Stretching out over two continents, Turkey is teeming with beautiful places and exciting opportunities. From the stunning Goreme National Park in Cappadocia, the whimsical, car-less Büyükada islands, to the captivating and unique city of Istanbul, it’s a great holiday destination.
However, it’s important to be mindful that Turkey has a predominantly Islamic culture, with a more modest approach to fashion than western countries. Whilst there are no set rules or dress codes (with the exception of religious places), these practical yet stylish tips will help you enjoy a blissful summer holiday without feeling out of place in this largely traditional country.
1. Cosmopolitan style
On the stunning southern beaches and within the popular holiday resorts, it’s usual for tourists to wear bikinis and swimsuits as normal. But if you venture off the resort or into a coastal town, you should get properly dressed first. Modesty is very much the standard in Turkey, so opt for knee length shorts rather than hot pants, and loose fitting t-shirts instead of tight vest tops. Avoiding skimpy outfits will help you blend in with the locals and enjoy all that Turkey has to offer without attracting unwanted attention. Plus, loose fitting clothes should keep you cooler in the hotter weather.
To explore Bursa or Konya, it’s wise to adopt a sophisticated and elegant dress code. Think full-length jumpsuits, loose trousers and linen shirts, or flowing, knee length dresses with a shawl or cardigan to layer up if needed. Accessorise with jewellery, a snazzy handbag or a stylish belt to elevate your look without showing too much skin.
In the more rural eastern and southeastern towns and cities, such as Gaziantep, keep covered up as much as possible. Locals here wear traditional outfits which cover their arms and legs, so opt for loose trousers and long sleeves so as not to inadvertently offend anyone.
You will likely do a lot of walking whilst exploring Turkey, so be sure to pack well broken in shoes. If you plan on visiting a mosque, make them slip-ons to save holding up a queue – as you’ll have to remove your shoes and put on socks to enter.
2. Invest in a scarf or pashmina
A wonderful part of visiting Turkey is experiencing one of the many mosques, the most famous being the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. However, there are strict rules to enter: you will need to have your shoulders and knees covered, as well as hair for women. Before you head to the mosque, treat yourself to a beautiful pashmina or traditional scarf from one of the many vibrant stalls to be found at the Istanbul markets. You’ll find it a fashionable and versatile accessory for anywhere abroad or at home, so it’s a great investment and authentic memento of your visit.
3. Pack a variety of clothes for different places
One of the most popular places to visit in Turkey is Istanbul, and as such the dress code here is far more liberal than much of the wider country. Plenty of people will be wearing more European-style outfits, and you can wear sleeveless tops and dresses as you please. Be mindful that in some restaurants, hotels or bars there may be an unwritten expectation to cover up a little more though. It’s a good idea to pack layers when travelling to your chosen destinations throughout Turkey, so you can easily strip off or cover up as the atmosphere requires.