Proper clothing for Italy

Oct 20th, 2006, 07:15 PM
  #1  
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Proper clothing for Italy

My wife and I are planning a trip to Italy in the near future possibly September-October of next year. When I go on vacation, I tend to be very casual wearing jeans and t-shirts. My question is should I dress up a little more like wear a polo shirt instead of a t-shirt. Any advice anyone could give will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
spb825 is offline  
Oct 20th, 2006, 08:14 PM
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Wear whatever you want...you'll see it all. We just returned from Italy, and the dressiest clothes my husband wore (for dinner) were a pair of kakhis, a black turtleneck, and Columbia boat shoes. I wore basically the same thing.

He also wore jeans or shorts, t-shirts or button shirts.

Wear what you want, within reason, and have fun.

Oh yes...most importantly, wear comfortable shoes as you will be doing a lot of walking!
take_time_2_travel is offline  
Oct 20th, 2006, 11:30 PM
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This is an Italy travel FAQ that I have endeavored to answer on http://www.beginningwithi.com/italy/travel/dressing.htm

I did realize this summer that all the fashion "crimes" I listed are routinely committed by most of my male colleagues - but I work for a software company and, even in Italy, geeks live in t-shirts! (Preferably with something obscurely geeky on them, of course.)

best regards,
Deirdré Straughan

beginningwithi.com

DeirdreStraughan is offline  
Oct 21st, 2006, 04:02 AM
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Ms. Straughan has given some excellent advice. I hope you consider it.
Hal8999 is offline  
Oct 21st, 2006, 05:36 AM
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Jeans and tee shirts are fine for everwhere. Maybe perhaps for dinners, depending where you eat, khakis might be more appropriate. Half the people we saw even on our Vatican tour were in jeans. Dress is very casual
mulifat is offline  
Oct 21st, 2006, 06:43 AM
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Just got back from 2 weeks in Italy....... The only thing that I felt was important to wear was comfortable shoes. Otherwise, we saw it ALL...... From jeans, to t-shirts, to shorts, to dresses, to high heels, and fancy clothes.... It absolutely does not matter what you wear....My husband was not happy with me for not letting him take more jeans and shorts........... Again, you see it ALL and no one cares..........
bblount is offline  
Oct 21st, 2006, 08:26 AM
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Since it's fall and changing seasons, I'd concern myself more with getting it right for the weather than for the fashion police. Seriously, no one cares what you wear. But take a couple pair of extremely comfortable and sturdy shoes. And figure out a decent jacket that is versatile.
suze is offline  
Oct 21st, 2006, 08:59 AM
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I don't really understand or appreciate the sentiment that "really, no one cares what you wear" since, in my decades of traveling the globe, I've simply never found that to be the case-and the locals may dress any way they want, but you're NOT a local, and so, they will single you out for the careless way you dress, either overtly, or obliquely- just as surely as I do when tourists come to MY city from the hinterlands and elsewhere, dressed in their T shirts, Mom-style jeans and jean shorts, and clunky athletic shoes and fanny packs-awful!

You have to dress a little better in Europe if you want to be given better service and hope to make friendly connections with locals (and making connections with locals IS one of the reasons for international travel, isn't it?) -and that MEANS not going as casual as you would at home. Period, end of story.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Oct 21st, 2006, 09:22 AM
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Girlspy: "I don't really understand or appreciate the sentiment that "really, no one cares what you wear" since, in my decades of traveling the globe, I've simply never found that to be the case."

Hmmmm...as with most people on this forum, I've got decades of travel under my belt, too, and I can't completely agree with you. Personally, I've never tried to be anything but well-groomed, clean, unobtrusive, presentable & comfortable. Comfortable above all, because if you're not comfortable, you're going to have one more thing to complain about, and complaining travellers are more deleterious to the landscape than L.L. Bean-clad yokels, imho.

Now, I can't say that I've never commented to myself on "inappropriately" dressed travellers, but usually they're college kids who were absent for the course in Understatement. And most of them are so young & cute & fresh-faced, I can't get my knickers in a dither about it!

I agree w/tttt: "Wear what you want, within reason, and have fun."
LucieV is offline  
Oct 21st, 2006, 09:27 AM
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You need to dress for the kind of vacation you're going to have - keeping in mind that in general europeans dress more formally than we do - esp in cities.

If you prefer to wear jeans and tee shirts that's fine - but then you will be limited to more casuale restaurants. If you plan on any more upscale dining or concerts or opera, etc you will be expected to wear more business casual - khakis, polo shirt or button down and shoes. If you are goling to a top class retaurant you will probably need a jacket as well.

The one thing that is mandatory is that you not wear shorts - in fact MUST have covered knees and shoulders - for both sexes to be allowd to enter St. Peters. In fact, you may have problems trying to enter any church if not dressed properly - even if only from local church-goers.

As for shoes - you need 2 pair of good walking shoes - since undoubedtly one will get wet in the rain and be unwearable the next day. Also, you'll need a good folding umbrella.
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 21st, 2006, 04:57 PM
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In general, I try not to be judgmental about the attire of my fellow travelers when I'm in Europe, but I admit that I do have to repress a teensy shudder at the ubiquitous shorts, funny hats, T-shirts and fanny packs of many of my countrymen/women.

I am never a vision of sartorial splendor, but I do like to present a slightly better appearance when I travel than when I'm washing the car in the driveway.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Oct 21st, 2006, 06:34 PM
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"You have to dress a little better in Europe if you want to be given better service and hope to make friendly connections with locals (and making connections with locals IS one of the reasons for international travel, isn't it?) -and that MEANS not going as casual as you would at home. Period, end of story."

Actually, this is very far from being accurate. We were with a group of 8 people all over Italy recently, for almost 2 weeks, majority of the time dressing casual, jeans and respectable tee shirts. We made friendly connections with locals wherever we went, in some case will still be staying in touch with them. We received excellent service and attention in all of our restaurants, and we dined at some terrific local places
mulifat is offline  
Oct 21st, 2006, 07:24 PM
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No, by no means is it "far from being accurate" Mulifat. If you believe that to be the case, then fine, but "jeans and t-shirts" from American tourists, brands you as the American tourist which most comfortably fits the Italian stereotype of you-and if you wish to be stereotyped in that way-then fine-particularly if you go to Italy once in a blue moon-but if not, then it is not. People travel in different social/political spheres, and for different reasons, that's certain.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Oct 21st, 2006, 10:02 PM
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It may be cool and drizly in October, so bring a jacket to put over your T-shirt.

Personally, I believe that a polo type of a shirt coupled with a pressed pair of stylish and well-fitting jeans would be much better than an old, faded T-shirt and Levi's routine, but then I would not be wearing the latter at home in Los Angeles either. Maybe if I ran down to the supermarket or something, but certainly not on an outing to a museum or to a restaurant.

Anna Roz
anna_roz is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2006, 12:51 AM
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I haven't noticed anyone in Italy (except myself) muttering about sloppily-dressed tourists. If you want to dress just as you do at home and you're comfortable with that, fine. Some travellers prefer to fit in as much as they can, and that's fine, too. As mentioned, my article was written for them, not for the don't-cares.

Do keep in mind that in Italy "la bella figura" (looking good, making a good impression) is of paramount importance. Exactly how you do that varies with age and social class, but it matters to almost everybody. When I first moved here 16 years ago, I was struck by how people all seemed to dress pretty well (no ragged t-shirts, dirty jeans, etc.), and I have almost never seen a junker car on the street.

Also keep in mind that quote from my boss that's on my page: in Italy, dressing well is considered a sign of respect for those around you. Yeah, you may be more comfortable in jeans and sloppy t-shirts - but we have to look at you.

In another place and time, 20 years ago during my study abroad year in Benares, I used to hang out with the man who sold me glass bangles, eating paan and drinking lassi in his shop, which opened onto the city's major gulli (uh, street, sort of). We would watch the foreign tourists go by, and he would laugh his butt off at the men in shorts. "Shorts are for boys!" he would say. "Grown men in India never wear shorts!"
DeirdreStraughan is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2006, 03:39 AM
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I recently returned from two weeks in Italy. People (both tourists and Italians) wore all types of attire the same as they do in the U.S. Other than Americans, I rarely saw men wearing shorts. Many younger Italians wore jeans.

When going out to dinner in the evening, I would dress up more. However, it is not necessary to wear a skirt/dress or for men to wear coat and/or tie for most restaurants.

takemealong is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2006, 03:51 AM
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How old are you? Physical shape? Do you dress to please your wife? Do you like superior service? 5 star hotels or hostels? There are two Italies: the tourist one and the native one. Italy sets world class fashion standards. It also has a large 'under class'. How do you want to be identified?
GSteed is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2006, 03:59 AM
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"No, by no means is it "far from being accurate" Mulifat. If you believe that to be the case, then fine, but "jeans and t-shirts" from American tourists, brands you as the American tourist which most comfortably fits the Italian stereotype of you-and if you wish to be stereotyped in that way-then fine-"

Of course it is not accurate. That was my experience, which is in direct contradiction to what you are saying. Are you insinuating this was not my experience? We dressed in neatly pressed jeans, and well fitting respectable looking colored tee shirts(probably costing as much or more than polo shirts), and as I stated, we were embraced by many Italians, will stay in touch with several, and had some of the best service we have ever had in many of the restaurants that are frequently spoken about on these boards

I could care less about being stereotyped. I AM an American tourist, proud of it, and would not wish to disguise it. Some might be more image conscious then we were, and that is fine

"particularly if you go to Italy once in a blue moon-but if not, then it is not."

I think you are hinting (not sure through) that jeans and tee shirts would be worn by novice travelers to Italy, less experienced than yourself? If so, not accurate. We have been to Italy many, many times



"People travel in different social/political spheres, and for different reasons, that's certain."

Huh???





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mulifat is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2006, 06:22 AM
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Actually, I think this issue is more about one's sense of self (and/or distortion thereof!) If you are secure, confident, not overly absorbed in yourself, less concerned about your image than your essence, AND if your regard for your fellow human being is genuine & heartfelt...then the way in which you decorate/protect your body is really rather trivial, no matter who you are, where you are, when you are there.

Not to say I'd show up at a Maori funereal ritual wearing my husband's boxer shorts, but hey there are some who could probably even pull that one off...;-)
LucieV is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2006, 08:16 AM
  #20  
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Thank you everyone for your advice. Obviously, I should have stated in my first post that yes when I go to dinner, I would dress up a little more like a polo shirt, nice khakis or dress pants, and dress shoes.
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