The Hilarious Trials of Picking Out a Thanksgiving Outfit


Le 21ème

Ah, the holidays—a time when we’re supposed to look our absolute best, many nights in a row, all while consuming copious amounts of food and alcohol. Fun? Yes. Flattering? Not always. And, rather than easing us into it, the season starts with a gooey, pecan-laden bang on Thanksgiving.

Although it’s easily one of my favorite occasions each year, Thanksgiving comes with a lead-up period that I downright dread. Most of that anxiety can be traced right to the good old question What on earth am I going to wear? See, there are three clear paths to choose from here, and they’re all potentially distasteful.

Is this the year that I’ll go all out and be perfectly primped in the vein of my childhood holiday cards? Will I swan through the kitchen in a chic shift and heels, like Gwyneth Paltrow manning Goop (so convincingly, it should be noted, that everyone forgets I can’t cook)? Or, perhaps I’ll add some darker, more sensual details—black lace and a pencil skirt, like Carine Roitfeld-lite (one who’s forgotten that efforts towards seduction are null among Grandma and Grandpa)?

Inspired ideas—both of them—but less concerned with practicality. (Read: Will the food have room to expand exponentially inside my belly? Will a wine stain bring me to tears or just elicit a sigh? Do I even care?) And, of course, I have to wonder if such showy outfits be on par with the crowds (“crowd” used lightly to refer to blood-relatives younger than 18 and older than 50). Or will they render me absurd? The nouveau city girl actively denying her suburban roots.

It’s possible—so what then?

Well, there’s the second route—what I like to call “the opposite of effort.” It requires the simple mustering of my collegiate sensibilities: zero makeup and the best leggings and hoodie I can find. That and an attitude so carefree I’m almost required to lick my plate after the meal, not to mention pass out on the couch after dinner. Sound kind of dreamy? Yeah, it is—despite the fact that it's considered wildly concerning to some of those around me.

That leaves me with the final option: the oft-degraded “basic” look. Think a sweater and jeans—ankle boots if you’re feeling snazzy. It’s not creative, it’s not special, it just is. It won’t turn eyeballs, it won’t overtly seduce, but it will allow me to speak for myself, rather than having my clothes do the talking. What’s more, if chosen correctly (stretchy jeans, please, and an oversize sweater) it will allow my stomach to do what it wants when it wants with what it wants. Is there a more important goal on Thanksgiving than that?

What’s your go-to Thanksgiving outfit? Let us know in the comments, and shop our favorite Thanksgiving outfit ideas!