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How to NOT dress like an American in Europe

How to NOT dress like an American in Europe

Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 06:54 PM
  #41  
 
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Well, maybe those people I saw in shorts a couple of weeks ago were all Americans who spoke Dutch, or French, or German, or Flemish, fluently.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 07:42 PM
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I'm a bit non-plussed by the two prevailing comments I've heard here: "dress the way you want, no one notices" and "they'll always know you're an American anyway."

I don't know about anyone else, but the applicability of these comments is something I've never experienced. Even this past May, in Vienna, I had Austrian men and women checking me out from head to foot, every day, particularly at the Opera House-and since I wear flip-flops, I even heard one Austrian woman remarking to her husband about my footwear-not critical, but just different. (now, I'm not too concerned about that-there's a new French atelier that has opened in the 10th arr. in Paris that I need to get to that will custom design your flip-flops for you-you choose the leather, they'll design to your satisfaction).

As to being known as an American-even as a teenaged college student studying in Germany, Germans thought I was Dutch or French. I've hung out around the Piazza del Duomo in Milan, and have had people come up to me and ask me how to get to this and that in Italian-(I was dressed in jeans and the requisite black jacket/top-and black short boots-this outfit works every time). Even in Bangkok, Thailand this past January, the Thai taxi driver went through 4 countries trying to decide where I was from, (of course we were speaking English) until he gave up, and I finally told him.

I can't count the times I've been addressed in other languages-primarily French and German. I don't dress really any differently than I do at home. There's got to be something else going on there-but you know for sure that I'm not about the horrific fanny-pack-wearing, clodhopper-tennis-shoe-big-T-shirt-Mom-style-gigantic-jeans tourist outfits that I see Americans wearing here in my own tourist city-we locals run from our OWN kind as well!

P.S. Not to let the Europeans (collectively, not individually) off the hook, I've seen equivaent atrociousness in their apparel virtually everywhere I've gone in the world.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 09:17 PM
  #43  
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Really, my concern is about making a decent first impression - or rather, NOT making a bad first impression.

I don't want to be immediately identified as "American" without even opening my mouth.

I assume some Europeans will instantly dismiss / look down on me as American, based stricly on my looks. I think some of us are afraid of getting treated poorly based solely on appearance (and yes, this happens in the States all the time, but that's a whole other subject).

And I do not plan on being the loud, obnoxious, bitter, short-fused, complaining American type. That's not really in my nature.

Thanks for everyone's input!
-tom
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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 10:52 PM
  #44  
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>>I don't want to be immediately identified as "American" without even opening my mouth. <<

Frankly, if any country is going to treat badly because I'm an "American", then I don't want to go there and spend my hard earned American Dollars there!!

So far I have been to Italy, France, England, Belgium & Netherlands... no one in any of those countries treated me any differently because they thought I was an American...and if they did, it was for the positive.

Once again, why would you want to go to any country that you feel hate Americans and therefore you have to disguise yourself?
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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 11:31 PM
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For heavens' sakes, lighten up. Just wear what you're comfortable in. If yuu're nice, we'll like you. If you're not, we won't.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 11:33 PM
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Hello Tom, I truly don't understand..are you saying you are looked down on by your fellow Americans in America due to your appearance. I trust that I am misunderstanding, at least I hope I am.

Tom, when you are in Europe or anywhere actually including in the US if you are dressed appropriately for the situation, are clean and are wellmannered only an ill mannered person would make you feel "looked down on". Actually any wellmannered person would not make any other human feel that way.

I hope you are able to go to Europe and have a wonderful time. I hope that you can get prepared for your trip with happiness and without having any negative thoughts. And do give us a trip report when you get back home and settled in. Best regards.
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Old Jul 24th, 2006, 12:14 AM
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>>Mom-style-gigantic-jeans<<

What are these?

Lee Ann
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Old Jul 24th, 2006, 01:07 AM
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" I am talking about dress, not about how to act/behave"

Nobody cares about your clothing. But they do care about your behaviour.

I have made some observations about the 50+ women who come out of the cruise ships: They all seem to have short hair and a perm. Sort of 1950s look where not a hair moves.
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Old Jul 24th, 2006, 01:22 AM
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Once you say one word in Europe, they'll know you're American. You're branded, no matter what clothes you wear. This also happens to the Germans, Italians, British, French, Spanish, etc. tourists all the time. It's not a unique thing for Americans only.

If you don't want them to see that you're American, than get a new accent. Something like Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones Diary.
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Old Jul 24th, 2006, 05:19 AM
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>>>>Mom-style-gigantic-jeans<<

What are these?<<<<



Lee Ann --

Google SNL and "mom jeans". Basically they are the jeans that women wear that make their bum look like it goes from mid-way up their thigh to the small of their back. It's hard to describe, but a lot of short-waisted women seem to wear these jeans that button in at the waist, wearing a tucked-in shirt, and the look is not flattering to any figure because it enhances the bottom.

Liz
ozmum.com

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Old Jul 24th, 2006, 05:31 AM
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Here's a simple demonstration. Put the phrase "tourists in london" into gooogle.co.uk images and it brings up a selction of photos of tourists from all over in London.

Can yopu spot the yanks? I can. I can also spot the French, Germans and Dutch. (and obviously the Japanese).

Try it - it's instructive.

It also demonstrated that no matter how hard you may try to "fit in" you won't.

Try the same with "English tourists" and it's obvious that you're not the only ones.
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Old Jul 24th, 2006, 05:40 AM
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Why are so many "travelers obsessed with not looking like an American?

Were you planning to wear white T-shirt, baseball cap, short shorts, belly hanging out, chew gum, talk loudly especially about how things are not as back at home, not learn some phrases in the language of country visiting, drink coke with dinner ....?

Come on...they will always know you are not European. Just be polite, try not to be so "visible" and you will "fit in"
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Old Jul 24th, 2006, 05:43 AM
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A. Yes, some Americans and other tourists stick out like a sore thumb

B. They don't care

C. Locals still accept their money

D. They have a good time

E. They are smart enough not to comment on some of the absolutely DREADFUL clothes that the locals are wearing because that wasn't the point of the trip

F. They have a good time

Can you say the same about your own trip?
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Old Jul 24th, 2006, 05:44 AM
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"dress like an American"...

I hate to tell you, I walked through a mall in England with some friends (locals) who by the way dressed like me (white t shirt, blue jeans, sneakers) and saw lots and lots of people dressed like that even down to the baseball caps being worn backwards.

I went into a restaurant wearing a t shirt I had purchased in France along with blue jeans and sneakers and the waiter was shocked when I began speaking to him in English; he said he thought I was French.

Dogone...dress anyway you want and feel comfortable (personally I don't think shorts is proper attire for anybody over 21 in a big city but I admit that's simply my opinion)..nobody gives a damn..nobody at all.
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Old Jul 24th, 2006, 05:51 AM
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It is not about trying not to look American. I find that the same folks that complain endlessly and are generally annoying to the rest of their own country are the folks you have to worry about. I have a real hard time with rude people of any culture and it seems that in America, rudeness largely goes largely unchecked. I mean, you can not teach everyone a lesson but you can show your dissaproval of someones rude behavior. I think that is why some of the more annoying Americans stick out in other countrys the way they do. I think as long as you do not display an ethnocentric attitude, you will be fine. If you give off a good vibe, you will get along with anyone regardless of what you are wearing.
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Old Jul 24th, 2006, 05:54 AM
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rather than being flippant, I'll tell you what I noticed in Paris last week on my trip...if you are a woman, some great accessories go a long way. Finish off your outfit with a great necklace (interesting, rather than expensive)...decent shoes and looked pulled together but not too matchy ;combine interesting colors....it isn't to "look French" but you just feel like you are in the flow of things........and salespeople will be quick to throw a few things together that look great once they see you are interested...and you can actually learn a thing or two
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Old Jul 24th, 2006, 05:56 AM
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...but then again we have to avoid generalizations...

Not all Americans are loud mouthed and arrogant not even most not even a large mnority.....just like not all Parisians are rude yada yada yada...

I do find, sometimes, Americans when travfelling outside the large United States are somewhat naive and don't understand things like the US dollar is not the currency/ or temperatures are not given in Farenheit and not being used to this make stupid remarks and per capita it is probably a little larger than Europeans coming to the USA who are used to the fact there are different currencies etc.

Butpeople are people...people dress how they wish and that's the way it's always been and hopefully the way it will always be.
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Old Jul 24th, 2006, 06:00 AM
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Please keep 'em coming. there is NOTHING funnier than an american europhile trying to teach other americans how to be european.

>>>>>
I was in Paris in June
<<<<<
that's the problem....trying to teach people how to dress "european" based on a trip to paris. imagine a chinese person telling other chinese people that he visited new york in june ...as if this the "cred" to act as an authority on how to be european. very funny.



>>>>>>
Don't wear clothes that advertise something (Beerfest 2005, Little League Champs, State University '65, etc.)
>>>>>>

in fact, if you do have a genuine little league champs shirt or a state university champs shirt from the US...i agree...don't WEAR it. bring it over to SELL. many londoners will pay good money for it. these items are so in demand in london that there are many fake shirts like this - Camp such and such in arkansas, little league, etc. a real one will fetch probably £15 in hoxton. ironic that someone is trying to teach everyone that one of the hottest items in london would make you look "too american"

anyway, all of this obsession with whether a european will label someone an american belies a strange and self-important view. eastern european tourists are everywhere all around europe and their numbers are growing every day. chinese tourists are moving in rapidly. etc, etc. tourism among americans is in decline due to various factors including the weak dollar. europeans hardly are concerned with who's an american or not so get over it....who's an american is very irrelevant in today's world. the world does not revolve around you and your strange obsession with your own americanism.
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Old Jul 24th, 2006, 06:08 AM
  #59  
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Hi pfatalbert
>Really, my concern is about making a decent first impression - or rather, NOT making a bad first impression.

I don't want to be immediately identified as "American" without even opening my mouth.<

Just behave as if you had been properly brought up.

Wear what you would wear if you were visiting similar towns and cities in the US.

Do not be concerned about fitting in; the places you will be going are full of tourists from all over the world.

Most people will notice that you are an American even if you are just standing still (well almost).

RE: walking with dog between legs.

Some Europeans complain that Americans "swagger". Watch W on TV.



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Old Jul 24th, 2006, 06:22 AM
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GWBs walk has been noticed and satirised in Britain. He has a habit of walking with his palms towards the way he is walking. This makes him seem broader than he is but also makes him lope a bit.

Its not what I would consider to be a typical American walk.
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