Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen’s stand came a week after Chancellor Angela Merkel called for the burka to be banned.
Von der Leyen was in Riyadh to meet Saudi deputy crown prince Salman Al-Saud, where she voiced her annoyance at the expectation that women cover up.
Ursula von der Leyen wore a suit when she was received by the Vice Regent and Defence Minister of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman Al-Saud, in the Divan Palace
The German minister voiced her annoyance at the expectation that women should wear traditional clothing when visiting the country
But she shunned traditional Saudi attire, opting instead for a dark blue suit.
Her decision sparked anger on Twitter in Saudi Arabia, Al Bawaba reported.
Speaking of her refusal to wear full-length robes, known as the abaya, Das Bild reports, she said: ‘No woman in my delegation has to wear the Abaya.
‘The right to choose your own clothing is a right shared by men and women alike. It annoys me, when women women are to be pushed into the Abaya.’
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen wore a suit as she was received by Saudi Assistant Defence Minister Mohammad Bin Abdullah Al-Ayesh at the King Salman Air Base in Riyadh
The newspaper reported that although servants looked ‘astonished’ at the sight of the German minister in traditional dress, it did not spark any protests.
Von der Leyen followed the example set by US First Lady Michelle Obama, who was condemned in Saudi Arabia when she went bare-headed on a visit with her husband last year.
Saudi Arabia has been criticised for its attitude to women, who are not allowed to hold driving licenses.
Last week Angela Merkel told her CDU party conference that the full veil is ‘not appropriate’ in Germany
Last week Angela Merkel called for a burka ban, saying the ‘full veil is not appropriate’ in Germany.
The German chancellor told her conservative CDU party conference that wearing the burka should be outlawed ‘wherever that is legally possible’.
Merkel said she would back a nationwide ban just months after revealing that she believed the burka was a barrier to Muslim women becoming integrated into German society.