When packing for a trip to Eastern Europe it's important to keep two things in mind: the weather and European culture. Those brightly-colored sneakers and short-shorts may be all the rage in your hometown, but in Europe, they might contribute to you standing out in a negative way.
Women's Clothing for Summer in Eastern Europe
During hot summer months in Eastern Europe, light dresses and skirts are common outfits for Eastern European women, paired with sandals or heels for footwear. As a traveler, plan to wear comfortable, light clothing that you can layer for cooler days. Slacks and jeans are good, too. Include a couple of nicer outfits even if you don't plan on dining out at special restaurants or attending concerts. You might get some unexpected use out of them. In any case, you won't look out of place if you have to wear something a bit dressier for a day of sightseeing or museum hopping.
Men's Clothing for Summer in Eastern Europe
Despite the heat in the summer, men in Eastern Europe wear shorts less often than do men from the United States. Instead they'll wear slacks and summer shirts with summer footwear—but usually not sneakers. Pack similar items if you want to fit in, but do note that shorts are acceptable if you do want to stay cool (they'll just label you as a tourist). And if you go hiking? Pants are always better, even when it's hot. One word: mosquitos.
Shoes for Summer in Eastern Europe
Eastern Europeans generally don't wear sneakers or running shoes as a part of their everyday wardrobes. Comfortable walking shoes are much less likely to signify that you are a Westerner. If you don't own a pair of these, make sure you test and break in a pair before you travel.
What Not to Wear When You Travel to Eastern Europe
Generally speaking, sneakers, shorts, and to a lesser extent, the typical "jeans and t-shirt" outfit, will make you easily identifiable as a traveler from the United States. The stereotypical tourist's backpack is also a visual clue. Messenger-type bags for men and shoulder bags for women are more in keeping with Eastern European style sense. In addition, you can keep an eye on their contents more easily than you can the contents of a backpack.
Clothing for Sightseeing Trips to Cathedrals
Summer travel in Eastern European countries where Eastern Orthodoxy is practiced will mean visiting cathedrals open for public view. Both men and women should have their legs and arms covered (short sleeves are okay), and women should have their hair covered. Men will invariably be asked to take off their hats when applicable.
Minimizing Your Summer Wardrobe for Eastern Europe Travel
Summer travel in Eastern Europe means that you'll be able to pack more clothing than you would if traveling during cooler seasons. However, you should still pack items easily discarded if you need more room on your return trip—you might end up shopping quite a bit. In addition, try to pack outfits that are interchangeable with each other. Eastern Europeans generally don't maintain vast wardrobes, and it's okay to be seen in the same outfit more than once in succession.
Hiking Clothes for Summer Travel to Eastern Europe
If you venture at all outside the city, you'll no doubt encounter great hiking opportunities. Eastern Europeans take their hiking seriously—what they consider a little stroll might be much more than you expect. Make sure that you wear appropriate footwear, sunscreen, bug repellent, and cotton clothing that is comfortable and breathable.
Given that you might be lugging your suitcase over cobblestones, then up several flights of stairs (many older buildings don't have elevators), pack light! Get organized with packing cubes, and carry as few bags as possible. But don't forget to pack a range of essentials: for instance, an umbrella or disposable poncho. Summer storms are typical and can catch you off-guard when you're sightseeing. The poncho option will scream "tourist," but it will keep you from walking around in wet clothing after a downpour.
Also consider packing a scarf or a light sweater—even though it's typically hot in the summer, it's not uncommon to have a cool day here or there. And finally, pack some materials like bubble wrap or tissue paper in case you need to wrap any fragile souvenirs.