What Do Women Wear in Turkey? A Turkish Answers


Turkish is a unique country with rooted traditions between European, Asian, and Islamic countries. This cultural difference can create some confusion about what to wear if you are a tourist visiting Turkey. 

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.

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.

In fact, in Turkey, most Islamic dress styles were outlawed until recently. For this reason, veils and black Islamic covers are non-existent among Turkish local people.

Yet, you will see some women with unrevealing and very conservative styles. These people are most probably Middle Eastern tourists coming to explore Turkey like other tourists.

In this guide, as a Turkish local, I will explain all the details about the question ”What Do Women Wear in Turkey?”

What do women dress like in Turkey?

Casual modern-style dresses and clothes are the regular clothes for Turkish Women.  T-shirts, shorts, dresses, and jeans are very common.

Yet, being modest and dressing elegantly as you would do in your home country would also 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 similarly to their Western counterparts.

Turkish women usually love classical designs with a good combination of colors. Transparent clothes and deep cleavage are not common.

Turkey is also a world hub for Fashion. Turkey offers many unique, luxury, budget, modern, and hijab-style fashion brands. You can check the below guides to learn more about Turkish fashion.

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, the Turkish hijab style does not cover the face partially or fully.

You will occasionally see more conservative hijab styles in Turkey, but they are most probably tourists visiting Turkey.

Turkish Traditional Clothing From My Wedding Ceremony

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.

Because I was planning to write this blog, I checked my surroundings, simply put, nobody cared.

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.

For Turkish people living in cities, Shalwar is a thing of the past, yet it can be a stylish thing to try in your travels in Turkey. Shalwar is a comfortable traditional trousers, and my 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 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 of Turkey. The city is full of bureaucrats 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.

Suggested Reading: Fashion in Istanbul – Places to Shop, Brands, Designers, and more

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 hardly be noticed.

You can spend all your holiday with your swimsuit and your pareo.

Nightlife

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 in longer dresses or jeans. For your top, 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.

In most cases, this is not a bad thing. Turkish people are generally hospitable.

Mosques

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 strictly observed religious rule. A scarf wrapped around your head will fulfill basic hijab rules to enter a mosque.

Turkish women 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.

Restaurants

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. For most restaurants, jeans, a t-shirt, or a regular shirt are adequate. 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, 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.

Efe Genit

I am a father, a passionate traveler, and a Turkish lawyer. You can enjoy my guides and tips about Turkey that only Turkish locals would know.

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