This Thanksgiving, some of you will be heading out of sunny California and into regions where the weather is less forgiving. If you’re going somewhere warmer, I salute you and will be shivering with envy. When traveling, not only is the weather change a factor, but dressing to impress your usual stylish selves is a tad different, too. Sure, being the “cool cousin from California” is always fun, but it’s not always great to stand out as the visitor, especially when the rest of the table has their collars popped – under sweaters, of course. Dressing like a native will make the holiday feel a little more homey, so zip up your coats and get ready to rumble as I assist you in navigating the nation.
The Eastern Seaboard is the farthest away anyone will be going in the continental United States, and in addition to talking like they’re from another world, its residents have a style all their own – you guessed it, boys are rarely caught wearing slip-on Vans or crinkled surf shorts and girls can’t pull off tube tops and mini skirts after September. So, rule number one for East Coast dressing: dress up. Cute jeans or formal shorts are not appropriate for dinner – I can already envision grandpa peering over his horn-rimmed glasses, shaking his head in disappointment.
First thing’s first: Bring a coat. Not a cropped jean jacket, but a coat – preferably with a warm lining. I know, it might seem extreme, but sometimes the truth hurts. East Coast cities during this season are almost as cold in the day as they are at night. Make sure to check www.weather.com as you’re packing, just to make sure you’re on track.
Now that we have the coat issue squared away, the second step to selecting dinner attire requires a little bit of work on your part – this is where you have to gauge your family -are they city slickers from Beantown, or are they preppy types from suburban Connecticut? If they’re the latter, I would stick to a pretty safe dress code: khakis and a sport coat for guys, with or without a tie depending on how fancy the dinner is, and a cute sweater with a not-too-short skirt for girls. If you’re going the skirt route, be sure to wear tights under it – it’s definitely not appropriate to be barelegged in that climate. On top of being terribly cold and uncomfortable, Auntie may frown upon your suggestive gams. In terms of accessorizing, grosgrain ribbons are always in style as are more delicate pieces of jewelry. Chunky necklaces over a cable knit sweater are a little too contradictory for events like this.
If you’re headed to a more urban environment, you have more leeway in your choice of dress – rarely are city dwellers attached to the preppy look. This type of family dinner will allow girls to be more stylish and chic, like allowing you to wear something like a short, voluminous dress with opaque tights and -dare I say – ankle boots. If you’re feeling dismayed by your lacking winter wardrobe, get creative and layer some of your existing clothes – chances are you already have a pair of tights or leggings somewhere, so it’s easy to build off of that. Boys, you, too, have a little more flexibility, but dressing up for men is pretty standard across the board. If you want to be really adventurous, try a turtleneck under your blazer – they have the ability to be devastatingly handsome.
Dressing for different surroundings can always be a thrill, and figuring out ways to incorporate your own style into an outfit will be the ultimate success. Have a safe and stylish Thanksgiving.
Caroline Wolf will be dressed for the rainy Pacific Northwest next week.