How to Look like local in Paris

Visiting Europe is a dream for many, but there’s a fine line between being a tourist and standing out like a sore thumb. This article is for those who want to blend in, to experience Europe like a local. I’m French, living in Paris, and I’m here to share ten essential tips on what not to wear in Europe.

1. The Backpack Dilemma

Let’s start with the backpack. The utilitarian, sporty backpack is a no-go. Picture this: you’re walking through Paris, and a pickpocket has their eye on you. That oversized hiking backpack screams “tourist” and “easy target.”

Pickpockets in Paris love tourists because they believe you carry more cash. When your backpack is opened from behind, you won’t even feel it. Instead, opt for a cross-body bag that zips securely. Forget the designer logos too; flashy bags attract unwanted attention.

2. No Fanny Packs

Next up, the fanny pack. It’s practical, yes, but also a beacon for thieves, especially in crowded public transport. Fanny packs are easy to slip open, making you an easy mark. Leave the fanny pack at home and choose something more secure.

3. Avoid Leggings

Leggings and athletic wear are commonplace in the U.S. for daily activities, but not in Europe. Unless you’re hitting the gym or going for a run, athletic wear is a sign of a tourist. In Paris, the everyday outfit is more likely to be jeans, a t-shirt, and a blazer. Blend in by dressing casually but neatly.

4. Ditch the Crocs

Crocs have their place, but it’s not in Europe’s historic sites or museums. I was shocked to see a tourist wearing Crocs at the Château de Versailles. It’s akin to visiting a museum in slippers. It’s important to show respect to these places by dressing appropriately.

5. Say No to Flip Flops

Flip flops are another no-go unless you’re at a beach. In European cities, flip flops are too casual and can be considered disrespectful, especially in formal settings like museums. Choose something a bit more refined for city walking.

6. Logos and Designer Brands

Sporting big logos and designer brands might be fashionable back home, but in Europe, it’s different. Europeans tend to prefer understated luxury. Flashy logos attract attention from pickpockets and can make you a target. Discreet, quality pieces are the way to go.

7. Skip the Sexy, Revealing Clothes

European style leans towards conservative elegance. If you’re visiting places like Paris or Italy, think classy and chic rather than revealing. It’s about being stylish yet modest, and blending in with the locals.

8. Avoid Baseball Caps

Baseball caps are popular in the U.S., but in Europe, they’re mainly for outdoor activities. You won’t see people wearing them in daily life or at work. If you like hats, opt for something more sophisticated like a fedora or a stylish Panama hat.

9. Leave the University Sweaters

Oversized university sweaters with big letters are distinctly American. In Europe, these sweaters scream “tourist” and “easy target.” Instead, go for more fitted and neutral sweaters that don’t draw as much attention.

10. Outdoor Jackets

Lastly, the outdoor jacket. They’re great for hiking but not for exploring European cities. They’re too casual. If you’re worried about rain, a trench coat is a stylish and practical alternative that will help you blend in.

When it comes to sneakers, avoid the overly sporty styles. Europeans do wear sneakers, but they’re usually the smart, city-appropriate types like New Balance, Adidas Stan Smiths, or Converse. Choose comfortable yet stylish footwear for your travels.

Avoid the classic tourist look: Panama hat, big sunglasses, and a Hawaiian shirt. This ensemble is a dead giveaway. Instead, opt for a well-fitted linen shirt in neutral colors. It’s stylish, breathable, and much more European.

So it’s all about blending in! Choose practical yet stylish clothing that respects local customs and traditions. This not only enhances your travel experience but also probably helps you stay safe. Enjoy your trip and immerse yourself in the local culture. Safe travels!

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