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Confession: I don't wear black. 😮

If you do, great! This post isn't for you.

This post is to reassure people panicking that they will feel out of place in Europe if their travel clothes don't revolve around black. There have been so many posts recently.

I have never worn black in general, and my travel wardrobe doesn't include black, either. I have traveled to various places in Europe on maybe a dozen or more trips. I don't find it difficult to base a wardrobe on colors I enjoy wearing and that look perfectly presentable while traveling.

Posted by
346 posts

Seconding no need for black. I used brown vs black as my base neutral (purse, shoes, belt) and enjoyed all the cool colors and creams I wanted with joy!! Wear what you like. Life is too short

Posted by
253 posts

I find that black is too hot when I visit Europe in the summer. I wear lighter colors to keep me cooler when we are outside in the sun most of the day. The closest I get to black is a charcoal/light gray top for dinner!

Posted by
2554 posts

I do wear black (and grey), but that does not mean I “fit in” in Europe. I quickly learned in Switzerland that people can spot me as being an American before I even open my mouth. 😊 I’m still not completely sure how they were able to do this. But, we were often handed the English menus when walking into a restaurant.

Before I left for my trip, I was so concerned about trying to fit in. I was a little embarrassed my sister was going to wear her brightly colored shirts. But, I quickly got over that once there.

My attitude now is, I am American, why should I try to hide that. That's a part of who I am.

Posted by
6113 posts

No one cares what colour of clothes you wear. Anything goes.

Posted by
884 posts

Black,blue, beige, brown,etc. Whatever neutral works for you. The advantage of doing so - at least for pants - is it minimizes what shoe choices you need. I'm considering all blue this year.

Posted by
2871 posts

With an orange cat in our household, I also only wear black when I'm traveling!
I don't mean I only wear black, but that is a base colour with brighter colours for contrast.

Posted by
7902 posts

We just wear jeans when in Europe. And we get them heavily starched before leaving. The stains and dirt just don't stay on the fabric, and they look good after a week of wearing them every day.

Sure cuts down on packing weights. I wear a pair and pack a pair.

Posted by
14210 posts

I never wear black either, and especially in the summer in Europe I would not. Simply put, not at all my style.

There are numerous ways one can be spotted out in Europe as an American without having to open your mouth. Having the menu in English handed to me has happened a couple of times, although super rare. That was in Vienna, can't recall in Germany. One way to "preempt" that is to address the staff first before you are greeted presumably in English, saying it in German (or French) confidently, ie, that you have a reservation , or a table for one, two, etc.

Posted by
2766 posts

I like black but that’s certainly not a requirement or even a recommendation in order to be a good traveler. I do think basing your wardrobe around a neutral can help with packing light while still looking put together, but that neutral could be beige, brown, navy, gray, or other colors besides black. It’s just practical to gave a main neutral color, for shoes, purses, articles of clothing and then add interest with colors that coordinate with your neutral. Black is very practical for this. White or very light beige gets too dirty too easily in my experience, but other shades of brown, blue, or gray work fine. I’ve even seen olive green used in this way. Whatever works!

Posted by
1259 posts

I have no black stuff in my closet at all. Well, some cycling shorts, mostly black but with big orange slashes. I have no neutral colors at all. Fluorescents, neons, mismatched socks, red, grees, blue, orange, purple. Life's too short.

Posted by
1895 posts

Usually people can spot tourist because they are eating out at odd times(after one) and going to museums on workdays.

As someone who lives in a tourist city, I can also spot European tourists, who somehow never seem as "nervous" as Americans that they will be labeled as such.

Posted by
4498 posts

The only reason I have black as a base colour is because it hides dirt and is easy to wear with bright colors as accents. But I've got an equal number of dark blue base outfits. Whatever color suits you best. But for me, I want it dark simply as a matter of practicality. As for dark colors being too hot in summer, I think it has more to do with the type of fabric, and the style of the item. I've worn dark blue in the tropics and was fine because it was lightweight and airy. I only pack white when I know I'll have a laundry handy.

Posted by
2153 posts

I wear black on the outside, because black is how I feel, on the inside.

Two points of you know the lyric reference!

I have exactly two black outfits: my tuxedo and my choral concert clothes. I have exactly one pair of black shoes: a rather nice pair of Edmond Allen cap-toes which are only worn with one of the above two outfits—I’ve had them a decade and they’re practically brand new.

(Packing the Tux for one night on a two week trip was a chore. And the evening at Glyndebourne was totally worth it!)

Posted by
4269 posts

(No 2 points for me...I had to look it up. )

I wore too much black when I was working. I'm getting rid of most of it. My travel wardrobe is blue plus either a spring (peach) or fall (burgundy) color for tops and accents.

Posted by
946 posts

Why in the universe would you want to wear all black (in Europe or anywhere else)? I never heard of this.

I went to Spain in past trips March 2022. I wore a pair of tan and a pair of green Patagonia nylon hiking pants, sketchers water resistant "outdoor" shoes, black and dark blue socks, and button-down all cotton shirts - one mostly blue with little patterns of a light color, one with various reddish shades and little white or beige. I know perfectly well that my clothes worked for me and everybody who saw me. I have always worn shirts that are a different color than my pants. Actually I don't currently own anything plain black except for about one pair socks - just before my trip I bought a pack of 3 pairs of socks, one plain black, one plain dark blue, one plain gray.

Posted by
673 posts

Black has often been the uniform of the "alternative" set and a symbol of rebellion since the '50's.

I'm being partially tongue-in-cheek here....there's a certain coolness about Johnny Cash. Why did Johnny Cash wear black?

In his own words, from the song Man in Black:

“I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down, livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town, I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime, but is there because he's a victim of the times.

We’re doin’ mighty fine I do suppose, in our streak-o’-lightning cars and fancy clothes/ But just so we’re reminded of the ones who are held back, up front there ought to be a man in black.”

It’s been reported that Cash wore a black shirt at his first performance at a Memphis church because he wanted to look “smart,” and that he continued to wear black for good luck in every performance after.

Later, the Man in Black had this to say about his apparel:

“I wore black because I liked it. I still do, and wearing it still means something to me. It’s still my symbol of rebellion - against a stagnant status quo, against our hypocritical houses of God, against people whose minds are closed to others’ ideas.”

Posted by
4086 posts

Not a fan of black here, either. What's that cliché? Something like, "I'll keep wearing black until something darker comes along."

I like a lot of color and typically use a scarf as the inspiration for my trip packing. And I like shoes that are not black, although sometimes that's the only color the comfort I need comes in.

In an attempt to understand the black thing several years ago, I packed only black with with red as an accent color on a domestic trip. I found that boring, depressing and too restrictive. Never again.

Posted by
968 posts

My first trip I did sort of a capsule wardrobe with black being one of my 3 colors. I only have a few things in my closet that are black and those are basics..,jeans, camisoles. I don’t enjoy wearing it on top. This time I’m wearing what I want, all dresses, all colors. I’m wearing a pair of black skinnies on the plane. That’s my only black. I understand when people ask the question of how do locals dress…no one wants to look ridiculous. I think that’s different than asking as to not trying not to look like a foreigner.

Posted by
3134 posts

I don’t wear black in the summer so if I did travel in the summer…which I hope never to have to do…I wear other neutrals for slacks. However, for the other seasons I will always include a pair of black jeans/slacks…sometimes just black. Black is practical and the easiest way to upgrade my outfit. That being said, as black is not a color for me, my tops are navy, charcoal, red or white…sometimes Tuscany orange. Navy is my main neutral for all but bottoms. Scarves brighten it all up. As I only pack three pair of slacks, they must serve me well so they are dark. Should I travel in the summer, my slacks are varying shades of light brown and gray. I wear neutrals at home too because I don’t want to stand out in everyday life. When speaking or leading an event, in the days of suits, mine would be bright red. So do what is most comfortable for you…we are all different personalities.

I will say that if I was one of those women who looked glamorous in black, that is about all I would have. Easy peasy lifestyle.

Posted by
1259 posts

There is a type of traveler, young hipsters or these "digital nomad" characters, who insist on black for everything. Everything. One of their weird rationalizations is the wish to be obscure, as if wearing black makes them invisible. Somehow. When I was in Scotland, it was sooo easy to spot the American tourists. and, of course, me, in my fluorescents and neons. But I'm not trying to hide. I want someone on the RS bus to say, "Hey, where's that funny old guy in that stupid orange jacket?"

Posted by
968 posts

I actually wish black was a great color for me. So many, many cute black tops. I do think it’s a great base for traveling…can mix and match in lots of color with scarves, necklaces, do the capsule wardrobe. I think it looks fantastic on blondes and redheads.

Posted by
968 posts

I’m a dark brunette and it just doesn’t have the same “pow” as on a blonde. I always, always get compliments when I wear something red. It’s the contrast.

But I do agree a LBD can never go wrong with red lipstick…but I can’t wear red lipstick anymore. Sigh.