Istanbul is a cosmopolitan city known for its stunning architecture, vibrant markets, diverse cuisine, and iconic landmarks. Many people in Istanbul adopt a diverse range of clothing styles, including both traditional and contemporary fashion.
Istanbul embraces modernity and, at the same time, retains its unique cultural identity and historical charm, making it a fascinating blend of the old and the new. Religious sites request modest and conservative clothing. Otherwhere you can wear ordinary casual garments.
Nevertheless, keep in mind that conservative traditions still influence some parts of Istanbul, like the southern parts. Appreciating and celebrating cultural diversity while dressing with respect helps promote understanding and harmony.
Follow our best tips to dress beautifully and comfortably while enjoying your visit to Istanbul.
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1. Maxi dress
Wearing a maxi dress in Istanbul is a comfortable and stylish choice, especially during the warm summer months. Choose a short or long sleeve maxi dress. Avoid sleeveless and open-back maxi dresses if you plan to visit religious sites, or bring something to cover your shoulders.
Pair your maxi dress with a pair of sandals during the summer or ankle boots during the cold months.
Here is our selection of the best affordable maxi dresses made in the USA under high social and environmental standards.
2. Harem pants
Harem pants are very comfortable and versatile. You can see both locals and visitors in Istanbul wear as part of modern and fashionable outfits.
Choose harem pants that are not excessively revealing and pair them with a modest top or blouse.
Discover our selection of the best bohemian harem pants that are super comfortable, affordable, and made from sustainable fabrics.
3. Wear a jumpsuit
Jumpsuits are highly versatile and very easy to wear. They allow you to move freely and make you feel fresh during the summer, especially if you choose a cotton or linen ethereal jumpsuit.
Pair your favorite jumpsuit with sandals or sneakers, and style it with a piece of delicate jewelry. You can layer it up with a denim jacket or a shawl.
Check our list of the best affordable and sustainable jumpsuits made under high social and environmental standards.
4. Dress like a local with a kaftan
Wearing a kaftan dress is a great outfit idea while visiting Istanbul. A kaftan is a loose, flowing garment commonly associated with traditional clothing in Turkey.
Today, kaftans have gained global popularity and have been incorporated into modern fashion trends. Many designers have adapted and modernized the traditional kaftan style, offering a wide range of designs to suit different tastes and preferences.
You can style a kaftan dress by adding a belt around the waist to give shape to the loose silhouette of the kaftan. Check our list of versatile and durable belts made with natural, organic, or recycled materials here.
5. Feel comfortable in leggings
Leggings are comfortable and versatile, making them popular among travelers. Wearing leggings while exploring Istanbul will give you extra comfort while still being stylish.
Wear leggings with a simple t-shirt or a tank top for an effortless sports look.
Pair leggings with blouses or button-down shirts for a more polished and dressier look. Choose a blouse with cute details like ruffles, lace, or a statement collar to elevate the outfit. You can tuck in the shirt or leave it untucked for different styles.
Buy affordable and sustainable yoga and gym leggings here.
6. Midi skirt
Achieve a flawless and stylish look by wearing a midi skirt in Istanbul. It is a popular choice among both locals and visitors.
Pair a midi skirt with a fitted top, and you will instantly look trendy and modern. This combination will create a fashionable contrast between the voluminous skirt and the fitted top.
You can layer your midi skirt with a lightweight cardigan, a scarf, or a denim jacket for cooler evenings or air-conditioned spaces.
Discover our selection of the best midi skirts for women made from sustainable and eco-friendly materials.
7. Linen clothes
Linen garments such as dresses, shirts, trousers, or skirts are comfortable and help keep you cool, especially during the hot summer months in Istanbul.
Linen allows for breathability and helps you stay cool while exploring the city. Just ensure that your linen outfits are respectful, modest, and appropriate for the specific settings you'll be visiting.
Learn more about the advantages of linen clothes here.
8. Skinny jeans and a shirt
Skinny jeans and a shirt give a classic casual and polished look. You cannot go wrong with it. Wear the shirt tucked into the jeans or tie the ends in a knot in the front. Tied-front shirt will give a personalized and chic touch to your look.
Choose a handbag that complements your jeans and shirt outfit. Complete the look with a statement necklace or tie a colorful or patterned scarf around your neck for a pop of color and added visual interest.
If you are interested in eco-friendly and organic hemp clothing, check our list of the best hemp shirts, tops, and t-shirts here.
9. Wear palazzo pants
Palazzo pants are a great garment to wear in Istanbul. Palazzo pants are loose, flowing, comfortable to wear, and very easy to style.
Pair them with a modest blouse or a tucked-in top. If you need an extra layer, add a blazer to get a smart and stylish ensemble. Experiment with different patterns, colors, or textures to express your style.
Check out our selection of the best sustainable wide-leg pants and jeans made under high standards.
10. Denim shorts? Yes, you can wear them
Yes, you can wear shorts in Istanbul. Istanbul welcomes different fashion styles, so wearing shorts is ordinary in the hot weather for both locals and tourists.
We recommend you wear mid-thigh shorts that cover your buttocks and thighs without getting into long Bermuda shorts. Match the shorts with a T-shirt or a blouse. You can wear a long cardigan or a light jacket if you need an extra layer.
Be mindful of the specific cultural norms and customs of the places you plan to visit and dress respectfully.
Here is our selection of the best denim shorts for women and men.
11. Ethnic shirt for an authentic look
Express your personality and charisma by wearing an ethnic shirt. Pair the ethnic shirt with other pieces that create a balanced and stylish outfit. You can wear it with jeans, trousers, or a skirt that complements the colors and style of the shirt.
Observe the locals and how they dress to get valuable insights into cultural norms and expectations. You will merge effortlessly with the locals if you wear similar ethnic shirts.
Istanbul is surrounded by the sea from the north and south so there are many beaches to enjoy! So, if you are visiting Istanbul during the summer, you will surely need a swimsuit.
Many beaches are just 30-40 km from the city center. There you can have a pleasant time away from the city noise. Altinkum Beach, Florya Beach, or Heybeliada beaches, reachable by public transport, offer plenty of possibilities for sunbathing and swimming close to Istanbul.
Wear a summer dress or a large shawl that you can wrap around your body if you plan to eat at one of the many restaurants on the beach.
Discover the best affordable and sustainable bikinis made under high standards here.
13. Wear a trench coat
Istanbul's weather can vary, especially in the interim seasons. A trench coat offers lightweight protection against light rain and wind without being too heavy or bulky. It provides enough coverage to keep you comfortable in mild weather conditions.
Trench coats have a classic and timeless style that never goes out of fashion. You can wear a trench coat in various outfit combinations to achieve a sophisticated and elegant touch.
Check out our selection of the best affordable and sustainable trench coats here.
Bringing a foulard is always a good idea when visiting historical and religious sites in Istanbul. While visiting a mosque in Istanbul, women must cover their heads, shoulders, legs, and knees. If you are wearing a blouse with deep cleavage, you will be asked to cover it too.
A large cotton or satin foulard will be very practical in such situations, so pack one for your trip to Istanbul.
If you a looking for a winter scarf, take a look at these eco-friendly and cruelty-free designer scarves.
15. Pack comfortable shoes
Comfortable shoes are a must when exploring the city. Istanbul is a city with various historical sites, bustling markets, and hilly areas, so it's best to prioritize comfort and practicality.
Opt for comfortable walking shoes, such as sneakers, sandals, slip-on shoes, or comfortable boots, if you visit the city in mild temperatures.
Buy sustainable, vegan and vegetable-tanned shoes from our list of the 30 best vegan and ethical shoe companies.
Remember, the most important is to wear what makes you feel happy and confident. However, by understanding the culture and wearing more conservative clothes, you will be showing respect for their traditions and country. You will easily connect with the locals and make new friendships.
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