Being my first time to the Middle East, I was unsure about what to wear as a woman in Jordan. I knew that I would not be expected to cover my hair, but I was concerned about how tight my clothing should be, how much of my arms I should show, and even what shoes would be appropriate.
To my pleasant surprise, the tightness of clothing wasn’t too much of an issue, but it was still better to stay mostly covered. See if you can find me in the group picture below (Hint: I’m not the blonde in the front row…).
First, I will start with a few tips on how to dress professionally as a woman in Jordan.
1. Plain colored (or just black) pants – Stick with the classic pants looks. It´s better not to show any leg. I would recommend the classic professional black pants that you can buy at say an Anne Taylor or Banana Republic.
2. Light-weight blouse – You don´t have to completely cover your arms, but its better to have more sleeve than less. Depending on the time of year in Jordan, it can get quite hot, so wearing long-sleeves can be a bit sticky. I would recommend a light-weight blouse that covers most of the arm and shows absolutely no cleavage. Even better if it extends over your bum!
3. Heals or flats – Take your pick, whatever shoes you feel most comfortable in.
4. Heavy makeup and strong perfume – Cake on the makeup if you so desire. Many of the Jordanian women had on very heavy makeup and potent perfumes. Maybe the perfume was an attempt to mask the smell of smoke (since lots of Jordanians smoke)?
5. Nice handbag – Jordanian women accessorize well, so bring a nice bag and you´ll fit right in. No need to worry about someone steeling it, since there seems to be little crime like this in Amman.
Here’s a picture of me teaching some Jordanians about how Venmo, a mobile money app, is used.
Second, I will give some recommendations for how to dress for traveling around Jordan.
1. Light-weight pants – If you are planning on going to Petra or Wadi Rum, you´ll want a pair of loose, light-weight pants that are easy to hike/walk around in. I found some nice loose-fitting ones at H&M for about $15, if you are looking for a pair or two. My sister wore a skirt in the photo above, which also works, but make sure it’s on a day where you might not have as much walking.
2. Light-colored, long tunic – Like my comment above about wearing a light-weight blouse, a long tunic is perfect for covering up, and a light color is great for staying cool in the hot sun. It’s always good to wear a camisole or thick-strapped tank underneath. Short sleeves are fine too, but I would carry a light weight scarf in case you want to cover up at any point.
3. Hiking boots – If you are going to make a stop at Petra, then better bring along some hiking boots. If you want to explore the old city by foot, then its worth packing along a good pair of hiking boots. Otherwise, there are always camel rides and horse-drawn chariots that can pick you up if you aren’t into all the walking.
4. Hat and sunglasses – It can be very sunny and with little shade at many of the sites in Jordan, so I would recommend bringing a good hat and sunglasses. My sister ironically wore a hat from Colombia, which we borrowed from one of my coworkers living in Jordan.
If you are planning a trip either for work or for travel to Jordan, I hope you will find these tips helpful! For those of you who are interested in other posts like this, check out my How to Dress like a Colombian Woman and How to Dress as a New York Woman.
I’m starting to dress like a woman of the world after all of these worldly experiences. Only time will tell where I will be next…