Before you dive into that turkey on Thanksgiving, step back a moment. Take the time to appreciate being with family and friends, and getting a little time off. And just as importantly, take the time to put a bit of effort into your appearance. Being around family members on a holiday should be some of the best times of the year, and it’s great to be able to reflect that enjoyment through what you wear — it should be appropriate and classy, because dressing up a bit is a nice nod to your family, too.
So, with the stage set for a great holiday, there are some important things to consider when on the go to turkey day celebrations. Namely, if you live in a climate where winter’s on the way, consider layering up. And more importantly, don’t overthink what to wear. Stick to a personal uniform, perhaps with some regionally appropriate touches thrown in — for example, being in Florida is markedly different than in Michigan. With that in mind, here’s a starter template that should work for just about everybody.
On a classic holiday like Thanksgiving that typically doesn’t involve anything too black-tie official, it’s best to keep it casual. Here, something like a blue or white Oxford cloth button-down is a great asset. It’s the shirt equivalent of “dressed-up, but not “too-dressed up.” In a shade like white, it can provide a great neutral base for any pops of color on the rest of the outfit, and it shouldn’t be too hot or cold to wear in any location.
While wool ties are fine for places where the temperature dips into the 20’s, 30’s or even 40’s, there are certainly more versatile pieces of neckwear out there — some of which you might already have in your closet. Since the days of James Bond, knit ties have been on our collective style radar. Sure, some might argue the knit tie is having a trending moment right now, but there’s a reason Sean Connery’s Bond wore classic black knit ties — a great knit tie will go with just about any outfit, and it’s appropriate for almost any climate, at any time of the year. For those on the heftier and more muscular side, a standard knit tie might be too slim — look for something in about the 2.75″ range (Frank & Oak’s knit ties feature a nice, thicker weave). In this particular instance, a dark knit tie won’t clash too markedly with any of the outfit’s other colors — which should preferably be more neutral anyway.
The Blazer (optional)
If putting on a jacket crosses the formality line at your family Thanksgiving, consider swapping that out for a v-neck or crew-neck sweater (and maybe ditch the tie too). However, throwing on a nice blazer should be an easy choice — a jacket tailored for someone’s body accentuates a man’s chest and shoulders, making almost any guy look instantly better. Here, texture and fabric matters. A heavier tweed blazer is a great pick for cold weather — the tweed’s thick weave provides warmth and doesn’t look out of place trekking through the snow. But for the rest of us, a simple navy blazer (potentially unstructured to stick with the generally casual vibe of Thanksgiving) can work wonders. It can even be thrown on over a crew-neck or v-neck sweater sans collared shirt if things turn that casual.
Here too, it’s best to keep in mind the surrounding climate where you’re celebrating the holiday. Linen pants won’t exactly work in winter up north, and heavy wool trousers won’t do you much good in Florida, for example. That’s why sticking with a slim chino in a medium-weight fabric is a sure bet. If you’re in a colder clime, corduroys would work just as well as a substitute. Once again, stick with a nice neutral color (maybe in a richer hue for the fall?). Keeping the proportions slim will hopefully pair well with a tailored shirt.
With the rest of the outfit leaning towards polished-casual on the style spectrum, it’s best to keep the shoes in similar territory, too. Black shoes can seem too severe in all but the sharpest of combinations, and it’s likely there could be a sea of black shoes at the table come Thanksgiving. A rich, warm brown falls in line with the colors of the season, and should be much more versatile for other outfits later on. Reaching for a captoe/captoe-brogue combination or even a wingtip also pushes the shoe into the same polished-casual territory as the rest of the outfit. In colder climes, wingtip boots are a stellar option that can stand up to the elements — and the ‘eye test’ of your fellow diners. Of course, a true casual staple like desert boots is never objectionable when the situation calls for classic and polished footwear.
Round out the ensemble by sticking to some clear fundamentals. Keeping your watch simple and unadorned (like this Timex Easy Reader) is the best way to go here — just be sure the watch, belt and shoes fall within the same color range in terms of leather. As always, colorful socks are today’s statement piece, an easy way to add personal flair to an outfit that mainly sticks to classic items.
With these essentials in mind, and with some crucial personal touches thrown in, you should be ready to conquer Thanksgiving in style. Until the tryptophan puts you to sleep, of course.