What travellers should wear when visiting Europe: What not to wear

It feels like you're fighting a losing battle. As you cast your eye over the good citizens of Paris and Milan, of London and Rome, of Berlin and Barcelona, as you wander the streets and take in the local fashions, it's easy to be intimidated by the effortless style on display, by the casual chic of those around you.

People in these cities look good. They look good in dresses and in suits, in trousers and in blouses. They look good in the classic high fashion of Italian catwalks and in the avant-garde style of London clubs. They look like a lot of thought and probably a lot of money has gone into their outfits. They look like they care.

The tourists, meanwhile? They usually don't. They look sloppy compared with the svelte Milanese; beige compared with the punky Berliners. They don't look like they just stepped off a catwalk; they look like they just stepped out of a hiking store.

You can understand the temptation to just give up in cities that are known for their style. After all, you're not going to lug around a three-piece suit on your holiday. You're not going to pack haute couture. If you have no hope of competing with the locals then why even try?

But we should try. We should make an effort. If we can agree that over-tourism in Europe is a problem, and that crowds of visitors are getting out of control, then we can agree that the more we can all fit in, the happier everyone will be.

Consider fashion as a sign of respect; an acknowledgment of place.

And so you need to think about your outfits when you visit Europe, to do away with the zip-off pants and the cargo shorts, the comfy leggings and the travel-brand tops and instead pack clothes that are smarter, more stylish.

This is the art form. You don't have to dress expensively. You don't have to dress daringly. You just have to dress well.

You have to take jeans or trousers or well-cut dresses and wear them whenever the locals are doing the same. You have to take a range of stylish tops in basic colours that don't need ironing but will work well dressed up or down. You have to take shoes that are comfortable to walk in but will pass muster at a restaurant or theatre.

You have to put in effort in the same way locals have clearly put in effort. You have to think about the standard of dress in the place you're visiting and then try to match it. You have to blend in. You have to fit.

You have to try, most importantly, not to be intimidated.   

   

Comments