Last updated on March 16th, 2021
I got tons of different advice before going to Jordan. I ended up bringing long-sleeved loose shirts, which covered my hips and behind and baggy pants. I brought a long loose black skirt for “dressier” occasions and that was fine. No flashy colours or flashy jewelry. This was fine and I gathered no unwanted attention. I went to a camping store and bought a few men’s shirts made of quick drying material which made it easy to hand wash them and they would dry overnight. It’s also good to keep your hair tied back if it’s long. Except when I entered some religious sites. There was no need to cover my head.
Francoise, Montreal, Canada
This is what I observed regarding dressing appropriately. For the most part Jordan is socially conservative and Jordanian women typically wear hijab (headscarf) and modest clothing. I found the Jordanian people very accepting and accomodating so I felt free to wear colorful and hip clothing as long as it was respectful. For example, I wore skinny jeans or slacks with a tank top and a cardigan or jacket and that was considered acceptable. Long dresses and skirts are a fun alternative to pants, and I would recommend quarter-sleeve or long-sleeve blouses. In the summer you might try sleeves that are a bit shorter, but I would not recommend wearing anything that reveals your shoulders.
In Abdoun, an upscale residential area of Amman you can wear short sleeves or tank tops to restaurants as long as you bring a jacket or cardigan or even a shawl to cover up with while you are getting there or leaving. It is acceptable to take these things off once you are seated and having dinner. It is always a good idea to dress in layers wherever you are in Jordan because you will find that depending on where you are different things are appropriate and you can adjust your clothing to the setting you are in. Look around at what the women around you are wearing and then you can gauge what is appropriate or not. Not to mention, it is chilly in the evenings and often times you will want that extra cardigan or shawl.
In more conservative parts of the country (like rural areas and downtown Amman) be sure that your legs, arms, and chest are covered for the most part. And finally, if you do not observe hijab, there is absolutely no reason for you to cover your hair unless you want to.
Brianne, Houston, USA
For clothing I took 6 shirts, mostly longsleeve and linen and 4 pants, light Columbia travel material. Pray that your luggage doesn’t get lost in the Amman airport and have a fabulous time.
Sherry, Vancouver, Canada
I live in Israel and I traveled in Jordan and Egypt. My advise when travelling to this part of the world is TRAVEL LIGHT! 2 pair pants, 1 skirt for evening, (all light weight, long, loose) 1-2 short sleeve tops, 1-2 long sleeve tops, 1 sweater. Jacket only if going in cooler seasons. Light weight rain jacket with hood is ideal. The key is layering. When it is cool – short sleeve + long sleeve + sweater + jacket, and peeling layers as it warms up. Take clothes that are dark and you can mix and match. Walking shoes or sneakers for day, cheap, light weight flip flops for showers, beaches, etc. and nice closed shoe or sandal for evening. If you are going on a short trip 1 pants, 1skirt, 2-3 tops are enough.
Susan, Haifa, Israel
While travelling in Jordan, I was most comfortable, and least vulnerable to stares and comments (while under the male microscope) when I kept my arms covered with long sleeves and always covered my chest with a Bedouin kaffiyeh (scarf/shawl). No cleavage, please! I lived in big comfy skirts hemmed at mid-calf. Avoid pants in Middle Eastern countries. The more your body is outlined, the more you’ll stand out — remember that tight clothing on women is a rarity in the Middle East. Sandals are fine — bare toes don’t seem to attract much attention. When it feels right to do so, tie an attractive scarf around your head. You’ll know when the situation warrants it (i.e. when entering a mosque). When communing with local women, dress like they do; they’ll love it and think you are being respectful. I never once covered my face in Jordan and saw few women who did, although I did brush my hair in public once and created quite a stir!! Blend in and have fun!
Lisa Phipps, Bramalea, Canada
In Petra, wear comfortable clothing that you can climb or hike in, and shoes with traction. Many people think that wearing shorts and tank tops are the best way to stay cool but, in fact, protecting your skin from the direct heat of the sun is much more effective. I recommend loose linen pants, a cotton shirt, a hat and sunglasses.
Brianne, Houston, Texas
From experience I recommend wearing sturdy walking shoes completely covering your feet. The rocky Siq (long path into the city) is very uneven with lots of old flat rocks. The city itself is a mixture of sand, grit and very high steps especially to the temples or king’s tombs, and a long walk to the Monastery. Reddish dirt everywhere. So don’t wear black. Khakis, greys and blues are fine.
Cecile, New Brunswick, Canada