What Women Need To Know Before Heading to Jordan

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What to wear…

This is what I observed. For the most part Jordan is socially conservative and Jordanian women typically wear hijab (headscarf) and modest clothing. I found the Jordanian people very accepting and accomodating so I felt free to wear colorful and hip clothing as long as it was respectful. For example, I wore skinny jeans or slacks with a tank top and a cardigan or jacket and that was considered acceptable. Long dresses and skirts are a fun alternative to pants, and I would recommend quarter-sleeve or long-sleeve blouses. In the summer you might try sleeves that are a bit shorter, but I would not recommend wearing anything that reveals your shoulders.

In Abdoun, an upscale residential area of Amman you can wear short sleeves or tank tops to restaurants as long as you bring a jacket or cardigan or even a shawl to cover up with while you are getting there or leaving. It is acceptable to take these things off once you are seated and having dinner. It is always a good idea to dress in layers wherever you are in Jordan because you will find that depending on where you are different things are appropriate and you can adjust your clothing to the setting you are in. Look around at what the women around you are wearing and then you can gauge what is appropriate or not. Not to mention, it is chilly in the evenings and often times you will want that extra cardigan or shawl.

In more conservative parts of the country (like rural areas and downtown Amman) be sure that your legs, arms, and chest are covered for the most part. And finally, if you do not observe hijab, there is absolutely no reason for you to cover your hair unless you want to.

Double standard…

Which brings me to an important point, there is somewhat of a double-standard for western women and their dress. While most Jordanian women would not wear short sleeves or tight, revealing clothing in the street, they almost expect western women to wear these things. However, that does not make it appropriate. Clothing like this invites stares and cat calls and some inappropriate remarks. So, as a western women I would advise Journeywomen to plan on dressing more conservatively than they might at home. But remember to be creative. Jordanian women love fashion so your clothes don’t have to be boring.

Some places to eat…

Wild Jordan Cafe and Gift Shop – Wild Jordan Café is located in the Wild Jordan Nature Center which has a magnificent location overlooking the old city of Amman. All the proceeds from this restaurant and store benefit local charities and Jordan’s handicrafts cooperation. The low fat, healthy food that’s served is amazing and the olive oil soap on sale in their shop makes your skin ‘oh so very soft.’ Address: Jabal Amman First circle, Othman bin Affan Street. Click here for more details.

Blue Fig Cafe — is a delicious upscale cafe in Abdoun, a residential area considered to be the most affluent in the city. It’s great for a break from falafel or shawarma. Website: www.bluefig.com or call 962 6 5928800 for reservations and directions.
Reposted/published from Brianne who is a twenty-something Journeywoman living in Houston, Texas, USA. She travelled to Jordan where she lived and studied in Amman for two months.

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