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Fitting In

New York City, New...
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Fitting In

I am leaving for Germany very soon, August 26 and I need in help in figuring out what to pack! For obvious reason my husband and I will stick out as American tourists, but if I wanted to try to somewhat blend in what could I pack! For example, I was reading that Germans don’t wear white sneakers, is this true? I was also told that women stay away from wearing shorts… I am often cold, so I am not sure if I am better off packing shorts or pants for my trip. As you can tell I am confused, please advise on what to pack for both male and females!

We will be in Nuremberg, Munich, Baden-Baden, Cologne, Dusseldorf and the surrounding areas.

THANKS!

Edited: 11 August 2011, 22:35
Karlsruhe, Germany
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for Baden-Wurttemberg
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1. Re: Fitting In

Wear what you feel comfortable and good-looking in. Also don't worry too much about blending in, it won't work anyway (the typical American smile is a dead giveaway in the first two seconds of any encounter).

The white sneakers story is just a rumour, and wrong. You'll see a lot of them around. Wear them if you walk well in them. No one cares.

Germans are practical people. We dress according to weather conditions and activities. Wear comfortable shoes if you plan to walk a lot. Wear a rain jaacket when it is reaining. and so on. No worries about fashion. You'll see a lot of outdoor gear in the cities, too, especially when the weather is bad. Shorts are fine on hot days if you look acceptable in them in the daytime and for pubs or beer gardens in warm evenings, but not e.g. for the theater or fancy restaurants.

It is impossible to tell now what the weather will be like in two or three weeks from now. Generally speaking, you'll need some summer wear but also at least one warm sweater/cardigan, rain jacket and/or umbrella. closed shoes that survive a walk in the rain, long pants etc. Otherwise, pack clothes that can be combined and worn in layers.

New York City, New...
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2. Re: Fitting In

Thank you so much for that! As I am reading, I am smiling, so I guess you are right...

Are you familiar with the Black Forest region, we are coming from Munich? I still not have booked a hotel, and we were thinking of two nights in Baden-Baden and one night in Heidelberg. We will have a car, so I am not sure if we are better to stay in one location for the three nights, instead of two? We are ending up in Dusseldorf where we will drop the car off and take a train to Amsterdam. It seems like hotel Heiligenstein has gotten great reviews, but does not seem to have AC, not sure if this is a problem in the evening… I am always cold, but my husband runs hot… Such problems! Any advice would be appreciated!

Thanks!

Karlsruhe, Germany
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for Baden-Wurttemberg
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3. Re: Fitting In

AC in late August in the Black Forest? Unnecessary. Our common air conditioning system is called "windows" and does the trick all year round apart from perhaps a handful of days in the highest summer.

Since you have a car, why not stay in a smaller place instead of even more cities? If you want to experience the Black Forest, stay in one of the many villages and towns in the countryside within the Black Forest. Browse a bit through this forum, there are heaps of threads with descriptions and recommendations. (Sorry I'm a bit lazy at the moment, it is time for bed...)

San Jose, California
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4. Re: Fitting In

We are leaving for southern Germany and Czech Republic soon - visiting some of the same places as you are. Practical clothing is the key, even in Munich, people seem to be very practical when it comes to fashion - much more so than in a lot of cities.

This is what I am taking:

2 pr jeans - can dress up for evening or down for day

1 jean skirt

2 pr cotton capris

3 t-shirts

3 tanks

1 cardigan sweater

2 long-sleeved blouses for evening

1 fleece

1 jean jacket

1 pr tennis shoes

1 pr Sketchers Mary Janes

1 pr hiking sandals

1 pr cute sandals

I don't wear shorts except at the beach or outdoors - some people look great in shorts, but I don't. Capris and skirts are my go-to bottoms when the weather is warm. A lot of people get by with fewer shoes - you probably can too. When you choose shoes, make sure that you don't have any narrow heels - cobblestones will chew them up.

Baltimore, Maryland
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5. Re: Fitting In

Most Germans are not fashion plates. Don't worry about it so much.

And most of your destinations see a lot of tourists from all over the world every year--so they are used to every possible type of costume you can possibly imagine.

Just use some common sense--clean clothes in good repair. Don't wear shorts, sneakers, and t-shirts to upscale restaurants or a symphony concert--that sort of common sense approach.

Boston, MA
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6. Re: Fitting In

I just returned from a two week trip. AC is very rare and is not needed since most nights will be very cool. On our visit, there was just one "hot" day and that was about 78 degrees (at most) and I still needed a sweater that evening. Siince, you are always cold bring a few sweaters and it will not hurt to bring an umbrella. I was very surprised that about 90% of the T shirts displayed English sayings on them. Wear what is comfortable to you and bring walking shoes! I found the best of Germany was discovered on foot!

Enjoy!

New York
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7. Re: Fitting In

The comment about smiling is perfect. Germans think Americans (or anyone who similes a lot) are simply stupid. In my experience, most German men over 50 who are not going to work wear light brown - khaki from head to foot, including a windbreaker of matching drab. Lace up leather shoes. I don't recall seeing shorts - probably because it is usually too cold. But you CAN wear baseball caps without being taken for an American. The favorite team is the NY Yankees. Also Harvard t-shirts. The AC comment is also 100% accurate. Still, if you are unfortunate enough to be there on the few days it IS hot, then prepare to swelter. Open windows and window fans are your best bet. Even rooms with AC do not get cool enough by American standards.

Germany
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8. Re: Fitting In

Hehe, I am a Sox fan!

LOL

Boston, MA
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9. Re: Fitting In

Go Sox!!!!

Salt Lake City
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10. Re: Fitting In

If someone asked you how to dress to fit in across the US, how would you answer. I think there is no answer.

Smiling. Germans, like Americans, are individuals. Some smile more quickly than others. Some are also quicker to make stereo-types about foreigners than others. I typically wear a too serious expression, especially when I am concentrating; e.g., when trying to speak a foreign language. I have had Germans offer the first smile to me to help set me at ease. Blandine's knowledge of art and culture is awesome; but, she nor anyone else speaks for a whole nation.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde

Regards, Gary