Let’s first begin with the national dress code. Saudi Arabia has it and so do many other middle eastern countries but Kuwait does not have any compulsory Islamic dress code. However, Kuwaiti men often prefer wearing the thwab, which happens to be an ankle-length cotton shirt – usually white in color. Women on the other hand prefer wearing abaya – a black gown covering most of the body and at times the head and face too. This is one key difference.
Kuwaiti women are not forced to adhere with any specific dress code either. They can prefer western clothing as well depending on their preference and occasion. In fact, they may even chose to opt for demure styles or the latest designs depending on their convenience and choice. On festive occasions though both men and women in Kuwait revert back to traditional clothing such as the thob, which happens to be a long over-dress. This is often the case where dancing is involved and it often times is. Some women prefer wearing the aba on top of their western clothing out in the streets.
However, the culture of Kuwait values women who wear modest clothing as the belief as that women with modest clothing choices have a higher value of self-worth and respect.
Just as with locals, expatriates too have no dress code. They can wear anything they desire. However, as best practices it is advisable for men and women to be dressed modestly. Showing of cleavage, wearing skirts, shorts, bare shoulder and above knee clothing are all welcome but do not earn any respect among the common citizenry.
Best advice for visitors is to wear loose and light fitting clothes that hide away your skin. Not only is it not culturally advisable but the heat and sunlight can lead to severe tanning too. As for covering your face and hair, that is not required at all, unlike other Gulf countries.
Dressing up for business meetings in Kuwait is never lavish and often conservative. Men can come wearing conservative suits or lightweight dresses too. Women though should refrain from revealing and tight-fitting apparel for business meetings as it can be perceived by locals as offensive. If you wear skirts then ensure it comes down below the knees and sleeves should extend over the elbows too. Business shirts should be fastened at the neck too.
As practice dark suits are the preference in the country and tailored suits work best.
For casual travellers to the country on a short visit you can refer to Tripadvisor.