Cairo - Post Report Question and Answers

What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Very informal unless meeting with government officials, then dress is formal. - Mar 2023

People typically dress more conservatively than in the U.S. Suits are standard for meetings with Egyptian counterparts. - Aug 2022

As a woman I was concerned about what I could wear in public, but really my only rules I follow are nothing above the knee and no tank tops. I feel fine wearing a shirt without sleeves as long as it's covering most of the shoulder. I wear skirts but try to have them cover my knees. When I'm among Americans, like at a party in the Embassy compounds or our American club, I'll wear shorts and tank tops though. - Aug 2022

Suits and business clothes are worn at the embassy but outside the embassy is very informal. Modesty can be an issue for women; generally shorts/ short skirts/ low cut tops will get stares. - Mar 2022

Business: suit/tie, dresses at work. In public places casual. As an expat I had no issues wearing short dresses when I went out with friends. - Dec 2021

Formal wear is a must for the Marine Ball. All other times business attire is fine for Embassy work, with varying degrees of formality depending on your job. I wear dresses, tunics with leggings, or slacks and blouses to work. Others wear full suits. It kind of depends on your job. - Jun 2018

Work dress code is Western business attire. In public, locals and foreigners wear a lot of Western clothing. Women will want to dress modestly. Local women do not show shoulders or knees or cleavage. Most foreigners find it most comfortable to wear long, maxi length skirts and dresses or pants or capris. Women do not wear shorts. I don't wear sleeveless clothing and I find linen clothing very comfortable in the hot months--loose and long!

Winter gets chilly and I wear jeans and sweaters with perhaps a light jacket. Going out at night for nightlife or fancy dinners you can wear sleeveless and more Western style formal or dressy wear, though I wouldn't wear mini skirts.

Men do not wear shorts locally and doing so makes you stand out. The exception being places like Maadi House (the American club) and similar places where it is all Westerners. There can be some very fancy occasions so a couple pieces of formalwear is good. - Jan 2018

The dress code in the embassy is business formal. People tend to dress conservatively in public. Most women will be wear long sleeves and pants year round, men don't typically wear shorts. Foreign women are not expected to cover their heads, in fact, not all Egyptian women are covered, but wearing anything revealing can potentially draw unwanted attention. Many women in the embassy community were cat called, hissed at (a local way of cat calling), touched, groped, etc. - Sep 2017

Dress code is somewhere between business casual and business day-to-day. Bigger meetings are more formal - suit and tie. - May 2017

Nothing too revealing but generally Egypt is pretty relaxed--for foreigners especially. - May 2017

A bit dressier than in the US. - Jan 2016

Women need to cover legs, shoulders, and upper arms to avoid some of the harassment. They get harassed regardless of what they are wearing, but conservative clothes will help minimize the harassment. - Jan 2016

Modest. Women mush have arms and legs covered. - Jan 2016

People dress up here a little more out on the streets than in the U.S. I am comfortable wearing short sleeves outside, but not shorts unless I am at the beach. At work, it is mostly business dress, though you do see some jeans with dressy tops. - Oct 2014

Business casual for women and suits/tie for men. Modesty everywhere is a must. retty much no shorts - but no morality police like in KSA. Lots of hisses and cat calling if you reveal too much. - Aug 2014

Business casual, women need to dress very modestly, out of cultural consideration and to avoid unwanted attention. - Aug 2014

You can get away with smart casual. Offices are air conditioned. Suits at intervals expected. In public - modesty - the key thing I didn't realize was that the solution for women (since you cannot wear shorts on the street) is ... capris! not short, and not suffocating long. A good casual option. No spaghetti straps, etc. Or even tank tops. You can wear with a scarf or over-shirt, maybe. - May 2014

Business formal at work, despite the heat. - Apr 2014

Very modest. - Mar 2014

Business at work -- and cover at least knee to elbow in public. - Jul 2013

Business at work. In public, shorts are out (unless you are in a tourist area or maybe Maadi) -- women need long sleeves. - Jul 2013

Pretty much over the top. - Jun 2013

Women are advised to cover their arms and knees. At work, it is similar to the U.S. - suits for men and business attire for women. Jeans are also acceptable, depending upon your responsibility. - Jun 2013

Conservative. Men can wear shorts, but women should refrain from wearing tank tops and showing cleavage. - May 2013

Business. - May 2013

In public, women have to dress conservatively: no shorts, no tank tops, covered arms (at least short sleeves). - May 2013

The dress code at works depends on individual offices and supervisors, but the basic accepted dress code throughout Egypt is "not revealing." It is best to avoid short skirts, shorts, sleeveless tops, tank tops, etc. - Feb 2013

Business at work. Men can get away with shorts in the neighborhoods that are heavily populated by expats. As a woman, I wouldn't expose much skin anywhere. It's just asking for trouble. As I said, sexual assault has gone up sharply, and while the way a woman dresses is no excuse for attacking her, it's good judgment not to draw any more attention to yourself than you have to. Some non-Muslim Egyptian women have taken to covering themselves to avoid harassment, and there have been stories about women having their hair cut forcibly by Islamic fundamentalists for not covering it up. - Feb 2013

Business everyday... - Mar 2013

Shirt and tie in the office, jacket at meetings. We don't get out much these days; our time in public is limited. - Mar 2013

Dress tends to be a bit more formal. Just don't show much skin in public and you'll be okay. - Feb 2013

Egyptians are pretentious and fairly formal. - Jan 2013

Covered shoulders and knees are the norm. In Maadi you can wear a skirt that skims your knees and a wide-strapped tank without too many cat calls or gropes! At work, I'd say business casual. - Nov 2012

Women should dress more conservatively (i.e. cover your knees, shoulders, and cleavage).Men in shorts is not generally acceptable, although many expat men do wear them. - Sep 2011

Dress modestly in public. This is an Arab country. I am occasionally embarrassed by what Americans and Australians think of as proper dress to go out in public. It gets hot here, so suits are fairly rare most of the year. - Aug 2011

Suits for office workers. Slightly less formal in summer just because it's so hot. - Jul 2011

Formal dress at work. Conservative all the time. Egypt is not super conservative. Shorts by a Westerner is acceptable. Females should be especially careful. Not for offending them but more being harassed. - Jun 2011

All I can say is that it's hot here and you really want to wear shorts. However, this is a Muslim country, and I find it disrespectful when women wear short shorts or sleevless shirts. People try to do it here in Maadi because so many expats live here. But be prepared for unwanted vulgar attention from the locals. Bring your capris. Streets are very dirty, so if you wear sandals your feet will get dirty. - Jun 2010

Business attire at work, casual in public. - Dec 2009

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