While walking around Turkey today, you will see women dressed in different styles. Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country and to some extent, the influence of Islam on some women’s clothing can be seen.
Yet, Turkey has a much more modern style of dressing compared to other Islamic countries. In fact, most Islamic dress styles were outlawed until recently.
As a general rule, women in Turkey wear the same clothes similar to European women but a little on the modest side.
Even Turkish religious women do not follow a strict dress code like in most Islamic countries. They wear loose clothing and wear headscarves while being stylish and colorful.
Veils and black Islamic covers are non-existent among Turkish local people. Most of the women with unrevealing and very conservative styles are Middle Eastern tourists coming to explore like other tourists.
Turkish is a unique country with rooted traditions between Europe, Asia, and Islamic countries. This cultural difference can create some confusion about what to wear if you are a tourist visiting Turkey.
In this guide, as a Turkish local, I will explain all the details about the question ”What Does Women Wear in Turkey?”
What do women dress like in Turkey?
Women in Turkey prefer casual modern-style dresses and clothes are the norms in Turkey. T-shirts, shorts, dresses, and jeans are common.
Being modest, and dressing elegantly as you would do in your home country would be rewarding in Turkey.
While Turkish women prefer modern and comfortable clothes, being stylish is also important for Turkish women.
Turkish people also attach great importance to appearance and tend to treat elegantly dressed women more formally and respectfully.
Suggested Reading: Turkish Women – How and Why They Are Different?
Modern Turkish Clothing Style
In Turkey, secular and modern Turkish women dress similar to their Western counterparts. Yet, as a culture dressing elegantly.
Turkish women love classical designs with a good combination of colors. Transparent clothes and deep cleavage are not common.
Turkish Modern Fashion is one of the power houses in the world. Turkey offers many unique, luxury, budget, modern and hijab style fashion brands. You can check my guide 23 Turkish Women’s Fashion Brands That Fit Every Lifestyle to learn more.
Turkish Hijab Style
Turkish hijab style (tesettür) is loose clothing not revealing the skin until the ankles and wrists. Hair and neck are covered by a scarf and there is no limit on how stylish and colorful you can be.
Even in conservative women’s clothes, you can see the style and feminism of Turkish women.
Turkish people do not adopt the black veil or more conservative Islamic hijab styles. Additionally, in the Turkish hijab style, the face is not covered partially or fully.
You will occasionally see more conservative hijab styles in Turkey, but they are most probably tourists visiting Turkey.
Turkish Traditional Clothing
Every region in Turkey has its own traditional clothing. This traditional clothing style reflects Turkish cultural diversity and can even change from city to city.
Yet, today, most Turkish people do not wear traditional costumes.
You can see people wearing traditional clothes only in rural areas, towns, and villages. Even in those places, young Turkish people overwhelmingly abandoned wearing traditional clothes and prefer jeans and shirts.
The other place you will see Turkish traditional clothes is folk dances and Turkish weddings.
As you can see in the picture above, the last time my wife and I wore traditional Aegean Turkish clothes was at our wedding ceremony with an Aegean folk dance group.
Check out my guide on 16 Famous Turkish Fashion Designers to learn more about Turkish Fashion.
What Should You Wear or Not Wear in Turkey?
Legally, women are free to wear whatever they want in Turkey.
I would always suggest wearing comfortable, modest, and elegant clothes in Turkey.
Revealing clothes or other kinds such as miniskirts, leggings, or sexy outfits are also safe to wear in Turkey. Especially in coastal areas, you will be hardly noticed.
I am living in the semi-conservative city of Manisa. Today, I saw a lady with a very mini skirt and a lady with shorts barely covering her bottom during Ramadan.
Yet, wearing such clothing out of context (like in rural areas, or conservative places) may draw unwanted flirts, eyes, or Turkish “mamacita” style words.
Another thing that you may try may be the Turkish bloomers which are very loose leggings. These are called Şalvar [Shalwar].
Shalwar is not common among Turkish people but is still worn by Turkish villagers in remote areas. . Yet, it is a thing of the past, they can be a stylish thing to try in your travels in Turkey. Shalwars are comfortable and many international friends love them.
Click to read 17 Famous Turkish Fashion Brands That You Can Shop Online.
Dress Codes in Turkey
As a general rule, trendy casual and modern styles will let you roam Turkey freely without any unwanted attention.
Trousers, tracksuits, jeans, and sweaters are common outfits in winter, and while in summer jeans, shirts or t-shirts will be enough.
Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara and Western Cities
Izmir, Istanbul, Ankara, and Western cities have similar dress codes to European cities.
Izmir’s girls are famous for their beauty and you will see many trendy girls in mini skirts. Ankara is the administrative center and has no sea, for this reason, you will witness a more formal casual style.
Istanbul is between Ankara and Izmir and the dressing style will change from district to district.
For example, in Sultanahmet, you will see all styles of clothing with tourists visiting all over the world. Yet, the neighboring district Fatih has a local population wearing mostly hijabi and conservative styles.
Bebek or Bagdat Street districts are full of women with elegant styles like Izmir or in Mecidiyekoy you will see stylish business women and men dressed in suits or other types of formal business clothing.
Seaside and Tourist Areas
Simply put, the dress code is free Friday.
In coastal or touristy areas, other than unique luxury places, there is no dress code. You can wear anything and you will be hardly noticed.
You can spend all your holiday with your swimsuit and your pareo.
When it comes to clothing in nightlife, stylish dresses and shimmering outfits are common. Especially in Istanbul, Izmir, or coastal areas, nightlife can really be experienced at its peak.
Inner Anatolia and Conservative Places
Inner Anatolia has a more conservative style. Cappadocia and other major tourist destinations are exceptions.
Dress modestly, longer dresses or jeans with a shirt or a blouse can be deemed okay in those areas. A modest dressing will be seen as a sign of respect and will make it easier to connect with local people.
Most Turkish people live in cities. For example, 1 in every 3 people in Turkey lives in Istanbul.
Inner Anatolia has less population density and people have a tendency to live in conservative societies where outside influence is limited.
In these areas, people mostly are not accustomed to foreigners as in big cities. For this reason, bear in mind that whatever you dress, you may draw attention because people may think you are strange.
Turkish people are generally hospitable, for this reason, in most cases, this is not a bad thing.
In most places, Turkish people are used to tourists entering mosques and are happy to let you explore their faith.
Women wearing a scarf is seen as a sign of respect rather than a religious rule. A scarf wrapped around your head will fulfill basic hijab rules to enter a mosque.
Turkish people do not close their faces in their hijab style.
Most mosques allow regular tourist visitors to borrow scarves free of charge. However, if you are planning to do a lot of religious and cultural exploration in Turkey, I recommend carrying a scarf with you.
At regular restaurants, the dress code is more formal, and smart casual is the norm.
Men and women are both expected to dress in more casual clothes. Jeans, a t-shirt, or a regular shirt are adequate for most restaurants, nothing fancy like suits or ties are required.
The dress code really depends on where you are dining. Around Sultanahmet or in a beach town where all customers are tourists and no one cares what you wear.
Yet, in more luxury restaurants like a trendy fish restaurant in Bebek Istanbul where you will usually not see many tourists, both men and women are expected to wear casual clothes and dress fashionably.
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