What you wear is how you express yourself. Fashion is a form of expression. But there are many places around the world where you have to be mindful of what you wear and dress within strict codes of conduct. From sandals and heels to trousers and skirts, many countries don’t allow you to wear certain items and the penalty for doing so can be enormous, with some even landing you up in jail. Here are some of the most unusual fashion rules around the world.
Skip the heels in Greece
Greek authorities introduced a new law back in 2009 that stated that heels are banned in most ancient and historical sites. This law came into effect after authorities realized that heeled shoes were tearing and damaging these sites that were already in a vulnerable condition because they were so old. Another rule you should follow while visiting ancient Greek sites is to not take any food or drink (including chewing gum) inside the premises.
Women can’t wear pants in Sudan and North Korea
In both Sudan and North Korea, women wearing slacks or trousers is taken as a severe public order offence. In Sudan, dozens of women are arrested every year for wearing pants and ‘causing annoyance to public feelings’. They also have to cover their hair before they leave their house to avoid scrutiny from the fashion police of the country. North Korea is also very strict when it comes to clothing. Apparently, its inhabitants can’t wear anything that could make them look ‘foreign’ or different from everyone else around them.
Dress your best to shop at Harrods in London
Harrods is a high-end department store in London, UK, that is owned by the state of Qatar through the Qatar Investment Authority – the country’s sovereign wealth fund. Although the store has revoked its dress code officially, it subtly still encourages its customers to dress classy while visiting the store. There have been cases where people haven’t been allowed to enter the store because their clothes were too revealing or because they were wearing clothing items that had offensive writing or pictures on them.
Cross-dressing and skin baring clothes are a no-no in Saudi Arabia
Any form of skin barring is prohibited in Saudi Arabia. This means you shouldn’t pack your crop tops, shorts, tight fitting clothes and any clothing item that ends above your ankles. Women’s hair should also be hidden beneath a headscarf or a hijab. Even foreigners aren’t allowed to overlook these laws. Women are required to wear an abaya – a long loose cloak that is usually black – over their clothing to hide their body shape and their regular clothes. Both men and women will also be arrested if they are caught cross-dressing.
Leave the bikini for the beach in these places
A lot of countries around the world including Spain, Croatia, Maldives and Turkey do not allow people to wear swimwear in areas other than beaches and pools. You will be charged with heavy fines if you are found wearing swimming shorts or a bikini in the streets or public areas (other than beaches and pools) in Barcelona (Spain), Maldives, Majorca, Turkey, and Hvar in Croatia. Another rule related to swimwear is the ban of loose fitting swimming bottoms for men in France. Many pools won’t allow men to swim if they aren’t wearing tight fitting swimming trunks.
Don’t wear sandals if you’re driving in Spain
You could be fined up to 200 euros for wearing the wrong shoes while driving in Spain. Spanish authorities argue that wearing footwear similar to sandals could make it difficult for the driver to fully control the vehicle they are driving. This is only one of the many rules people have to follow while driving in France. You could also get a traffic ticket for driving without wearing a shirt or for touching up your makeup during a traffic jam.
Niqabs or burqas are banned in France
France introduced a new law in 2010 that states that face-covering headgear and veils, and full body covering clothing are banned in public areas in the country. This includes prohibition on masks, helmets, balaclavas, niqabs, burqas, full body costumes and Zentais. Although scarves and headwear that don’t conceal the face of the wearer is allowed, anything that covers your face is a no-no. Other places where burqas and niqabs are banned are Belgium, Netherlands, Chad, Cameroon, Niger, Congo-Brazzaville, Tessin in Switzerland, Catalonia in Spain, and some parts of Italy.
Don’t wear camouflage clothing while visiting Caribbean countries
A lot of countries in the Caribbean including Barbados, Jamaica, Grenada, Dominica, St. Lucia and St. Vincent have banned anyone other than their military personnel from wearing camouflage clothing. You could be jailed or fined heavily if you are seen wearing camouflage clothes there. Even items like bags, hats, shoes and other items with this print are banned.