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Correct clothing to wear

We would like to know what is acceptable to wear while walking around.

Shorts? Men/woman?

Daytime/nighttime?

Wife want to know how covered does she need to be when visiting churches, etc. Does she need full length sleeve or just have her shoulders covered? We already now about haveing her legs covered past the knees.

?

Posted by
2207 posts

Ray - many postings on this subject - do a search (top right corner) for more detail and opinions on what is "acceptable."

Regarding churches, you must have you shoulders and knees covered when entering a church - You DO NOT need full length sleeves.

Posted by
2 posts

If you chose to wear shorts anywhere except at the beach you will stand out and everyone will know you are tourists. There are many lightweight easy care fabric skirts and pants that pack compactly and wash and dry overnight in your hotel room. When planning to visit religious sites you both should wear tops with sleeves, or for a woman a light wrap can be added prior to entrance to the site.

Posted by
11507 posts

Ray I noticed Italian men wearing capri length pants, pants that end about 6-10 inches above ankle,, but shorts, well I think you will see only a few tourists or children in them.
Wear what you want, but you do have to have your knees covered at churches too, not just wifes.
If you are going to beaches then bring some shorts , but I would only pack one pair . As pointed out there are many pants that are very lightweight. As a woman I find skirts much cooler then shorts anyways.

Short sleeves are fine for wife.
Well made comfy shoes are most important.

Posted by
466 posts

When I was in Rome in August, many, many people were wearing shorts. They were not only Americans but Germans, French, etc. I was sorry I didn't take any because everyone told me that no one wears shorts and it was hotter than @$##. Take a pair with you and then decide if you want to wear them or not.

Posted by
7737 posts

It also depends on where you are. In beachside resort areas in the summer you'll find more people in shorts. In the cities, only the tourists wear shorts. Some people say that they don't care what others think and that they'll wear what they want to wear. Setting aside the idea that it's a little disrespectful to say "to heck with what the locals think", one reason not to wear them is that the pickpockets prefer to target people who look like tourists, not those who look like the locals.

Good for you for asking about this. Lightweight pants are the way to go for men. Think of them as automatic sunscreen. :-)

Posted by
10344 posts

Rick Steves on wearing shorts in Europe: "Many travelers are concerned about appropriate dress. If you're trying to blend in, realize that shorts are uncommon in Europe. They are considered exclusively beachwear for use in coastal or lakeside resort towns. While most Europeans won't be offended if you wear shorts, you might be on the receiving end of some stares. Shorts are especially uncommon on older women and in big cities, and the cutoff temperature for "hot enough for shorts" is much higher than in the US. Especially in southern Europe, no matter how hot it is, grown adults look goofy in shorts." (Rick Steves, ETBD 2006, pages 43-44)

Posted by
152 posts

Ok. First off, there is nothing "disrepectful" about wearing dress shorts in outdoor settings such as the Forum etc. The dress code for churches is well established.

As for standing out and looking like a tourist...news flash...we are tourists. I recently read that 2-3 million people live in Rome and some 20 million tourists flow through the eternal city each year. This obsession with "fitting in" is humorous. Outside of places of worship, and especially during the day, wearing dress shorts(not beach clothes) on hot days is acceptable. Same thing if you're hiking through Tuscan towns etc.

Posted by
11507 posts

We all agree there is nothing wrong with looking like a tourist for fashions sake, but for security sake some of us feel that by standing out a wee bit less as "a hick from the sticks" that we may be a little less likely to be targeted by beggers, pickpockets and scam artists.

Case in point, I have read posts by people claiming they were accosted by scammers( the ring trick and the do you speak english approach) several times in ONE day.. I on the other hand have only been approached twice in many, many trips,, I am not sure, but I think sometimes it is better to look like you fit , or at least like you didn't just fall off the back of the potatoe truck.

Ultimately everyone should wear what they want, but if they ASK.. then don't expect everyones answers to be the same.

Posted by
152 posts

Pat, your initial answer was spot on. I only reacted to the suggestion from others that it would be disrespectful to wear shorts in all settinga. That's a broad brush. As for fitting in...shorts aside I rather suspect that most pickpockets can sort out a local from most of us tourists without much trouble. But the point you make is really about what will make a person feel comfortable. There I agree 100%.

Posted by
440 posts

The second nicest thing ever said to me in Italy, actually a question, was "Are you Italian", when I was on the bus from Puglia to Sicily. Perhaps the Sicilian gentleman needed specs, but I like to think it was my fabulous jacket and nice shoes. lol I carry in my bag a very lightweight shirt which folds up to nothing for church visits. Or sunscreen protection.

Posted by
7737 posts

Pat, I had a similar experience. I was in Italy for a whole month - nine cities. I was approached only once, by a gypsy woman asking for money as we waited outside the church that houses the Last Supper. No problems with pickpockets or anything like that. I'm sure that a large reason for that was that I didn't look like I was there to mow the lawn (to quote RS).

And sitting in the Pisa train station I was asked in Italian what time it was by a local blue collar worker. Of course as soon as I opened my mouth he realized I wasn't Italian but I was very proud of myself that I was able to tell him the correct time, in Italian!

When I put the effort into dressing more like the locals I feel less like I could be perceived as a visitor at the zoo, peering at the animals. And it makes it easier to interact with the locals. After all, I'm not there just to see buildings but to experience a culture.

Posted by
7737 posts

And the other thing to keep in mind when deciding what to wear is that you become part of the scenery for others, whether they are locals or other tourists. Do you want to look like something that fits in or do you want to wear something that says "I don't belong here."?

The Italians in particular put a lot of emphasis on what they call "fare la bella figura" which translates loosely to "try to look good."

(I also think we were treated better in restaurants dressing as we did.)

Posted by
16 posts

EVERYONE Thanks soo much

The response here is fantastic!

After reading all the replies we have decided to wear what they wear, look the part as much as possible.
We especially liked the attitude that we won't be 'hit on' as much if we don't look like tourist. Just makes sense.
We are going to go 'clean', and not (hopefully) look like the casual tourist. She has skirts and classy tops, I have dress and semi-casual slacks and button down shirts and polo-shirts.

One last question (we are leaving on Sunday).

Blue Jeans ?
Are they worn over there?

Ray & Kim

Posted by
2519 posts

Plenty of blue jeans. Do a quick search on this site and you'll get plenty of opinions on them (primarily related to their non-quick dry makeup). Have a fantastic trip!

Posted by
7737 posts

Lots of people wear jeans, probably skewing younger in Italy than all the old American baby-boomers here who wear jeans. But the thing I don't like about traveling with jeans is that they take up more room than a pair of khakis, they're hotter (if you're going during warm weather) and they take FOREVER to dry if you decide to wash them and hang them in your room. (Remember, hardly anyone in Italy has clothes dryers.)