Hi all, just got back from 3 weeks in England, France, Germany, northern Italy, Salzburg, and Prague. My family of four followed the recommendations of many websites as what to wear. Boy, were we fooled. I enforced the slacks or trouser in dark, the long sleeve shirts in neutral colors, wife wore longer skirts, kids wore dress or casual shoes as did I. No shorts and we thought we were going to look like Europeans. We did, if we were 60. Here are the current summer facts about what locals wore in all the cities and towns.
Shorts of normal colors that were not baggy, but tight fitting. They were often rolled an inch or less at the bottom and ended about 4-5" above the knees. You can buy them over there easily if you can't find them in US or Canada. They do sell cargo shorts in stores in Italy, but again they are tighter fitting. Men and boys both wore them. Get them and ditch to long pants during the hot days. Mine were yellow-tan made by HH. You can wear them anywhere and fit right in.
Pants are typically tapers to be straight or tapered at the calf. Not typically baggy legs like dockers are. All ages wear denim and the slashed ones were popular with the teens. Wear them for dinner or more formal times. Wear a belt as you want to look good, don't you?
Shirts were all over the board. Just no white tees, no "I love New York" or such. Most wore polo shirts or button shirts with roll up sleeves and straps to hold the sleeve up or not. At night just roll the sleeves down. All colors were there, really not neutral ones.
Shoes were anywhere from all white Stan Smith by Additas (sold in all stores) to sparkling converses. Most seem to where a tan or brown casual or converse style shoe. If they were wearing a tie, then dress shoes were a must. Sandals are gaining popularity as seen. Flip flops were either tourists or beach wear. Leave them for the beach.
Socks were usually no-see or quarter socks. No white ones though. Buy yourself some Darn Tough socks. They lasted a long time and didn't smell after a few day of wearing them all day doing a lot of walking.
Don't go topless (guys) in Venice as it is illegal.
We looked really stupid in our hot semi-dress clothes around the rest of the tourists, who by the way are also Europeans. Just take a bit of advice. You are a tourist when you have a back pack on. Leave it at a hotel or train station locker. Same with toting luggage. Leave the luggage at home and buy a back pack that fits in Easy Jet or Ryan Air over heads. You are a tourist when you have the maps out. Use your phone as it is less obvious. Just look and walk with a purpose.
Also, learn the basics of the language for the country you are visiting. Hello, goodbye, good morning or good day, and please and thank you are so very basic and easy to learn on the plane ride over. If you are not courteous, you will be treated the same way.
A local from Rome told me a bit of advice. Watch out for the Gypsies in Europe. They work in teams of 2-3. Don't set your bags down unless they are in front of you. Don't leave any items visible in a car. They try to dress like Italians and mislead you.
I was never targeted and kept my wallet in my front pocket or a zippered rear. Pick pockets are everywhere tourist may be. Don't offer to pick up something grandma has dropped in front of you.
Oh, as for washing clothes over there... we chose to rent a flat or apartment with a washer and dryer (very small over there) on days where we figured we'd need to wash. If not, there are very few Laundromats. They are also called washerettes. Just Yelp for one in the city you are in. Prague has a good one, 2 large loads washed and dried for about $10. Weymouth UK has one for the same cost. Hard to find in Germany and we didn't look in Italy. They have soap for a small fee. Washing and drying in your room or bathroom is a pain. They mostly have poor air circulation.