A common questions when travelling to this Moroccan city, is what to wear in Marrakech. This bustling city is a hub of life and one of Morocco’s best spots for tourism, however, there are still cultural norms to be aware of on your visit. Here are a few tips on what to pack for your trip to Marrakech!
How To Know What To Wear In Marrakech
I’ll admit, we didn’t look into this all that much before packing our bags. Well, I didn’t at least. I mostly relied on a few Facebook posts, my intuition, and my travel-buddy’s research (thanks Hannah!). For us, we got lucky with being sensible. But, if you’re hoping to avoid cashing out for new clothes while on your trip, here are a few ways to know what to wear in Marrakech, and a few items you might want to pack for your trip!
Do Your Research
If you’re reading this, there’s already a good chance you’re doing so because you’d like to know what to wear in Marrakech. So you’re already halfway to doing your thorough research!
The following tips are by no means the only guide you should follow – take a look around at other great blogs for advice on what to wear in Marrakech. Everyone’s experiences are different so you’ll be sure to get a wealth of stories and guidance to help you know what to pack for your trip to Marrakech. Facebook pages and groups are also a great source of knowledge on these topics. I’d recommend having a search through Girls Love Travel – possibly the biggest female-oriented travel community on social media. Pretty much any and every question has been asked and answered!
Trust Your Instinct
Most of us want to toe the line between feeling comfortable and respecting a location’s social dress code. For me and knowing what to wear in Marrakech, this meant erring more towards the conservative end of clothing. This was most because for a first-time visitor I wanted to adhere to the local norms as much as possible, and I wasn’t overwhelmingly hot in doing so.
For others, feeling comfortable might mean wearing fewer layers, or baring a little more skin to stay cool in the strong sun, or even just feeling their most confident. While it’s entirely each person’s prerogative to wear what they feel most comfortable in, I also believe there is a degree of awareness required in doing so. If you’re accompanied by a man or in part of a larger group, then this approach might feel completely fine. However, if you’re unsure or worried about what to wear in Marrakech, a more covered outfit is likely to be a good default option.
Manage Expectations & Plan Accordingly
Before we went to Marrakech, we’d been told that shoulders were a priority to cover over knees. This came as a surprise, but this heads-up meant we could ensure we packed more sleeved clothing, or at least add layers to our suitcase. Knowing the rules of certain places (such as mosques) and the general expectations for
Having said that, we did feel more comfortable slipping off our outer layer of shirts in more enclosed spaces that are primarily tourist attractions, such as the beautiful gardens. This came as a small respite from covering up all day, not that it was a problem at all – but we enjoyed feeling the sun on our skin. Staying alert to our surroundings and what we deemed appropriate for each situation meant that we could adapt with our clothing.
We made sure to bring items that could be worn several ways, and layers so that we were covered (literally) for every scenario. It worked like a dream, we didn’t have to repeat outfits or do a wash, but we didn’t horrendously overpack either – wahoo!
If In Doubt, Look At Locals
If you’re ever concerned that what you’re wearing is inappropriate, take a look at what the locals wear and work your way back from there. Of course, many local women dress much more modestly than we do in the UK, but it means you’ll get an understanding of what to wear in Marrakech to best fit in.
What To Wear In Marrakech
Now for the good stuff. What DID we wear in Marrakech?! Nothing especially remarkable or fancy, I’m afraid. Fashion is far from my strong point, and I almost alway prioritise comfort over style. Nonetheless, I did my best to pack appropriately for my trip to Marrakech, and thought I did an OK job!
A variety of tops is key to any good packing – enough for each day, plus a spare or two for any emergencies should do the trick. The main thing to pack for your trip to Marrakech is sleeves. Whether short or long, it’s important to remember that covered shoulders are the preferred standard of dress here.
Similarly to sleeves, crop tops are unlikely to be an item you’ll want to wear in Marrakech. Exposed midriffs aren’t popular, and so are probably best to avoid.
Instead, the best tops to bring are t-shirts, and loose blouses. We preferred tops that were neither too revealing nor fitted, partially to remain respectful, but also because a flowy style of clothing is much easier to spend a whole day sightseeing in, and keeps you cooler!
As mentioned, the ideal clothing options for your tops to wear in Marrakech are going to be layered. By this we mean a light t-shirt and a quick on-off blouse, cardigan, kimono, wrap, or whatever takes your fancy means you’re prepared for moments of sweltering heat as well as moments of modesty.
You can absolutely get away with bringing fewer bottoms than tops, like for most trips! That’s the beauty of multi-styled bottoms, you can pair them with so many things. My preferred bottom of choice is the culotte, or wide-legged trouser. I went for linen most days, but any light-weight and breezy material will do.
We did see plenty of jeans and tighter-fitting bottoms, but for those are a little more worried about what to wear in Marrakech to ensure they’re comfortable, you’re better off with something that you’ll be comfortable walking around all day in.
If trousers aren’t your thing, a long maxi skirt will have the same effect, or a dress! There really aren’t so many rules for what to wear in Marrakech. It’s personal taste and preference and, like with many places, a little common sense about your surroundings and being respectful of the culture.
Shoes are probably the lowest priority for knowing what to wear in Marrakech. Unless you’re the kind to teeter in heels non-stop (you are a hero), you’ll be fine in pretty much any footwear.
Sandals, trainers, and flats are all great options. If you are fretting about the shoes to bring to Marrakech, remember the cobbled streets of the souks and medina might have uneven surfaces and the odd puddles – so closed-toe and with a good sole are likely to serve you well. If you prefer to avoid socks in warm climates, a sturdy sandal such as a Birkenstock is going to be fine.
It goes without saying that in busy, cramped markets and squares filled with locals and tourists alike, you’ve gotta keep a zipped bag in front of you. That’s like lesson one in travel school, right?! I opted for a larger shoulder bag so I could tuck my bulky camera away and keep a spare jumper for the cooler evenings. A cross-body bag, bumbag, or similar zipped bag will do the trick, depending on how much you want to carry. Quite simply, avoid big backpacks – they take up way too much space in the narrow medina streets anyway! We remained diligent with keeping our purses and phones away as much as possible, but even with a big “I’m a tourist” camera out we didn’t feel at risk.
Sunglasses are more than protection for your eyes in Marrakech, they can also help hide your curiosity for a particular souk stall and avoid getting asked too many heckling questions from excitable young men. Keep a pair of your favourite sunglasses on and you’ll avoid eye contact that provokes pestering, and possibly even avoiding a near-miss scam!
Always keep a spare scarf or shawl in your bag, just in case! It might come in handy to cover your shoulders, wrap around your waist, or even over your head in times you want to feel a bit more modest.
Hopefully this post will have given you a few pointers on what to wear in Marrakech, and help with the packing dilemmas for your trip! As mentioned, clothing choices are just that – choices! For many, their choices are influenced by the culture they are a part of, so when visiting places with different cultural norms to your own, it’s important to be aware and respectful of being a guest there.
My suggestions are by no means definitive or final (and certainly don’t intend to reject any particular clothing choices), but it’s always good to start the conversation and remind one another of good travel etiquettes.
What would you pack for a trip to Marrakech? Are there any items you’d recommend?
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