What to Wear in Europe
By Neil Wolkodoff
Different parts of the world require not only the right protection to the elements but different levels of style. For Americans heading to Europe, it is a bit more formal in how one should dress, even in casual situations. Heading out in the morning means your clothes have to span the fashion globe from urban trekking to shopping to fine dining.
Going to Europe from the fall to the spring means you can have temperatures anywhere from the 20s to the 50s. Like alpine skiing, layers rule, yet the layers should be a bit more stylish than you might expect around SF or NYC. Clothing should be light enough to pack given the baggage limit, yet still provide warm with the addition of stylish layers. Orvis, Eddie Bauer, and LL Bean all with extensive outdoor collections are the front-runners for clothes that blend style, lightweight and all occasions’ practicality.
Starting from the ground up, there is definitely a different type of walking shoe needed in Europe. The paramount consideration is a sole that is rigid enough to navigate the uneven surfaces, like cobblestones, yet with a stylish upper. For men, the ultimate blend of style and durability comes in brogue shoes, something akin to a wingtip in the number of perforated leather pieces combined with durable, multi-lug soles. In Europe, the best brogue shoes and boots are from Heinrich Dinkelacker, a German company making shoes since 1879. With a model like the Rio, you get the option of a low top or various boot heights. This is a severe shoe that can stand up to a whole day of walking with the required style to hit Michelin dining at night. Socks have to cover both cushioning and style, with the ultimate travel sock, the Orvis Invincible Socks provide a unique wool/lycra blend that absorbs shock and moisture.
Slacks have to fit a wide variety of situations, resist moisture, be lightweight and make it for a week or more with just two colors. For women, the Orvis Ponte Slim with their stretchy ponte knit is optimal when the day spans a variety of situations. The flexible fabric keeps its shape all day. From a visual perspective, boot cut pants with a slim knee and broader leg opening create the visual of longer legs. Who doesn’t want that?
For men, Eddie Bauer Horizon guide Chino pants will give you color options that go with everything and will hold up well to the elements. Lightweight and easy packing, these chino pants, combine two-way stretch nylon/spandex has a StormRepel DWR finish that resists moisture and dirt, combining with UPF 50+ sun protection.
The Eddie Bauer Radiator Fleece Field jacket gives women a middle layer that can be its’ own fashion statement. The lightweight, tunic-length jacket offers multi-seasonal versatility with heat-reflecting capability. If women need a versatile sweater, the Orvis Signature Merino cardigan is crafted from Australian merino wool. It has a cotton feel, yet also will wick and dissipate moisture, essential for changing temperatures during a day of trekking.
For men, there might not be a more versatile European sweater than the LL Bean Commando Sweater. A nifty feature is shoulder and elbow patches that resist travel wear. A bit more dressy, the Orvis Merino Zip neck sweater is a lighter weight sweater that works well under a blazer.
Fine dining in Europe for men generally means some type of blazer over a collared shirt. The Eddie Bauer Voyager 3 in 1 is your ticket to an all-day blazer that also works for up-scale dining as well as being a lightweight jacket. It melds the style of a nylon/spandex blazer with the versatility of an insulating layer option thanks to the snap-in vest. Both blazer and vest are water-repellent, and the blazer provides built-in sun protection. Even better, you can roll it up in your suitcase, remove and in one shake it is ready for wrinkle-free wear.
When it’s cold, LL Bean PrimaLoft Packaway Jacket for men answers the question of warmth without weight and portability. The 60-gram PrimaLoft insulation is extremely warm with wind and water resistance. And, of course, it conveniently packs into one of its’ pockets. It is thin enough to be worn under a wind top as well.
For women, The Eddie Bauer Girl on the Go Trenchcoat might be the ultimate travel coat. This cross-seasonal trench coat features technology that’s fully seam-sealed to be completely waterproof and windproof and yet breathe. Extra warmth is from a button-in liner of ThermaFill insulation.
When it rains, or snows, or just for a bit of head style, hats are a needed accessory. For men, the Orvis Deerskin Driving Cap provides just enough cover on nippy days. Crafted of soft, supple, genuine deerskin and lined with cotton twill to blend looks and comfort. For those relentless sun or rain days, the Storm Sombrero from Eddie Bauer makes you a wet spaghetti western star. Once it’s on, it’s like a hands-free umbrella. This floatable nylon hat features seam-sealed construction to shed rain easily.
Pack it, crush it, stuff it in your tote– The Orvis Saddle Ridge Packable Felt Hat for women fits about any occasion. This western-inspired pure virgin wool felt hat pops right back into shape to add style to any outfit. Water-repellent and stain-resistant, it shields from rain and sun. Finished with a leather band and uses an adjustable band for a custom fit.
Neil Wolkodoff, PhD, is a Sport Scientist in Denver, Colorado who has worked with golfers over the last 15 years. During the rare free times, he travels to exotic golf destinations to see how golf, culture and local geography mix in different locales. He has penned articles for Colorado Avid Golfer, Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. In his travels, he has golfed with royalty, tour professionals, the local duffer, and the occasional goat.