When people think of Jerusalem, they picture in mind Israelis walking around carrying religious paraphernalia, praying and wearing traditional long gowns and head gears. While part of this is true, Jerusalem fashion had gone a long way and locals are much more accepting of foreign tourists wearing whatever they please. When thinking about what to wear in Jerusalem, come as you are but not when you intend to blend in.
If you’re visiting Jerusalem in summer, wear typical summer clothes — white cotton shirts, short pants, sneakers, and a hat or baseball cap. Do what you need to do to feel relaxed and comfy, but don’t expect the locals to dress as you do. You can spend days in Jerusalem and not see an Israeli man wearing a baseball cap; and whatever you do, you can never spot a local Israeli woman wearing short shorts. It is also rare to see local women wearing sneakers, unless they are jogging or in a running competition. Wearing comfy clothes will not be looked down upon and shouldn’t bother you, except of course when visiting a religious site. You will not be stoned for wearing short pants (such rumors aren’t true) but they won’t let you inside a sacred building when dressed inappropriately.
What exactly is Jerusalem fashion? What could you do or wear if you wish to blend in? Although younger Israelis are more liberal in what they wear and how they look, locals generally wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants for men and long skirts for women to cover as much skin as possible. If you intend to visit the many religious sites that Jerusalem is known for, you should wear the same.
Female tourists can wear jeans or any type of pants (not tight) to cover their legs, but you would look more pleasing to locals in a long skirt. A cover-all dress and headgear should be perfect, too. There are head covers for public use just before you enter a religious site, but cleanliness and hygiene is a big concern. It is best to bring your own or buy one. Wearing a scarf will also make you look local.
Men wear regular long-sleeve shirts and pants. Put on a Jewish skull cap or yarmulke to blend in and look cool.
Unless your main purpose for visiting is to see religious sites and attractions, you shouldn’t worry about blending in. The world has become much smaller thanks to the Internet and internationalization; Israelis know what Americans or Europeans look like and what clothes they prefer, so dressing as you are shouldn’t be an issue. You should, however, remain modest and respectful in conduct, speech and clothing whenever in a foreign land.
When wondering what to wear in Jerusalem, consider your comfort first and foremost. Wear light in summer and go thick in winter since it could get very cold and wet. The rains begin in September and the cold could extend to March. The coldest and wettest months are January and February. Wear layers of clothes and bring water-proof coats and boots. You might also need to bring a few thick clothes in summer since summer nights can surprisingly be very chilly.