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What Should I Wear?

General Clothing Comments

When travelling abroad and trying to conserve space in your luggage, take clothes that can be used in a variety of situations. For example I have a skirt that is made from wrinkle-resistant fabric and has a drawstring waist so it is super comfy! It can pass as a casual skirt and be worn with a tank top or T-shirt and regular shoes or sandals, or if worn with a blouse it passes for something you could wear out in the evening. It doesn't show wrinkles if you roll it instead of folding it when packing, and comes in a number of colours which can usually be found at any travel/outdoor type store. One of the best purchases I ever made.
Adele McGuey, Bracebridge, Canada

Brown became my favorite color while traveling from Indonesia to London. A brown, cotton, slightly loose short-sleeved blouse, with baggy, very lightweight brown patterned rayon drawstring pants were my main ensemble throughout Indonesia, Nepal, Egypt, and Turkey. These clothes were comfortable in hot weather, kept me well-covered, and didn't show dirt. Also, avoid all white underthings. Black bras and panties are the way to go because they don't show the dirt after lots of in-the-sink washings!
Anita, San Francisco, USA

Being trendy could give you away as a tourist. Low cut tops and short skirts are a no no in some countries. Do your research and see what is appropriate apparel for the places you are going to visit. My advice would be to dress on the conservative side.
Sharon, Rohnert Park, USA

Be sensitive in Europe. Don't be so insensitive as to wear shorts and tank tops into churches and cathedrals. These buildings are in daily use by locals -- try not to offend them.
Jane, Highland, USA

Germany is getting better in the market of plus size clothing! Don't despair...chic plus size clothing is out there! Especially the's always a treat to bring one home from Germany since they are made with the nicest well as undergarments...go to the local department stores for those...they make beautiful white cotton underwear in a multitude of sizes!
LouLou, Boston, USA

Large Size Clothing. I lived in Europe for three years. In many countries, clothes up to size 48 or 50 (European) are available, but tend to be matronly, and accessories can be hard to find. You're better off bringing extras of "basic" items such as underwear. Helpful hint: buy a tape measure in centimeters, measure yourself before you leave, and bring your dimensions with you. Very useful if you're in a drugstore trying to buy pantyhose and the size is listed in centimeters!
Paula, Santa Fe, USA

Black clothing! This helps you to blend into the crowd and suddenly you aren't the target of the machismo men that seem to prey on American women.
Maxine, Fort Nelson, Canada

The most useful item I always pack is a long, natural fiber lightweight broomstick skirt. It is nice and cool in warmer climes, can be very nice with a pair of nylons and leggings under it in colder areas, and it doesn't matter if it gets wrinkled, since it's supposed to be anyway. It keeps you conservative without looking bad or getting too hot or cold. Also a large scarf is ever essential in Eastern Europe for entering churches.
Liz, Sonoma, USA

When travelling in hot climates I always try and take a couple of sarongs with me. They pack down small and can be used for just about anything, skirts, dresses, beach towels, or even a blanket if necessary.
Sandra Tooley, Boulder, USA

The best shoes for Europe on the off season are sturdy, comfortable, black leather walking shoes. If you can tolerate wool, wear them with black wool socks. (Wool continues to insulate even if it gets wet.) With black slacks, and a nice sweater or jacket, you'll look much more polished than you would in jogging shoes, jeans, and sweatshirt. And you'll even be more comfortable, because your feet will stay warm.
Martha, Cahors, France

Don't forget even in the warmer southern European countries to bring a long skirt and a shawl or sarong to cover shoulders before entering churches. A crinkly skirt can be rolled up in your daypack and slipped on over shorts for modesty.
Molly, Seattle, WA., USA

I have noticed that travelling women who wear nice, conservative clothing with maybe one or two daring items will receive the most respect. For instance, nice slacks, a short sleeved shirt, and sandals can be dressed up or down, and a tank top can be your "daring" item, without looking provocative. At the same time, you can also be comfortable.
Lindsay, USA

In addition to a comfortable pair of walking shoes, I suggest taking along a pair of the "Chinese shoes" found in import stores and funky clothing shops. They are made of canvas or velvet(dressier) in a "Maryjane" style with hard rubber soles. Though not comfortable for walking distances, these shoes are very light weight, cheap (around $12US), take up very little space in your pack, and can be used as dress shoes or as slippers. They can be stuck in a daypack, purse or fanny pack in case you happen on a restaurant or religious site where sandals, sneakers and the like are discouraged or banned. To make them more comfortable, buy a neoprene mouse pad at an office supply store (around $3US), and cut out insoles to fit your shoe. Very cushy, especially at the end of the day when your feet are tired.
Tracy Hamilton, Tallahassee

On a recent trip to Europe, I traveled in an acceptable, but no longer desirable outfit and after all those hours of wearing it on the plane, I left it in my first hotel room with a note saying I had left it on purpose. On a more intimate note, I also saved my old underpants and socks and discarded one pair per day, leaving a trail and no dirty laundry in my suitcase.
Trisha, Atlanta, USA

I spent a month in Belgium and France in the summer of 1996 and my main problem was not what I took to wear, but the fact that I took too much. Also, I bought a new suicase for the trip. A beautiful 29" pop-up handle one with wheels. Quel horreur!!!! This is a suitcase designed for travel in the US only. The train and metro stations in Europe have stairs! Try "lugging" a beautiful piece of "luggage" around Europe for 4 weeks. You, too, will want to throw it into the Seine. Also, on trains that travel across Europe, there is only enough luggage space for each person to place an extremely small bag. These overhead luggage racks are definitely not made for U.S. sized suitcases. My advice, which I plan to follow this summer, is "if you cannot carry it up a flight of stairs, don't take it"! I hope this saves a few women from making the same investment that I did and not be able to use the piece of luggage for what it was intended.
Deborah, Stockton, California




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