Planning a trip to Europe and unsure what clothing to pack? The time of year and country you are visiting will certainly be decisive factors. But in general, layering is your best route to planning your wardrobe. By layering your clothing, you can add and remove pieces of clothing as determined by the climate.
In deciding what clothes to wear in Europe, think of what you will be doing on your trip. If you are traveling to Europe on business, keep in mind that Europeans do not dress as casually in the office as Americans. Business attire is appropriate: skirts and jackets for women, and shirts and ties for men. If you are going to Europe to ski, pack warm layers such as long-sleeved under shirts, sweaters, jackets, scarves, gloves, thick socks and waterproof footwear. For the general tourist, layering sleeveless undershirts with short- and long-sleeved shirts, a few sweaters and a jacket is the smartest way to go. A cool day can suddenly turn sunny, and this gives you the opportunity to shed a few layers and remain comfortable. On the flip side, you can be enjoying the beautiful sunshine in Switzerland one day, and the next a chilly rain my come requiring a jacket and an umbrella.
Europeans are fairly conservative in their choice of colors. Black is always appropriate, as are neutrals such as beige, gray, white, brown and blue. Wearing extremely bright, vivid colors may cause you to gain some unwanted stares and attention or be recognized immediately as a tourist. Choose neutrals if you prefer to blend in with European culture.
Be prepared and only pack footwear that is comfortable and cushions the soles of your feet well. Cobblestone streets and brick sidewalks, in combination with many stairs, can be very painful after a day of sightseeing if you are not wearing suitable shoes. Extremely high, thin-heeled shoes may be pretty but will not stand up to the daily grind. Limit these types of shoes to perhaps one pair for evening wear.
Particularly France and Italy are known for their fashion sense. In the event you do not have appropriate clothing for the season you will be traveling in, you'll be able to shop in some of the world's most revered designer boutiques. France is known for its haute couture, Italy for outstanding leather and sleek designs, and London for hip and trendy threads as well as crisp, conservative tailoring.
Some accessories that are essential in Europe include scarves for both men and women, a large bag for all the little purchases you'll make, a rain jacket and hat, umbrella and sunglasses. Women will want some appropriate jewelry to spice up their ensemble, as well as hair accessories.