Women's attire for Blue Mosque, other mosques

I've read conflicting info on what women can/cannot wear. Would like to hear from someone that has recently been there and what is now acceptable. I know a scarf----but some say a long skirt, long pants, capris (below the knees), long sleeves or short sleeves? (not sleeveless I know). I would appreciate any help
Thank you

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1376 posts

As people enter the Blue Mosque there are several women checking to see if the tourists are properly attired. They have a pile of shawl/skirt cloths and will give you one it they think you need it. It looked like short sleeves, knee length for men and women. We noted that some tourists from Asia oftentimes took the clothes off anfter entering the mosque.

Posted by Paula
Arlington, TX, USA
278 posts

Respectful attire..shoulders (upper arms) covered. Slacks or skirt covering
the knees. And of course, a scarf for your head.

Posted by Lesley
Sidney, BC, Canada
335 posts

It's been a while since I was in the Blue Mosque but definitely modest clothes. I had a scarf with me but did not need to wear it. Of course you will remove your shoes before entering the mosque. You might want to have a plastic bag with you to carry your shoes; they may offer you one on the way in.

Posted by Susan
Atlanta, Ga, USA
1463 posts

We were in Istanbul in May and visited several Mosques. I wore a head scarf but many women in the Blue Mosque did not-small bags are provided for shoes( I wore socks). The Suleyman Mosque(my favorite) provided loaner scarfs if you did not have one. The clothing probably will not be an issue unless you wear sleeveless or short skirt-no shorts, of course. The carpets in the Mosques are gorgeous. I did not know what to expect before the trip and imagined they used prayer rugs over marble floors. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by mary
river falls, wi, usa
5 posts

May I offer you a thought on this as a fellow American? I traveled in Turkey last summer and visited several mosques (of course!) At some mosques I was told knees covered, head covered, and shoulders and arms covered to the elbow. At the Blue Mosque, when I pulled my scarf out of my bag and started to cover my head and shoulders, I was told by my Turkish guide "oh, that's OK, you don't need to do that." I replied that I didn't mind and went ahead. Because something is allowed or other Western tourists are doing it, may I suggest to you (as a fellow American) that we aim a little higher? Consider showing an extra measure of respect and sensitivity -- whether it's "required" or not -- and cover your head, etc. And -- have a great trip! Turkey is a delight, go and enjoy!

Posted by Carol
Martinez, CA, USA
522 posts

Mary - that was our experience last year, too. Being respectful isn't hard (carry a scarf and a sweater, and I always wore long pants) and it can bring some great interactions with the locals. Turkey is great - the food, the sights, the people. Fredrica - have a great time!

Posted by James
1801 posts

Mary, you hit the nail on the head! Exactly. And the same reasoning applies to visiting a working church in Paris, or a Synagogue in Prague, or a nice restaurant in London, or even the Opera in Budapest. Let them figure out that you are a tourist by the detail of your style, not the lack of it.

Posted by Maggie
Boscombe, Dorset, UK
960 posts

I went to Turkey twice last year- I'd suggest take a favourite scarf for your head and cover the tops of your arms. Most days, whether visiting mosques or not, I wore capris and long tops- because that's what made me feel comfortable. Istanbul is a very modern city.
There were tourists in the mosques wearing (IMO) really unsuitable clothing- tank tops and short shorts- they were offered scarves to cover up.

Posted by Siranna
Portland, OR, USA
26 posts

Cover tattoos as well. I was wearing respectful attire include covering the hair, however, my skirt did not cover my leg art. They gave me a long blanket type thing to keep my legs covered because of the tattoo.

Posted by Julie
SF Bay Area, CA, USA
443 posts

Fredrica - I was just as the Blue Mosque a couple of weeks ago and then again a couple of days ago... It just depends on what the people at the front door are requiring. Sometimes they let people in with bare shoulders, knees and no headcover for women while at other times they require everyone to cover up. Just a few days ago I was asked to put on my scarf but a friend entered a few minutes later and was told it wasn't necessary. An Istanbul local who goes to the mosque with visiting friends quite often said in the warm month's he's asked to cover his knees about 50% of the time when wearing shorts... It seems at the Mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent, they are more consistent as I have seen people asked to cover their knees, shoulders and women's heads every time I have visited. I usually keep a scarf with me as I'm hesitant about using one of their loaners on my head. As for knees and shoulders, they also have wraps that can be used if needed.

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
214 posts

Last summer, when in Europe, I was quite shocked to see a total breakdown in dress requirements for large cathedrals. I am not religious, but am respectful. Women were wearing hot pants, very short skirts. It was quite annoying. A cathedral should not have the same dress code as a brothel.