How to be Comfortable Without Looking Like an American Tourist
Image via Wikimedia
Whether you want to immerse yourself in your new culture, or you simply don't want to wear a pickpocket target on your back, you might want to think about leaving certain items of clothing back in the states. While every country has its own customs for clothing, and climates dramatically vary throughout the world, there are certain items that scream American tourist, almost no matter where you are.
Americans have made comfort a science. We love our logo tees, leggings, and gym shoes. The rest of the world, though, tends to think they belong in the gym. That doesn't mean you can't be comfortable.
Don't Wear Logos
You may be proud of your college, or of your favorite sports team, but outside of the United States, no one cares. As a matter of fact, there's nothing that says "American" more than logos. Few people outside of the United States wear clothing with Nike or Puma emblazoned in huge letters. Instead, wear a neat, clean, plain t-shirt or a shirt with a collar. Avoid hoodies and sweatshirts altogether.
Don't wear gym shoes
Gym shoes should stay in the gym. Instead, wear comfortable but stylish shoes, such as flats, low-heeled boots, supportive sandals, canvass lace-ups, slip-on shoes, or plain athletic-type shoes in a higher quality fabric such as wool.
Don't wear baseball caps
Hats are a definite yes. They add style and keep the sun off your face, but stay away from baseball caps, especially backward baseball caps. They are almost purely American. Instead, opt for a hat made of cloth or straw. There are hundreds of styles to choose from, and they add a dash of style to even the most basic outfits.
Don't wear leggings
For American women, leggings outsell jeans. In the rest of the world, though, leggings are for the gym. It's the same with sweatpants. For a casual look, wear jeans. Flowing pants are comfortable and can be dressed up.
Don't carry a backpack
Backpacks are comfortable and can hold a lot of items. Unfortunately, when access is on your back, it's easy for a skilled pickpocket to pull something out without you even knowing it. Instead, use a cross-body bag, such as a messenger bag or a cross-body purse.
Do Prepare to cover up
In conservative countries, such as Saudi Arabia, it is customary, or even expected, to cover from head to toe. Most countries, though, give a lot more freedom when it comes to dress. The same can't be said, though, of many restaurants and institutions such as churches. Women can rarely go wrong with a knee-length dress, but if it's sleeveless, having a cardigan or shawl on hand is recommended.
Take all of this advice with a grain of salt
How you dress, excluding some local rules, is completely up to you. If, however, you don't want to stand out as an American, observing some simple fashion guidelines will help.