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Ask Avery: Give thanks in style

Photo courtesy of Flickr / Mike Monaghan

blog by Avery Hartmans  • 

Dear Avery,
I’m going to my boyfriend’s parents’ house for a few days this Thanksgiving and will be meeting them for the first time. My problem is I don’t know what to wear to Thanksgiving dinner. I want to look nice, but I’m not sure how formal it is. The other problem is I also have to pack light so I can’t bring many options. What do I wear?

It wouldn’t be the holidays without a little outfit drama. And Thanksgiving in particular is especially tough, seeing as your outfit needs to transition from cooking to eating to watching football on the couch afterward. In your case, your outfit needs to do all that, plus impress his parents. It’s a quite a conundrum.

But that conundrum can be solved by finding one key item that can be dressed up or dressed down, depending on whether his family is the “crystal stemware” type or the “deep-fried turkey” type. By finding one piece and swapping out the rest of the outfit depending on the situation, you not only save yourself the cost of two whole outfits, but you save a little room in that carry-on.

This situation is mostly likely one in which you should wear pants. Not only for the obvious reasons, like you want his mom to think you’re a lady, but because Thanksgiving activities are better suited to pants-wearing. Envision yourself seated on the couch next to his parents in a mini skirt after consuming your weight in turkey and you’ll realize I’m right.

You also may want to consider wearing pants with a little more wiggle room and a top that has the capacity to hide even the biggest food baby. If you’re trying to impress the family, you don’t want to be uncomfortable in your clothes and worried about sucking it in. Plus, you need room for pie. Lots of pie.

Your first order of business is finding pants that look fantastic on you but aren’t so tight you have a muffin top as soon as the food festivities are over. A stretchy tailored pant will work perfectly: there’s some give in the waist and legs, but they can be dressed up or dressed down. Try them in a seasonal color, like forest green, and your look will be subtle yet festive.

For a more casual affair, a light sweater will do the trick. A t-shirt sweater in burgundy, green and red looks appropriately fall-ish, but you won’t overheat in short sleeves. Wear with loose, natural hair, minimal jewelry and pointy-toe neutral flats and you have the perfect mix of cozy yet casual.

Pants: J.Crew, $89.50
Sweater: Loft, $59.50
Flats: Aldo, $50
Cuff: Anthropologie, $108

For a more dressed-up look, you’ll need to mix it up a little. I can’t imagine what home you would be going to that would necessitate four-inch heels, but you never know. Try a pair in a contrasting jewel-tone, like purple, and swap the t-shirt sweater for a black and white peplum top. Peplum cinches at the waist — your trimmest area — and flares out from there, which I’m betting you’ll be pretty thankful for after dinner. In terms of accessorizing, hair should be up, a statement necklace should be added and lipstick is most certainly in order. Even if his parents don’t like you, at least you’ll look damn good.

Pants: J.Crew, $89.50
Top: Anthropologie, $58
Heels: Aldo, $48.99
Necklace: Urban Outfitters, $28

Photo courtesy of Flickr / Mike Monaghan.

TAGGED: dinner, feast, holiday, holidays buffalo, meet the parents, thanksgiving

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