Ok, I by no means claim to be a fashion expert. I do my fair share of European traveling and likely stick out like a typical American by my dress and mannerisms; however I do try to be a bit fashion minded. Those who wear the plaid shorts, fannny pack, white socks and tennis shoes etc... are real so offensive to me, even at a Midwest state fair let alone lets say - Venice. Last fall my wife and I saw an American wearing a vinyl mesh NASCAR cap as we strolled through the sites of Venice. Anyone else find our American wardrobe as embarassing as I do? What do you think?
Mike - I am in total agreement with you, and wish more American men cared about their vacation wardrobes as you seem to, particularly when they are visiting the great cities of Europe.
If it's okay for Brits traveling around in the US to act as a mobile billboard for Manchester United/AIG, it's okay for Americans to return the favor via NASCAR caps:)
This conversation has come up before. I noticed many French men wearing US style caps last summer, as well as baggy shorts and flip-flops. If an American man wears a NASCAR cap, we think he's stereo-typed or a target when he interacts. If a Frenchman on vacation wears one, he's considered cool. Maybe the Americans with NASCAR caps are considered much cooler than you think. BTW country dancing is the big thing now in France, with cowboy hats, boots, and fringed shirts. He-haw.
I think that this is one of the silliest issues that comes up on these boards. I am not into NASCAR but can not imagine it bothering me that someone else is. Have baseball cap, will travel. Gary
I can maybe see somebody worrying about what they should wear so as to appear 'fashionable', just maybe. Taking a position on what somebody else should wear is way beyond the pale.
Honestly,, I do not care what other people wear.. its just does not even blip on my radar.. as long as they are having a good time and being polite ,, who cares. I am sure there are well dressed North Americans that are a disgrace, by their attitudes and behaviour. Loud,, complaining, wanting things "like at home" now,, those people ARE embarrassing.
Please, please, please stop it. How do you get through each day if you are so easily offended? You cannot judge people by their clothes. It's so superficial. Honestly, who cares?
Just because someone else wears a NASCAR cap, how does that reflect on you if you are so "fashion minded"? Surely no one looking on would lump you in with them, right? And there is no "American wardrobe" any more than there is a French one or a German one - you see everything everywhere.
Just as long as it's not a Kyle Busch hat! :)
I have no interest in NASCAR whatsoever, but after reading this post, I almost want to buy a NASCAR T-shirt and wear it everywhere I go.
OK, thank you for your pointed, thoughtful responses. I truly feel disappointed that I came across as being such a full of yourself jerk. As my wife and I prepare for our next visit to Europe, we'll heed your constructive criticism. It will be a stop at PEP Boys for our matching Nascar hats. We might be able to purchase for 99 cents each or maybe free with a tire rotation. Better yet, we might even splurge and stop at Wal Mart for top shelf numbered hats. As the above responders suggest we shall wear with great honor as we meander through the streets proudly displaying such a great source of American pride. In fact, maybe I can do away with my money belt as we blend in un-noticed by the locals, never being marked as a potential pick pocket target.
You're in luck Mike, there just happens to be a Pep Boys and a Wal-Mart in Fishers, IN....so you're good to go! In fact it turns out they're both across the street from one another. Sounds like the bureaucrats in Fisher, IN are geniuses at NASCAR apparel city planning. They're located here: http://tinyurl.com/2vcfcyd and here: http://tinyurl.com/2aylnef
Mike, Let's forget the hat. Just go all out for a NASCAR leather jacket, and be sure to get as many logos on it as you can!
"Honestly,, I do not care what other people wear.. its just does not even blip on my radar.. as long as they are having a good time and being polite ,, who cares. I am sure there are well dressed North Americans that are a disgrace, by their attitudes and behaviour. Loud,, complaining, wanting things "like at home" now,, those people ARE embarrassing."................Very good, Pat.
Just wear clothes. The other alternative is the one that scares me to death. LOL. Who cares? Really ... who cares? Brown is not my favorite color, but I don't obsess about people who wear brown. Don't sweat the small stuff, and caring about a NASCAR hat is pretty small.
<<<<Those who wear the plaid shorts, fannny pack, white socks and tennis shoes etc... are real so offensive to me, even at a Midwest state fair let alone lets say - Venice.>>>> How about posting a picture of you and your wife so we can comment. I'm assuming you are fit, good looking, well dressed and immaculately groomed, lol.
I stayed at a hotel in Venice with a tour of Americans. I'm willing to have you wear your NASCAR hats or even a "Beer, it's not just for breakfast anymore" hat as you walk around in the sun. But please: don't wear a billcap at the dining table. I don't care if you really do own 200 acres of soybeans, for pity's sake take your hat off at the table!
For all you know that tourist found the NASCAR hat in a Venetian second hand shop, probably left there by another American tourist whose spouse/companions felt the same way as you Mike. The person you saw wearing it probably thought it was the most amazing thing to find something so American in Venice. I'm sure the person is having a great time with this "Venetian" hat and telling everyone about how he/she found it a shop in Venice. :D
Living in a huge metropolitan area, I have seen tourists from other countries dressed in all types of weird garb. What do I care? Just the other day at the mall, I saw a lady wearing green flowered pants and a wide striped black and white shirt. She was not from here. You offend way too easily.
this is embarrassing : www.peopleofwalmart.com
Just this morning, I saw a German wearing a jacket with some kind of Formula 1 advertisement on it. I wonder if his fellow citizens are as appalled as Mike is of other Americans?
IMO, it's a little bit silly that many people consider cool seeing foreigners in - say - NYC or LA in their typical apparatus, whilst feeling almost an inner-shame of American accessories like hats or baggy shorts.
Most of you are not from Indiana, so I'll have to say it. Mike's stereotyping the NASCAR fans reinforces the stereotype that people from Fishers are snobs.
If you join today, you can get the NRA Shooter's Cap as a free gift.
In the Marais in Paris, I saw a very fashionable young Parisian man wearing a silk Forty Niners jacket from the 1980's Joe Montana era. I'm sure he paid a fortune for it as well.
I think its a question of appropriateness - when I see Americans in jeans eating at a Michelin starred restaurant (Jules Verne, in this case) I do get disappointed. I think it causes the French a bit of disrespect (and yes, maybe they should not have been let in). But other things American (including hats, etc.) can be treasures in other parts of the world. IMHO, anyway.
I think that you should take NASCAR caps and give them out as tips to locals who help you out! I bet you that they would love it! Wear any hat or cap that you like but I agree with Sam...take them off at the dinner table. Now, about those oversized cargo shorts....
I'd be happy if they didn't wear them in the USA either. But then I also think that wearing advertising, that you probably had to pay for, is silly. If it's not an event or cause I'm involved with, I won't volunteer to be a walking billboard for it. Joan
I'm always amused when I (often) see Germans wearing shirts with a logo that means absolutely nothing. Or is that how they recognize American touists, our shirts actually say something meaningful.
I wouldn't mind having that 80's era 49er's jacket. Joe Montana was the best QB ever.
When my school age kids, wearing t-shirts with Nike, Adidas, whatever brand names on them, would visit my dad, he would always ask with mock seriousness, "How much do they pay you to wear those shirts?! What, they don't pay you to advertise for them? They are getting a great deal!" Really makes you think!
Neil, you go girl! (there's no 'you go boy' in baseball...)............Can I wear my "I'm not The Stig" T-shirt?
To answer Mike's original question, I'm not embarrassed by our American wardrobe[INVALID]not that I agree we have a national wardrobe. Having said that, travelors do tend to wear similiar things for obvious reasons. Low on that list of reasons is measuring up to the cool kids. Functionality, comfort, and personal enjoyment seem to take center stage. Traveling with fashion as a priority would be cumbersome to me... but to each his own.
When I attend NASCAR races, I stick it to The Man by donning my "Wales is for Lovers" sombrero.
Have really mixed feelings on this subject. On one hand, my wife and I do try to be as low-key as possible, simply because it helps us, from time-to-time, acquire some local experiences/interactions we might not otherwise have (although once we open our mouths, it's clear we're Americans). This has happened most often in Italy, where people thought we were Italian, and when we responded in our best Italian (not so good), even though they realized we were tourists, we enjoyed some good conversation or shared a laugh. And I find the more outwardly American we are in our dress...the less likely this will happen. Not because they don't like Americans, but because it's clear to them we're tourists on holiday from the start. However, I must confess to this indiscretion: when we visited London, Austria and Munich last summer, I wore my Chicago Blackhawks jersey two or three times...but hey, we hadn't won the Cup in 49 years!
Gio, Hockey jerseys are ALWAYS acceptable attire. Even without the Cup, though the Cup sure makes it more fun. Hopefully that Cup will be coming back to Pittsburgh next year!
Hockey jerseys are always A-OKAY! I saw a few Team Canada jerseys in Spain after Vancouver's Winter Olympics. There were lots of European tourists wearing their team colours here in February. They didn't seem to mind being noticed as tourists. Wear whatever you like - you're the one packing them!
@Carroll You mean when the cup comes back to Detroit! Go Wings!
Okay, a) I love my Chicago Blackhawks jersey. It was actually a Valentine's day present from my husband. And b) I see tons of NASCAR hats since I live in the south, don't like seeing them here, either, let alone in Europe!
Speaking of hockey, I sometimes see people in this area wearing Mannheim Adler clothing. Perhaps wearing a Blackhawks jersey could be a conversation starter?
I always bring my Celtic Football tops while on vacation.
Now, now, Carroll and Mike, let's just all bask in the moment of where the Cup currently is: Chicago. I grew up in the Seattle-area and it sure was nice to be on the side of a winning team... for once.
Note to self: Bring tachy scuba T-shirts on next trip to europe.
Note to self: Bring tachy scuba T-shirts on next trip to europe.
Mike, You've had enough Cups in Detroit. Give the rest of us a chance to catch up. By rest of us, I mean Pittsburgh, of course. Sorry Chicago fans! But enjoy your year; I like your team and enjoyed seeing you win in June. I also like Detroit. But I LOVE the Pens.
@Angela: Since this thread has so horribly devolved, I should state for the record that Seattle DOES now have a national (actually international) champion as the Washington Stealth won the National Lacrosse League championship this year. I wear my Stealth shirt now every time I jump the shark.
No one, no one (except perhaps your spouse, if applicable) will care what you wear in Europe. Wear what you want. The worse you look, the better America does in the "worst dressed tourist in Europe" competition. Keep America #1.
Yeah, Kira - I actually love seeing the person-you-least-expected-to-see-in-the-Louvre studying a piece of sculpture or discussing and comparing the differences between Giotto and Cimabue. Perhaps others see me and are thinking the same thing LOL!. Whether it's an article of clothing (or many!), the way they look like they've never been off the farm in their 65 years, or whatever, it's a lot more fun than watching the sterotypical art snob doing their thing.
As far as recognizing Americans...on my first trip, I really expected Americans to be hard to pick out, since we are a melting pot of people - I thought we'd look like 'everyone'. NOT THE CASE LOL! We (North Americans) were extrememly easy to pick out - in my oh-so-humble opinion we were the best-looking group of people for one thing (much larger gene pool - I'll leave it at that). But there was just this intangible quality - and it wasn't the clothing or the speaking volume. I'd swear I saw an American coming my way based on the clothes, then I'd get a good look at the face. Yep - s/he would speak - Italian/German/French LOL! And for what it's worth [let the flaming begin ;-)] I'm more 'embarassed' (perhaps 'amused'), if that's the word, by many other stereotypes - the fashionista looking fabulous and in great pain, mincing around while wearing her 3 1/2 spike heels on the cobblestones of Bruges (Italian and Eastern European are high on my personal sightings list), those stupid (yep - stupid) knitted scarves everyone but me is wearing in Paris, looped around their necks in the exact same way as everybody elses. They do nothing for their 'fashion' sense, and certainly not in July...HUH? And lets not forget the flashy, gaudy track suits on the nouveau-riche Russians! (we know about the British, Japanese, etc.) So, we've all got our national uniforms and sense of, ummm, style!
Depends on whether you want to just authentically stick out as a NASCAR-loving 'Murrican, or try and "fly under the radar" and not be instantly recognized as an American. And now that I've typed that - the second we open our mouths folks know we're from the United States - so who are we trying to kid? Not to mention - did it ever occur to you that in a NASCAR cap, you're a "colorful exotic?" To be serious, yes, I find the "American wardrobe" embarrassing, but I'm trying to get over that. People are who they are. I actually am getting to the point where I am heartened to see someone who looks like a hopeless and embarrassing hick drinking in the sights and culture of Europe. I think, "Well, that guy looks like a complete rube, but at least he's in the Musee d'Orsay!"
I just came back from a week in Paris with the family. I made a point of trying not too stand out and brought a messenger bag instead of a backpack, had black shoes, jeans and decent shirts with a dark jacket and no baseball hat. My kids left the caps at home but wore thier Spain and Real Madrid shirts instead of the Red Sox shirts and fared well. The kids made a game of pointing out the "loud" Americans and got pretty good at locating fanny pack, white sneaker and Disney sweatshirt wearing folks from 100yds. They also laughed when we were asked directions in French then Spanish. We also seemed to be less of a target for street vendors as well. Nothing wrong with that...
Eileen, Do you dress like a Texan or a Yankee when you're in Europe?
Hmmmm, good question, Bob. Certainly NOT like a (quivery voice) 'daa-um yaank-kee'! I think I probably look something like a female Rick Steves LOL! Black or khaki pants, rotate the same 3-5 plain (unadorned) T-shirts, sandals or loafers, and Civita backpack. Very plain jewelry, and everything else! Now, I have to admit that I SOUND somewhat like a Texan...;-) So, no, no big hair and gaudy, flashy sequined Texas flag on my backpack LOL! Although - hmmmmm, I bet I could find one of those flags...