This summer, while getting ready for a family event, I realized the majority of my closet consists of crop tops, ripped jeans, and otherwise inappropriate clothing to wear around my modest Eritrean family. Cut to December—I'm meeting my boyfriend's family and find myself in the same predicament.
Part of the reason I still have this problem is that I see shopping as an expressive endeavor where additional rules only disrupt my flow state. I don’t want to dampen my personality by succumbing to boring outfits that fit the bill but not my vibes. You feel me?
Every drop this season has been the ideal balance of festive and traditional sensibilities that makes for appropriate attire for any time, place, or setting. Classic style is definitely in Zara’s wheelhouse, so I knew it was the right place to get my life (aka outfits) together before I met my boyfriend’s family over the holidays. Keep scrolling to see seven outfits courtesy of Zara that will carry me through all my family engagements this season. Each outfit makes me look like a smart, responsible girlfriend and makes me feel like myself—my five-star family review is practically loading.
Sweater + Blazer + Straight-Leg Jeans
The classic sweater-and-blazer combo will never grow old. This sweater has an amazing 3D chunky texture and is cropped to hit at the hip, so it can be tucked into jeans. The double-breasted blazer was an automatic winner for both the sturdiness of the material and the oversize but structured fit. I'm wearing a size small in both, which fit me great.
I finished off the look with my new favorite pair of mid-rise jeans in a size 6 and metallic ankle boots to liven up the look.
Draped Top + Metallic Accessories
This is the outfit you'll wear to dinner or perhaps a drink if y'all are cool like that. I'm wearing the same jeans from earlier, paired with a draped-neck top that looks dressed up without looking like I tried too hard. (I didn't.) The gold accessories really set off the look for an evening activity, but this look could also easily swing daytime with different accessories.
Order a size down in this top. I'm a 34D, and the XS fit great.
You won't need to wear a bra with this top! It's cut tighter along the waist to hold everything up, and the halter top is super supportive.
Belted Coat + Tall Boots
This is what I imagine myself wearing to go Christmas shopping with my mother-in-law on Fifth Avenue. This coat makes any outfit automatically look 10 times chicer. I paired it with boots tall enough to serve as pants and keep in the bougie aesthetic.
I'm wearing a size small coat and still had space for an additional layer underneath.
Patterned Jeans + Loafers
I may be a bit bold for wearing zebra print to meet the family, but I figure it's best to get to know the real me now. After all, the swag is here to stay. These pants from Zara are made in a straight-leg cut that will pair well with everything from loafers to high-top sneakers and strappy heels. They feel vintage in that the fabric is thick with no stretch, which I Iove. I can tell these will only get better with time. My usual size 6 fit great.
When styling patterned pants, it's best to tone everything else down a notch. The chunky loafers and cable-knit sweater add dimension without introducing more patterns to the mix.
Faux-Fur Jacket + Flared Pants + Heels
If you're a hoodie girl like me, it's hard to convince yourself to wear any other type of jacket. However, this faux-fur hooded jacket changed my mind. It is the softest jacket I have probably ever worn, and I love that it's a little bit cropped so can be worn with high-rise pants. I'm wearing a small, which had an oversize fit, so I would size down if you're unsure.
I paired the jacket with flared pants and strappy heels to create an outfit apt for a nice dinner or an evening at the ballet.
Cardigan + Bleached Jeans
First off, why am I giving Gunna energy in this picture? For any last-minute, chill events, a pair of statement denim and a fuzzy cardigan will do the trick. Go for cardigans that have interesting details to make the outfit look even more considered. This one has jeweled buttons and voluminous shoulders that make it look so festive with minimal effort. I'm wearing a size medium but would go down to my normal size small for a better fit.
I chose to pair this pink cardigan with bleached jeans and black loafers to add some edge and balance out the look.
Tailored Vest + Satin Skirt + Tall Boots
I saved the family party outfit for last! Whether it's New Year's or the official cousin linkup, this outfit allows you to show some skin while still looking appropriate. This Zara vest is so versatile and was key to acing this look. It has a tailored, formfitting shape that can also be further adjusted via a tab in the back. It looks super polished with just about everything, including jeans. The size medium fit well, but I would probably go with my regular size small.
The satin miniskirt and knee-high boots polish off the look, pulling everything together into a flirty and elevated compromise of interests.