Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tacky Tourists in Europe

Alright, so what is with Americans (i'll use a general term for Canadians and Americans) and sticking out like a sore thumb in Italy? If I ever visit Italy I will do my best not to appear like a tourist, since I recently admitted to myself that I DO care what people think of me, and that is nothing to be ashamed of. I find it incredibly uncomfortable having an Italian watching me with a smirk as I gasp about the glorious Renaissance architecture of Venice.

This is how the scenario would go:

I notice an italian guy staring at me, I smile to him. He laughs. I don't know why.
I look down at my outfit: white sneakers, denim shortshorts, graphic tee and hoodie. Typical wear for day, not sure what is so odd about it. No food on my clothes, or teeth.
Then, to my horror, I see my naive friend attempting to get a photo with some nude statue, and calling my name. Oh, god. As one of those "touristphobia's" of mine I am immediatly embarassed and try to shush her up. Needless to say, the guy is laughing at how 'stupid american tourists' are really funny and dumb.

And I explained the outfit because-it is normal summer wear for americans-it is like a neon sign saying, 'TOURIST'. Italians, generally Europeans, have a sophisticated, almost old world traditions for how the look (not really in the younger crowd). If you go on google maps in some random town, the adult people are wearing pants and long skirts. Modest. Refined. Dignified. I want to be this way. I CARE about being judged by the people of a foreign country; I don't want to be fooled around with by the citizens who are total asses and give the wrong directions or a foul recommendation on where to eat. I need to fit in.

So how do we go about doing this? (Also, the reason for Italy is they generally have a reputation for good style)
has some great tips on how to 'blend' fairly well. If you don't care what other people think, just know that you are less of a target for pickpockets or being mugged.

Basic Points:
- Skip the running shoes, or any white walking shoes. They're blinding.
- Go for black or brown shoes, inconspicuous walking shoes.
- Vintage will always work; it's modest and timeless.
- Generally do research on what 'looks' fashionable. If you'd feel almost too dressy for the mall, then its nicely casual for strolling around Nice.
- Please, please, stow the camera until you need it, wearing it around your neck will just ruin any effort you made at all.

I'll add on maybe.

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