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My favourite part about packing for a trip is putting together the outfits to wear in the streets of Paris or Bonn or on the beaches of Buzios. But, Morocco? That was different. It was stressful and had me worried right until I got into the country (and, honestly, nearly until we left).
My game plan was to head straight to the mall when we got into Casablanca and buy whatever wicked items I could find (I found the BEST store, Marwa, and all but handed them my bank account). However, because Casablanca is a little more cosmopolitan, there were shorts galore! This wouldn’t really fly in other areas of Morocco and turned out to be a lot harder to shop right after arriving. I steered clear of the shorts and the bar attire and looked towards items that would make me feel comfortable no matter where I was heading.
Update According to the Regions
Different parts of Morocco will be more conservative than the rest. While they are extremely tolerant people, and no one will be stoning you for wearing shorts, it’s best to leave those to the beaches, resorts, or Casablanca.
Casablanca is more metropolitan than the rest of Morocco and I saw countless Moroccan women in similar outfits that I’d wear to work: nice pencil skirt and sleeveless blouse with heels. While in the western countries, that type of outfit is considered classy and no jacket is expected when the weather is 30 degrees, in most of Morocco, showing both your legs AND your arms is a big no-no.
While Casablanca had more daring outfits, you would also see women in the comfy looking djellaba’s, women wearing hijabs, kaftans, and full jeans, sweaters and scarves mingling in the streets.
Casablanca means you can be a little more free with your wardrobe, having a bit more fun and more western comforts without having to worry about being disrespectful. Because, that’s the reason we dress more conservatively in conservative countries; to be respectful of culture and religion that isn’t ours.
Now is not the time for any protests; remember, you are still a tourist.
Heading into smaller towns or the religious Fez? Best to put away the shorts and tank tops for another time. Keep your arms and legs covered and a scarf handy when touring any religious monuments or very religious towns.
Cover up one part of you at a time
After reading so many blog posts about how I need to be covered from head to toe, I was really nervous to go anywhere with even my ankles showing. This isn’t the case.
While I didn’t pull out my shorts and t-shirts, as long as your arms OR legs are covered, you will be fine.
A midi or maxi dress with short sleeves or a jacket over top will do you perfectly. Especially as the weather heats up. Pack as many light-weight dresses as you can – I ended up running out of appropriate attire in Chefchaouen because I kept sweating through my clothes and changed twice a day. I mean, there are worse things than having to buy amazing berber woven clothes in Morocco…
Don’t Worry about your Head
Covering your head and face in a scarf while in the desert is a must because of sand blowing in your face and your hair and your eyes. Just embrace it – sand gets everywhere. If you’re going out into the desert during the day, remember to keep your head and neck covered from the hot, blazing sun. Your guide, or a helpful worker at your Riad, will be able to show you how to properly hold your scarf in place – you can also buy one meant specially for desert excursions.
Despite the heat and the sand (and a bit of noise pollution nowadays), the desert is hella beautiful and sitting atop a sand dune watching the sun set was one of the best, most relaxing moments of my life.
If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the inside of a beautiful mosque, think again. Non-muslims aren’t allowed in mosques, and therefore, won’t have to bother covering their head when visiting one.
Always Bring a Scarf
If you’re feeling like you’re gaining unwanted attention (Hello, my fellow blondes!), keep a scarf handy to drape across your head or arms. This will help you feel more comfortable in such a religious society, and will be handy when the sun goes down and a chill is suddenly felt in the air.
Cover Up at the Beach
It’s the beach, but it’s not like Brazil. While you can get away with a bikini on resort-like accommodations and more touristy areas, opt for a one-piece and a chic cover-up when heading to the beach.
Layers are your Friend
Morocco. Gets. Hot. I mean, duh, you’re in Africa. But, we traveled at one of the best times for weather, apparently (almost like April 25th. Not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket), and it still gets hot. Layer up.
That means, a dress, a jacket and a scarf.
Light pants, a tank top, a jacket and a scarf.
Light pants, a t-shirt, a jacket and a scarf.
Light pants, a light sweater, a jacket and a scarf.
Midi and Maxi Dresses to Stay Cool
While I had brought along lighter pants, my favourite thing to wear in Morocco was light and flowy dresses. Always midi or maxi, throwing on a dress and adding a light sweater or jacket and scarf was the easiest way to stay cool and look appropriate.
Comfortable Walking Shoes
While you would, hopefully, always pack comfortable walking shoes in your regular journeys, making sure you have one or two pairs for Morocco is a must.
There is cobblestone everywhere, treks tend to be longer than anticipated, some roads aren’t fully paved, the souks are uneven, twisting labyrinths filled with colour and stairs. So many stairs.
Bring along a few pairs of GOOD walking shoes and leave the flip flops for the beach.
My favourite look cute shoe for any type of travel? An easy-to-pair-with-everything sneaker. They’re small, versatile, and you can get them at Ardene’s for cheap. Plus, they actually last! These are the two types of shoes I used 90% of the time in Morocco:
Not sure what else you need to know about Morocco?What to Pack for Morocco
Why you Shouldn’t Believe the Internet About Morocco
Things That had me Going WTF in Morocco