I don't want to look like a slob

Jan 17th, 2010, 10:07 PM
  #1  
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I don't want to look like a slob

I'm sure this topic has been asked a gazillion times, and I have searched and looked at the threads, but I am still confused as to what to wear in Italy. We are spending 4 days in Venice and 4 days in Rome. Most posters say "smart casual" which in California where I live could mean jeans and a black (in leiu of white) t-shirt. What exactly is meant by "smart casual?" Are jeans acceptable or should we bring nicer trouser-type pants? What about tennis shoes, are they ok? We want to pack light with just a carry-on so I also want to pack smart and not look like a slob. Thanks in advance for your help.
Suru11 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2010, 10:28 PM
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Jeans are fine. T-shirts are fine. Sneakers are fine too. Others say different, but I have absolutely no idea why. For the most part, most people in Europe dress pretty much like most people in the US. Very few people actually care what you wear, anyway.

For sight-seeing, I usually just wear something casual and comfortable, which can include a t-shirt and even shorts. Going out to dinner, both myself and the wife wear what we would wear in the US. For me, that means jeans, a button-down, maybe a sweater, and something a step up from sneakers. If the place is really fancy, I might sub in a blazer for the sweater, but almost always stick with jeans. The wife will wear jeans sometimes, other times a casual skirt or dress.
travelgourmet is offline  
Jan 17th, 2010, 10:37 PM
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Anything is fine -- But WHEN are you traveling?

If it is in summer, you won't want any jeans. Way too hot. Light/gauzy skirts and capris are more in order. Not for style. but for comfort/practicality.
janisj is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 12:49 AM
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For day you will want something lighter than jeans. Yes you will look like a tourist but so will the other thousands of tourists there. If you don't want to stick out as the Americans try to move away from the bright white socks bright white t-shirt combination.
For evening jeans and black t-shirt is fine but maybe with a darker (leather type) but still comfortable shoes. For less casual night out change t-shirt for a dress shirt.
MiaMom is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 01:23 AM
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jeans are ok (ish) but sloppy.

wear a pair of trousers, smarter and probably cooler in the summer.
a t shirt is definately not smart casual in italy (i live in milan) get a polo shirt and a pair of trousers.

if you own any sandles burn them and get a pair of loafers.white socks are ok if you are playing tennis or jogging otherwise no.

i was in california and the californians were generaly well dressed.

have a good time in italy
patrickjkerr is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 02:51 AM
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You are visiting two cities that are overrun with tourists from all over the world. In the streets, no one cares what you wear as long as it is decent, i.e. covers the parts of the body that ought to be covered, clean resp. doesn't smell, and intact. You will be recognized as non-locals anyway.
Visits to, for example, upscale restaurants or opera performances or shopping in snobbish designer stores are a different story, though.
quokka is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 06:43 AM
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Suru, perhaps it's easier to think about what you would pack if you were visiting a major city in the U.S. If you were planning to visit museums and good restaurants in New York City, would you be comfortable wearing tennis shoes or jeans? If yes, then that's what you should pack.

I think it's true that no one is going to confuse a visitor with the locals. I travel to Italy often and I don't flatter myself that anyone would mistake me for a local. But I also show some respect for myself, and for my hosts (for I'm a guest in Italy) by dressing well. I don't look good in jeans so I don't wear them. I wear smart casual, scarves to dress up a T-shirt, decent shoes, and no backpack.

To quote David Sedaris I don't want to look as though I've arrived in Europe to mow its lawns.
sacc is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 07:00 AM
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People wear jeans all over the world. People look normal in jeans all over the world.

However, you said you wanted to pack light and carry-on. Jeans are not light nor do the pack "small". If a spill sould happen or if they get stinky (and they do), they are not so easy to care for without washing machine/dryer access, which as a tourist will probably not be convenient.

Re tennis shoes: A caveat - I rarely travel with tennis shoes. This fall I did take a pair of good looking (that means not glaring white) ones on a trip to Germany. They were comfortable, light weight and HORRIBLE for walking on uneaven cobblestones, rain slick paths and steep hills. Happy to have had good sturdy shoes meant for walking. Happy feet make for happy travels.
lukehead is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 07:20 AM
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Visits to, for example, upscale restaurants or opera performances or shopping in snobbish designer stores are a different story, though.

I don't think this is really the case any more. I wouldn't wear a t-shirt to an upscale restaurant or the opera, but I certainly wear jeans. And I'm not the only one either. As for snobbish department stores... Most quality department stores generally treat everyone as a valued customer.
travelgourmet is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 07:45 AM
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Wear what you would wear for a shopping day in Santa Barbara.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 08:13 AM
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I just returned from an Amsterdam overrun with Italians, most of whom would be called 'slobs' from their pedestrian attire
Palenque is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 08:50 AM
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Yes, I have seen locals in jeans from Barcelona to Cannes,
from Rome to Paris.
Some look great : nice fit, nice figure, the right top or jacket; some look like slobs .
My husband ( tall and slim) looks good in jeans ,he wears them with a button down shirt and a sports jacket( some younger Europeans wear jeans to fancy restaurants, but I have not seen older people wearing them to the Opera ) .
I find jeans uncomfortable : hot, heavy to carry etc... so I prefer other outfits (especially in the summer)
danon is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 08:58 AM
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You need to decide on what type of trip you want. If it's a casuale trip you can wear jeans and tee shirts. You just need to be sure the latter don;t have low necks or tiny sleeves - or you will have trouble getting into the Vatican and possibly other major churches.

However, that it not how europeans dress if they plan on eating in elegant restaurants. If you plan on upscale restaurants you will have to have some less casual clothing - at a minimum collared shirts and real pants for men and a cute dress or nice pants outfit for a woman. Also, real shoes for both.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 09:00 AM
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And sorry - I don;t know anyplace where plain old tee shirts and regular jeans with sneakers are smart casual. Smart casuale can involve jeans (designer) but it would also mean a pretty blouse and nice sandals or pumps for a woman and a real/quality shirt and shoes for a man.

What you're describing is "heading to the mall" not "smart casual".
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 09:51 AM
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You won't look like a slob! I'll share my experiences:

- Another vote for "jeans are heavy!" They will not help you in trying to pack lightly. They also take forever to dry if you end up hand washing anything.

- Try to find versatile and comfortable shoes. I found a great pair of Naots that were super comfy and looked pretty good with dresses and dress pants.

- I am not sure if you are male or female. If you are female traveling in the warmer months, try some casual dresses. You can wear them during the day and then dress them up in the evening. I'd often add leggings and a sweater for evening to dress it up a bit and because it was cooler at night.

- Scarves! Almost every female had on a scarf. They also allow you to change up your outfits a little bit. When I wore a scarf, people would come up to me speaking in Italian. Quite funny!

- My observation was most people wore very neutral colors. A lot of black.

- My purse was completely touristy but I didn't mind. It's best to have something lightweight and secure.

Good luck!
Gina817 is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 10:10 AM
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However, that it not how europeans dress if they plan on eating in elegant restaurants. If you plan on upscale restaurants you will have to have some less casual clothing - at a minimum collared shirts and real pants for men and a cute dress or nice pants outfit for a woman. Also, real shoes for both.

I don't find this true at all... I have eaten at multiple Michelin-Starred restaurants in Europe in jeans. NEVER have I felt out of place. Planning on hitting 3 starred restaurants this weekend and will only be packing jeans.
travelgourmet is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 10:43 AM
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Sounds like travelgourmet looks good in jeans! I don't and I never wear them - plus I think I'm hitting the age when it's time to be done with jeans.

Tourists get away with a lot. Locals just spend more time on their outfit and look smarter. And women don't ever wear sneakers. Have not seen this once.

I live in Europe, came here from CT and our whole family dresses up a bit more for just about everything now including going to the grocery. This means jeans for 3 of the 4 of us, but paired up with dressier shoes, tops etc. My husband lost the khakis and polo country club look and replaced with dress jeans, a nice oxford shirt and a blazer or sweater. Never, ever wears shorts anymore and no more cotton polo shirts.

It IS different but perhaps not in very touristy places.

gruezi
gruezi is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 11:00 AM
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Sounds like travelgourmet looks good in jeans!

At the very least, I look no worse in them than I do in slacks...

I think the issue is what you hit upon later. I pair the jeans with nice shoes and a nice shirt. Maybe a sweater or a blazer. I wouldn't wear jeans and sneakers to the opera, but jeans with decent shoes and a blazer is fine, and preferable to slacks that you don't feel comfortable in. The days of dressing up for dinner are over. Be comfortable. For many that means jeans.
travelgourmet is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 12:36 PM
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The image on my laptop is a picture taken last summer in front of the Coliseum. I can see my delightful family with approximately 10,000 people right behind them. Tourists no doubt, wearing every piece of relaxed clothing you can imagine.

Every day, I stare at the young blonde woman in cut off jeans standing just behind my wife. I think she is smiling at me.
colduphere is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 12:46 PM
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colduphere

The question is "did you smile back"?
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