If you have an upcoming trip planned to a conservative country, it is important to be prepared when it comes to your wardrobe. To ensure you observe local customs by being appropriately dressed, it is a good idea to pack clothing that avoids causing offense and keeps you free from unwanted attention. While this is particularly important in places of worship such as mosques, churches and temples where strict dress codes are often enforced, in some parts of the world this will also apply when sight-seeing and being out in public.

The level of conservatism required in your dress will depend on the customs or decency laws of the place you are visiting. If you are unsure of what to wear, a general guide is to dress modestly, keeping your legs, arms, shoulders, and midriff covered, and in some countries, your hair too. It is also advisable to avoid clothing that is too tight or transparent. You can find modest clothing stores online to help you dress for your trip. In this article, we will list some conservative clothing essentials to pack with you on your travels.

Scarf or Shawl

This lightweight item of clothing can easily be added to your suitcase and can be thought of as your most essential travel accessory.  In some parts of the world, you will need to wear a headscarf whenever you are in public, whereas in other countries, it may only be needed at certain times such as when visiting places of worship.

This versatile garment can be worn around your shoulders and be used to cover low necklines or cleavage when wearing tank tops or blouses. The variety of patterns, fabrics and designs that scarves offer also means you have an accessory that can instantly elevate an otherwise simple outfit making it the ideal accompaniment for an evening out. A good tip is to always carry a scarf in your bag when going out.

Maxi Dress

Maxi dresses make the perfect modern yet modest item of clothing to take on your travels and allow you to dress comfortably while remaining respectful. Available in a wide selection of colors, styles and fabrics, this free-flowing garment will also keep you cool in hotter countries thanks to its loose, yet flattering fit.

Providing full coverage for your legs, maxi dresses can easily be worn throughout the day and with the accompaniment of a shawl or cardigan over your shoulders or a long-sleeved top underneath, can be worn in more conservative countries or when visiting religious sites. In certain restaurants and bars that serve alcohol a less conservative dress code is required, allowing for a more relaxed or glamorous look. A maxi dress can easily be accessorized with oversized earrings or a statement necklace ensuring you have the perfect outfit for a night out.

Turtleneck Tops

This classic item of clothing is considered a staple in many women’s wardrobes. Thanks to its versatility it can be worn as a standalone piece or paired with a pair of jeans or a long skirt. It can also be worn underneath a pair of dungarees, maxi dress or a blazer. However you choose to wear it, a turtle neck top can make the ideal accessory in conservative countries, offering you an effortlessly stylish look that will keep you warm in the colder months. The high-neckline, and long sleeves of this item will ensure you are not exposing too much skin, helping you easily blend in with local customs.


Cardigans have developed throughout the decades to provide a number of different shapes and styles and are perfect for those chilly days when a coat may be too much. Whether it’s winter or summer in your chosen destination, it is always practical to take a cardigan with you. From classic to cascading, bolero to buttoned, this modest fashion item can be thrown on and easily used to cover your arms and shoulders while keeping you warm. Worn over a maxi dress, t-shirt or blouse, a cardigan will work well with almost any outfit and is light enough to carry with you throughout your day. 

Maxi Skirts

A long maxi skirt is another piece of clothing that can be worn throughout the year and will see you suitably attired in more conservative parts of the world. Offering full coverage for your legs, while being free-flowing and loose around your figure, this modest item is the perfect option to pack with you.

Pair it with a long-sleeved top or tunic or with a tank top and cardigan to create a comfortable and conservative outfit on your travels. The versatility offered by a maxi skirt means it can also be dressed up for a more glamorous evening occasion or worn in a stylish sequined material or high-waisted design while remaining modest.

Shirt or Tunic

A long-sleeved shirt or tunic top is ideal for warmer climates and ensures you are adequately covered while looking chic. This unrevealing item can be worn buttoned up over a pair of pants or maxi skirt or opened with a blouse or tank top underneath. Its versatility allows it to easily transform from a more formal day look to something more stylish in the evening.

A loose-fitting tunic top with long sleeves is the perfect choice for many Middle Eastern countries as it is inspired by the traditional dress of the women there. Worn over a pair of leggings or fitted pants, tunics tops make a comfortably casual, yet stylish outfit that will help you blend in with the locals when out and about and sightseeing.


Whether you prefer harem, palazzo, capri or cargo, remember to pack your favorite pair of pants with you. The variety of shapes and designs offered, allow you to freely express your individual style and fashion sense without having to compromise. Pair with a blouse, shirt, sweater or cardigan and you have the ideal outfit when  visiting a more conservative country. 

Follow the tips in this article to help you pack and  dress confidently in a conservative country ensuring you look stylish and fashionable while still showing respect to local customs.