I hope you are all doing GREAT ^_^
I have received an e-mail from a lady asking me this question on behalf of her friends:
Some foreigners love Emirati clothes and want to wear it, but they are shy and think that maybe this will offend Emiratis.
Do Emiratis consider it disrespectful to their culture if foreign men and women want to wear abayas or shailas, kanduras, ghutras, eqals or even niqab or burqa?
Here is the answer to the question from my point of view:
First of all, it is our pleasure as Emiratis to know that foreigners love our clothes and would like to wear it. And personally I don't think that it will or may offend us as locals unless a foreigner disrespected our traditional costumes.
I don't think any Emirati will or might get offended by seeing a foreigner wearing the traditional UAE costumes wether it was a man or a woman. On the contrary, we respect who respect us, our traditions and costumes and we are a very friendly and welcoming nation.
Some of us might get offended IF a person uses the UAE traditional costume in a wrong way and ON PURPOSE. For example, wearing the Abaya above DISRESPECTFUL clothes just to attract men "as many women do" or to make fun of Arab culture or traditions.
Last week, I was shopping in Dubai, and while I was inside one of the shops a foreign couples entered the shop. The lady was wearing a short skirt and a lovely shirt, and the man was wearing a Kandura (Dishdasha), Ghutra and eqal! at first I was surprised because he was very confident and acted as if he was a real local, but his blue eyes and his yellow hair that I could see from under the ghutra made me know for sure that he is a foreigner who loves our traditional kandura.
I smiled to him, he smiled back and I felt that he was so happy that I liked what I saw.
So, everybody feel free to wear our costumes but make sure to respect it, and I am sure you will.