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  • Visiting Spain, Shoe Recomendations?

    I am visiting Paris, Portugal, and Spain this summer and am looking for recommendations on two things:

    1. What to wear?
    2. Recommendations to buy shoes while in Spain?

    First, I realize these are two wildly different questions, but maybe someone travels to Europe and could shed some light. I am a fairly conservative man age 45 that will be traveling with my wife and two teenage children and while I know I will appear like a tourist, I refuse to look like the "Typical American" tourist. I Think Europeans dress slightly more conservative and France is the fashion capital, so I don't want to embarrass myself. Anyone have any suggestions for a July trip?

    Next, I would like to buy a pair of nice leather shoes in Europe, most likely Spain or maybe Portugal. I think it would be nice to have a little reminder of my trip and hopefully get a really nice pair of shoes as well. If anyone has recommendations please let me know. I will be traveling to France, all over Spain, and southern Portugal so all recommendations will be appreciated.

    I have never traveled outside north and south America and Hawaii (my wife doesn't like to travel), and have never been to Europe so this is all new and I am open to any suggestions.

  • #2
    Not sure how hot it'll be when you go, but my go to outfit for europe is chinos, clark bushacres and a mix of ocbd's and t's. I like to travel light and take as few items as possible so versatility is key. While I may not be pegged as a local due to my style, I definitely look better than the other tourists, both american and foreign (who can dress sloppy as well). Avoiding the backpack with camera and map in hand probably helps avoid that tourist look as well.

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    • #3
      I've never been to France or Portugal. I haven't been to Spain in over 20 years, and I wasn't there very long.

      If I was travelling to Madrid, I would try to stop by the Meermin store, and probably find a Carmina store too. With the VAT, I'm not sure you would save much by purchasing there. I would focus on finding the lasts that fit best.

      This article claims the Parisians nail down the basics, maybe add an item or two for flair, and make it look effortless.

      If I was travelling to France, I would probably re-read "Cultural Misunderstandings: The French-American Experience" by Raymonde Carroll. It was written by an anthropologist, but it is not a scientific treatise. It's very readable and insightful.

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      • #4
        Spain: Carmina , Yanko, and Meermin
        France: Septieme Largeur? They do nice patinas among other things.

        As far as I know, if you show stores you're not EU, they drop the VAT right there.

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        • #5
          Spain: Mezlan for shoes

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          • #6
            I can't comment much on Paris, but I go to Spain every 2 years or so (Barcelona and surrounding area mainly). I usually try to avoid the big box retailers over there (Corte Ingles is a popular one) and stuff on La Rambla since there are just so many cool little independent places to explore. If you are looking for brands, check out Massimo Dutti since it's about 30% less than what you would pay in the States, Purificacion Garcia, and Adolfo Dominguez. But I would strongly suggest taking the time to explore a little off the beaten path; I've found some great quality, unique pieces in some unexpected places, especially with regards to shirts, sport coats, ties and belts. Have a great trip!

            edited to add
            With regards to what to wear: in Spain at least, I didnt find they wore anything radically different than what peopple do in the States: polos, jeans, linen shirts. They just tend to focus a lot more on fit, tailoring and general quality. Shorts and running shoes are not very popular (at least where I go; southern Spain may be different). A pair of suede chukkas wouldnt be out of place although you will probably see more sandels. More sport coats and blazers to be sure, even casual settings.

            If you're expecting everyone to be dressed like a GQ photoshoot, dont worry about it. The only places I saw that level of attention to detail was La Rambla and Malta, believe it or not. It seemed like everyone in Malta was dressed to kill!
            Last edited by JohnG; April 1st, 2016, 10:10 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by winghus View Post
              Spain: Carmina , Yanko, and Meermin
              France: Septieme Largeur? They do nice patinas among other things.

              As far as I know, if you show stores you're not EU, they drop the VAT right there.
              They do not drop VAT right there. They give you a form and you go to a place in the airport to get your tax back. Also a lot of places have a minimum for getting your tax back so you have to spend at least a threshold and ask to get the tax back form. Usually you end up paying per receipt at the airport as well.

              Originally posted by Alex1 View Post
              I've never been to France or Portugal. I haven't been to Spain in over 20 years, and I wasn't there very long.

              If I was travelling to Madrid, I would try to stop by the Meermin store, and probably find a Carmina store too. With the VAT, I'm not sure you would save much by purchasing there. I would focus on finding the lasts that fit best.

              This article claims the Parisians nail down the basics, maybe add an item or two for flair, and make it look effortless.

              If I was travelling to France, I would probably re-read "Cultural Misunderstandings: The French-American Experience" by Raymonde Carroll. It was written by an anthropologist, but it is not a scientific treatise. It's very readable and insightful.
              I would agree Parisians have a minimal style and very well put together. I cannot comment on summer style though as I have only been in colder months and standard Dappered fits fit in pretty well.

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              • #8
                I was in Portugal (Lisbon) for the first time in September of last year and I fell in love with it. Weather was kind of all over the place but they have warm days and cool nights most of the time. I am not sure what the weather will be like in July but as far as shoes go make sure you wear very comfortable shoes with some tread. A lot of the streets are cobblestone and Portuguese pavement which can both get slick; And Lisbon at least is a lot of uphill/downhill walking (think San Francisco).

                In Spain definitely check out Meermin and Carmina if possible.

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                • #9
                  My wife spent a semester in college in Spain and we went together on a vacation about 7 years ago. We were in our mid-20s then and I had no sense of personal style; unfortunately I stood out a bit in my clothing choices.

                  For part of our trip we spent some time in the quasi-ghost town of Albarracin, which features some excellent hiking opportunities in the adjacent hills - I was happy to have my decidedly non-stylish Nikes with me just for the support over countless walked and hiked miles. I highly recommend a visit there if at all possible, but I'm sure you have your trip planned out.

                  Unfortunately I can't recommend much specifically for shoes beyond focusing on having something supportive and comfortable for the inevitable long walks (like getting off at the wrong subway station in Madrid and walking several unexpected miles to find your hotel).

                  If I were to go today I'd have several linen shirts and linen/cotton pants with me for the warmer days.
                  Last edited by EnchinoMan; April 1st, 2016, 10:47 PM.

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