9 fashion faux pas of travel

Like it or not, both locals and other tourists on your next vacation will surely judge you based on what you’re wearing. Even the most fashion-savvy person should take a look at this list and take major precautions. There’s nothing worse than committing a fashion faux pas while traveling – we Americans are already walking on thin ice among the world’s fashion critics.

Touristy paraphernalia


Ludovic Bertron, I love NY Rat via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Whether you’re eager to represent your hometown or to tell the world where you’ve been (even while you’re still there), we can see why you’re drawn to the ever popular touristy garb. We understand. You’re proud of your city, you’re proud of your status as a tourist and you’re proud of the decision you made in picking a destination. The only problem is that all your pride is keeping you on every worst-dressed list trolling the interwebs. So we suggest toning it down, just a little. Try to blend in on vacation, you won’t be such an easy mark.

TIP: Save this souvenir for once you’ve returned home and wear it proudly to show off your travels.


Dylan, We were walking downtown via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Ladies, consider leaving the heels at home when you’re traveling to a destination that requires a lot of walking. We understand that you want to dress to impress all the strangers you’ll likely never see again, but why not embrace some cute flats? Invariably, being a tourist comes with a lot of time spent on your feet, so just save yourself the pain and slip into something more comfortable that’ll actually allow you to walk around. Those stilettos look great on you as you walk into the club on a Friday night, but they don’t look so hot as you struggle to keep up with your morning tour group in Paris.

TIP: As a compromise, pack one pair of moderate heels for special occasions such as a trip to the theatre or an upscale dinner. But, when it comes time to tour the city, leave them at the hotel!


Paul Downey, Croc Shop via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Oh the monstrosities that are Crocs, what are we going to do with them? Now, we will admit that Crocs are pretty comfortable. But how about we take a different route, just for fashion’s sake? As an everyday shoe, the Clogs by Crocs are clunky and  loud (color wise), but there is a loophole. These shoes are not to be tossed by the wayside completely. Crocs have several other styles to offer – ones that are just as comfortable but a lot easier on the eye.

TIP: If you must wear Crocs™, give their flats or Mary Janes a try and you’ll see that it is possible for comfort and style to coexist.

Socks and sandals (together!)

Mixing socks and sandals is kind of like mixing oil and milk – it should just never be done. And yet people still do it. Sure, we could say that the mysterious lure of socks and sandals has always baffled us, but we know what it is: people want their feet to breathe without completely throwing caution to the wind and letting their bare feet out. We recognize your struggle, but take walk on the wild side and let your feet breathe as freely as possible on your next vacation. Or don’t and keep the socks paired with some simple closed-toe shoes. Just know that you can’t have the best of both worlds, so please give this mismatched pair a break.

TIP: Just don’t do it.

Fanny packs

Now we can see the initial appeal of fanny packs. How wonderful is it that you can carry all your worldly possessions in one place and have them at hand and easily accessible at all times? We’re just brimming with excitement at its convenience. But consider this: There is no way to look fashionable with a fanny pack on. It just isn’t possible. For some reason we always associate fanny packs with people who like to eat corn dogs and avoid exercise – go figure. Go for a cross-body bag instead. They’re cuter and function the same way – without the images of unused treadmills and  and the opportunities for pickpockets to rob you.

TIP: If you insist on opting for this often ridiculed tourist staple, your are in luck. Fanny packs have seen a stylish re-branding lately under a new moniker: “belt bags.” So, if you are a fanny pack fan, wear it proudly and insist that your belt bag is straight off the catwalk.

Hawaiian shirts

What can we say about Hawaiian shirts? Nothing really, except that they are only acceptable when your actually in Hawaii or at a Luau of some sort. Hawaiian shirts don’t belong in your pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower or at the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Just trust us, you’ll be thankful later.

TIP: Plan a Hawaiian vacation and wear your tropical floral print proudly!

Convertible pants


In theory, convertible pants definitely sound like a good idea – wear them as shorts when it gets warm and wear them as pants when it cools down a bit. Like fanny packs, the convenience is just amazing. But as travel experts we have earned that convenience and style are often mutually exclusive. Convertible pants are not the exception to this rule. If you want to get a leg up on fashion, ditch the convertible pants!

TIP: Check the weather in the morning and dress accordingly. Should there be drastic changes in the weather throughout the day, take some layers with you and you’ll be fine!

Going shirtless


Gentlemen, unless you’re at the beach soaking in the sun, it just doesn’t seem right for you to be walking around shirtless. If you’re hot, there are ways to keep cool without imposing your overwhelming manliness on everyone around. Wear a sleeveless, cotton T-shirt. It’s light and it’ll keep you comfortable (and clothed).

TIP: No shirt, major problem getting in to restaurants and tourist attractions, so be sure to keep a shirt handy if you want to be welcome in a number of establishments.

Sweatshirt tied around your waist

Photo: Amanda Festa

It can be hard to predict the weather in a new place, and it is always smart to be prepared when heading out for a full day of sightseeing. It could be warm in the afternoon and cool down in the evening. Bringing a light jacket or sweatshirt when you leave your hotel for a day in a new city can be a wise decision, but should you not need it you will be faced with quite the predicament. No one wants to hold a jacket all day, but what is this alternative? You may be tempted to sacrifice fashion for function and tie it around their waist but, like the fanny pack, this hands-free solution isn’t always the most stylish tourist look!

TIP: Bring a backpack or canvas tote to store your sweatshirt and any souvenirs you may pick up during your sightseeing adventures. Or, if you also happen to need a place to store your laptop, you are in luck!

Main Image: Rohit Rao, 26 via Flickr CC BY 2.0

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