When I was getting ready to go to Morocco I wanted to know what other female tourists wore when they visited the country. But every blog post I found on the topic either featured someone wearing something that showed her knees and shoulders (which I didn’t feel comfortable with because I didn’t want to stand out in the Muslim country where local many women cover up!), or people in forums recommending djellabas (which I didn’t feel comfortable wearing because it’s not something I’d normally wear, and I didn’t want to feel entirely out of my element).
This is the blog post I was looking for before I went, written after I’ve returned with the knowledge of what to wear in Morocco…
Top: Free People | Skirt: Mango past season, hemmed | Belt: Minkpink | Sunglasses: prescription Ray-Ban | Rucksack: Camden Lock stall circa 2010
From what I could tell with my research (and later verified once I was there) it’s fine for female tourists to wear shorts and vest tops – but if you do you’ll stand out like a sore thumb. So when I packed, I opted for a maxi skirt, two pairs of long-yet-lightweight trousers, several tee shirts that covered my shoulders, one kimono jacket, one long sleeve button down top and a printed scarf (square) as my Marrakech wardrobe. I also brought my leather rucksack, because I’m much more of a backpack than a handbag person.
Top: Just Female, past season | Kimono: Primark | Trousers: eBay | Shoes: Dune, past season | Scarf: vintage | Sunglasses and Rucksack: same as above
Throughout the trip I realised that the more skin I showed, the more I felt hassled and stared at – even though I was with my husband the entire time. And while I know I didn’t get as much attention as some of the other female tourists we saw (and not even a fraction as much as the two women we saw teetering down an alley wearing stilettos and mini skirts!), the difference was enough for me to notice. For example, when I covered my forearms I found haggling while shopping went more smoothly, we didn’t get offered so many ‘directions’ for a fee, and taxi drivers didn’t follow us for as long in hopes that we’d cave and accept a ride. Covering my forearms also ‘protected’ me from the eager women offering henna in Jemaa el Fna, so I didn’t end up with any henna that I didn’t want.
Denim top: ASOS, past season | Top: Mango, past season | Shoes: Komodo, past season | Trousers and Sunglasses: same as above
During our trip we also went out to Aït Benhaddou, a fortified city along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in present-day Morocco where Gladiator, The Mummy, and about a dozen other movies and even bits of Game of Thrones was filmed.
While we were at the edge of the Sahara (at the height of the afternoon heat) I was happy I wore a long sleeve top; not only was I protected from the sun (so I didn’t need to worry about sunburn) but I was also able to walk around without being stared at by the locals. Both of these tops are also made of cotton, so they were plenty breathable and I didn’t feel sweaty. Practical clothing for the win!
Top: same as above | Hat: Accessorize, past season | Trousers: Mango, past season | Shoes: from the souks in Marrakech
This last picture was taken once we reached Agadir, where we were staying in a resort and didn’t need to coverup. (At our resort the female staff uniform for day time consisted of short sleeve blouses and knee-length skirts; the evening uniform covered their full legs, and they requested guests wear trousers to dinner.) But with the cooler mornings and evenings (the day was spent in a two piece swimsuit by the pool), this type of outfit was ideal for me.
Of course, it was obvious that I’m not from Morocco and it was clear that I was a tourist in full Western dress, but I felt comfortable dressing this way, and I blended in enough that I didn’t receive much unwanted attention.
Have you been to Morocco? How did you dress? And what would you recommend to other tourists?