Is Tourist Chic the Ultimate Camp?

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Tacky tourists are suddenly à la mode. That’s right: the timelessly ridiculed look of American sightseers is experiencing a fashion moment, key pieces sneaking their way into even the most luxurious of wardrobes. Don’t believe us? Let’s review the anatomy of quintessential tourist style.

First, of course, is headwear. A true tourist will either select a bucket hat or trucker cap, no exceptions. Prada and Bella Hadid apparently have similar taste. Both high fashion symbols have sported their own iterations of the sightseeing staple, albeit not so far off from the classic styling. At least no binoculars accompany them.

Tacky tees are obviously a must, even better if they feature the destination you’re touring. “I Heart NY” paraphernalia used to be the ultimate no-no. But guess what? Now it’s trendy in the name of camp, especially if worn in Manhattan. And while a tourist would don one a couple sizes too big, style mavens are opting for a fitted top or even handbag look instead.

But what do tourists stereotypically wear before getting their hands on some gift shop apparel? Button-down short sleeve tops, obviously. Extra points if a Hawaiian print is involved. Hailey Bieber opted for the look while in Las Vegas this July, no doubt inciting a Gen Z thrift store rush to mimic her outfit. The more you look like Adam Sandler, the better.

For ultimate utility, sightseers select the chicest of bottoms… cargo pants. Most commonly found in grandpa closets worldwide, the trouser style swings from faux pas to alternative and cool by the season. Bella Hadid is a perpetual fan of the cargo pant, especially if oversized fit results in a low-waisted silhouette.

Footwear is the cherry on top of any effective tourist-chic ensemble, and there are strictly two options: Birkenstock sandals or chunky “dad sneakers.” Chanel and Proenza Schouler have recently entered the comfort sandal space, even Hermès accidentally as well. Although these versions are far more chic than a true tourist look, simply adding a pair of tall socks beneath can certainly get you there.

Achieving the dad sneaker fad is easy. Just grab New Balance trainers or any of the ultra-debated Balenciaga shoes. Despite having become the definition of off-duty model over the past few years, chunky sneakers pop in and out of style as frequently as the cargo pant. Luckily, tourists will never let the trend die.

On the runway, two recent shows were undoubtedly total tourist. Balenciaga Pre-Fall 2021 was backdropped by worldwide sightseeing images, from the Taj Mahal to the Tour Eiffel. Which perfectly complimented every look in the collection, each silently screaming tacky-American-visiting-Europe meets high fashion.

Announced via postcard, Dries Van Noten’s Spring/Summer 2022 menswear collection channels Antwerp tourism with a blend of retro and futuristic aesthetics. Cool tourist rather than tacky.

Trends that appear anti-fashion tend to sneak up on the industry every now and then. “Out of style” is such a transient label, to the point where denouncing an item of clothing is likely bound for future hypocrisy. Camp’s application within fashion of ugly-that-somehow-works can be applied to every trend, yet we are obsessed with rating “in” vs. “out.” Perhaps the campiness of tourist-chic is an unexpected way to remain up to date.

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createdAt:Fri, 30 Jul 2021 15:51:50 +0000
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