The Unsettling Reason To Avoid This Popular Type Of Clothing For A Summer Trip To Europe

When packing for your summer trip to Europe, choosing the right clothes should be top of mind. Many of the continent's most popular vacation spots, from Italy to Greece, can get blazing hot in the summer months. Heatwaves in Europe have worsened in recent years, triggering more heat-related deaths and illnesses, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

With this in mind, you might want to rethink your favorite pair of jeans when traveling across the pond. Sure, blue denim might be a staple item in many Americans' wardrobes, and jeans might feel comfortable when you're spending most of your time indoors or in a car. But in Europe, the garment can cause you to overheat when exploring outdoors and walking between famous sites and attractions.

Many styles of jeans are at least somewhat form-fitting, which restricts airflow compared to looser bottoms and dresses. Moreover, denim is a relatively heavy fabric, and its weight is known to trap body heat. Throw in a dark blue wash — which can warm your skin more than light-colored fabrics — and you could fall victim to heat exhaustion while on vacation.

Jeans can also cause skin infections

If feeling hot and sluggish wasn't bad enough, jeans could also trigger skin conditions. Dr. Kabir Sardana of RML Hospital shared with The Times of India that heat trapped by denim pants creates the ideal environment for rashes, irritation, contact dermatitis, and even fungal infections such as ringworm. This is especially true of tight-fitting jeans.

Part of the problem comes down to how frequently the pants are washed. In 2023, Martha Stewart polled her Instagram followers and found that most people wear jeans multiple times between washes. While 57% said they wash their jeans after a couple of wears, a sizeable 29% admitted they wash their jeans "only when they have to," and 2% said they never wash their jeans! This, according to Dr. Sardana, makes it easier for pesky bacteria and fungi to grow on the fabric.

Even if you wash your jeans frequently, you must thoroughly dry them inside and out to ensure harmful microbes have been killed. Wearing the same pair of jeans throughout your European getaway can have nasty consequences. "Ninety percent of ringworm cases happen usually in the thigh and groin because of the clothes people wear," Dr. Sardana added. On that note, you might want to avoid wearing denim on a road trip or during a long train ride, too, where you may be sitting in sweat for hours.

If you do pack jeans, here's what to keep in mind

Airy, breathable garments are more likely to keep you cool in Europe during the summer than your average pair of jeans. Plus, you'll look like a local when traveling in Italy and other European hotspots when wearing loose linen pants and flowy skirts. With that said, there are a few ways to pull off your beloved jeans in the summer without overheating.

First, swap any thick, heavy jeans for a lighter pair. The denim used in jeans usually weighs between 12 and 16 ounces per yard, but you don't have to pull out your scale when creating your travel capsule wardrobe. Instead, compare the jeans you have and choose the ones that feel the most lightweight.

Fit is also crucial. Tight, stretchy jeans are more likely to trap heat and moisture, putting you at risk of overheating and developing infections and rashes. A loose or wide-leg style allows more airflow, especially if it's cropped. Lastly, this is your chance to wear those white pants you retire each Labor Day. White, along with other light colors, reflects sunshine, helping to keep you cool during your outdoor European adventures.