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Clothing in Europe-Preventing the Tourist Look

Clothing in Europe-Preventing the Tourist Look

Apr 6th, 2004, 08:17 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
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I agree with the posters who say to dress for the setting...if you're in a major metropolitan area, don't dress as though you are hiking up a mountain or going to a theme park. But speaking of theme parks, we went to Disneyland Paris and believe me (no offense to the stylish Brits or Germans out there), the folks there looked just like the crowd at any American theme park.(Yes, that bad.) You can wear that fanny pack and that baseball cap to Disneyland!
missypie is offline  
Apr 6th, 2004, 08:32 AM
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If for any reason you WANT to look like a German tourist in other European countries, I suggest you be sure to take a fanny pack. They all seem to put them on as soon as they cross over the borders going out of Germany.
Patrick is offline  
Apr 6th, 2004, 08:48 AM
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I can always pick out the people from the mid-west and east coast when they visit San Diego. They wear short sleeves in the wintertime, the New Yorkers are way too dressed up, in black. Yet I have never wondered why they don't try to fit in. I think the best person to emulate is yourself. Even if that means a T-shirt that says, "Been There Drank That". This way all the other folks who have T-shirts like that can find each other and be comfortable. Scarlett is right, be gracious and courteous and wear a smile. It speaks all languages.
mcgeezer is offline  
Apr 6th, 2004, 08:58 AM
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"perhaps the Japanese thing is because they too like to be part of a group"...or they have no choice if they want to be accepted by "society."

"There are groups in Tokyo where the young people only dress like Elvis or schoolgirls" There are radical subcultures of youth in every society, more so when the majority are ultra conservative. Most of these kids in Tokyo eventually move to NYC where they can thrive without conforming.

My comment about hair color in Japan wasn't meant to be taken seriously.

I respectfully disagree with sfowler's item #2. Yes, fashion victims and certain fashionistas would like to make fashion a class issue. The concept of the haves and have nots sells clothes by creating an allure. It's a marketing strategy that serves the fashion industry well. I say poohie to that!

The bottom line truth is creativity in dressing does not require a fortune but rather an education. Just because you can afford a Ralph Lauren or a Donna Karan or a Versace outfit doesn't mean you have any style. Style means knowing how to put pieces together from a variety of sources that make a unique fashion statement that works for the individual. Style "makers" create their own rules and their own look. They don't copy a department store mannequin or a model in a Sears catalogue. There's a reason why Patricia Field was directly linked to the success of HBO's "Sex in the City." And, Cynthia Nixon does not have an ideal body to dress.

It's no secret that many of New York's finest up and coming designers get much of their inspiration from going to clubs to see how the young and creative types present themselves. Back in the early 80's, Patricia Field reigned Queen of NYC's club scene. Let's face it, most of these kids haven't ten bucks to their name yet their innate creativity makes many "outfits" stand out. These kids bring to the table a freedom, fresh vision and vitality that's hard to find anywhere else.

Again, the point isn't trying to "be" French or "be" Italian or to convince someone you're one of them. The point is to command their attention and make them smile with pleasure and admiration, often in the most discreet, unmentioned way. Great style is that powerful.

I realize many people who buy their fashions at JC Penney will have a difficult time comprehending this. My heart goes out to you. However, JC Penney and Lerner's were my mother's favorite stores before I started buying all her clothes and before Saks Fifth Avenue came to Ohio. She managed to turn quite a few women green on a very modest salary back in the day. There's still hope for many of you. Just don't stop trying.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Apr 6th, 2004, 09:06 AM
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Japanese folks out there, please please don't be offend by my question, but in Paris, the only people I saw in wildly mismatched clothes (flowered shirt with striped pants; plaid pants with a different pattern of plaid shirt, etc.) were folks from groups of Japanese tourists. Were they "being themselves" (i.e. do people dress like that in Japan?") or were they attempting to "fit in?" (They weren't teens making a "statement"...just average middle aged tourist looking people.)
missypie is offline  
Apr 6th, 2004, 09:08 AM
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When i'm on holiday i'm a tourist. As long as what i'm wearing isn't likely to be offensive to the locals I tend not to worry. What's really wrong with looking like a tourist?

I tend to think sometimes, particularly in some of the more remote parts of Asia, you tend to look more ridculous by attempting to dress as a native.

American designers such as Ralph Lauren, Hillfiger, DKNY and Gap are so popular in cities in England these days then if this is what you're wearing I doubt anyone will notice.

A Camera around the neck scream tourist more than anything else.
Apr 6th, 2004, 09:13 AM
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If you're a tourist that's what you are.

A camera probably gives you away. Don't take a camera?

Violent crimes are few and far between.

Learn to be defensive and enjoy yourself.
Myer is offline  
Apr 6th, 2004, 10:07 AM
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NYCFoodSnob, I'm sure many of us would love to see you all dressed up in smart, fashionable clothes. It would be a delightful sight to behold - a true inspiration to millions and millions of fashion-challenged people in America, and perhaps even Europe.

Any chance you will be developing an instructive photo-spread for us in the near future? A picture is worth a thousand words.
CafeBatavia is offline  
Apr 6th, 2004, 10:22 AM
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I may be in the minority here, but I've never thought that white tennis shoes scream tourist. For example, Superga is a European brand of sneaker and they make a "classic" simple white sneaker (see photo at http://www.2newshoes.com/superga.html)

What they don't make -- to the best of my knowledge anyway -- are athletic shoes with fifteen different colors, stripes going every which way, and a logo of the kitchen sink to boot. Now, Europeans are probably wearing those more than they did before, but to me, those are the kind of "sneakers" that are -- or have been -- the hallmark of a tourist.

NYCFS, re: Style means knowing how to put pieces together from a variety of sources that make a unique fashion statement that works for the individual.

Absolutely. I couldn't agree more. As you alluded to, the fashion industry (of course) has a vested interest in promoting the idea that style can only be obtained at a high price. "Fashionable" clothing (if we define "fashion" as what the famous and beautiful people are wearing this wear) indeed has a high price, but style does not.
capo is offline  
Apr 6th, 2004, 10:27 AM
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CafeBatavia, I love dressing people as portrait photography is one of my many passions. For a shoot, I always choose what someone wears unless I'm shooting a control freak diva, which happens on occasion. It takes one to know one. People who know me and my work well typically defer to my choices.

I particularly enjoy dressing men because most men haven't a clue how to be creative with clothes or aren't capable of analyzing their bodies with any design foresight. I love picking custom-made shirt and suit fabrics and shopping for exquisite ties. I also love to change a man's hairstyle. Most men go to awful barbers and have no idea how handsome they can look when in the hands of an expert hair stylist.

I think an instructive photo-spread on "how to not look like a tourist" could be a fun project for me. I'll consider this worthy idea and I thank you for your words of encouragement, especially if they're sincere.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Apr 6th, 2004, 10:46 AM
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" What you wont find typically on Europeans is some of the brands favored by Americans (Polo, Hilfiger, Nautica, Ambercrombie-Fitch, etc). "

Polo you will definitely find. And some American brands are popular here on the strength of their Americanness, even if they're hardly known at home.

And in some cases they sell the brand but not the style. My daughter swears that there are Levi's styles sold here that you can't get in the States, although it's supposedly the American Levi's label that sells them. Go figure.

best regards,
Deirdré Straughan

DeirdreStraughan is offline  
Apr 6th, 2004, 10:58 AM
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Thought some of you might enjoy the following, with visuals, from the Washington Post: "How Not to Dress Like A Tourist"


Lesli is offline  
Apr 6th, 2004, 11:16 AM
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NYCFS, I think it has been a while since you have been to Tokyo. The old fashioned idea of the people fitting in with society is going out fast!
Yes, just like in good ole NYC, there are the small groups of sheep who must dress exactly the way their girlfriends at the club dress, but I find the Japanese are much more stylish and trendsetting than some give them credit for.
At least, they can afford the "good stuff"

I have seen young Japanese and other people wearing the plaid pants with the print shirt, it is a trend that I am seeing more and more of.
Look throughs some fashion mags and see if you can spot what people will be wearing next. Perhaps that will keep the neediness of fitting in down a level, it is impossible to look like everyone!
Scarlett is offline  
Apr 6th, 2004, 11:40 AM
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One of the worst looking American tourists I have ever seen was at the airport in Buenos Aires. She was blonde, with dark roots, about 45 years old, 15 lbs. overweight. She was wearing white Keds, gray sweatpants, and a tight GOD BLESS AMERICA t-shirt. She must have thought she was something, though, the way she sat waiting for the plane to depart to Washington, DC. She was as proud as Jezebel, with her painted face, as she looked at everyone who walked by her. Almost everyone else waiting for the same plane was nicely dressed, plenty of leather pants and fur coats. I overheard her say, "There are a lot of Argentines going to DC," to her husband. Well, you should have seen this same woman's face when the plane arrived in DC and almost 75% of the passengers headed for the AMERICAN CITIZEN queue at Passport Control. After going through PC, she headed for the luggage carousel with her arms folded across her chest and her head down. While waiting for her luggage, I could tell she wanted to crawl under a rock and die.
ThinGorjus is offline  
Apr 6th, 2004, 12:23 PM
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NYCFoodSnob, you can talk yourself until blue in the face, but many people will remain clueless until they can see clear examples of what to wear and not wear.

A true service would be specific color and style recommendations for those that are not tall, slim and toned.

I'd like to think many Americans don't look like slobs on purpose or design, but rather from lack of knowledge.
CafeBatavia is offline  
Apr 6th, 2004, 12:29 PM
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Take only a couple outfits that are of quality fabric, your best looking, fitting, feeling ones from home. Wear your clothes 3 days in a row. This will help you fit in while in Europe. Seriously.
suze is offline  
Apr 6th, 2004, 12:32 PM
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Well I suppose you have a point ThinGorjus, that is if you think its wonderful to wear leather trousers and a fur coat. Certainly wearing this round London will mark you out as a likely tourist amongst other things.
Apr 6th, 2004, 12:36 PM
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Cafe - See the Washington Post link above. It has photos of both and and female "Dos" and "Don'ts" which should give you a general idea.

Perhaps NYFS will take the "Dos" to a higher level (also bear in mind that these photos are about 3 years old), but I think we can all agree that they are more attractive and likely to "blend in" better than the "Don'ts"
Lesli is offline  
Apr 6th, 2004, 12:37 PM
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Perhaps the Fab Five could be persuaded to open a sideline that would specialize in clothes for tourists?
Underhill is offline  
Apr 6th, 2004, 12:47 PM
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This reminds me of the really old days at Fodors when people pontificated about style and dress. Nice to see those speeches dusted off. Interesting, to be sure. What gives discussions like this their weight is that posters who are so authoritative have actually been in the countries they discuss. That credibility is what makes this site so special. Keep it going!

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