Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What are YOU wearing this Thanksgiving?

For many people, Thanksgiving is a day to gorge yourself, wait for the tryptophan to take effect and then rest on the couch with your pants unbuttoned. In fact, one of my best friends emails me every year after dinner at her parents’ to inform me how much she ate and then mentions how she “beached” herself on the couch. I was chuckling yesterday in anticipation of that annual email.

Lucky for us, there are ways to maintain our dignity and still be comfortable AND assure that our clothes fit – even after the biggest meal of the year.

Since most of our Turkey Day activities involve dinner at someone’s house and a lot of couch “beaching”, here are some things to think about!

Are you doing the cooking?
If the answer is yes, then by all means, you don’t want to put on your “good” clothes until you absolutely have to. Comfort and function are what it’s all about. Of course your guests may arrive before you change for dinner, so you want your comfy and functional clothes to look decent too. Forego the sweats for loose-fitting knit pants or one of my highly-recommended velour track suits. Have a T-shirt under it so if it gets too hot in the kitchen, you can just throw the jacket over a chair and not miss a second of turkey basting of stuffing making.

Even after you change into your dinner clothes, you will still be working, so you want to wear something that is easy to move around in, not too heavy, and most importantly, doesn’t have overly long or floppy sleeves. Kimono sleeves in the gravy? No thanks!

Sweaters and turtlenecks are definitely not for the person doing all the work on Thanksgiving, so keep your outfit fabrics a little on the lighter side.

Where are you spending Turkey Day?
Some people go out, some stay home. Some people see relatives they rarely see, and others visit people they see all the time. This all factors into how formally you dress (and act too!).

If there ever was a holiday to opt for function over fashion, this is it! Everyone tends to eat more than anticipated - more than their normal clothes will allow. It’s a matter of fact – it isn’t gluttony, it’s Thanksgiving!

Start with a comfy pair of pants. If you’re going casual for the day, you may want to opt for the jeans that you have the most room in. If you’re going more dressy, if you have slacks with some give to them – either 1-2% spandex or a poly blend, you will be more comfortable. If you opt for a skirt, a loose and flowy one will be a better option than a pencil skirt, for obvious reasons.

Layer on top. You may get hot if you’re helping out in the kitchen, but after you’ve eaten and your food is digesting you may get cold (digestion takes energy away from the rest of the body). Layering is the most obvious solution.

My Thanksgiving will be spent at my aunt and uncle’s house, who took over after my grandparents retired from Turkey Day duty several years ago. I see everyone quite a bit, so I’m not terribly formal in how I dress. But their house is always really cold. So I layer my clothes. The top layer is my “Thanksgiving sweater”, so-named because it is the heaviest wool sweater I own. (On the other hand, Christmas at my parents’ house is as hot as the tropics! I keep trying to open the windows – even if it’s 25 degrees outside – and my mom keeps closing them.)

If you are heading out to dinner, a lot of these considerations don’t matter quite as much – lucky for you! You don’t have to worry about wild and uncontrollable temperature fluctuations and can just dress normally. I’m jealous :)

What I’ve found to be the best accessory if you are worried about being too cold or too warm is a lightweight winter scarf. Wrapping it around your neck will keep you warm, and if it gets too warm, just take it off.

An unusual accessory you may also need for Thanksgiving are slippers or fuzzy socks. Many people don’t like shoes in their house, and most of us equate kicking off our shoes with comfort. Have a nice pair of slippers you can bring with you to feel more like home. And if you’re staying home, well then your feet should still be on their best behavior for the day – especially if relatives or friends are coming over!


Jayne said...

I had no idea what I was going to wear for Thurs, and I actually did a search and I found this article. Helpful!

Anonymous said...

Good ideas.

Anonymous said...

wearing sweats, watching football@ home. dinner from boston market. no work, no fuss.

Anonymous said...

Thanksgiving is kind of like casual Friday: it makes the people that ignore the laxness of it stand out--usually for the better. That isn't to say you should wear a three-piece suit (or whatever the female equivalent is), but I like to error on the side of over-dressed rather than under-dressed. I'm young and I spend the holiday with girlfriend's family and friends who live half-way across the country, which means I want the ticket to be worth spending a small fortune on (a noticeable but memorable appearance).

I'll wear Ralph Lauren dark gray wool slacks, Banana Republic french-cuff textured cotton bankers shirt with black turks-head links (metal links is too much), and Banana Republic merino dark brown sweater.

The sock point is great: don't bother too much with fancy shoes if they're coming off at the door. You don't want to be caught with mismatched or worn-out socks. I'll wear a striped but not loud two-tone thick cotton pair.