we are going to europe end of may ...would it be feasable to wear shorts......please advise ...thanks fred
You can wear them but add some white socks and tennis shoes so that you really look like an unaware American tourists. Makes my travels safer.
I don't really get why people obsess so much over not looking like a tourist. You are one and everyone can tell, no matter what you try to do.
The only place I noticed a huge difference in attire was Italy. And that was because every other local woman seemed to be in skin tight pants, stiletto boots and those gigantic sunglasses, even the matronly ones.
Absolutely feasible! Wear what you feel comfortable in and there is nothing wrong with shorts!
i would like to thank every replying to my inquiry.
very much appreciated!!!!
I"m more comfortable not wearing shorts and blending in a bit. Having said that, I'd estimate that about 90% of American tourists you encounter will be wearing shorts.
Wear what you want to be comfortable, but realize that the weather may be too cool to wear shorts, depending on where you are traveling. According to various people during my travels, the U.K. and northern Europe were unusually chilly last spring and summer.
You could wear the zip-off pants or even try the capri pants that European men have been wearing the past two summers that I've been in Italy and France.
It's an absolute 'no-no' to wear shorts while having a private audience with his holiness the Pope or when attending Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's private dinner parties.
If you're not going to do either of those two options, wear whatever you like, it's your vacation - enjoy !
Nobody seems to mind when I wear my Oxford college scarf and Nottinghamshire cricket jumper on cold days in Chicago. I don't give a fig for fashion critics, on either side of the Atlantic !
We definitely need to be comfortable. Depending on where and who you are visiting and what activity you're involved in, dressing a bit more formally is a sign of respect.
Just a warning-a relative was in Germany last summer, and they got a lot of stares when they wore shorts. They're in their 40's and on the heavy side. Two men actually pointed at them and laughed. They said they wish someone had told them not to wear shorts. Not RS fans, apparently.
How do you spot a tourist in Southern Europe?
They are the ones sweating in their long pants as every other nationality is running around in shorts.
It depends on where you are and what you are doing what is the appropriate dress. That said, just get several pairs of the rip-stop nylon pants with zip-off legs. That way you can wear them long when in a big city or a church and zipped off when hiking or out in the country.
Last year "Man Capris" were all the rage in Europe. So I wouldn't worry about shorts.
I used to pack zip off pants to wear as shorts when I wanted. I found I never took the legs off. Now I pack only nuetral colored casual microfiber pants and one swim suit with pockets that can double as shorts. I also don't do cargo pants anymore. I found I really didn't use the leg pockets and they don't dress up as well.
Whatever you are most comfortable with won't be the end of the world. The worst that could happen is you decide not to wear something you packed once you get over there. Then you're lugging extra stuff around for no reason.
When we were in Barcelona in 2006, there were women being turned away because they were wearing short-shorts (mainly North Americans), and spaghetti strap tops. I have never understood why anyone would dress that way to visit a church or Cathedral, even here in the US.
You can see that you will receive 25 different opinions on this question.
I always dress for comfort and disregard what others think.
Do you actually think others care what you wear or can remember tomorrow what you wore yesterday?
Isn't it funny in desert countries where the temps often top 100 degrees,, the natives don't wear shorts. Why do people think shorts are cooler?? Lightwieght pants that are loose and light colored are just as cool, if not cooler, and for ladies a flowy skirt is cool.
I do think the newer shorts I see out now are a nice look though, they are longer , right over the knee, but not quite as long as capris,, they would " pass" you into a church , they are not baggy or sporty looking though, I think they look sharp.
Short shorts are for kids, teens, and Daisy Duke.
Fred, you don't mention where you will be going. If you are hiking the countryside, the shoreline, or perhaps visiting small villiages -- shorts would be appropriate. If you plan to spend time in the big cities, please re-consider wearing them. In May, it may not even be that warm to wear them. I'm all for being comfortable on vacation, and realize you can't bring an extensive wardrobe, but I also think there is such a thing as being respectful of the countries you are visiting. I am dismayed by those who say "I'm a tourist, and don't care who knows it" as an excuse to dress inappropriately. I think shorts on anyone over 12 is inadvisable in European cities, and for men, a particularly unfortunate choice! I opt for a little dignity and respect, to go along with my comfort - it can be done!
Europeans wera shorts just on the beach or riding a bike.
I agree, in a church(anywhere in the world) people have to wear "decent" clothes, such long pants, no spagetti straps, or short skirts.I've seen ladies here in the US wearing mini skirts in a church.That's so rude.
Personally, I don't wear shorts in the city, here or abroad unless I am doing something like a theme park. That said, I don't care if I blend in -- I am from the south, and as soon as I open my mouth in any language EVERYONE knows I am not a local. Since I have no intention of remaining silent throughout my vacation, I wear what I like and move on.
This seems to be one of the most common questions out there (appropriate dress, behaviour, etc.), and it always strikes some people as silly. They wonder why anyone should care about sticking out like a tourist! I tend to agree that you should wear what is comfortable and not obsess, but at the same time these posts warm my heart. THANK YOU to everyone out there that has ever wondered about these things - it's a little thing, but it's sign of respect. Yes, countries need tourism dollars, but they don't need disrespectful interlopers that want everything to be on their terms. Heaven knows how we Americans get when people from other countries come here and do something we consider gauche or insensitive.
As far as shorts go - lightweight pants are far more practical for foreign travel. Bring a really good pair of sandals to keep your feet and ankles (no socks) cool.
Cat -- it's a visual thing. It's a visual "pollution" of the city to wear shorts, tank tops, running shoes, etc, and to look so obviously out of place and different from the people living there. What is the advantage? It marks you as prey for pick pockets for one, and it's not more difficult to dress more appropriately. I personally love to blend in with the natives, and act/look as if I live there, it's even more fun.
I generally wear a lightweight skirt rather than shorts - it's actually cooler. Shorts are fine for hiking and resort areas, but the skirt works for most everything. If I'm wearing shorts (i.e. biking), I carry the skirt to slip on easily. I also sometimes carry a lightweight scarf to cover my shoulders (more of an issue in Italy/Spain/Turkey).
Since Fred did not say where in Europe he will be travelling...It's difficult to answer this question. I think a quick check of the forecast for the end of May at destination will help him answer this question for himself.
My best guess would be that it will not be overly warm to warrent wearing shorts. I personally don't wear shorts, unless I'm on the Beach. I don't like unwanted attention from undesirable Men when I'm travelling solo. I sometimes wear skirts but Fred probably won't want to explore that option!!
Maybe just find some lightweight looser fitting pants? Those will be more versatile in the City, I think.
Oops - didn't pay attention to "Fred" rather than "Betty". Again, though, May is pretty early for shorts (we were in Dalmatia - Croatia coast) in mid June and while we wore bike shorts and enjoyed swimming some days, evenings were cool.
I go to Europe every summer during August and September and always take along 2 pairs of long-zip-off leg pants that convert to shorts in a minute. I have never not ended up using shorts somewhere in that month. I do respect the local customs when possible, but, I'll be darned if I am going to be uncomfortable to the point where I feel bad physically just to blend in.
First, let me say that I live in shorts 8 or 9 months of the year, and the other 3 or 4 it is blue jeans. Living in Sacramento, and working outside or in unairconditioned buildings, shorts are acceptable, even for us middle aged guys.
As for those who find shorts in church to be distasteful, one must go with the local custom, but I am unaware of any passage in the Bible that specifically forbids the wearing of shorts in a church, even in the old testament books of law it cannot be found. The Bible calls on people to worship, but does not say only if you dress in a specific manner. That said, when in Rome....
Most people would disagree with my choice of clothing, but I still wear it because that is me. I take a couple of pairs of my carpenters jeans and shorts, polo shirts in a variety of colors, my USC sweartshirt, Fight On Trojans, and lightweight hiking boots, with Keen sandals as backup. OK so I don't look like I have been on the cover of GQ, but clothes are only....
....one part of dress. Attitude, dispostion, interest, sincere desire to learn about a culture, these are even more important than clothes. Moreover, people in my area come from all over the world. I don't ask my neighbors from Punjab, India to stop wearing their hair wrapped in a turbin, and my hispanic students know that the Sweet Sixteen and the Quincenera are culturally equivalent, but neither group tells the other to stop celebrating. Moreover, making too much of an attempt to appear like a local may be considered patronizing.
Part of travel is exposing other people to who and what Americans are, as well as learning who the people we are visiting are. That said, the only thing I ask, and the same goes here at home...if you have pasty white chicken legs...please don't wear shorts. And, by all means, leave the NASCAR hat and jacket stateside.
Kevin, I'm not suggesting that visitors to USA should not wear turbans (which have religious significance) or discontinue their cultural traditions -- we're just talking clothes here, your examples are dismaying to me. I'm just advocating that super casual Americans re-think some of their wardrobe choices when traveling to Europe, not treat it like a day at Disneyland. I like to blend in, I'm not a phony, pretending to be anyone but myself. I'm into clothes, and personally find the way European women dress (particularly in Paris and Italy) to be very inspirational and I like to join in the fun. I go to Europe to experience different cultures, and be as much a part of them as I can. Yet I'm always proud to be an American and make no attempt to hide it.
And I see that there seem to be some sartorial transgressions that irritate you also! No one is immune to fashion atrocities.
Kevin says he is older, but my son has always worn shorts in the summer wherever we are (longer cargo type shorts, not hip-hop or basketball) and has never looked out of place with other kids. If anything, my teenaged daughter looks a little MORE covered up than the teens she hangs out with. While I don't try to blend in, I do try and actively think about not being obnoxious. Kevin is correct, that is a function of attitude and interaction as much as dress.
On my first ETBD tour in France our guide wore shorts and t-shirt most of the trip. On other ETBD trips women on the tour put on the shorts and tank tops in small town France and Italy. One man who wrote about living in France (Paris to the Moon) said you could tell the Americans because they dressed like 6-year olds in shorts and tank tops.
BG is correct, even I have a few fashion foibles that drive me nuts, i.e. those powder blue jump suit coveralls that have the built in belt right across the equator that seem to be popular with the retired RV crowd, or the polyester vest that some tour groups feel they all need to wear to recognize each other. And then there are the grown men that dress like high schoolers emulating their favorite hip-hop stars.
But shorts, if you are out hiking, biking, doing anything recreational, they should be fine. I can see them not being appropriate in the city, museums, churches, etc... The question is really more one of practicality. Since I live in a warm climate, some would say hot in the summer, they work here, but most of Europe, even in the summer is not warm enough for me to consider shorts for daily wear, I like them for hiking though so I always take a pair.
I've asked my fiancee (from Belgium) to comment on her reaction of how Americans dress in Europe. First off, it isn't just our clothes that give us away as Americans(although that's part of it), its also our voices, mannerism, gestures, and accompaniments. She remarked that she sees two extremes, with most tourists mercifully falling somewhere in between.
On one hand, there are those, usually men, whose clothes stand out for being completely out of context. She pointed to a family whose outfits were completely emblazoned with the logo of the University of Florida Gators.
On the other extreme are those who try too consciously to fit in (usually women), and thus paradoxically end up sticking out just as much. She likened this to a European touring the US in a cowboy hat or ganster rap clothes.
So ultimately, wear what you need to stay comfortable, and don't worry about how people will perceive you. They already know you're an American and they know you're on vacation.
Oops, sorry Fred, I saw that you're from Canada! Let me be more inclusive and change my last statement to "They know you're from North America and they realize you're on vacation."
My packing efforts are built around dressing appropriately, rather than trying not to look like a tourist. Since I'm packing in one carry on I need everything I pack to do double or triple duty.
Every item of clothes that goes in must fit several scenarios - dinner or theater (business casual), museums, churches or shopping (casual long pants, button up shirt), hiking (very casual long or short pants, tee shirt) and beach (very casual short pants or swim trunks, tee shirt).
You could be wearing a tux and get laughed at for being dressed inappropriately depending on where you are and when.
We seem to go through variations on this theme on a regular basis--sometimes it's shorts, sometimes it's white athletic shoes or baseball caps or sunvisors. In each case the answer is the same: certain clothing styles are likely to mark you as an American tourist. So the real question is, how do you feel about that? There's no right answer here. Some folks don't care; some affirmatively prefer looking like an American tourist, and some prefer not to announce their identity by their dress. I personally dress more like a European when I travel. The upside is that I rarely get pestered by ring scams, bracelet tying teams, babies being thrust at me by pickpockets, etc. The downside is that I sometimes get asked for directions by locals in a language over which I have imprefect command.
But the bottom line is, you have to answer the question about how you prefer to appear to those you encounter for yourself. Like I said, no right or wrong answers, just personal preference.
As a Euro who's been living in the States for 17 years, I know that I have been sticking out the whole time. I wear what I feel comfortable in. In the summertime I never wear shorts. I do not own a pair. I find them uncomfortable in the heat. Skirts are just so much more comfortable. I do not really understand adults wearing T-shirts with Disney chracters or other childish pictures or anything written on sweatshirts or T-shirts. To me it just looks childish. I guess it is a cultural thing to dress very casually, just like here saying please and thank you are more important than knowing how to hold your knife and fork in a proper manner. The other thing that sets American clothes apart is the bright colors. When I go back to Europe for a vacation, I always notice that my clothes are more colorful than what people wear there.
Kevin - Your post a couple posts back states that individuals with pasty, white chicken legs should not wear shorts. Didn't you also say people should be comfortable and not worry so much about what other people think? When it's hot, I wear shorts; pale legs and all. Fortunately, I don't make it down to California very often :)
Cat: it was two people from our neighboring country to the north that said to wear what you are comfortable in, not me. And please don't take me too seriously, as I often have my tongue firmly implanted in my cheek, that is when my foot is not in my mouth.
As another post stated, this type of debate seems to come about regularly, only the article of clothing or behavior has changed. My point is really that we all need to meet part way on these things, celebrate the uniqueness of different cultures, and rather than trying to conform, accept that each of us has our own eccentricities. How on earth can we all coexist if we are going to get this hung up on what someone might think of our clothing.
Even more ironic, someone said there was a family all wearing Florida Gators clothes and that made them stand out. The children of some friends we will be visiting this summer have asked for university sweatshirts from California. I don't think they will be singled out as tourists.
On my first trip to Europe as a teenager, my friends and I were walking and went by a group of French teenage boys. One of us was wearing an American Eagle t-shirt, something pretty common in young people, even Canadians. One of the boys made some comment in French, thinking we wouldn't understand (though he didn't know that we were French Canadians and perfectly bilingual. Wearing what we were comfortable in just made us lived one more memorable moment on our trip.
I rarely wear shorts at home; partly because the temperature is warm enough to wear shorts only a few months a year and also because I feel like I'm more comfortable in skirts and capris. Funny enough, one girl who I went to college with (she lived in Switzerland for most of her life), would rather wear shorts in summer.
Fred says he's going to Europe at the end of May. Depending on exactly where he's going, I would bring a pair of shorts and 2 pants. Wear what you like but nothing too flash or out of the ordinary.
Comfort is key when traveling abroad. They will know that you are not a local anyway, so don't sweat the small stuff!
Just what are women wearing in Rome this year? My boyfriend and I will be there in mid July, and I've bought a couple of knee-ish length skirts. Is a tank top really dressing like a child? Or is that ok outside, and with a hoodie in churches? And I've also read that bright colors are out. What colors are best? And I also was told that I should have comfortable shoes because of the cobblestones. Are flip flops tacky?
just say NO to man- pris either wear pants or wear shorts but no, no, no to man-pris... you are going to look like what you are an American... if its hot I'd just wear my shorts and enjoy my trip We are going to Greece in June and my husband will be wearing shorts... bon voyage!
Not all bodies are created equal and not all clothes fit well or feel good. My hubby occasionally wears shorts in Europe. He is on the stocky side (with a tummy) and long pants can be just too darn hot for him when we are gone from early morning until dinner. He will wear a very nice comfortable pair of shorts from REI that are stylish and on the longer side and combine it with a nice Columbia button down shirt and Clarks walking shoes. I see nothing wrong with that, he looks great and he is comfortable.
For me, when in big cities I wear: black dress, black skirt, black pants, tan pants...you get the picture, but I splash color with it in tops, scarves, and long sleeve tops in solid colors to wear over said black clothes. I also take one floral print skirt(with a black background) that is great for long museum days.
I dress so casually here in CA but I would never dress like that in European cities because it takes so little effort to travel like a local (as Rick would say).
Aaah! I've been sucked in to this debate! I see people saying they want to dress for comfort and perhaps that is what is the biggest difference between North Americans and Europeans, Europeans consider style along with comfort, while for many Americans it is all about comfort.
Do what you want, but remember that outside of beach towns or hiking in the mountains people of a certain age do not wear shorts. If you see shorts it will be on teenagers because they are "in" right now. But at the end of May, at least in Italy, no one in cities will be wearing shorts, it is considered too soon.
I just remember what my dad told me once, "Men in shorts lack authority."
I just want to add one thing to the poster( I think it was Keving but am too lazy to go back and look, LOL ) who questioned where in the bible is says thou shalt not wear shorts,,
What we need to remember as tourists is most of us are entering a church as a GUEST not for any religous purpose, so lets not haul out the " the bible says" since we are just using that as a way of trying to justify our not respecting what the people who run and belong to the church have requested.. that we please cover up a bit.
When as a guest I go to someones home I remove my shoes if they request it, I may not do that at home, but I RESPECT the hosts and behave myself as a guest, or I don't go!!
PS . Wearing shorts is not like axe murdering babies, and reality is some people do not care one way or the other, BUT, since the OP ASKED that implies that they care.
I also think younger folks can and do have more lattitude.
I think it also depends where you are going in Europe. I usually only wear shorts if I'm at the beach or hiking UNLESS I'm on a Greek Island - everyone wears shorts everywhere. Have a fun trip.
Shell-the shorts are for you to wear at the beach -the same place you will see topless women. It is not that Europeans don't wear them, but it is more appropriate for hiking, biking & beaching, not for walking around Paris and not for visiting churches in Italy.
This is what I don't get...they frown on you if you wear shorts and give you demeaning looks..yet they have topless women on TV, on the beaches, etc... but lo and behold..You are wearing shorts! I understand it is accepted differently in all parts of the world, but I just find it funny. Also, you see shorts for sale in all the boutiques in Europe...why market shorts if most consumers will not buy them?
We visited London the last two days here, and I can tell you that between Oxford and London, we saw several men wearing shorts. My daughter kept pointing them out because I told her the consensus here is that one does not wear shorts in Europe unless it's to the beach.
These were the type of shorts with lots of pockets. We were "sure" the culprits were from the States, but not all of them were. If it's hot, I am thinking now that it would not really matter unless you are going into a Church!
Many of these men were Brits or Europeans. We made sure to listen to them speak to be sure.
Shorts...here's my biased 2 cents worth. I lived in Italy for 2 years and been on countless trips to Europe. Most Americans get the "ugly American" label because they don't give a damn about learning foreign cultures or languages. Just like in America, you find more pants than shorts in cities. I doubt that seeing someone in nice shorts in Manhattan makes any American feel disrespected. Italians in my opinion are no different than us. They don't feel disrespected by shorts either!
They do however feel disrespected when tourists come to their country and don't bother to learn a word of their language and act as if they should be pampered to just because we have tourist dollars to spend. Show me an American who tries "even just a little bit" to learn some Italian language dressed in shorts and flip flops in the center of Rome...and I'm sure that native Italians will be far more welcoming and friendly to them than someone in pants! Sheeeeeeeesh! Just stay out of the churches in shorts!
I lived in NY for many years and now live about 50 m. south. I would NEVER walk around in NY in shorts anad flipflops. Ever! We laugh at the tourists who walk around dressed like this. Maybe a lot of people on this board have never been to a big sophisticated city but people dress nicely. We always thought the tourists who wore socks and sandals were absolutely the most hilarious but they are usually not Americans!!! You know it is usually very hot and humid in NY in the summer, but skirts are cool and more attractive! The streets are dirty ..why would anyone wear flipflops on dirty streets?
You must be kidding me. I grew up in NY and have spent a lot of time there as an adult. Surely you're not trying to tell people that the only people who wear shorts in the summer in NYC are tourists & unsophisticated people. If you are, you're grossly misleading them. I spent 2 weeks in NYC last summer and it was sweltering. Obviously this is a personal preference that we can respect each others choices. I guess maybe you can't respect mine. I have enough class not to laugh at your desires though so I guess we are just that different.
What cracks me up is the same snooty people that are so concerned with what others are wearing, are the same people who will walk up to a stranger in Paris(in their pants of course)and ask for directions in English. When the French snub them or don't want to help they generalize them as a very rude culture.
Since you live close to NYC... go up to a stranger on the street in Manhattan and ask them for directions in French, or Italian.
I agree with Pete-wear shorts! My 52 year old husband is a golfer and that is what he ALWAYS wears to Europe in May and June. He takes one pair of khakis for the Vatican or some similar type church/mosque or any other dress up evening.
Guilty as charged. To make my point I exaggerated a little...I wouldn't wear flip flops because you're right cities can be dirty.
Also, as the previous poster said, I wear golf shorts (solid colors, not the wild citrus ones) and a golf shirt that's very comfortable but stylish. Actually I'm packing just like your husband! All golf shorts, golf shirts, a couple of pair of khakis and only because I do enjoy dressing up a tux for the formal nights of our Med cruise.
I just want to add my thoughts. Two years ago I went to Northern Italy for my sister-in-laws wedding (to a native Italian)and saw many of the locals, men and women wearin shorts. Granted most of the women wore dresses or skirts. In fact, my father-in-law grew up in Italy and did not come to this country until his early 20s wore shorts almost the entire time, although he calls them short pants.
Personally, I dress up everyday I go to work, casual Friday means the men don't have wear a jacket. The last thing I want to do is feel like I have to dress up for my vaction. I wear shorts, when appropriate and they are very nice style, not beachy shorts. Last year when I was in Europe my boyfriend and I wore shorts sometimes and neither of us got any strange looks. But, as others said, we were polite and tried to speak the native language.
When I was there in 2004, men all over Europe were wearing Capris, if the weather permitted. They really were all the rage over there, apparently several years before they arrived here in the States. They have just shown up here in Indianapolis this season, except for a few avant garde men who don't mind having others looking at them, LOL! When any style shows up here, it's generally long since out of style in Europe, and on its way out on the US coasts.
Could I, a 22 year old wearing American Eagle shorts get away with is alot easier than someone older in age?
I am aware of that and would not try to enter the churches in shorts, but I sweat within a minute of stepping outside so for just walking around shorts is a necessity.
Except for churches/cathedrals in Italy, shorts are "legal" and I've seen them worn everywhere. From six to 96, some folks just wear shorts. I don't. I wear capri-length pants when it is warm enough. BTW, even on RS tours some tour members wear shorts throughout the trip and the fashion police leave them alone. Young women wearing shorts may get more male attention than they are used to, but even that seems to be changing. I don't see European men "hitting-on" young women anymore. A real cultural shift if true.
Troy, I sympathize. Given the choice between walking around for hours in pants becoming increasingly damp with sweat, or risking the scorn of some self-appointed fashionista but keeping dry in shorts, I'd go with the shorts anyday.
Just back from 2 weeks in Italy & saw many men in shorts. For that matter we saw many females in shorts but mostly teenagers. But quite to my surprise I saw a female(30ish) who was dressed in denim knee shorts in a display window of a posh ladies boutique arranging clothes in the window. And I've read posts that you will not see Italian women dressed in shorts so that proved that remark wrong.
Found this old post of Eli's regarding Paris Essentials, including what to wear