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What To Wear In The Maldives: Outfit Ideas & Packing List

It can be difficult to know what to pack for the Maldives, as your resort may have a formal dress code and the local islands require more conservative clothing.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit the Maldives a couple of times, so thought it might be helpful to share some tips on what to wear in the Maldives, including my packing list for our Maldives honeymoon.

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What To Wear In The Maldives

In Transit

What to wear in the Maldives: Honeymoon packing list

Pack a light shawl or scarf in your hand luggage for transferring to island resorts in the Maldives

The Maldives is made up of 1200 islands, over 100 of which are dedicated tourist resorts. Depending on your resort’s distance from Male International Airport, you will be transferring by speedboat or seaplane.

I prefer to travel in smart but loose layers – see my favourite outfits for flying – and when travelling to the Maldives I recommend you bring a light scarf or travel shawl in your hand luggage so you can wrap up on the boat, which can get breezy.

If travelling by seaplane, make a note of the luggage allowance before packing too many items, as they can be more restrictive than standard airline allowances.

See also: Hand luggage essentials for long-haul flights

In Resort

If you’re staying at a high-end resort, like we did for our honeymoon, the dress code for both day and evening will likely be beach-formal. By that, I mean I saw many female guests wearing maxi dresses and beaded kaftans as opposed to mini skirts and denim shorts. (I’m not saying you can’t wear these items – just that in the resorts I stayed in most guests took a more formal approach. If you have a private villa you don’t plan on leaving much, you can wear whatever you please!)

If you’re looking to wear something a little special on your honeymoon then check out Australian designer, Camilla’s, silk kaftans in vibrant prints and versatile styles that are inspired by her travels.

Wearing Camilla Kaftan in Greece

Wearing one of my favourite Camilla kaftans in Greece

I think all of her clothing range, which includes swimwear, jumpsuits and capes, are perfect for floating around the Maldives and will make you look fabulous by day or night. Her items are definitely an investment piece, but the kaftans I’ve purchased have been a worthwhile investment as I’ve worn them time and time again on different holidays.

These are a few of my favourite items from her current collections.

If you’re on your honeymoon you can totally milk it like I did and indulge in some white, lacy dresses so everyone knows it!

Wearing white in case you didn’t know I was a newlywed!

Here are a few more white dresses that are perfect to wear on honeymoon in the Maldives..

Dress code for men

For the men, the dress code for restaurants will vary from resort to resort but ours stated no swimwear or sportswear (for either sex) and specifically no sleeveless shirts for gentlemen.

Of an evening, men are recommended to wear smart casual clothes – so make sure your Maldives packing list includes shirts with sleeves and collars, chinos or tailored trousers, and tailored shorts to the knee.

Shoes are optional

Even though our hotel was 5-star they had an interesting approach to footwear – shoes were completely optional! After getting my kitten-heeled wedding shoes stuck between the wooden boardwalk one evening I gladly flung them off.

We spent most dinners on the beach with our toes buried in the sand, so rather than going fully barefoot I wore some Barefoot Sandals. I purchased the pair below for our beach wedding in Thailand, so was glad to have the opportunity to wear them again on honeymoon in the Maldives.

What to wear in the Maldives: Honeymoon packing list

My favourite footwear for the Maldives – Barefoot Sandals!

Barefoot sandals are not only practical and comfy (no blisters!) but they sparkle and tinkle when you wear them and make you feel like an Arabian princess. I found mine on Instagram but you can also find some available on amazon here.

On The Local Islands

What to wear in the Maldives: Honeymoon packing list

Visiting the local islands in the Maldives in a long sleeve linen dress by Sassind

The Maldives is a Muslim country so you are advised to wear conservative clothing when visiting the local islands. If you plan to visit a mosque or religious site, in particular, you must wear clothes that cover your knees and shoulders, and women may be required to cover their heads so keep a scarf handy too.

I loved the island visit I did on my second trip to the Maldives and felt more comfortable (and respectful) wearing a long-sleeve linen dress, which came to my knees.

What to wear in the Maldives: Honeymoon packing list

Heading to Male in comfy basics and a colourful kimono

If you don’t have any dresses with sleeves then packing a kimono is a great way to cover up and still be comfortable in the heat.

For Aussie readers, I recommend you check out Sportsgirl for maxi dresses, long silky skirts and colourful kimonos at decent prices.

I’d also recommend wearing quite sturdy shoes as you may be climbing in and out of boats and walking on dusty roads.

In The Water

What to wear in the Maldives: Honeymoon packing list

We spent a lot of our Maldives honeymoon in the water so I was glad to have packed a number of one-piece swimsuits that looked chic but were sturdy enough to keep everything in place when snorkelling (which we did a lot of!).

My favourite swimwear brands are Jets and Seafolly and you can shop some of my favourite swimsuits below.

We didn’t find reef shoes necessary as we were lucky to have an overwater villa and just snorkelled from there. However, other guests recommended them for snorkelling near the beach.

What to wear in the Maldives - Packing ListFurther reading:

How to pack like a pro

Stylish outfits for flying

Honeymoon of our dreams at Coco Bodu Hithi Maldives

The best things to do on a Maldives honeymoon

Post updated: February 2020

About Author

Travel blogger and freelancer writer who loves boutique hotels and brunching. I've been blogging for 10 years, visited 60+ countries and called London, Sydney, Melbourne and (oh so briefly) New York home at various points during the last decade. Now travelling with a baby and trying to make it as stylish and stress-free as can be!

4 Comments

  • asma
    May 3, 2016 at 10:21 am

    I have never seen barefoot sandals before, they’re amazing!! what a fab idea!

    Reply
    • Jayne Gorman
      May 3, 2016 at 11:24 pm

      Great, aren’t they!

      Reply
  • Angie Silver
    May 3, 2016 at 11:36 am

    I’ve gone straight to check out some barefoot sandals!

    Reply
    • Jayne Gorman
      May 3, 2016 at 11:24 pm

      I want to go to the beach just to wear them again!

      Reply

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