A few years back as I was packing for our family vacation to Australia, I spent hours picking out coordinating outfits for the whole family. I just knew it would make for great family photos on our trip. I thought we looked great in the pictures, but I’m sure we stood out of any crowd, especially they day we all had on a bit of orange! Not to mention the teasing my husband received from co-workers when we returned for looking so “matchy matchy”. You can’t see it in the picture below, but I had orange in my shorts, and we both had on plaid too. Now being in Europe it would be so nice to not scream “I’m a tourist!” Thankfully Kristen, The Mom Stylist has some great tips for us all to blend in better and look fabulous in all the family photos as we make our way around Europe!! So read below for her advise.
Have you ever been stumped by what to wear on your travels in Europe? I think we have all felt a little perplexed by how to find things that make it easy to pound the pavement — I mean, cobblestones — for hours at a time and yet don’t make you feel like you’re wearing a giant, blinking, “American Tourist!” sign above your head!
Well, I have a few tips for you on great travel style!
Remember that it’s unlikely you’re going to blend in perfectly, and that’s okay. There was no way for me not to look like a visitor on our trip to Turkey, for example. Similarly, one of the reasons I get asked for directions in Germany all the time is probably that I am tall, have hair colored hair and very fair skin. Still, there are a lot of things you can do or avoid doing to keep you from standing out so much.
1. Avoid t-shirts with writing on them, period. Obviously, if it has the Ralph Lauren American flag on it, or says, “University of ________” that’s a giveaway. But even though Europeans tend to wear tees a lot less than we do, if yours is plain, fits you well, and in a darker color, that will help.
Don’t forget that you can wear a blouse instead of a tee! The idea seems to be so foreign to us these days that I’m sure even reading the word blouse conjures up a prim schoolteacher, but I promise, you can go to H&M or a similar store and find a great one for not much that will help you to blend in better than any tee ever will!
2. Your shoes are probably the single biggest thing you can change to look put-together in any circumstance, and traveling is certainly no exception to this rule! Do NOT wear any type of white trainer / sneaker . This is such a giveaway that it’s become THE thing Europeans use to pick out Americans! If you’re traveling in the winter, it’s actually easier to find a great option. Find some flat or low wedge knee high boots in black, chocolate or cognac — the more classic, the better. In the summer, again, a flat or low wedge sandal in black, cognac or chocolate. Thankfully, there are a lot of ‘comfort shoes’ for sale in Germany, which can be perfect for walking hours a day. It can be tricky to find shoes that are comfortable but don’t scream comfort shoe, but it really can be done!
3. If it’s hot where you’re going, seriously considering ditching shorts in favor of a breezy dress — from mini to maxi. Maxis are especially great if you are traveling with little ones. They give you as much or more coverage as any shorts or jeans so that you don’t need to give it a second thought if you’re picking up dropped toys, etc, while you’re on the go. Remember, Europeans don’t tend to wear shorts as much as we do, so they can be a dead giveaway if you’re not careful, especially if they are the dreaded jeans shorts, AKA jorts. Exercise extreme caution before wearing those in any circumstance!
4. Don’t forget to pack a pair of big, fab sunglasses for your trip! They’re bound to make any outfit look better. The Mom Stylist especially recommends Bijou Brigitte for inexpensive, fab sunglasses!
5. Crossbody bags have been all the rage for the last few years, so if you’re concerned about pickpockets, it has become progressively easier to find a really beautiful bag while staying safe. Again, something in a rich, beautiful leather is your best bet! I really love cognac for its versatility; it looks stylish and intentional with both brown and black.
6. Weather permitting, a beautiful scarf can go a long way toward tying an outfit together!
If your last visit to France made you feel that you might need to go back and get your PhD in how to tie one just to keep up, take a look at this great video for some great ideas. http://www.clipfish.de/video/3683973/25-ways-to-wear-a-scarf-in-45-minutes/
7. Of course, pack as light as you can! This is easier if you pack lots of neutrals and use your accessories as your pops of color. I think of gray, especially, as the perfect neutral because it goes with both brown and black. Consider taking 1-2 pairs of touring shoes and one great dressy shoe for your night out on the town. If you’re noticing yourself over packing, take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that worst case, you can always wash your clothes in the hotel sink if you happen to get gelato on them!
Have questions about anything? Please feel free to contact me through my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/themomstylist , website: http://www.themomstylist.com/ or directly by email: Kristen@themomstylist.com