Dress Code for Men & Women in Central Asia

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seysearles
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Dress Code for Men & Women in Central Asia

Postby seysearles » Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:49 am

I did a quick search and couldn't find a thread specifically addressing this topic.

Could anyone give a guideline of what clothing is appropriate in the various Central Asian countries? We will be visiting Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan.

My girlfriend and I will be there in the hottest period (July/August) of the year and our natural tendencies would be to wear something as light as possible. So that would be shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops in my case and shorts, a strapless top and sandals in hers. Is that attire going to be considered appropriate in the aforementioned countries though? I presume that if we enter mosques or public buildings we may be asked to cover up a bit, but in terms of being in general public and not offending or standing out like sore thumbs how should we be modifying how we dress?

Thanks for the feedback!
Last edited by seysearles on Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dress Code for Men & Women in Central Asia

Postby steven » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:52 am

In the cities of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, girls dress in skimpy outfits. In the rest of the region, this is frowned upon. Men wear t-shirts but shorts are already daring in the more conservative places.

As a tourist, of course, you can do whatever you want, and many tourists who are less culturally aware than you don't really care what the locals think. As long as you don't mind the disapproving stares from grandmas and the horny eyes from men (difficult to avoid however you dress as a woman), you can dress however you like.

Covering up is tradition. It is also common sense, though. A light shirt, skirt or breezy yoga pants protect your skin from the fierce sun and mean you have to put on less sun screen.

Oh yea, flip flops are fine. In Central Asia, though, people wear socks in their sandals. Keeps your feet clean and protects them from sunburn.
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Re: Dress Code for Men & Women in Central Asia

Postby seysearles » Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:48 am

steven wrote:In the cities of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, girls dress in skimpy outfits. In the rest of the region, this is frowned upon. Men wear t-shirts but shorts are already daring in the more conservative places.

As a tourist, of course, you can do whatever you want, and many tourists who are less culturally aware than you don't really care what the locals think. As long as you don't mind the disapproving stares from grandmas and the horny eyes from men (difficult to avoid however you dress as a woman), you can dress however you like.

Covering up is tradition. It is also common sense, though. A light shirt, skirt or breezy yoga pants protect your skin from the fierce sun and mean you have to put on less sun screen.

Oh yea, flip flops are fine. In Central Asia, though, people wear socks in their sandals. Keeps your feet clean and protects them from sunburn.


Thanks Steven, how about for a woman? Are bare shoulders/legs frowned upon or even prohibited anywhere? We were specifically concerned about Turkmenistan actually as it has a reputation for being the most strict but thought that perhaps Uzbekistan may also require some consideration. Basically we would like to keep to a minimum of offense whilst staying relatively comfortable.
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Re: Dress Code for Men & Women in Central Asia

Postby steven » Tue Jun 27, 2017 4:32 am

Hi, so I was mostly writing for women. In the cities (I forgot to mention Tashkent, lots of Russians there ), women dress in Russian style. Dushanbe is very village-y, Ashgabat is half-half, but women have to wear their long-dress uniform a lot (which is very elegant).

So women can dress as they want as a tourist, but if you do not want to be stared at or frowned upon, it is better to not show too much skin outside of the big cities. Long dress and long-sleeved shirt are most comfortable.

Nothing is forbidden, though, it is not Iran, you can do as you please. But you might not want to offend locals or give them the wrong impression.
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Re: Dress Code for Men & Women in Central Asia

Postby seysearles » Tue Jun 27, 2017 5:09 am

steven wrote:Hi, so I was mostly writing for women. In the cities (I forgot to mention Tashkent, lots of Russians there ), women dress in Russian style. Dushanbe is very village-y, Ashgabat is half-half, but women have to wear their long-dress uniform a lot (which is very elegant).

So women can dress as they want as a tourist, but if you do not want to be stared at or frowned upon, it is better to not show too much skin outside of the big cities. Long dress and long-sleeved shirt are most comfortable.

Nothing is forbidden, though, it is not Iran, you can do as you please. But you might not want to offend locals or give them the wrong impression.


Great, thanks Steven. This is very helpful.
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Re: Dress Code for Men & Women in Central Asia

Postby Lovetheworld » Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:42 am

Less skin is better, also against the sun. So exposed shoulders even without straps, that would be offending in a lot of places. And you would need to cover up much more when entering a mosque.
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Re: Dress Code for Men & Women in Central Asia

Postby charles.robert » Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:59 pm

Maybe it is just slightly off but how to manage respectfully when it is summer in Uzbekistan and you have a backpack to trek in Kyrghizistan where weather can also be a challenge?
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Re: Dress Code for Men & Women in Central Asia

Postby steven » Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:36 am

Pack some clothes for warm weather and some clothes for cool weather - simple as that!
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