Self-conscious about your travel style? Wondering if it’s up to snuff by Europe’s standards? Judging from conversations on our Forums, determining what to wear abroad isn’t as simple as dressing for the weather. A simple question about what not to wear in Europe can yield torrents of clothing do’s and don’ts that hardly reflect the current state of fashion in Europe. The world is getting smaller; here are a few fashion faux pas that — with a little discretion — travelers to Europe shouldn’t be afraid to disregard.
Rule #1: Sneakers scream touristo!
Actually only white, bright, and bulky athletic shoes will mark you as an out-of-towner. Chic Europeans are known to kick around in tennies of all colors that are casual and comfortable but not gym-appropriate.
Rule #2: A suitcase is no place for linen
While linen should never be worn on long flights, it should be included on your packing list if you’re partial to the breezy fabric at home. Don’t worry — with a little ingenuity, you can combat the wrinkles.
Rule #3: Slacks, not shorts — even during heat waves
Children in Europe are often seen wearing shorts in warm weather, but it’s not a preferred fashion item for European adults. If, however, the shorts are carefully selected you can get away with it. Various lengths, including capri pants and city shorts, are the grown-up alternative.
Recommended Fodor’s Video
Rule #4: Jeans don’t jive in Europe’s word-class cities
Denim is beloved around the world — there’s little reason to leave your favorite jeans at home. Women may find that smart trouser-style jeans make the transition from a day’s sightseeing to an evening meal best.
Rule #5: Avoid matching sets of clothing
It’s true — track suits are the epitome of matching too well. While certainly easy to pack because they’re easy to pair, most are too relaxed. Exercise your penchant for simplicity with layered pieces in neutral colors that can be easily interchanged. Sweater sets, for instance, consisting of a shell and a cardigan, are just right for those days that include multiple museum or church stops; you’ll appreciate the coverage.
Rule #6: Don’t dine at Paris’s Taillevant without your tux
A tie and a jacket are not necessarily the uniform of all gourmands when dining out; if you’re trying to slim down your suitcase you may want to consider losing the bulky blazer. Research the dress codes of the restaurants you’ll be patronizing before you go to determine the appropriate attire.
Rule #7: European teens dress with decorum
Parents dragging their teens to Europe needn’t fret over their son or daughter’s wayward fashion sense; there are cringe-worthy teen trends there too. Concern yourself instead with protecting your credit card from your 16-year-old, who may wish to adopt local fashion statements with a swipe.
Rule #8: Don’t schlep around town with any type of “pack”
Fanny packs and large back packs may be a no-no for anyone attempting not to look touristy. That said, there are certain types of bags and carry-alls that don’t offend delicate European sensibilities. Keep your guide books, maps, and camera in a secure tote, like a messenger bag.
— Katie Hamlin
Primed for your European vacation? Start packing and planning with these tips!
Photo credits: (1) ©Istockphoto/ Natalia Bratslavsky; (2)©Istockphoto/ Kelly Borsheim; (3) ©Istockphoto/ Lise Gagne.