Why Tourists Need To Be Cautious Of The Clothing They Pack For A Trip To Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of the most visited cities in Europe, and thankfully, for many tourists, it's also one of the most casual. Unlike Italy, where looking like a local is paramount, or Paris, where chic fashion reigns supreme, Amsterdam hardly has any dress code. Most locals in the Dutch city won't judge you for not dressing to the nines — in fact, they might look at you funny if you do.

With that said, that doesn't mean you should take an "anything goes" approach when packing your travel wardrobe. Amsterdam runs on public transportation and bicycles (particularly the latter), and you'll want to be comfortable when cycling around on huurfiets (a rental bike) or hopping on and off the street trams. You'll also likely do a lot of walking when exploring the "Venice of the North," so not just any footwear should make the cut.

When packing clothing for your trip, start with a comfy sneaker or flat boot that'll support your feet during long days of sightseeing. If you plan to dress up for a nice dinner, opt for a flat loafer or similarly styled shoe. Spindly heels should be left at home, no matter how well they go with your vacation outfits. Because many of Amsterdam's old streets are made of cobblestone, your shoes might get stuck, leading to a broken heel or even a broken bone. If you're really unlucky, you could even take a tumble into one of the many famous canals — yikes!

Dress for the weather

Amsterdam, and the Netherlands in general, is known to be a wet and rainy destination. Precipitation is common throughout the year, ranging from a light drizzle not mentioned in the forecast to an all-day rainstorm. As a result, no matter which season you travel to Amsterdam, you'll want to dress for the weather.

Rainwear is crucial in the Netherlands, yet many locals don't carry umbrellas on rainy days. Rather, they rely on protective clothing to shield themselves from showers. This doesn't mean you must bring a full-body raincoat during your trip, but you should keep a light jacket (during mild and warm months) or a waterproof coat (during winter) on you at all times. If you're traveling during a heatwave and can't bear the thought of tossing on a jacket, grab a small umbrella instead (but note that it can get windy in the city, so stick to sturdy umbrellas that don't easily buckle).

Hats also come in handy during rainy periods, and in the cooler seasons, you'll notice practically everyone in Amsterdam sporting a beanie or similar type of hat. Caps and other easygoing styles can also help keep light rain off your face until you find shelter. Pro tip: Consider waterproofing your backpack or travel bag, too.

Rethink long, flowy garments if you'll be biking around

Part of the authentic Dutch lifestyle (and arguably the best way to get around Amsterdam) is finding a bike and cycling on the city's bike lanes. However, wearing the wrong clothing can sour the experience for tourists not used to traveling on two wheels. One style tip is to avoid long, flowy skirts and dresses on days you plan to get around by bike. The fabric could get caught in the chain or wheels, damaging your clothes or leading to a nasty fall.

On the other hand, short skirts and dresses aren't such a good idea either, unless you don't mind exposing your undergarments. For a summer bike ride, try wearing shorts or lightweight pants, or if you decide to don a mini skirt or short dress, consider layering some shorts underneath. Additionally, make sure your bottoms aren't too stiff or tight. For instance, a midi pencil skirt, while an appropriate length for cycling, can restrict movement, making pedaling difficult. Long, bulky coats can sometimes have a similar effect, so try stretching and moving around in your outfit before you head to the bike rental shop.