Travel Fashion: How to Look Like a Local

Published by riseandbrine on

This is going to sound really lame, but one of my favorite aspects of traveling is packing*.

Packing?!  … Yeah.


I’m not talking about physically stuffing my belongings into a suitcase. I’m talking about  understanding a foreign culture in terms of its unique sense of style. Then using this knowledge to curate a micro-wardrobe, so that I avoid looking like a tourist.

Is looking like a tourist really that bad?  …to me it is.  I grew up on Cape Cod and you could spot the tourists from a mile away. They clog up the roads, and the beaches, and ogle at our quaint salty lives. Bright colored polo shirts, lobster-red “tan”, big camera, shiny new sunglasses, carrying the world’s largest tote bag, bottle of water in hand, casually strolling main street in 90 degree mid-day heat on a Tuesday… yup, it’s a washashore.  I do NOT want to ever be pegged as a tourist if I can help it.

However, I’m well aware that every time I travel, I become the dreaded tourist… and I LOVE to travel. So I make every attempt to blend in to the local style culture. Even if I’m fumbling with google maps trying to find the way back to my Air BnB, I hope I’ll still look like I belong there, on the street corner, zooming wayyy into google maps…

How I dress like a local

Before each vacation I research fashion trends in the places I plan to go, and try to dress like a local wherever I end up…while keeping true to my own style-bend.  OK, so maybe I just convince myself that I’m blending in, but whatever. It’s fun to walk in someone else’s shoes for a change!  …um, pun intended.


Looking like a northwesterner

This time, Donald and I are heading to the great northwest: Portland, Seattle, Mt Rainier, and Orcas Island. Upon doing some light Pinterest “research” on the topic, I found that northwest fashion choices are a bit different than Boston attire in 3 main areas:

1. Adventurous Style

The northwest shows off it’s adventurous, artsy vibe with lots of colors and prints, and edgy accessories, which also help brighten up long stretches of clouds and rain.  In my research, I also noticed stripes are a big thing, so you can bet I’ll be packing some stripes for this trip.


2. More comfort!

There is a focus on casual comfort in the northwest, and a definite trend toward functional, sensible clothes and shoes. I’m stoked for a week of casual kicks and clothes with texture.

3. Weather? Whatever.

Layers are key for the always shifting weather in the northwest. A good rain jacket and pair of stylin’ rain boots are also critical to your northwest wardrobe, because no one uses umbrellas! Except tourists…. keep that umbrella away from me.


What did I end up packing? How did I wear it? Did I get called out for being a tourist?  Stay tuned!  🙂


* I stumbled onto the Travel Fashion Girl blog and it has been a HUGE help when curating a micro-wardrobe so as to avoid being pinned as a tourist when traveling. Thanks to Alex and team for inspiring this post!

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Travel Fashion: How to Look like a Local |

Travel Fashion: How to Look like a Local |



Travel Fashion Girl · June 16, 2016 at 10:58 am

Thanks for mentioning TFG 🙂

damnedyankee · June 29, 2016 at 6:39 am

One sure fire way I’ve found is to lose your luggage, and have to go to shopping on the quick and cheap when you get somewhere!

Packing for the Azores | Rise and Brine · October 2, 2016 at 8:03 pm

[…] recall from my PNW packing post that I do quite a bit of research before packing for vacation. Donald and I are now getting ready […]

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