In general, dress code requirements in Iran are more divergent from traditional western dress for women than men. However there are still expectations that men dress conservatively. While an entirely new wardrobe is not necessary its probably best to leave revealing items back home and embrace life in an Islamic country for a time. We have three simple suggestions for men.
1. Dress up
Iranian people tend to dress up and present themselves in public in a somewhat more polished look. Iranian women may surprise you the most on your visit for their keen eye for fashion and style despite the mandatory Islamic dress code. If you are heading out into town with your Iranian host a button down shirt , blazer and trousers are appropriate. I would skip items such as sweat pants, sweaters and other overly casual fare. Especially in winter bring a good quality long coat and scarf to make a subtle fashion statement. Iranian people appreciate good style and dressing well. Consider business casual for the entire trip and more formal business wear for meetings and official company work.
2. Dress Conservatively
When you go out into society, men are to wear pants, and shorts are only worn during athletics. To wear shorts while out in the public in Iran will likely cause some heads to turn, and receive some questionable looks so it's best not to wear shorts while out.
3. Consider No Tie:
If you have seen the very popular no tie look on men with a button down shirt, blazer and no tie - you might be surprised to know this was started by the Iranians.
The tie is usually not worn at all by Iranian men. This is a small subtlety in Iranian business attire compared to the rest that is important to note. This concept and style was started around the time of the Iranian revolution when the tie became a symbol of unnecessary western influence and some considered the wearing of the tie “un-Islamic.”
Ironically, this Iranian pioneered fashion trend is so popular in the west you should have no trouble observing this one. The open-necked button down shirt with a suit is very common not only for Iranian businessmen, but also for the general public.
There are no tie banning laws in Iran and bringing a few in your suitcase will not hurt. This is a matter of cultural preference and it is your choice to wear one or not. Those from the West that wear ties while in Iran, it is understood that it is a sign of respect and formality.
Having some basic knowledge about the dress code expectations in Iran will enable you to focus on your goals of business travel and making those key great impressions.