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Dress code for Paris for my husband...

My husband has an extremely casual style. And although he is a grown man of 30 he spends all summer in flip flops, plaid shorts, and cut off tank tops(some of them you can see his nipples). And although I generally smile at him like he is an amusing child I'm worried we won't be able to get into places in Paris with this casual attire. It is our first trip to Europe together and we are spending 8 days in Paris over my birthday in July and also our 9 year anniversary. I've found online most men in Europe wear pants, and we might not be allowed into some churches?

Basically what I need to know is where can we get into and where can we not. He also despises slacks, so the nice cloths he will bring is a pair of linen pants and a shirt from tommy Bahamas.

Any feedback would be very much appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Posted by
11450 posts

He will not have a problem with shorts in most churches.. specifically assume you are talking about Notre Dame.. perhaps St Chapelle.. Well Notre Dame they don't care.. but will likely not be impressed with the overall picture you have painted.. and St Chapelle is a decommissioned church so no one will care there either.

He will look out of place in that top you describe.. actually I am not sure what a cut off nipple showing shirt is... but it sounds awful.

My hubby is super casual too..but even he manages to cover his boobs in city touring.. different if you were doing a beach trip..then no one would think anything of it.

He also likely will regret his footwear choice.. flip flops are comfy.. but walking for miles and standing in lines will suck for his feet.. and the cobble stones, .. etc.. no support. Suggest he get some sandals with a thicker sole then flips..its not about fashion its about the amount of walking he will do ..

When I first saw title of your post my first thought was "there is no dress code"/. but sorry the nipple shirt sounds tacky. A regular t shirt is fine however.

Posted by
11450 posts

Ps.. if you were going to Italy would be a completely different answer. .they are much much stricter about dress codes for churches, its a Catholic country.. France is a secular country.

Posted by
607 posts

I dressed like that (with full tank top and covered nips, but sans flip flops) on our honeymoon in France when I was 30. Everytime i passed old women, they would make the sign of a cross and roll their eyes to heaven. Your husband has to understand, he is basically walking around in his underwear to a lot of Europeans. On our last trip to Italy, i wore convertible shorts to stay cool and zipped on the bottom leggings so that i could enter churches.

Posted by
3685 posts

Since this is your first trip to Europe, I highly recommend that you read and take to heart everything in this -- https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips -- section of this website. It should help y'all avoid lots of mistakes and embarrassments.

Assuming that Paris is the only place you are going, be sure to get Rick Steves' new 2016 guidebook on Paris. Also we found the Streetwise Paris laminated map a tremendous help.

You both have a steep learning curve and the more you know about the culture, including some very important polite words in French, the better trip you'll have.

To the clothing specifics, I also have a husband who dresses very casually and sometimes embarrasses me both at home and in Europe. But the lowest he goes is to wear jeans and a knit shirt, usually a long or short sleeve T -- even here at home in hot Tucson.

As Pat said, the most important articles of clothing for your trip are your shoes. We always wear supportive and comfortable walking shoes. You will be on your feet several hours a day, primarily on hard concrete and cobblestones. Make sure your shoes are a positive influence and not a negative one on your trip.

Posted by
6622 posts

No one is going to arrest him but it is extremely disrespectful to go into churches dressed like this. I assume you won't be eating in restaurants and he can probably be fed at cafes and fast food places. I would expect him to be turned away from nicer restaurants. And of course dressing so extremely boorishly in someone else's country is disrespectful and promulgates an image of Americans that is unpleasant.

Shorts are not going to be a problem in summer in France, even in Paris. They are not commonly worn but plenty of tourists will be in them. Jeans are practically a uniform for French people of all ages, although most people over 16 wear dark neat jeans and not worn, ripped up ones. A hacked off tank top with so little coverage is just gross and will not fit in in the slightest. A colored polo given that he is an adult, or even a decent looking t-shirt and he will slide by like a tourist. But the outfit you describe while legal is not acceptable.

Posted by
10056 posts

The linen pants and Tommy Bahamas shirt would be nice enough for almost anywhere. Shorts are fine, but the tank tops are ridiculous on a make over the age of 10. Maybe he would accept some Teva sandals in exchange for the flip flops. Even 30-year-olds can get sore feet.

Posted by
8293 posts

Sounds to me like 30 going on 12. In my city he would certainly be snickered at, except in winter when he would be taken to the nearest homeless shelter.

Posted by
13510 posts

My husband and I are casual dressers as well, and have done all of European trips in (tidy) denim, polo shirts (him) and lightweight, drip-dry tops (me). Nothing that begs for an iron, and no flipflops: there's NO way either of us could walk on cobbles and other tough surfaces all day in those, plus our feet would get filthy. We've also yet to pack shorts but that's a personal preference. As we don't eat in fancy places, we don't pack any 'dressy' clothes at all.

To date, we haven't felt out of place anywhere but the skimpy tank is most definitely out, and I'd trade out the plaid for a well-fitting pair of solid-color shorts: cargos are fine. His linen trousers and Tommy shirt (not too loud) will be fine as well for dinner at a nicer place.

Posted by
3491 posts

Normally I would suggest to someone to just wear what they do at home when traveling. But in this case NO.

The plaid shorts and flip flops are OK as long as he can walk on rough pavement for miles and not have any issues. I saw plenty of men wearing these two items on my trip last summer. Maybe they were tourists, maybe not, but it was warm weather and they looked comfortable.

The shirt? That would be a problem. I have difficulty even imagining an adult man wearing shirts like these much less even wanting to wear such shirts. I would suggest bringing t-shirts with sleeves that are not cut up or polo shirts. These would be acceptable in most places from what I have seen on my recent trips.

Posted by
1760 posts

Hi Amber, I'd re-think the linen pants and opt for a pair of quick-drying casual travel pants (like Eddie Bauer). The zip off ones might work for your husband as he could wear them as shorts most of the time. I know a lot of people wear linen, but it gets wrinkled immediately and (in my opinion), it looks like you slept in your clothes. Of course, if he's walking around Paris with a cut off tank top, people probably won't notice his pants!

Posted by
2000 posts

I agree with what janettravels44 says. IMHO she is never wrong. Besides being boorish and disrespectful, you will embarrass yourselves if your husband does not modify his clothing style when in Paris. It's a different place.

Posted by
21071 posts

I don't think it's the flip-flops most of us are reacting to.

Posted by
8773 posts

Many people love Paris, myself included. I'm making my 5th trip there this year. A few hate it and think Parisians or the French are rude. It's important to understand their culture, as they have their own way of doing things. If you are polite according to their standards, they will be polite to you. If they believe you are being rude to them, then don't expect to be treated as well. It's not necessary to dress formally, but if you dress respectfully it will influence how you are treated. But it's not just how you dress. Trust me, you will have a better time if you know more about the French regarding dining out, shopping, greeting people, etc. Learn how to say in French please, thank you, do you speak English, where is the bathroom.

Have a great trip!

Posted by
5172 posts

Three cheers for the original poster for asking such a question believing she would get thoughtful and helpful answers. I hope you feel that this is the type of answer you have received.

I hope you both have a wonderful birthday/anniversary trip together that will leave you will some very special memories.

Posted by
11450 posts

She might be looking for the TRUTH.. and she got the truth.. being fake nice does her or him no good.. she can now at least try and get her hubby to cover his nipples ..And I think most people were being honest and not unkind.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you for the comments hence forth, I have been reading them. I like the idea of the pants that turn into shorts. Next time we go to The Mall of America I will have to take him to Eddie Beauer(sp?). However, my better half is 6 foot 5 inches and we have a hard time finding stuff for him. He lifts weights and even won the Strong Man contest in our hometown one year. So when I mention these ridiculous tank tops they are muscle shirts for the gym. Mostly he just wants to be comfortable. Hopefully I can persuade him to dress nicer for his wife's dream vacation. I have already mentioned the flip flops a couple times, and he told me he will be fine. I bought a pair of walking cradle sandals for myself:)

Posted by
11450 posts

amber.. let him wear the flip flops.. they are his feet after all .. just secretly pack some bandaids etc.

My hubby endured bleeding blisters on his first trip to Paris.. I BEGGED him to wear in his new sandals well in.. before the trip.. lots of warning.. he assured me he would be fine.

Now he listens better.. lol

If your hubby is 6'5 and body builds .. he will stand out no matter where he goes.. if he doesn't care then guess you should just ignore him.. but I do think he should try and avoid those tank tops. a normal tshirt with short sleeves would certainly be a better choice. At least in evening do not try showing up at a restaurant in that tank top.. he may be admitted to all the casual places.. but he may get some looks .. and you may not find the service quite as nice.. If you plan on a really nice restaurant.. I imagine they may "lose" your reservation..

Posted by
27743 posts

If your strong man watches Worlds Strongest Man he will see that all the strongest men in the world always wear the most appropriate footwear for the task at hand.

Flip Flops won't work on the cobblestones and sand of Paris. He should be in at least sandals but better in closed shoes like trainers or sneakers.

Posted by
13510 posts

Good points about shoes and safety. Those flipflops are just not a good idea at all on a rainy day in Paris plus I wouldn't want my toes stepped all over in a crowded metro. Also, how many miles a day can he do in them? Sightseeing is a different animal than the normal routine; it's not unusual for us to put on 10+ miles in a day. Also good points about temperature: you could have days that are not all THAT warm.

But if he insists, at least have him pack a second pair of sturdier, closed-toe shoes.

The gap-y muscle shirts, on the other hand, really do need to stay home. Really. And this is coming from a hopeless tomboy (to her mother's despair).

Posted by
1422 posts

Youtube has a number of Paris walking tour videos. One thing I notice is that Parisians dress just as sloppy as Americans. Jeans, t-shirts, shorts, hoodies -- the entire tacky catalogue. Of course, the people in the video are not labeled as locals or tourists so my assessment isn't concrete. And locals who are well dressed on a weekday are likely to be professionals - no different than what you'd see in any big city.

Honestly, if the French ever had a claim to the title of Best Dressed Westerners, that day is long gone. I'd estimate the title now belongs to Amsterdam.

Posted by
2396 posts

If I were you I would pick my battles. Give up on the plaid shorts and and flip flops and try to convince him to leave the tank tops at home. Tee shirts are a better choice. You may not be welcome at the nicer restaurants (not that I know), but you should have no problems in the tourist zones.

Posted by
7 posts

What about going out in the evening in Paris to a nicer restaurant or club? How dressed up?

Posted by
914 posts

Mall of America? That means you live in the north--what the heck does he wear the rest of the year! :)

In all seriousness, Eddie Bauer and similar companies carry tall sizes online and in their catalogues even if they don't have tall sizes in the store. If you order online and it doesn't fit you should be able to return the item to the store. But if he has Eric Heiden-sized thighs, I wish you much luck. Have fun! And yeah, pack an extra pair of shoes for him.

Posted by
8293 posts

Sorry to be so curious, but what does this man wear to, say, a wedding, a funeral, to work, to a job interview, to Christmas dinner at Grannie's? Does he actually turn up looking like a beach bum on such occasions?

Posted by
13510 posts

Rachel, I live in the same climate (and possibly the same city) as Amber, and a big-fella next-door neighbor shoveled snow in shorts unless it was just brutally cold. I know biggish guys who wear short-sleeved T's all year long. Her hubster probably tends to overheat in a hurry if he pumps iron regularly at the gym.

But he's apparently a sweet enough fella to take her to Paris for her birthday so he's a keeper…no matter how he likes to dress! :O)

Posted by
428 posts

On one of these threads a while back I saw a suggestion to look at some street-level videos of Paris, so you can see what people are actually wearing. Sorry, I don't have a link to such a video, but it can't be too hard to find.

Your husband sounds like our son (also 6' 5", and a strong, sculpted workout guy). I think he mostly likes the looks he gets in those outfits and occasionally doesn't, but that's his style. What's the worst that will happen if he dresses like that in Paris? (Seriously, you guys should talk about that).

He might tone it down as a concession to you for this trip (or part of this trip) or so you can gain entrance to certain places, restaurants included. But if he's like my son, a little bit of that goes a long way because it's basically telling him he's unacceptable. He probably doesn't want to hear that. (Does anyone?)

Like others, I'd worry more about his feet than anything else.

Posted by
2000 posts

The clothes you wear are not the most important thing about your vacation of course, but how the OP's husband dresses seems a bit extreme for an adult -- even for Paris in July. I think most replies tried to accommodate his casual style, but suggest something more appropriate, that might make him and his wife more comfortable in Paris -- where you are often judged by how you look. Parisians are used to tourists and there will be a lot of them in July dressed all kinds of ways. Parisians dress casually too, but they are going to look good, and appropriate. Since this is their first time in Paris, and they seem to care, I think it's good they are getting some realistic advice.

Posted by
8405 posts

Sorry Wonderful, but saying she smiles at her husband like an amusing child sets the tone for every answer that follows.

Posted by
21071 posts

I figure the flip-flops aren't going to last long, for obvious reasons. It has just occurred to me that a 6'5" guy may have rather large feet. If that is the case, I don't know how easy it would be to find shoes that fit in Paris. It's not a simple matter in the US if you're a Size 15. While it can be very interesting to go on a quest for a real-world object like a pair of shoes in a different country, it might not be how the poster and her husband would choose to spend a lot of time on an 8-day trip to Paris. So I agree that it would be very, very smart to pack a second pair of shoes. And moleskin and bandages.

Posted by
3685 posts

You can do a Google images search for -- Paris street style summer men -- and get tons of pictures. I'm sure many will make you laugh as they did me. If you leave the men off, the pictures will be overwhelmingly of women. Add 2015 to make them more specific. Leave summer off and you'll get lots of coats.

As others have mentioned, it can be hot or not while you are there. When we were there the first 2-3 weeks of June 2012 it was very cold and wet all across northern France.

Personally, I think it would be very cool and you both could have a lot of fun going shopping in Paris. Bone up on the right European sizes and have fun!

Posted by
2580 posts

Watch a few of Rick's videos and check out a) what he wears and b) what other folks in the background wear.

Doesn't hurt to dress like you're going to visit your grandma, long pants most of the time, shorts occasionally, shirts with collars. The little things. Shoes sound like an argument just on their own. And don't forget you'll be shuffling in and out of airports where you have to walk barefoot from time to time, and you'll be on airplanes which tend to be cold and bone dry.

Posted by
759 posts

You describe hubby as a "grown man" of thirty but If you smile at him like an amusing child, how in heaven's name do you expect the rest of the world to treat him. I reality he is just a 30 year old possessor of XY chromosomes. First impressions start with appearance and they can't readily be undone. You will not be thrown out of most restaurants and other places but you should not be surprised if you are treated like less than an welcome guest. Read Rick's guides on packing light and just do it, maybe as a favor to the rest of us American tourists.

Posted by
13510 posts

Irv, my husband and I don't use Rick's guidelines for packing light. We check luggage, do not pack anything fancier than jeans and solid walking shoes, do not wear moneybelts, do not eat at the hours a book tells us we should, and do not book tours unless it's mandatory to do so.

Every one of our European trips have been a roaring success in spite of it all, and we've never been treated as less than a welcome guest. Many times it has less to do with what you look like than how you behave?

We all travel differently. There's no right or wrong unless it doesn't work for the individual experiencing and paying for the trip? I'd like Amber and her husband to find whatever ground they can agree on for both to be comfortable on THEIR adventure together, and have a terrific time in a fascinating city.

Posted by
13510 posts

Let's just say we warm the seats up nicely for the late diners. :O)
We only eat twice a day - breakfast and dinner - so we're pretty doggone peckish by 5:30 -6:00 or so!

Amber, please do come back and chat with us some more?

Posted by
47 posts

wow. the dogma in this conversation is getting thick. no french give a rat's fandango about how americans dress. check the titles: RS' books are guidebooks, not bibles. i'm sending my best wishes to the OP for a great trip regardless of footwear and dress.

Posted by
8293 posts

Mike: the OP asked for feedback on her husband's style choices. All the responses are what was asked for.

Posted by
7 posts

I did not think this topic would have such a wildly vast spectrum of opinions. I especially liked the idea of bringing my husband to the gay district. That made me laugh. I also am grateful for all of the support. My husband went backpacking in Europe years ago and met up with a family friend whom resides in London. This gentleman said that people stared at my husband all the time, especially the ladies...Whatever that is suppose to mean. I bring this up because I mentioned this is our first trip to Europe, but we have both been there independently before we were married. So, he does have an idea of what he is getting himself into. He simply has a wonderful does not give a **** attitude about others opinions of him. Not to mention between the two of us we have about 20 tattoos.

These however are the least of my problems. Since the day my husband asked me to go to Paris with him I have been taking French lessons everyday. I have also lost 15lbs so I can wear some pre-baby dresses in Paris. Yesterday I ran 7 miles with a baby and a black lab. I am fully dedicated to being the best me for Paris. However, with the recent attacks my husband is considering canceling our trip. And his parents want us to cancel too. But I still want to go. Pretty sure the Mall of America gets just as many threats as anywhere and we still go there.

Posted by
11450 posts

Cancel a trips that is months away???

We will be on Paris a month or two before you and are not even considering cancelling, my 19 yr is leaving for 2 month in europe at end of april, and cancelling has never come up.

Things can happen anywhere, but i guess evrryone has to do what makes them feel safer.

Posted by
13510 posts

Noooooooo! July is months away; no need for hasty decisions!

This is an entirely separate topic (very glad you've popped back in) but I'm more sure than not that those of us on this thread would be staying the course in your situation. Woinparis works weekly, I believe, in the city, and oodles of people kept their vacation plans after the attack last year. That is not to mention the several million who live there and who went on with life.

It is, of course, a very personal decision but what would I be doing at this point? Exactly what you are...except the excess I'm trimming is the usual I tend to put on every MN winter; nothing as exciting as a new baby!

So to heck with what he packs; the mission now is to get that man THERE!

Posted by
13510 posts

To add, I've just checked our U.S. State dept, page for travel to France and there are no specific alerts at all. In fact, they state on the current alert for Belgium that "We are not advising U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Europe or to any particular country in this Travel Alert."

As standard State Dept. cautions are considered among frequent U.S. travelers abroad to lean to the extreme, this is significant.

Posted by
2893 posts

amberjoyX0X0,
I like your attitude. Unless you live on Muscle Beach, I am pretty sure that your husband gets looks when he walks around in his attire in the USA. If he does not mind and it is not going to ruin his or your trip, just adopt the same attitude in Paris. As said up thread, he will not be prevented from entering churches or museums, etc. He will not get into some restaurants in his day wear but I think that a pair of linen pants and a collared shirt will be fine for all but the places that require a jacket. Is your husband willing to wear sneakers and socks? My husband wears that everyday in the summer in Paris along with solid, cargo shirts and a polo shirt (the style not the brand) without any problems and he is the same height as your husband. By the way, no one will stare at you for having tattoos in Paris. Maybe, you will each get one to celebrate this trip. I am heading to Paris next month and recent events have not caused us to cancel. I would not cancel a July trip now.

Posted by
39 posts

Maybe he could accept khaki pants worn in the latest style of rolled up cuffs (like in the 1950s!. And for yourself as well, look at the web google "street fashion paris 2016". You will see tons of amateur photos of people in the streets wearing clothes that the photographer thinks are fashionable (not like in the magazines who only tip you off on what to wear to a gala or embassy event!). I've gotten some sensible tips over the years from those photos.

I live in southern CA, most people wear flip flops around town (I certainly do), but I wouldn't wear them in Paris. I would buy him 8 Tommy Bahamas shirts (or look a like ones) and some sneakers. Also, when he is out of the house, I would collect all the tank tops and throw them in someone else's trash can... The nicer you look, the better you will be treated and in return you will gain more from your travels!

Good luck!

Posted by
6642 posts

amber joy please report back after your trip.

Posted by
28 posts

I'd leave him at home. You'll undoubtedly be able to find much better once you arrive
.

Posted by
8 posts

I browsed through most of the replies on this thread and was a little surprised that no one mentioned the cool-dry/moisture wicking "golf" or polo shirts. I know that knit and polo shirts were mentioned, but when traveling, my super casual hubby lives in those tops. They don't wrinkle, they're easy to clean if needed while traveling, and helps keep him cooler. It also is a little more accepted than a muscle shirt. Although, my hubby isn't a Strong Man participant, so there is that. :)

Amber - check out Eddie Bauer, the sporting goods stores, and the "active" sections at Macy's, etc., at MOA. You should find something there. The linen pants would be breathable, but would also be a wrinkle disaster and look as if they were packed in a rolled up ball. if you're trying to dress him a little nicer... I'd take advantage and look at the travel pants that another poster mentioned, or wrinkle-resistant khakis. Even if you pack only one pair of pants for dinners, it is well worth it. We tried to walk up to a restaurant for lunch (hubby in shorts) and we were turned away because of dress code. We didn't have a reservation either, so we weren't offended, but there is always that chance if you're too casual without a backup plan.

Posted by
8405 posts

Good suggestion from Carolyn. Along those lines, someone suggested golf pants for men a few years ago. That was the best solution for my husband; they wick, don't wrinkle, and you don't have to buy plaid. They do come in solid colors. The only drawback is the logo along the waistband, but he doesn't care because he's comfy.

Posted by
11832 posts

I'm with Lo, use Google street view to get an idea what people on the street are actually wearing.

Just walking around sight-seeing is different than going out for dinner.

I think he can do fine with shorts most days but should plan decent pants (I like golf pants because they're light and wash/dry easily) for evenings. As far as shirts go, a decent t-shirt, polo or button up casual shirt will be fine as long as it's serviceable - again, something nicer (like a button-up casual shirt) in the evening.

Shoes can be an issue too, both from the perspective of being too casual, giving too little support and/or self-destructing during the trip. He should bring something semi-dressy (even top-siders or leather sneakers that are in good shape) for when he needs it and a sturdier pair of sandals so he doesn't feel like he's walking barefoot on rocks all day.