Americans are known to make more fashion faux pas than other travelers — and I’m not just talking about flip-flops and cargo shorts (though those are pretty bad). Making certain fashion mistakes abroad can mean disrespecting cultural norms, offending locals, and at best, making it obvious to everyone that you’re a tourist who can be taken advantage of.
Dressing badly on vacation is usually done out of blissful ignorance rather than bad intentions. Knowing these common travel-outfit mistakes could keep even the most unfashionable world traveler in check.
Americans often dress more casually than people do in most other parts of the world. That habit can come off as a sign of disrespect, or even prevent you from being allowed into certain places. And it’s not just wearing sandals or lacking a suit jacket that you have to worry about.
On a recent business trip, one member of my group was asked to leave the rooftop restaurant we were all excited to see because he was breaking the dress code with his khaki shorts and Converse sneakers. We all had to leave, and I’m sure he learned his lesson about dressing for a night out in Europe. Most European cultures expect at least non-tennis shoes and long pants for men in more upscale restaurants.
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