What to wear in Morocco was something I stressed out about a lot before I left. I scoured Instagram for inspiration but found everything from outfits with full sleeves and long pant legs to shorts and tank tops. Obviously, that didn’t help much.
Thankfully, I’d already been to Egypt and Jordan, which are also Muslim countries, and was comfortable with my clothing choices there so I used that experience to pull together a wardrobe to last me through my two and a half weeks in Morocco.
I definitely erred on the conservative side, for which I was grateful; even when the temperatures soared up to 47 degrees Celsius. Now, to be completely honest, my more conservative wardrobe did not prevent me from being harassed; I was still white, curvy, and had light hair and blue eyes. My looser, covered up clothes didn’t do much to hide that. However, as a traveller to a new country, I did feel proud for being more respectful towards the country than other women I met along the way.
So, for any women who are struggling with what wear in Morocco, here are my recommendations based on my own experience.
PS: If you are a woman thinking of travelling to Morocco I HIGHLY recommend you read about my personal experience here.
Morocco Packing List for Women
Shirts and Tops
When it comes to tops to pack you need to consider a few different things; the weather and temperature, what you plan on doing in Morocco, and, perhaps most importantly, how revealing it is.
Morocco can get quite cool at certain times of the year. Especially in the desert and mountains. If you plan on spending a lot of time in these places or hiking, then you will want longer sleeves and layers to stay warm. Alternatively, Morocco can be stiflingly hot which means that you’ll want lightweight, looser pieces.
The real key, no matter the temperature, is not to be revealing. This means no showing your chest/cleavage, no stomachs, and minimal shoulders. In fairness, I did wear a sleeveless maxi dress a couple of times but, if I’m being completely honest, I’m not too sure how I felt about it. I think it’s ok for somewhere like Marrakech or Essouaria, but in more traditional cities like Fez, I think you are best to keep your shoulders covered.
Additionally, if you plan on wearing tighter pants like leggings or skinny jeans, choose tops that are longer in length and cover your bum.
I also recommend bringing some lightweight sweaters or a jean jacket because it can get cooler in the evening, especially if you do a Sahara Desert experience.
With that in mind, here are a couple of tops I recommend:
- The evolve top by encircled
- The everyday t-shirt dress by encircled (perfect with leggings)
- Or longer, tunic style tops like this
Please avoid crop tops, tops with plunging necklines or open backs, or strapless tops.
Again, the types of pants you choose will depend on what you are doing during your trip (hiking, city exploring etc.) and the weather. However, a good rule of thumb is to keep, at least, down to your knees covered. Full leg coverage will probably be more comfortable though.
You can wear leggings or tighter pants like skinny jeans, but make sure to wear a longer top that then covers your bum. I brought normal black leggings like these but also my dressy sweatpants from encircled. I did bring jeans as well, but it was way too hot when I visited in May to wear them.
I brought a couple of pairs of wide leg pants which I loved. Not only were they more modest, but they also kept me cooler in the heat. You can find a pair similar to what I wore here.
Dresses and Skirts
Dresses and skirts are often easy packs for women, especially for the younger generation who are keen on getting the cute Instagram shots. Both can be ideal for Morocco, but as long as they remain appropriate. Again, avoid anything too tight, short, or revealing.
Maxi dresses and maxi skirts are a great option, though you may want to aim for something that hits around your ankles rather than the ground or it will get very dirty very fast.
Note: A lot of vendors sell traditional Moroccan dresses/robes in bright, fun colours. I saw a number of women buy them for photos and wear them but many of them were VERY see-through when the light shone through. So, if you do buy one, take that into consideration!
I brought my favourite tevas flip flops and black keds for this trip, but to be honest I pretty much only ever wore my keds. The reason being that there is a lot of walking involve and they were more comfortable, plus, the streets of Morocco are not always the cleanest. The Medina’s of Fez and Marrakech both have livestock (mainly donkeys) passing by which of course tend to leave messes behind them. As with every other major city, there were also plenty of mystery puddles. I just preferred protecting my feet by keeping them fully covered and would recommend you do the same.
Do You Need to Cover Your Hair?
This is a question that frequently gets asked when visiting any Muslim country. The local women do cover their hair (often in very stylish ways with beautiful headscarves) but, as a visitor, you don’t have to.
You may choose to, and that’s ok, but if you do make sure you do it in a respectful way, not just to be cute and fashionable; that can end up being offensive. If you’re not sure, ask or leave your hair as is.
Tip: Those with fairer hair seem to get more attention than women with darker hair. My hair is lighter, and I found myself wearing it in a ponytail or braid more often than down because it did get me some unwanted attention.
Accessories and Helpful Items
As always, there are a few accessories that might come in handy when creating your Morocco packing list.
A scarf is definitely something you will want to bring. You can use it around your neck or shoulders if you have a piece of clothing that you are a little worried might be too revealing. Or, just to have to keep you warm. Plus, if you go to the Sahara, it’s helpful to have a scarf for the Bedouins to tie around your head in the traditional manor to protect you from the sun and sand. If you don’t already have one, take a look at these cute lightweight ones here.
A hat may also be something you want to bring. They can protect you from the sun or, be an easy way to cover your hair. As mentioned above, my lighter hair got some attention and a hat can be an easy to help hide your hair if you experience the same. This hat is pretty cute, will protect you from the sun, and folds up for travel.
For women who experience the dreaded chub rub, I highly recommend body glide. It’s actually a life saver and perfect for preventing chafing when wearing skirts or dresses (you can use it on your heels too for blisters). Get body glide here.
I also found Morocco to be very loud at night. The walls are quite thin and there was a lot of street noise so ear plugs are definitely a good bet.
You may also experience stomach issues in Morocco. I was ok (amazingly) but it’s pretty common. I recommend always travelling with imodium or something similar.
Finally, if you are travelling with multiple electronics that you need to charge, consider bringing a travel power bar. The outlets in the places I stayed were very scarce which made charging camera + phone + computer very annoying. You can find a lightweight travel one here. Along the same line, I’d recommend bringing a portable charger to bring with you while you are out exploring, especially if you take a lot of photos with your phone.
Of course, there are many female tourists who ignore the suggestion to cover up and bare quite a bit of skin in the streets. From what I saw, this just gets them more unwanted attention (and their photo taken by local men). It’s a personal choice that, at the end of the day, is up to you.
I don’t believe that women should be told what they can or can’t wear, but at the end of the day I think respect has a huge part to play. After all, we are visitors to this new country which has customs and traditions that are very different than our own. Customs that we want to explore and experience for ourselves. With that in mind, I think it’s important to respect their way of life and take queues from the local outfits which are more conservative. Not only will it make you feel more comfortable, but it will probably make you feel better as a traveller as well.
A Note on Travel Insurance in Morocco
Please, do NOT travel without travel insurance! I’ve had to rely on mine twice before (once for damaged luggage, once because I developed a lung infection while traveling). While the cost may seem annoying and better spent elsewhere, trust me when I say you’ll be sorry if you don’t have it. For just a couple bucks a day, you can save yourself a whole lot of stress and money. I like to recommend SafetyWing for travel medical insurance. With prices starting at $37 for 4 weeks, they are one of the most affordable options I’ve found. Learn more about the importance of travel insurance here.