Shut. Up.

9 Aug

I'm still waiting for the day when Steve Madden will make heels this good convert into flats. And I'm going to keep on waiting. Sigh.

OMG, I used to love me some What Not to Wear.  I’d watch Stacy and Clinton dish out help to the needy.  But I watched too many episodes.  I soon started yelling mean things about skinny jeans and glitter eye shadow without provocation.  I had to go through detox.  I may not watch the show anymore but I still remember all that they taught me.  While I’m sure that they’d both cringe at most things American travelers wear, I thought that I’d pick the ones that the overachievers.  And in a world where some have turned up at fancy restaurants in Paris wearing sweat pants, I’d say that there are a bunch of candidates, for sure.


Convertible pants, people.  Even devotees know that they are ugly.  I don’t own any so I’m not sure about comfort.  I do know that unless you are hiking or doing other outdoors activities you likely won’t need to go from pant to shorts in the same day.  They don’t look like dress pants and many of them are pretty heavy due to the hardwear that makes them go.  If you’re toting along lightweight pants and a pair of shorts it’s easy enough to put your spare in your day bag.  They are a great idea but I haven’t seen a company that executes on them.  Please feel free to prove me wrong here.  I want to believe.

Where Did It All Go Wrong

A bunch of travel and outdoor gear manufacturers had a great idea.  They started marketing shirts that look like dress shirts but are made of lighter weight material and less prone to wrinkling.  They would quick dry and so worked for those who sweat and those who do laundry in the their hotel.  Bueno!  Then it went horribly wrong.  Sometimes a good idea can go too far.  Some of these shirts now look like they are made out of your tent or have enough pockets to store an entire picnic.  If you’re getting a travel shirt of this variety sit yourself down and have a little talk.  What do you need?  Sun protection, pockets, easy care, etc.  Then just meet those needs.  No single shirt is going to make your life the easy-flowing dream.  You won’t automatically wake up with a valet and an assistant to organize your life.  That said, taken as they are, these shirts are really great.  North Face, ExOfficio, REI and Columbia have a good selection.

If you really want to see a designer who has jumped ship follow this link to meet the ScottEVest.  They make a sports coat with 26 pockets.  And the vest with 22 holds your iPad.  That’s one way to avoid checking your luggage, I guess.

Things Aren’t Working Out

Sweat pants are pretty rare for most travelers to try to pass off as casual wear but athletic shoes aren’t.  They make perfect sense for travel because they are comfy and you’re going to be doing a lot of walking.  It maybe wouldn’t be so bad if they were bright white but many are, making them hard to ignore.  Europeans totally don’t get our attachment to them but I’m not a fan of eating horse, so let’s agree to disagree. 

If you want to get sneakers that are a tad more stealth there are so many brands out there making it easy.  Sketchers, Mephisto, Keen, Simple, Clarks.  Do a search for walking shoe and check out the options.  And maybe lay off the walk fit idea.  If you’re traveling you’re going to be walking enough.  And your butt looks rockin’, by the way.


I could go on but just this once… I won’t.  At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if you look disheveled or geeky or just plain clueless.  I spent a good deal of our ’92 trip covered in ill-fitting Levi’s, giant marshmallow-like Nikes, an over-designed Lands End jacket and a really happy expression.  Get your hair done up like Carrot Top, who cares?  Whatever else you’re doing, you’re still on vacation.  After all, that mesh tank top that shows off your muscles probably packs like a dream.


One Response to “Shut. Up.”

  1. Katie 2011/08/09 at 22:20 #

    Woot Woot to European Travel! So excited for you!

    Clarks makes great “euro sneakers” as I call them – comfy and won’t immediately out you as a tourist.

    For a dress, either learn to wrap the sarong into a dress (it can be cute and/or can cut off the circulation in your neck… I learned to do the wrap-dress from Maren in ’03) or invest in a 2 piece combo skirt and top made of synthetic fibers (I have a black and white number a la Express circa 2002 that I still travel with- it never wrinkles!).

    Also, you need a scarf. Long, light, multi-colored … it can dress up a T-shirt, can double as a wrap skirt (when extended and wrapped a few times), and keeps you warm if you wrap it as a shawl.

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