My Annual Thanksgiving Fashion Flail

Thanksgiving can be complicated. There’s figuring out where to have it and with whom, not to mention what to serve, how to serve it, and what time to eat it. But for me, I’m not exaggerating when I say that the most planning-intensive aspect of TG is figuring out what to wear.

Can we all agree that Thanksgiving fashion can be a minefield. Gatherings vary so much, so the nuances are many, the risks are major. As I see it, here are the bare minimum considerations that should go into outfit-choosing:

1) What’s on the Agenda? Some groups Turkey Trot (strange to me). Some take pre-meal walks to work up an appetite, or post-meal walks to “digest” or enjoy nature (odd to me). Some families watch football (relatable, but unfamiliar to me). Some families play football (confusing to me). Wherever yours falls on the “active/weird” to “lazy/my-kind-of-people” spectrum, know the plan and dress accordingly.

Not in my family.

2) Who are the Hosts? Is the meal at your house, or at Grandma’s? Are you trekking to your Fancy China and Wedding Silver mother-in-law’s house, or heading next door to your Eat On The Couch In Front of the TV friends’ house?  Some families prioritize comfort above all else at their event, and others treat the meal as a Special, Formal Occasion. Know what flavor your hosts are, and if all else fails, wear something that can go both ways, like these fine folks below who know that the answer is neutral pants and a colorful sweater.

Bonus points for a classic roll-neck.

3) Who’s Cooking? If you’re going to be spending time in the kitchen, especially if it isn’t yours (with its easy access to your closet), you need to make sure your footwear is comfortable and your fabrics sponge-able for when you inevitably get splattered with something.  Or, at the very least, invest in a cute apron.

This is what I look like when I cook.

4) What Can Accommodate the Expansion of Your Stomach? Even if your TG dress code is decidedly fancypants, your fancy pants need to be…forgiving.  There is nothing for which I am more thankful on Thanksgiving than an elastic waistband. I also have a kind of frumpy, empire waist sweater-dress about which my husband once said, lovingly, “That makes you look ugly.” (In his defense, I think it was the third Thanksgiving in a row I’d worn it.) I have a friend who still digs out maternity pants on this most blessed of days, and I urge you to employ the same ninja-like savvy.

This is what I look like after eating. But actually.

And of course, most importantly:

5) What is your Turkey Going to Wear? 

Coordinating is fun.



Alice Leiter is a recovering lawyer living in Washington, D.C. with her husband and four children. Her hobbies include making fun of her family on Instagram, watching Bravo, and worrying that people are mad at her. She hates when grown women call her “Mama.” Reach her at alice@aliceleiter.com.