How to Keep Your Professional Cool in Dubai

Newsflash! I came to the UAE to work and earn money.

That means getting up and going even when the sun is hot enough to fry an egg on the pavement. Heading into the 98% humidity and feeling your underboobs becoming a morass of sweat. Feeling your skilfully applied cat eye dissolve into black mush in the corners of your eyes. Praying that the gathering sweat under your arms is not already staining your silk blouse. Thanking white Jeebus that your car has a remote start switch (AKA hubby!)for the AC so that it’s already blissfully cool by the time you blindly collapse into it. 

This is my daily trip from my front door, 200 meters from the car. And this is not an anomaly. Noooo….this happens for 9/12 months a year!

So what’s a girl to do when she can’t go bare legged, bare armed or thin and possibly see through to very conservative workplaces in a still very conservative UAE?

Learn the rules and beat them at it, of course.

Giving up is not an option.

Well maybe it is. I know some women, expat and local, who swan around in beautiful abayas with swimwear underneath. Sometimes less…😉

But, if like me you want to retain your identity and be slaying daily, read on sister!

Skirts and dresses

If you’re working in a creative field in Dubai you may get away with a knee length skirt, but in many other professions and Emirates that will get you sent to HR.

If you choose to wear slightly shorter skirts, do stock up on leggings. Yes, the ones you would wear to the gym. Bare legs are frowned upon. Stockings or pantihose are a good option but absolutely suck in the heat of the day. During winter months opaque patterned tights make a nice option.

Midi and maxi skirts are your best bet. It’s  fortunate that they’re in style now, so you really are spoilt for choice.

I buy sleeveless dresses because I pop a jacket or light cardi over it. Also I keep a pashmina or shawl in my office for frigid central ACs.

Trousers and pants

If you’re wearing a hip length or longer top any pants will do. However, if like me you like your tops tucked in or at hip length, then wide leg tailored trousers are your best bet.

Cropped pants are fine as long as they are of substantial material. For heaven’s sake stay away from linen, unless you WANT to look like you dragged your pants out of the laundry basket and put it on unironed!

Blouses and tops

I buy sleeveless everything because I wear jackets or blazers with absolutely everything. Trust me, a blouse with a sleeve under a jacket will have you itching, tugging and looking like a hot mess in minutes!

So wear a sleeveless blouse with a modest neckline under your jacket. That way you’re covered for the office AC, for the conservative dress codes of the UAE and looking and feeling flawless!

For cooler winter months I get lightweight jersey or sweater material with a bracelet sleeves – a little extra warmth but no added bulk.

Hair and makeup

Hair can get very icky very quickly. You’ll have flyways, sticky, sweaty strands or increased oil production to look forward to.

Long hair? Keep it tied up in a chic chignon or bun.

Short hair? You’re in good company.

My advice? Keep it in a manageable style that doesn’t require much maintenance. I love my pixie cut for it’s sheer versatility. I’ve had longer hair before but what’s the use if it’s always tied up in a ponytail?

Makeup ends up on a tissue or baby wipe or just melting all over your collar if you’re not wearing a GREAT primer.

My secret? Maalox. Yes the stomach stuff. It locks that makeup in like a MF! A thin layer after your moisturizer and sunscreen and you’re good for whatever the day may bring.

For the rest of it, keep your makeup simple.

My daily routine is like this: Oil of Olay day cream, Boots sunscreen, Maalox, Makeup Forever foundation, Almay powder, NYX gold/ bronze eyeshadow on the lid, Maybelline gel eyeliner, Sephora dark brown mascara and a peach/ coral lip stain/gloss.  No contouring, blush, etc. Your cheeks will be plenty flushed the minute you step outside.

I wear only Samoan Sand by OPI when my nails are longer, and Big Apple Red also by OPI for shorter nails. Perfume is always Chanel Chance EDP or Burberry Brit EDP, because EDT disappears the minute you step outside.

Shoes and sandals

Unless you like having sweaty feet slip sliding around in heels I suggest you keep your feet powdered.

My secret? Deodorant spray. Yes, the stuff you’re supposed to use under your arms. It works like nothing else to keep your feet dry, and smelling great!

Very high heels in very high temperatures are inviting varicose veins and veiny feet later.

A mid heel with a closed toe is advisable in a professional conservative setting like the UAE. Wedges are great with skirts and trousers, and flats with a slight heel are great with everything! I love the block heel trend happening now for it’s very wearability.

If you’re on your feet all day, get the Naturaliser, Geox or Hush Puppies office appropriate ranges. You’ll thank me one day.

Ready to head over to the UAE? Keep these in mind and you’ll be your awesome, phly self in no time!

Any questions? Hit me up in the comments or drop me an email. 

Until next I blog, 



8 thoughts on “How to Keep Your Professional Cool in Dubai

    1. Every time I come home to SA I’m like “I’m going to wear all the sleeveless, bare legged things I can!” 10 minutes on the ground and I’m like ” Sjoe, haraam they’re all half naked!” I may have been here too long! 😂


  1. You really suit the pixie hairstyle, loving the nail polish (OPI my fave) and red lipstick too. Very chic. We are planning a visit to Dubai in November so I hope its a bit cooler that time of year. I like the styles shown here, I prefer the more classy look.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I spend most of my time in casual clothes & trainers. I’m currently doing a lot of walking & running. A lot more walking than running. All those classy outfits would be wasted on me. But I do like to shop in the sales.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Those outfits were for those of us who work in the ME. Don’t worry, you’ll fit in with all the other tourists in Dubai. Just don’t forget your sun hat. They’re remarkably hard to find here.🤔

        Liked by 1 person

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