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Europe Trip Attire

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    Europe Trip Attire

    I will be traveling to Europe for 4 weeks in July and while this is not my first time to Europe, it will be my first where I actually care about my attire. In the past, a cheap t-shirt, shorts/jeans, and New Balances sufficed, but now I'd like to not stick out like a total American tourist.

    I will be in Spain, France, Greece, and Dublin so I'll need warm and cooler weather clothes (and it all needs to fit in a carry-on because I hate to check luggage). So I have my work cut out for me in terms of look and functionality.

    My tentative packing list is:

    2 khaki shorts

    1 pair of khakis (JCrew urban slim lightweight Essex pants)

    2-3 long sleeve light weight shirts

    2 shirtsleeve shirts

    3 polos

    4 t-shirts

    1 light weight sweater

    1 rain jacket

    1 swim suit

    1 pair driving loafers

    1 pair Rainbow sandals

    1 pair Toms

    I'm undecided on jeans and possibly a pair of tennis shoes (like Asics Tigers or some Converse). I just don't know what the Euro style is right now.

    Would love any input or suggestions. Thanks in advance for the help.


    I work for a French company and the Interns that we get seem to be very much into the classic updated American look like J.Crew and Lands End Canvas. Their pants are definitely slim like the JCrew Urban Slim, or even slimmer and their clothes are very fitted. They also seem to be into boat shoes, which are not on your list. Not sure if they dress this way over there, since I haven't been in a awhile but that's what I'm seeing them wear here. I would definitely add a pair of jeans to your list.





        Picking the right clothes may require more info as to what you'll be doing. Staying at a friend's house and laying on the beach all day? Or staying at 5 star hotels, going to nice restaurants, etc, in the middle of the city?

        Without knowing exactly where you'll be, shorts are for going to the beach in Europe (anywhere outside the US, really), that's it. So, bring one pair of shorts, add a second pair of khakis.

        I would bring far less shirts. My general rule is 4 shirts, plus the one I travel in, sometimes an extra T-shirt if I'm going to be going to the beach, gym, hiking, whatever. You just have to find a way to wash them. I would recommend polos over short sleeve button downs.

        I would bring a lightweight blazer instead of a sweater. I guess that's a matter of preference, but I think it is more versatile.

        I would bring the jeans. Actually, I would wear the jeans on the plane, since they will take up more space in the bag than khakis.

        I never travel with sandals, but if you're going to be on the beach a lot, it may make sense.

        I'm sometimes in 5, 6 or more countries a month, and I never check bags. My advice is pick the essentials - the stuff you NEED, then add the most versatile, then see how much room you have left in the bag. Also make a decision about when and where you'll be able to / willing to do laundry.



          Shorts are like giant neon signs for American tourists in Europe. From what I can tell, and from my experiences in Europe, Europeans do not wear shorts and they regard them as strictly children's wear. I've seen some European men wear longer capri-style shorts, but I wouldn't recommend trying to copy that particular trend.

          Ultimately, you aren't going to be able to "blend" with the locals, no matter how hard you try. Especially if you lack proficiency with the language and the subtleties of the local culture. The best you can hope to do is to distinguish yourself from the crowds of other tourists wearing shorts, t-shirts, and sneakers. I would omit the shorts and t-shirts from your packing list and stick to lightweight trousers and collared shirts like polos or lightweight button-ups.

          If you add jeans like Juan suggests, I would stick to a fairly dark wash and a slim cut.




            @VespaMatt: spot on sir.



              You're going to some very different places -- people from Greece and Spain will look very out of place in Dublin, and vice versa. Greeks wear lots of very light clothing in the summer -- light colored linen shirts and the like. Northern Europeans will wear dark jeans, dark colored suits, and so on year-round. France spans both climates -- Paris is northerly, but Provence is more like southern Europe. I'd bring basically two sets of clothes to suit the two basic environments. So, for pants, I'd bring one light pair of linen pants or linen-cotton, another pair of grey or olive chinos, and wear one pair of dark jeans on the plane (along with a button shirt, a light blazer and some leather shoes, like your drivers, that you can walk a long way in.) I'd bring one light button up shirt, like a poplin, and a couple of polos and wear an oxford cloth shirt on the plane. Pack your light shoes - like your Toms - for Greece and Spain. If you want to avoid stereotypes, Europeans have told me that they notice that Americans wear tan colored pants ("khakis"), sneakers, t-shirts, and talk very loudly. Also, I noticed that nobody wears button-down collars over there, but it's not like anyone cares about that. I'm assuming you're not going for business or some formal event. Nice occasions, and even many restaurants, will feel way dressier than over here. At a nice dinner at a nice restaurant in Paris, you'll feel out of place with chinos and a polo shirt.



                I say all that because I was all over Europe recently for work, and I'm going again (exclusively to the north) in a few weeks, so I've been thinking along these same lines. I'll only be there a week, and it's business-casualish, so my packing list will be very different from yours. I'm thinking that I'll have a charcoal suit, white spread collar shirt, dark tie and black cap toes for nice dinners and presentations. For casual wear, I'll bring dark jeans, some non-tan chinos, a couple of oxford shirts, a grey cotton sport coat and some beater brown wingtips. With that, I won't embarrass myself too much. (No beach time for me, so I can skip the shorts and sandals.)

                But, look, your list is probably fine anyway. Just don't be a jackass and you'll be fine.



                  Thanks for all the responses guys! I guess I should have been more clear about the purpose of the celebrate my acceptance to graduate school. I will be focused on soaking up sun on the beach, running with the bulls in Pamplona, partying late into the night, visiting friends living abroad in Paris and Dublin, and sightseeing (although I have already visited Madrid, Paris, and Athens). While I love good food and getting dressed up, I think this trip dictates a more casual wardrobe, hence no blazer or dress shoes.

                  I will definitely add the jeans and another pair of lightweight khakis (light gray) in lieu of the shorts and cut down on the number of shirts. I will try to mix in at least one or two shirts with some color.

                  Any opinions on whether to bring a pair of tennis shoes? I own a pair similar to these and have always thought they were somewhat "Euro" - I thought they would be good for Pamplona and occasionally wearing for big walking days. Of course, I could be wrong and these would be seen as very American.

                  Thanks again for the help guys!



                    You'll be hanging out on the beach in Greece and Spain? Yeah, bring a pair of shorts, and enjoy yourself! And a t-shirt will work just fine on the beach, too, but you can always pick one up when you're out there. Congrats on your graduation.



                      I would say basketball/athletic shorts are not common in europe. Yet, chino shorts are perfectly OK and showing some leg is much more common place than the inseams so popular here that fall at or below the kneecap.



                        When in Rome... wear Capris!!!



                          If you're going to be doing a lot of walking around and sight seeing on certain days, forget about style and wear comfortable shoes. Who cares what a bunch of strangers think if you end up with blisters all over your feet?

                          If I know I'm going to be doing a lot of sight seeing, I bring a pair of Merrell hiking shoes. They are fairly subtle - solid brown aside from the thicker rubber sole - but they wouldn't pass any amount of scrutiny. They're clearly hiking shoes. But they're great for walking, waterproof if I get caught in the rain, and they keep me going so my vacation is ruined by some sore, wet feet.

                          Just make sure you have something to change into if you go to the bars at night...