What to Wear If You’re Traveling to Saudi Arabia for Work

Gary Greer 4/16/2020
Arab Culture

Late in 2019, Saudi Arabia announced new visas that will be available from 49 countries around the world. Also, it give the go-ahead to implement new dress code regulations. So, if you’re planning on doing business in the KSA in the future, what should you wear? Well, don’t worry because we’ve got you covered from head to toe on the subject in today’s article.

Western Business Dress for Non-Saudi Arabian Men

If you’re a Western man doing business in Saudi Arabia, wear a dark color business suit over a matching long-sleeved shirt, tie, and leather dress shoes to complete the outfit. Yes, we know that can get pretty hot in Saudi Arabia. Although a short-sleeved shirt would acceptable, it’s best to opt for a long-sleeved shirt at while you’re at work.

Western Business Dress for Non-Saudi Arabian Women

Foreign businesswomen no longer have to wear abayas. The kingdom understood was a major impediment to international business relations. Instead, women should wear long-sleeved, loose-fitting dresses which reach the ankles and have a high neck-line. And though you may get respect and appreciation from your Saudi male colleagues for wearing one, a headscarf is no longer compulsory for non-Muslim women. Foreign women should also wear either open or closed-toe smart-looking business shoes. Between business meetings or going back to your abode, it is advisable to wear a headscarf and abaya. This is in case you don’t want to attract any extra attention to yourself, but again, it’s not necessary.

Traditional Business Dress for the Arab Man

You’ll find most Saudi businessmen wearing the thobe. This is a long white robe that covers the body from the neck to ankles, and leather, open-toed sandals. They also usually wear a white or red-and-white-checked headscarf (ghutrah). Of course, with the corded, circular head rope, or agal, holding his scarf in place. Foreign men, as mentioned above, are free to wear traditional business clothing should they choose, however.

Traditional Business Dress for the Arab Woman

In business settings, or really in any public setting, you’ll find Saudi Arabian women wearing the traditional abaya. Some opt for the boshiya, which covers the lower part of her face, and a headscarf to cover her hair. Any kind of formal footwear is appropriate.

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