No one wants to stand out in a bad way, and especially not while studying abroad in Europe. While we're all bound to blunder and put on a pair of flip-flops or gym shorts that unwittingly reveal our true nationality, there are a few ways you can at least attempt to nail that study abroad wardrobe before you go.
From Paris to London and Madrid to Prague, this list has got you covered -- literally!
To help you out, we partnered with the team at Travel Fashion Girl to gather the best tips on what to wear while studying abroad in Europe. From Paris to London and Madrid to Prague, this list has got you covered -- literally!
1. Paris, France
"The key to packing for France is to keep your wardrobe classic and minimal, with a touch of laid-back style," says TFG writer Jenifer Greco in her guide to packing for travel in France. Skinny jeans are a must, and a striped t-shirt is a classically French addition. In her TFG guide to packing for Paris, shopping expert Chloe Johnston lets us in on a secret to crafting the neutral colored, well-tailored outfits often seen on the streets of Paris: never wear more than 3 colors per outfit!
Leave the baggy jeans, sweatshirts, flip-flops, and tennis shoes at home. Instead, bring tailored dark jeans that work both for day and night. Pack tops, shirts, and dresses in pastel and neutral shades, along with feminine dresses and skirts. To accessorize, bring hats, scarves, and an elegant bag.
For colder weather, pack sweaters and warm jackets that you can use to layer up, and add a winter hat, gloves, and warm boots. Winter in Paris can also be rainy, so don’t forget to pack a waterproof coat and an umbrella!
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2. London, England
With the famously unpredictable weather in London, it’s important to always be prepared for rain so you’re never wet and miserable. Bring clothes that are well fitted and preferably in neutral and earthy colors like black, navy, olive green, and gray, which make mixing and matching much easier.
Pack jeans, trousers, shirts, jumpers, tops, skirts, and dresses. Jackets and scarves are used for layering year-round and can carry you from simple daytime outfits to dressier evening occasions. Bring boots for different types of weather -- calf-length for wet, cold weather and ankle-length for the rest of the year.
For winter, bring a solid winter coat, fleece-lined leggings, thermal underwear, warm gloves, socks, and a winter hat. London is a stylish city, so you’ll want to pack an elegant bag and accessories to dress up plainer outfits.
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3. Zurich, Switzerland
If you’re a jeans and sneakers kind of person, you’ll feel right at home in Zurich. The fashion focus is on looking presentable for most occasions, but not necessarily formal. If you plan on spending time outdoors, especially on the fantastic trails in the country, bring a warm, waterproof jacket and good hiking boots.
Pack smart, fitted jeans, tops, cardigans, a blazer, scarf, and a light jacket that you can layer, depending on the weather. For summer, add a couple of light, floral printed dresses and a pair of shorts for warm afternoons. Ballet flats and sandals work well in spring and summer, and waterproof boots are a must for autumn and winter. Your winter wardrobe should have a solid, waterproof coat, fleece lined boots, thermal underwear, warm socks, gloves, earmuffs, winter hat, and a thick scarf.
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4. Berlin, Germany
If your personal style is quirky and head-turning, then you’ll fit right in Berlin, where every neighborhood has its own unique sense of style -- perhaps a result of the city’s richly diverse cultural and artistic heritage.
For summer, pack cropped jeans, neutral and pastel tank tops, blouses, and tops, as well as printed dresses. For chilly evenings, carry a scarf, jackets, and sweaters that you can use to layer up. Vintage fashion is trending in Berlin, so feel free to bring your favorite pieces; you’ll most likely find yourself shopping for a few more while in the city.
During the winter, bring a waterproof jacket, gloves, a hat, scarf, warm socks, tights, and warm, waterproof boots. Berlin has an active nightlife, so carry a few pieces that can be dressed up for nights out.
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5. Barcelona, Spain
One of the things you’ll notice while walking around in Barcelona is that the city is stylish without trying too hard. In her packing guide to Barcelona, Alex from TFG says, “There is such an effortlessly cool vibe that is unlike any other city I’ve been to.”
In summer, the heat and humidity can be unforgiving, so you’ll want to pack light and breathable fabrics, a couple of trendy hats, and colorful bikinis for the beach. Keeping with the carefree and fun vibe of the city, feel free to pack printed dresses, tops, and pants; don’t shy from bright colors in your wardrobe. Finally, bring flat shoes that you can wear while walking on cobbled streets.
6. Vienna, Austria
When packing for Vienna, bring pieces that are semi-formal and stylish, rather than too casual or laid-back, except for outdoor activities. Pack dark, well-fitted jeans, trousers, tops, blouses, and dresses that can be paired with tights and leggings in colder weather or chilly evenings. There will be plenty of walking around here, so pack comfortable and stylish shoes.
For winter, layering is key; a warm winter coat, sweaters, merino base layers, thick scarf, socks, gloves, winter hat, and warm boots are recommended.
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7. Edinburgh, Scotland
Fashion blogger Jacopo Grazzi says that when packing for Scotland, “No matter what time of year you travel, the main thing to remember is to always pack layers, including a raincoat, hoodie, and umbrella.”
In addition, pack shirts, tops, trousers, and dresses in pastels, neutrals, and solid dark shades like navy and gray. Don’t forget a waterproof jacket to keep you dry during unexpected rainy spells and gloves to keep your hands warm (even in summer).
Don't forget tights and leggings to wear under dresses, shorts, and even pants for cool summer evenings. Grazzi recommends comfortable footwear such as boots or leather shoes. In the winter, bring a warm winter coat, thick scarf, thermal underwear, and warm waterproof boots to walk around in the snow.
8. Copenhagen, Denmark
You can think of Copenhagen’s style quotient as minimal and effortless chic.
Copenhagen resident Michelle Exarhos describes the city's understated style in her TFG guide to packing for Copenhagen, remarking that “the focus is on neutral colors; avoid bright and neon colors, as you will certainly stand out.”
With springtime weather being unpredictable, it’s best to pack practical but stylish pieces -- a warm coat, thick scarf, and cute umbrella. Look for clothing that layers well and can be paired differently to create several looks; think dark jeans, shirts, thick dresses, and warm leggings. Boots are practical considering the weather and can work perfectly in both casual and dressy occasions.
For summer, wear shorts, light scarves, and comfortable walking shoes. For autumn, pack waterproof boots to keep your feet dry. For winter, you’ll need a warm winter coat, woolen sweaters and jerseys, thermal underwear, warm bottoms, thick socks, gloves, and warm boots. Stick to neutral and dark colors such as black, navy, and gray.
9. Prague, Czech Republic
In her packing list for Prague, Alex says, “Prague is a cosmopolitan city that loves fashion.” She recommends a wardrobe that is a mix of casual and formal.
Tops, dresses, jeans, and skirts work best for warm summer days, and you can always throw on a light jacket or cardigan on chilly evenings. Bring shoes that are both stylish and comfortable to walk around in.
For autumn and winter, pack long-sleeved tops, sweaters, scarves, gloves, boots and a warm coat.
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10. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon is known for extremely warm summer days. Summer there can last as long as six months, so you’ll want to carry tops, dresses, skirts, shorts, and trousers in light and cool fabrics. TFG writer Nina Thomas suggests pairing dresses with leggings and pants with feminine blouses.
Unlike in a lot of other European cities, there’s no need to conform yourself to a neutral or black wardrobe in Lisbon, and you can feel comfortable bringing the more colorful pieces in your closet. While your daytime outfits may be casual and relaxed, bring a few nicer outfits to wear to dinner, bars, and clubs.
Lisbon is known as ‘the city of the seven hills’, so there will be plenty of walking, both on slopes and cobbled streets, so comfortable shoes, such as strappy sandals and sneakers, are a must.
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11. Dublin, Ireland
Ireland’s capital is a fashionable city, and residents have mastered the art of dressing for its unpredictable weather. TFG contributor Ashlea says in her packing guide for Dublin, “The most important thing is to always look presentable and avoid anything too revealing, like crop tops or short shorts.”
Pack shirts, dresses, tops, sweaters, jeans, and leggings in neutral and pastel colors that can be layered to create different looks. Throw on a colorful scarf to brighten up your outfit. The city experiences strong winds year-round, so you’ll want to bring a warm jacket or trench coat and woolen jerseys in autumn and a waterproof winter coat, thick scarf, gloves, socks, and Merino wool base layers in winter.
To stay dry at all times, pack an umbrella and waterproof parka. Footwear needs to be comfortable to walk around in and weather appropriate; think calf-high boots for winter and ankle boots, ballet flats, and trendy sneakers for the rest of the year. It’s best to find something waterproof or carry an extra pair that will keep you warm and dry during rainy weather.
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12. Florence, Italy
It’s no secret that dressing like a slob in Italy will do no good for your confidence; after all, you're studying abroad in one of the most fashionable countries in the world. In the TFG Guide to Packing for Italy, blogger Erika Boldrin says, “Fashion is important in the Italian culture, and locals take pride in what they wear and how they accessorize.”
Pack well-fitted clothes, from jeans and tops to dresses and skirts; the Italians are known for their love of tailoring clothes to a perfect fit. Bring sleek jeans, skinny jeans, and trousers, elegant skirts, and dresses, and don’t hesitate to experiment with colors. Maxi skirts and long jumpsuits are also great for the warm weather.
The locals don’t shy away from bright colors or bold prints as long as the entire outfit looks well put together. To accessorize, pack costume jewelry, scarves, and hats. Flip-flops are a complete no-no except on the beaches, so you'll need to bring comfortable and stylish shoes like strappy sandals, wedges, ballet flats, trendy sneakers, and fashionable brogues. Bring at least one pair of heels (for women) or formal shoes (for men) to wear to restaurants and venues that enforce a dress code.