Whether you’ve been invited to a walk-in interview or are scheduled to be a part of a group interview, what you wear as a woman in Dubai matters. Clothes are an excellent way to show how you carry yourself, how seriously you take your presence in a corporate world, and how professional you are. Dressing right can help you make the best possible first impression with your hiring manager, so it’s important to know ahead of time what is appropriate and what is not. Luckily, what you should wear to a job interview in Dubai as a woman isn’t that different from what you would wear in western countries– the difference lies in the individual fields you will be interviewing for.
In this in-depth guide, we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about the interview dress code for women in Dubai. We’ll also break down important tips and tricks for personal branding for women, why dressing well matters for job interviews, and a few examples of what you could wear for your next interview. Let’s start by exploring why a dress code and personal branding for women seeking jobs in Dubai is so important.
Is the Interview Dress Code for Females in Dubai Important?
The interview dress code in Dubai is important because it allows you to dress to impress. So much of a first impression comes down to their first
There are a few benefits to adhering to a dress code in Dubai for a job interview:
- You’ll need to focus on professional style, which can be fun.
- Dressing well will leave a better impression with your hiring manager and potential colleagues.
- Dressing well can help you boost your confidence and reduce anxiety during the interview.
- You can show off your personal professional style.
Just as well, there are a few challenges as well:
- For many corporate or tech jobs, you’ll need to stick to pantsuits or other formalwear, which can get a bit boring.
- You’re dressing less for comfort and more for your image.
- Your personal style might clash with what you’ll have to wear to your job interview and the actual job itself.
- There isn’t a ton of variety in what is considered appropriate for a job interview in Dubai.
Now that we understand the importance of dressing appropriately for a job interview in Dubai, let’s look into some other elements of personal brand for women that can be helpful.
What other elements are there to personal branding for women in Dubai?
The way you dress is just one small part of your entire personal brand. There are other elements involved as well.
A professional element to your dress is important, but so is a more personalized approach. Dressing in the style and “tone” of the organization you are working for is key. If you have a chance, take a look at how other women at that organization dress. You could even browse the organization’s “About Us” page to get some ideas from photos or videos. Are they dressing for comfort or for style? Are they wearing the latest trends or opting for a more classic look? When you dress to fit your organization, your hiring manager will notice that you have a good visual fit to the organization.
Just as well, the way you carry yourself and walk in a professional outfit matters. Consider your footwear, for example. If many of the professional women in the organization wear high heels, you’ll need to be able to walk in heels appropriately and without stumbling. If you’re planning on wearing flat shoes or more comfortable shoes, still keep an eye on your posture and walking with confidence to make a good impression.
It’s usually a good move to avoid really big and busy jewelry and other accessories. Regardless of the position you’re interviewing for (with the exception of entertainment and modeling) we recommend keeping high heels under four inches, avoiding any clothes with offensive content, and not wearing bulky necklaces or earrings.
It’s also important to remember that modesty is very common in Dubai workspaces. While you are certainly not expected to wear very formal traditional clothing to a job interview, you will still benefit from keeping your midriff and thighs covered up. It is also common for women to keep their shoulders, upper arms, thighs, and knees covered, and this is especially so around Ramadan.
Dubai is located in the United Arab Emirites where the weather is quite warm for much of the year, with some days being extremely hot and humid. Your personal branding with your style will need to be modest and the materials you wear should be comfortable and offer a lot of airflow for hotter days.
What are the interview dress codes for females in Dubai?
If you’re not well-versed in the jargon surrounding dress codes, here’s a quick cheat sheet to make learning about dress code elements easier:
- Smart casual. This business attire focuses on trendy styles and not a ton of modesty, though it would be wise to keep things modest in Dubai. This type of attire is popular in startups and flexible offices. A common outfit would be a statement necklace, long-sleeve blouse, high-waisted trousers, and trendy boots.
- Business casual. This is very common attire to wear in most industries, from finance to tech to marketing. In general, business casual must be clean, neat, and comfortable. A common outfit could include a neutral blouse or button-down shirt, dress pants, and comfortable flats or loafers.
- Business professional. You’ll notice that in many industries in Dubai, business formal is the default. This modest attire will be more conservative than business casual but less formal than business formal. For industries like accounting, government, and law, a common outfit would include a pencil skirt, blouse, blazer, and modest high-heeled footwear.
- Business formal. This will be the most formal type of attire you could wear at work, though few organizations will require employees to dress business formal on a workday. This type of attire will be commonly worn for very formal meetings, events, etc. A common outfit could be a dark-hued pansuit or an evening dress with clean and basic flats or heels. Very little jewelry should be worn.
With these terms in mind, let’s look at what is considered appropriate to wear to a job interview in various popular industries in Dubai.
[Creative] Interview Dress Code for Women
Creative industries often involve organizations in the realm of entertainment, music, art, and writing.
The creative’s dress code in Dubai typically involves business casual outfits such as fashionable pants or slacks and a comfortable long-sleeve T-shirt or a casual blouse.
Companies will usually expect fashionable items in this industry, but make sure you’re still adhering to some modesty. In general, the norm for attire in this industry involves comfortable or high-heeled shoes (again, think fashionable and trendy) and comfortable but still work-appropriate clothing.
Example of Creative Industry Interview Dress Code for Women
An example of a great creative industry outfit in action would include a neutral-toned blouse, a bright necklace with matching pumps, and high-waisted flowing pants with a bow buckle. Avoid wearing high heels over four inches and anything that would show off your midriff, shoulders, and thighs. The creative industry is a lot more relaxed about business wear, but it is still the standard in Dubai to keep things relaxed and covered up. You can be a bit more bold in this industry and wear brighter colors, as long as they are matched with darker or more neutral pieces.
[Tech] Interview Dress Code for Women
Tech industries often involve organizations in the realm of digital technology, medical and pharmaceutical robotics, and virtually everything else involved in technology.
The tech industry dress code in Dubai typically involves business casual wear, though the colors are much more muted in the tech industry than in the entertainment industry. Companies will usually expect something neutral, comfortable, classy, and professional. In general, the norm for attire in this industry involves relatively timeless items, though some trendier and more fashionable items may be good for the look.
Example of Tech Industry Interview Dress Code for Women
An example of a great tech industry outfit in action would include comfortable dark-hued flats, dark-hued dress pants with a thin light-hued belt, a cuffed shirt, and a casual blazer. Sleek and trendy bags or briefcases are a must-have. Avoid wearing anything too casual, such as a T-shirt and jeans. The tech industry is a lot more relaxed than other industries like finance and law, but it’s still a very professional appearance-forward industry to work in. As long as you are tidy and don’t wear anything you would wear lounging around the house, you should be fine.
[Finance] Interview Dress Code for Women
Financial industries often involve organizations in the realm of accounting and banking.
The financial industry dress code typically involves business professional or business formal attire. If you can catch a glimpse into what others in this industry are wearing to interviews, especially at your chosen organization, that could benefit you quite a bit. Hiring managers can be quite impressionable in this industry. Companies will usually expect business professional wear based around the color white and dark, muted, solid colors. In general, the norm for attire in this industry involves solid colors over patterns, very simple accessories such as watches, dark colors, and skirts that go far above the knee.
Example of Finance Industry Interview Dress Code for Women
An example of a great finance industry outfit in action would include a high-collared white blouse, a simple fashionable gold watch, a black fitted blazer, and a black fitted pencil skirt that comes just above the knee. Pair this with flesh-toned pantyhose and a kitten heel that matched the blazer. Avoid wearing bright or vibrant colors, flashy jewelry, very large handbags, and outfits that show too much skin.
[Startup] Interview Dress Code for Women
Startups often involve organizations in the realm of tech, but can also involve a number of other industries such as entertainment, healthcare, logistics, etc. Much of what you would wear at a tech company interview will be similar to that of a startup, though startups tend to be a lot more relaxed about interviewee attire.
The startup dress code typically involves business casual attire that is very relaxed, though not quite full-on casual wear. Most startups in Dubai will find the happy medium to be smart casual. Companies will usually expect light, dark, and neutral tones, a level of fashion sense, and a clean, modern look. In general, the norm for attire in this industry involves slacks, modest casual dresses, heels and flats, blouses, high-waisted dress pants, jumpers, etc. You can get creative with accessories, but it would still be smart to keep them at a minimum and to avoid very vibrant colors, sans a small statement item. Bags and briefcases should be modern, sleek, and minimalist in appearance.
Example of Startup Industry Interview Dress Code for Women
An example of a great startup interview outfit in action would include a cardigan, sleeveless casual dress that comes down to the knee, a subtle dark belt, and black slip-on shoes with a slight heel. Avoid wearing way too formal clothing such as full suits, unless you are interviewing for a very high-up leadership position.
[Government and Law] Interview Dress Code for Women
Government and law industries in Dubai often involve organizations in the realm of local government, international law, private practices, etc.
The government and law dress code in Dubai typically involves business professional attire, though you can get just a bit fancier and more formal. Just make sure your outfit does reach full-on business formal attire, as that can be just a bit overdressed. Companies in government and law will usually expect neat and professional hairstyles that are usually up, solid colors that are dark and not patterned, professional and modest footwear, pantyhose, and modest clothing in general. In general, the norm for attire in this industry involves blouses, blazers, slacks, pantyhose, and slightly heeled footwear with only a watch. A majority of people who go in for job interviews in these industries in Dubai will opt for black and white, but you can get a little bit creative. Try standing out with a deep mauve or navy blazer-pants combination with a light grey or even pastel pink blouse. The key is to ensure the whole look is very cohesive and professional.
Example of Government and Law Industry Interview Dress Code for Women
An example of a great government or law industry outfit in action would include a dark olive blazer with match ankle-length cigarette pants, one-inch black pumps, a light grey blouse buttoned up to the collarbones, nude or tinted pantyhose with no runs, a tasteful watch, and a simple updo. Bags and briefcases should be very neutral and preferably in a basic leather tone. Avoid wearing anything flashy, miss-matched colors, anything too casual, and high-heeled shoes that are a bit too high. This is an industry that is extremely formal, so ensure that you are not wearing open-toed shoes and that your fingernails and makeup and clean and relaxed.
Final Tips on Interview Dress Code for Females in Dubai
With all of this dress code information in mind, it really isn’t too difficult to put together the right outfit for your job interview. You can definitely get creative with the pieces you choose so that you can still feel like you’re adhering to your personal brand. However, as we mentioned before, make sure that you take the time to see how other women are dressing while at work at your organization of choice. If you’re currently living in Dubai, there are quite a few different places to show for clothing and footwear to build the right professional outfit. These brands include:
- Al Motahajiba
- Karen Millen
- Hugo Boss
Remember that clothes don’t 100% make the look. You’ll also need to carry yourself with confidence and ensure that you are able to walk in heels (if appropriate for your industry) with a powerful, confident, and work-ready glide. Good luck with your job search, and make sure you do it in style!
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How was our guide to the interview dress code for women in Dubai? Drop your advice for wearing the most professional outfit possible for an interview in the comments below.
Photo by Christina Morillo