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Need clothing advice/Italy in 17 Days Tour

I am leaving in 10 days to join a RS Italy in 17 Days Tour. I am finalizing my clothing choices and I am set for what to take to wear during the day. The thing I am struggling with is what to wear to the dinners that are included in the tour. Most of what I have read on the forum and the information put out by RS says that these tours are casual...which I love, however, I saw one posting a while ago that mentioned that some of the restaurants on the tours are very nice and require one to dress up. The only piece of clothing I was planning on bringing that is the least bit "dressy" is a plain, knee-length black skirt that I can pair with any top. Will this work?

I would love to hear from posters that have been on this tour or a similar one during summer to find out what people on the tour are actually wearing to these dinners. My previous trips to Europe have not been with a tour and I ate dinner at cafes or in my apartment so I was not concerned with taking anything but very casual clothes. I travel with a 21" bag so I have to pack fairly light. Any help/suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

Posted by
526 posts

I have been on 10 tours and I can definitely tell you these tours are casual. Some people do wear a dress or skirt, but most show up in daily tour clothing. I have never felt out of place, not even in Paris. That said, our noise level while dining is sometimes frowned upon, mostly in France. The tour group is usually put in a separate space, sometimes on an upper level. Although, there have been a few occasions we were in the main dining room, (really small restaurant).

I think your idea of a black skirt will be more than appropriate, if you feel the need to be less casual. You can even dress it up by wearing a scarf or costume jewelry. No need for formal/semi formal attire, I don't think the clothing police will be issuing tickets! This is a fun trip, relax and enjoy.

Posted by
796 posts

A black dress or simple black skirt matched with a dressy top is always in style.

Posted by
80 posts

I just got back from the Village Italy tour on June 2. I also spent a couple days in Venice and a few days in Rome. We went to some great restaurants both with the group and on our own, and all of them were fairly casual. I lived in a black skirt, in part because we visited a lot of churches and partly because it was hot and I prefer skirts over shorts (it seems most Italian women do too, at least in larger towns and cities) and I never felt out of place. I paired it with plain, newish t-shirts, picked up a scarf as a souvenir, and that made me look as dressy as necessary.

This was the Village Italy tour, but I assure you we ate at some fantastic restaurants and no one batted an eye at our group in their skirts, pants, and t-shirts. What I did notice was that Italians seem to look put together, even when wearing jeans and t-shirts, as though they take more than five minutes to get dressed :) --That is why I got the scarf.
You will be fine in whatever clothes you wear, and the skirt will just make you feel a little bit dressier.

Have a great trip!

Posted by
2708 posts

Yes, your black skirt will be fine - just have your everyday touring tops match it and you're good to go. Maybe add lipstick, and a scarf or cheap, nice looking jewelry if you're concerned. You can easily look "nice" without having dressy clothes.

I have not been on a RS tour, but I have eaten in some of the restaurants mentioned in his book and seen tour groups. You'll be fine everywhere except the fancy places, and I don't think those are on the tour.

Posted by
9701 posts

I'm with Debra! In my 5 tours no one dressed up and often we went directly from touring to dinner. I have not done your tour but have done both Village Italy and Heart of Italy plus the Best of Europe which spends 8 nights in Italy.

Have a wonderful time! Keep in mind it will be hot and some of the restaurants may not be well air conditioned.

Posted by
43 posts

I went on the South Italy tour last year, and found that most of the women dressed up a little for dinner. By that I mean flats or sandals instead of the day's athletic walking shoes, and a top that was a little nicer than the t shirts, etc., worn during the day. I actually felt a little uncomfortable because I didn't bring an extra pair of shoes or dressier top. Your skirt would work well though, and if you might want to add jewelry or a scarf.

Posted by
98 posts

Thank you so much to everyone who replied to my question!! Your observations and suggestions are very helpful. I guess the black skirt is a "go"!

Posted by
283 posts

Lots of the same advice, but the bottom line is - you are in Italy (or anywhere else in Europe) and when it comes time to wind down, have a cocktail, socialize and enjoy dinner, I know I want to do it wearing something a little more "uptown" than my runners and jeans. Example - when our Eastern Europe tour ended, DH and I went on to Vienna for 5 days. While there we met some new folks and did dinner and drinks with them. I was soooo glad to have packed a nice pair of flats and some splashy (cheap) jewelry to buff up with and a black skirt or slacks is always perfect. This fall we will do Spain, then meet up with friends in Rome for 4 days. I will definitely advise my friends to bring something to wear that will make them feel wonderful in a wonderful place. Pack for who you are also, which you can do even while following the "guidelines".

Posted by
16883 posts

You're on the right track with the advice above. A key reason to change for dinner is just that whatever you were wearing all day can get hot and sweaty and your feet are ready for some different shoes. It need not be a different outfit every evening.

Posted by
28 posts

We were on this tour in Sept. 2014. The group ranged in age from around 40-70+. That is not important but we laughingly said that our group must be keeping Eddie Bauer in business; lots or travel clothes with roll-up and zip-off pants legs. Definitely very casual! One skirt would be nice for any place you feel you want to dress up. We spent two days in Milan prior to the tour and even there only those going to "fashion week" events were dressed up with heels on! It's a great trip-have fun!

Posted by
14899 posts

A lot of women dress up for the last night's dinner, and not just on RS tours. I wouldn't take clothes just for that one evening, but I'd try to find something that would serve me several times during the tour and be suitable. If you don't have a nice accent scarf to bring along, you'll have no trouble buying one during the tour and it's a nice souvenir. I think your skirt will be fine. Remember you're going to be entering and leaving in a group and for the rest, you're sitting down.

Posted by
4371 posts

Since this thread has been reactivated, how was a your trip, Lori? Were you happy with the clothing you packed?