Tourist fashion – is there such a thing? The prevailing stereotypical traveler is a man with sandals and socks, a fanny pack, jean shorts with big pockets, and a tee-shirt with the logo of his local college football team. The stereotype for women travelers isn't much different, although they may forego the sandals-and-socks combination for sensible flats.
Tourists from the American Midwest may find themselves out of their element when they stroll down Fifth Avenue in New York, the Champs-Elysées in Paris, or virtually anywhere in Milan, where they may discover that once they leave Indiana, people really do pay attention to what they put on in the morning, and the best tourist fashion of all is to blend in with one's surroundings.
Fashionistas in the know spotted a hidden trend on the runways during fashion week this year, which is very likely to emerge as an important part of 2018 clothing lines: Intentional tourist fashion, or the ideal of transcending the stick-out-like-a-sore-thumb tourist style with new lines suitable for travel, which look good, pack easily, and add a little bit of panache to that road trip.
To our great delight, Hawaiian shirts are coming back for spring and summer 2018, thanks in part to the new collection from Louis Vuitton with an "island life" motif. The Hawaiian shirt is perhaps the only type of shirt that truly looks good untucked and with a couple of the top buttons unbuttoned.
But something far more practical than runway fashion shows have begun to influence travel fashion. "Trends in fashion for travelers is being influenced by airlines' stricter policies on luggage as much as it is the fashion designers in New York and Milan," said Chris Rivett, travel expert at hotel comparison platform HotelsCombined. "With additional charges for checked bags and even carry-ons, packing light takes on a whole new meaning – and even the most fashion-conscious traveler will want to narrow down their options."
We do tend to take a cue not only from fashion week, but also from what celebrities are spotted wearing – and a recent Elle feature captured top celebrities at airports, wearing everything from baggy sweatshirts, to Paris Hilton's beautiful though somewhat impractical ankle-length sheer dress and floppy hat combination. Hats do make good travel gear, and are under-rated as a desirable accoutrement to dress up any outfit – but as a practical matter, one must consider where it goes in the suitcase. A woman's big floppy hat, or a man's fedora, is sure to get unsightly creases if packed away in a suitcase with everything else. A bucket hat may be easier to store, and if it gets crushed in the suitcase it's not a problem. Anything but a baseball cap, please!
Travel fashion depends, ultimately, on where you are traveling to. Planning a trip to Indiana to see a Notre Dame game? By all means, pack tee-shirts and baseball caps to your heart's content. Sweat pants? Why not? But in Paris? Not so much. Half the fun of traveling to one of the world's fashion capitals – New York, Paris, Rome, Milan, London – is strolling down the avenue and sitting at a sidewalk café and attracting a few approving glances from the locals.
From the runway to retail, 2018 will be the year of the stylish traveler, and we can look forward to affordable fashions which look good, pack easily, and add a whole new dimension to vacation fun.