! (You can blame me)


I also included several options below (I just couldn’t decide)…

Remember, it’s hot! White & neutrals shine for your photo ops. Play up an average outfit with accessories AND conservative is always safest.




Shop more Dubai options:

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“Women are treated so bad over there”

I was mentally “there” and ready to come back to blogging. With a clear, positive mind. Time to rock and roll!

The day after I wrote my “Back” post I had an interview that threw me down the swirling toilet of negativity.


The Story:

I walked into an interview at a very prestigious company. Probably the most reputable company I’ve interviewed with. Ever.

Office was amazing. Walls with full glass windows on a high floor building. Not a speck of dust in sight. Business. Money. Boom.

I filled out a 3 page, formal application and shortly afterwords a cute blonde girl walked in to start the interview. She asked me your typical interview questions and then said her supervisor would be coming in to ask some questions as well.

Her supervisor entered with a strong presence. You know how some people walk in a room and you can feel their intense voice when they aren’t talking? They’re going to speak loud. And if you’re me, you prepare to do the same.

That was this woman. She screamed with her body.

I’m a woman power type of person. I appreciate a woman who comes in guns blazing. Ready to talk business. Get rough. So I was ready.

A long time ago I would have pooped my pants. But these days, I get excited.

Let’s do this.

She sat down and skimmed through my resume. Asking about me, to the other blonde girl. As if I’m not in the room. (Intimidation tactics, love it).

Then she said in a very unemotional, matter of fact way : “You went to Dubai.”

Trying to sound neutral: “Yes, I did. For a year and a half.”

“I’m surprised you picked Dubai considering how women are treated over there.”

This is where things went south. Toilet –> flush.

She went on and on and on telling me how women are treated in Dubai. They have to cover themselves <– was her main point of concern. I felt like what she said translated to:  “How stupid can you be, you dumb girl, to go to a country that treats women so terribly?! You must have not done your research”

PS. No, she’s never been to Dubai or to any country in the Middle East. (But she must have done her research?!)

My response after about 15 minutes of this was:

“(Pause). Some women do chose to wear an abaya, so in that way it’s not bad”

This threw her overboard. Wrong answer Katie. Wrong gosh darn answer.

She followed by saying that turning a blind eye to these poor women puts me in the same category as abusers (I guess). She proceeded to make some relation to slavery, uneducated people, and a whole bunch of other gibberish facts that in my opinion have nothing to do with the clothing choice of middle eastern women.


This is where I started questioning life.  While she was rambling I went through a full circle of emotions.

  • Dumb bitch dont know nothin
  • Was going to Dubai a mistake, did it ruin my life?!
  • Don’t say anything, don’t say anything, don’t say anything
  • There’s a million problems over there, but an abaya aint one.
  • Is this happening? Is she for real?

Well it was.

The problem is, my interview BEFORE this one went the same way. Women in the Middle East was the first topic covered. Why? I don’t know.

What happened in that interview? I blacked out. I was pissed off.

I blacked out while locking eyes with the man and then proceeded to correct his facts and educate him on the realty of my experience.

The rest of that interview was extremely awkward.

So my family and friends decided it was best if I don’t say anything when/if that happens again. Which is what I did.

Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. Because not saying anything doesn’t feel like a solution either.

In no way will I ever say I regret going to Dubai. Because I don’t. After hearing this woman speak I’m actually really grateful that I went. That I will never sound like her.

I left feeling bad that there’s still Americans out there that are so judgmental.

I left wanting to take her to coffee, in a non interview setting, and discuss really loud and passionately all the good and bad of the Middle East. Maybe even wrestle or punch each other – if necessary.

Because let’s be honest. The Middle East isn’t my favorite place. I have enough negative things to say that I don’t need to make assumptions about problems that I didn’t see.  But I sure as hell hate when people disrespect ANYTHING in an uneducated, inaccurate way.

You want to talk bad about the region, I’m ready. But let’s do it in the right setting, where we can get loud, and be honest.

You want to talk great about the region, I’m ready. I would love to hear the stories and remember those parts too.


And my final note…

Why do American’s care SO much about women in the Middle East wearing an Abaya?

Think about it like this—>

Women in Dubai: They wear a black Abaya (maxi dress), with long sleeves, every day as their formal wear. To work or in public, or to a funeral or maybe a business meeting. It’s their formal dress.

Men in America: They wear a suit and tie to work every day. Long sleeves, sometimes with a jacket, in 100 degree weather, often including a tie around their neck that nearly chokes them at any given moment. It’s their formal dress.

Do all women in Dubai apply to the above statement? No. Do all men in America apply to the above statement? No.

But neither is weird.  Both are formal. Both are professional. If we make fun of men in suits and say they’re treated so terribly because of that God forsaken tie that nearly chokes them to their death, will we sound weird?

I know that’s a dramatic comparison.  I’m trying to somehow show that focusing on the clothing choice of women in Dubai is not that big of a deal. There’s so much more to talk about. Promise 🙂


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Places: Middle East, Thoughts, Travel

Myth Busting Dubai

Myth Number 1: Dubai is not safe


I’m not really sure where the idea that Dubai is not safe comes from. Probably the generalization of the entire Middle East. Which makes sense – I’m sure countries in war zones are a bit on the unsafe side. But Dubai is not a war zone.  For me, Dubai feels safer than anywhere else I’ve lived.

For example, I can go for a walk around the Marina at night without worrying about a shadow creeping up behind me. Or, I can leave my purse in the car seat (by accident of course) where people walking by can see it and don’t have to worry it’ll be stolen by the time I get back. Or, I walk to my car all alone in the parking garage and don’t have to worry James, the killer physco path, is hiding underneath it ready to rape and murder me.

Do these things happen all the time in the United States? No. But you’d be lying if you say it’s not a pretty consistent concern. (Probably depending on where you live too… fine.)

Can I say these horrific crimes don’t happen in Dubai? No. But I can say the fear is SIGNIFICANTLY less in Dubai than in the United States.

As a matter of fact, I met a pretty young lady one of my first weekends in Dubai that was from Lebanon, if I’m remembering correctly, and she was studying in Dubai. She asked me all about the United States and how diverse and adventurous it sounded – being the proud American that I am I had to ask her: “Why didn’t you decided to study there instead?”

Because I was so new to Dubai her response was a bit shocking. She told me with a  < helllll no> face that her parents would never allow her to go to the United States to live, it’s so DANGEROUS!…. What? Did I hear her right?

Now it makes sense. Those physco path, murderer, mental crazed, phedophiles, don’t appear to be lurking around the streets as much in Dubai. And let me admit, this is a huge relief – I didn’t know I ever felt unsafe in the United States until living here.

Now, is there a chance that the Middle East war zone could spread over to Dubai? Maybe.. And that would be unfortunate wouldn’t it? But those crazy people could also attack the United States tomorrow too, who knows. The world in general aint that safe is it?

Myth Number 2: Women


This is a big one. I’m not even sure what angle to attack it. “How is it being a woman in Dubai?  You know, cuz of how women are treated over there” << I actually get asked this question <<

But what exactly do you mean?  Are women getting abused? Yelled at? Ordered around? I’m not sure what treated badly is referring to. I’m assuming hearing that women in Saudi Arabia aren’t allowed to drive + they’re required to cover their hair in public places sets the tone for the whole of the Middle East.  They’re “treated badly”.

Here’s what I’ll say – Dubai is not the rest of the Middle East. I’ll say it again and again and again. Mexico is not the United States. Ukraine is not Holland. UAE is not Iraq. So when you hear about women in Iraq or Saudi Arabai or wherever they are talking about women, take into consideration their location. Women in war zones probably have a hard time {so do the men I’m assuming}.

Women in Dubai is another story, they get treated like gold! Ok, maybe not gold — That may only apply to the gold digging women, whom bounce around here with their big ol boobies out and pumped up lips like this is Las Vegas or something. More power to them. Can’t hate on a girl workin her hustle 😉 😉

But the average working women, they appear to push through to wherever they want to go. I’m sure in some business settings men dominate the force, but from what I can compare to what I’ve seen in the States… America has some work to do. Women being “treated unfair” in the workforce may apply more to the workforce in America than in Dubai, just saying.

And, if we’re talking about the rules in Dubai regarding the covering of women’s hair, legs, shoulders, not being able to drive, or any other extreme regulation everyone believes women are ordered to follow. Let’s just say it’s exactly that – extreme. The women in Dubai that chose to cover their hair, chose to cover their hair. They would feel uncomfortable any other way. No one has told me to cover my hair. And driving? I mean no one cares if women drive in Dubai (unless they’re just that bad, then I care). I wish they did put some emphasis on this because I wouldn’t mind having a driver escort me to work every morning??

As for covering shoulders, legs, arms, eyeballs, ect. This only really applies if you’re going to a state office – Dubai Land Department, Dubai Municipality Court, ect. Even then, they might not tell you anything if you walk in there skin barring, but out of respect for their culture it’s probably a good idea to cover those legs. Also, if you’re walking in the mall and you don’t want the creepiest human stares in the world looking at you, then I would cover your legs. They’re hot legs after all, very irresistible. << Most importantly, the choice is yours.

To be crystal clear, in no way has anyone been mean to me, treated me badly or unfair because I’m a woman. If anything, it’s the opposite. I can say this about Dubai and Bahrain. Which I definitely can’t say about the States. ^^Poof! this myth up in the air to evaporate into the clouds and rain back down on us another day.^^

Myth Number 3: Arab Money


Ok, yeah some arabs have lions as pets. Or a garage full of cars that have doors open towards the sky. A maid to cook their food, a maid to do their laundry, and a maid to put their socks on. Fine. That’s true. But that’s some arabs. Not all.

After living in Dubai I can’t even say I think most arabs live this lifestyle. Of course some do, but so do some Americans in the United States or some Mexicans in Mexico. Right? In my opinion, Arabs going about with this lifestyle tend to show it off a bit excessively? (Dare I say that) Which means, it gets around like wild fire and now there’s rap songs about Arab Money and children with dreams of some day owning a pet lion. It’s an awesome theory and I guess something we can all booty dance along to and strive to be, but it’s a little strange. Now, thinking of them as show-offs… that’s another story 🙂

To defend Arab’s in the best way I can possibly think of, I will say this – the culture puts A LOT of pressure on the amount of money your family has. And when I say family, I mean family. You’re not making money for yourself, you’re making money to represent your family name.  You have to make the MOST money – to keep the family proud. (“My oldest son is a surgeon, my other CEO of Bank-Central, and my daughter is marrying the Prince”)

I was even thinking, of all the myths I could try to bust, this is the one that will irritate the most people in this culture. It’s the most sensitive subject you can touch on and the one that they’ll most want to argue against and be offended by.

Doing what you love, donating to a foundation you believe in, working for a non profit, adopting a child in foster care, are all things that don’t carry as much significance or success in this culture as simply making the highest dollar. Which could be why Arab Money is what you see so much of. Showing it off is what’s important. It gives you status and significance. You’re not worth anything if you don’t show that you have something. 

In realty, I don’t know if Arab Money is as lucrative as the myth we all hear about. Because a lot of people here live with their parents until they get married, and even then might not move into their own home, maybe they save their first couple years of paychecks to buy that pet lion or fancy Ferrari. And Lord knows it’ll be up on all social media outlets as soon as they do << Must be that “Arab Money”.

Sorry to burst your bubble on this one.


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