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What is considered acceptable travel attire


Jul 29th, 2014, 12:31 PM
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What is considered acceptable travel attire

I will be traveling to Italy and from there on to Slovenia and Croatia with a tour group. I have read conflicting advice as to what is or is not acceptable attire for a man while visiting Europe. Being that everyone has to pack relatively light any advice would be appreciated. For example are levi's or jeans considered too informal or is khaki pants more suited, etc. Thanks again. Also any ideas regarding a good comfortable walking shoe would be appreciated. I need to break in a pair before i go. Thanks again
geoseward is offline  
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Jul 29th, 2014, 12:38 PM
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Levis and jeans are perfectly acceptable, but khakis would take less room in your suitcase. As long as you're neat and clean, nobody cares about your wardrobe. I would bring the most comfortable pair of shoes you already own. Don't believe that old urban legend about nobody in Europe wearing athletic shoes, or white athletic shoes. It's just plain not true, and hasn't been for at least the past 20 years. I can't speak for the time before that.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 12:41 PM
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Whatever you would wear when visiting an American city will be acceptable in Europe. I now keep in mind a meeting of economic ministers in Europe where one sees a picture of Timothy Geithner wearing a suit and tie walking next to his French counterpart wearing jeans, a sports jacket and no tie.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 12:45 PM
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Khaki's will be more comfortable, I'm thinking. But jeans will be OK. "The Look" throughout Europe now consists of jeans, nice collared shirt, and sport coat at dressier places in the summer.

I totally agree with bclenci that jeans take up the most room in a suitcase. Just wear a sport coat onto the plane and you're set.

My husband wears Eccos, Keen Newport H2s, and athletic shoes abroad. Weather and type of trip determines which two he will take.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 12:48 PM
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I'd modify bvlenci's advice re the shoes. Although you can wear anything you want, the streets in many Italian cities are paved with small hard lava paving stones which are very uncomfortable to walk on. I'd get a couple of good pairs of hiking boots and alternate them. I wouldn't attempt the streets in athletic shoes unless you don't mind aching feet.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 12:49 PM
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For shoes take your feet to the store, try then on and walk around. No one else is going to know what fits your feet.

For touring as long as you are clean and presentable you should be fine. In Italy (and Vatican City) adults and teens need to cover legs to the knee, shoulders and bosom to be admitted to the cathedral.

If going to a very upscale restaurant make sure whatever you wear is smart - even if casual.

My bete noire is trying to have a lovely dinner when there is a guy sitting at the next table who hasn't shaved or showered and is displaying his bare hairy legs - and sometimes armpits - to the other diners. (There was actually a woman posting here some years ago whose husband objected to having to pack a shirt with sleeves to wear out to dinner. IMHO he should stick to McDonald's.)
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Jul 29th, 2014, 12:53 PM
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I can only tell you what my husband wears and packs, and we are always comfortable. He doesn't really wear khakis at home, so tries to pack his best jean type pants, some colors other than blue denim (black, dark grey, dark brown). He does wear athletic shoes, but because what he wears are also his work shoes, they are usually darker colored athletic shoes.

He layers cotton shirts with tee shirts, and if it's very hot, he wears a polo type collared shirt. Because he's a pretty plain dresser, most of his cotton buttoned shirts are in quiet colors, and his few polo type shirts are in darker solids.

He seldom takes a sport jacket, except in winter, when we are probably going to do some dressier activities in European cities.

I hope this help. Remember, this is just one guy, and there are a million other tourists around. I will say that we try to go to Europe twice a year, and this style of packing and dressing has worked well for him for several years worth of trips.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 01:09 PM
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I pack both jeans and khakis - if it rains khakis get wet in a minute so something sturdier may be needed. I also pack at least one jacket - you never know if you will be going somewhere elegant. And a tie needs so litte space. As an old Indian gentleman (old Parsi Indians are some of the few true Brits left on earth) once told me: how do you dare leaving for a foreign land, and not bringing with you a jacket and a tie?
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Jul 29th, 2014, 01:20 PM
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I assumed you were looking for practical advice and had perhaps already been intimidated by some Americans with European dress complex.

You really don't need a sports jacket unless you usually wear one. If you're going in the cooler months, a cardigan or pullover would do just as well. In autumn, a rain-and-wind resistant jacket to wear over a sweater or sweatshirt would probably come in handy, and even better if it has a hood. In a light rain, a hood can suffice instead of an umbrella. Umbrellas are annoying to hold up for hours on end.

You don't need polo shirts, or cotton buttoned shirts, or any kind of shirt other than what you usually wear. I suggest that you shouldn't wear a shirt that's ripped or stained, but that's about all.

Also, only some churches in Italy have dress requirements. When they do the rules are "knees and shoulders covered". That means you can wear t-shirts and long (below the knee) shorts. This will be safe at any church except St. Peter's Basilica, which officially requires that men (not women) wear long trousers, and will sometimes turn away men wearing long shorts. Women can wear anything that falls below the knee.

I've lived in Italy for 15 years, and travel all over, with my Italian husband who has lived here all his life. We've traveled all over Europe together and I haven't seen any place in Europe where any particular style of dress was frowned upon. I pack light and eat in decent restaurants, and I've never felt it necessary to have special clothing to "dress up" for dinner. If I change for dinner, it's only because I spilled something on my slacks at lunch, and I just change into whatever I was planning to wear the next day.

I'm puzzled about the remark about athletic shoes. Most athletic shoes have a good sturdy sole that will stand up to cobblestones. I would never wear hiking shoes in the city. They're mostly too heavy and hot. Leather shoes can take a lot longer to dry than most athletic shoes if it should rain. Make sure you either have waterproof or quick-drying shoes. I always take two pairs of shoes (or sandals in the summer) in addition to what I wear on the plane, because I find that changing shoes is a great relief to tired feet, and also it means you never have to wear damp shoes.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 01:24 PM
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Here's a picture of a crowd of Slovenians


My husband and I live in Europe and travel all over it and we wear athletic shoes most of the time, walking on cobblestones, and our feet do not ache. In fact, the only time I twisted my ankle was when I wasn't wearing athletic shoes. I was wearing a very rigid soled shoe.

i would find hiking boots much too heavy for normal walking around in a European city.

Unless your favorite and most comfortable shoes are really beat up and would embarass you, then you should wear the shoes you already know are comfortable rather than take a chance on shoes that you "break in."

But if you must buy new shoes, what works for other people may not work for you. There are some very popular brands of "comfort walking shoes" that give me back aches or whose soles are too thick for me. I see other people recommending them all the time without realizing that one type of shoe isn't right for everybody.

Last time I checked, Zappo had a really excellent policy of being able to return shoes. I recommend going to a shoe store, trying on lots of different kinds of shoes, and then ordering from Zappo's 2 or 3 of the brands and styles that seemed most comfortable. At home, you can spend more time with the shoes on your feet, wearing different socks, walking up and down stairs, and coming to a decision about which pair to buy and returning the others. If the shoes fit, you really shouldn't feel a need to "break them in."
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Jul 29th, 2014, 01:34 PM
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I wear shorts. I bring one pair of pale green long pants. I buy t-shirts in Europe. I have never brought dress shoes or a sports jacket.

But we are very simple people.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 01:41 PM
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I thought Canadians were born in a green fleece.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 02:09 PM
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I too was sort of startled by the boots suggestion. My husband's athletic shoes (stiffer sole type, though), Eccos and Keens all handle cobblestones just fine.

You said you were going on a tour. On our cycle tours, we do eat at some very upscale restaurants where jackets are required, so that's why I listed that. One of those was in Slovenia, BTW.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 03:11 PM
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Jeans are fine. But khakis are a bit more light weight, pack better, and dry quicker (if you do laundry). A pair of each would be fine.

Shoes you just need to go shopping and find a comfortable walking shoe or athletic shoe (in a dark color) that fits YOU. I would take 2 pair, just in case one gets wet, wears a blister, whatever. No boots.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 04:42 PM
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Look at

It is person on the street photos from Milan, Paris, NY, all ages but all with a sense of style. New posts daily.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 05:14 PM
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Ninety percent of the people in the photos taken by The Satorialist work in the fashion industry and are known to the photographer. They are rarely just "persons on the street". He repeatedly photographs the same people who are known for their "sense of style" and are quite ambitious to establish reputations as style setters. It is a fashion blog and not to be taken seriously about what to wear in Milan or anywhere.

Here is how men dress in Milan:

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Jul 29th, 2014, 05:20 PM
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I wear the same clothes when I travel as what I wear at home. Dress for the weather, wear comfortable shoes and don't worry about impressing a group of people you will never see again.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 05:24 PM
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IF you will need to do laundry while on your trip - jeans take forever to dry without dryers. Khaki's dry faster.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 05:28 PM
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Meant to add that there are lightweight darker color slacks, that are easy to wash/dry and are a bit dressier if need be.
An example:

OP didn't say when this trip happens, but khakis may be to thin for comfort if in winter.

Also, khakis show dirt much easier.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 05:30 PM
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I don't know when you're going to be in Croatia, but if it' summer, I'd pack a pair of shorts. Perfect for relaxing in the sun at the Buza Bar after walking the walls, or in Plitvice on a hike around that beautiful national park. You will not need a sports coat.

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