Headed For Grandma's House? Sartorial Notes For Thanksgiving Dressing

Posted on November 16 2017

Several years ago, Elliot Aronow wrote a fun column in the Huffington Post called "How to Dress Like a Grown-Up Cool Guy This Thanksgiving."  I loved it.  I even sent it to my "grown-up cool guy" sons because Thanksgiving dinner that year was a family command performance - and was definitely going to require attire a few steps beyond the typical stay-at-home-in-your-jammies-until-the-parade-is-over style they were accustomed to flaunting in my house. 

It turns out that Mr. Aronow's column stands up pretty well, and I thought you might enjoy reading it.  When you get to the part about adding a tie, you know where to go shopping, right?

How To Dress Like a Grown-up Cool Guy This Thanksgiving
by Eliot Aronow
I received a lot of emails this week from scrubs and sartorialists alike asking me for recommendations on what to wear to a Thanksgiving dinner. In keeping with my general philosophy that it never hurts to be more dapper and put-together than the situation requires, I tried to offer some options for making a good impression while still accounting for the messy situations that always arise during large, food and booze-driven get-togethers. Here goes... Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

AWAY GAME: Clothes for Visiting the Folks
Unless your better half comes from one of those “Granny Hall“-type families, you probably don’t need to wear a full on suit and tie to Thanksgiving dinner. Too much formality at an event where there will be fat aunts smearing lipstick on your face and little cousins throwing M&Ms (or worse) at each other can make you look like real uptight square.

You may feel like you are running for office, but don’t wanna dress like you are pitching a new account. You have to pretend you are comfortable in these battlegrounds. Cool and casual.

That said, most American men have a very warped sense of what casual is, so let me just come out and say that wearing any combination of T-shirt, faded jeans, hooded sweatshirt and/or dirty white sneakers to a sit-down dinner at someone else’s home is just disgraceful. Rocking college flop house attire like that will make it hard for the grown-ups to tell you from the tweens — and on the reals, I’m not sure “where’s the unlimited breadsticks” is the vibe you want to give off. Time to class your shit up.

Don’t stress, though, this problem is easily fixed. Instead of a stuffy suit or schlubby Chicken Nugget teenager gear, go with some well-chosen separates. A man can never go wrong with a tweed or heavyweight wool blazer, some crisp dark blue jeans, a pair of penny loafers or suede desert boots and an oxford shirt. This is the pinnacle of casual-slash-polished dressing. A modern American look for that most American of holidays.

In terms of colors, don’t wear anything black because you think it’s more “dressy.” It’s a meal, not a funeral. Be sure to throw some color into your outfit, even if it’s just as subtle as a red tie (recommended in red states) or some colorful socks (which will probably go over better in blue states).

And now that your outfit has created the illusion that you are a man with class and sophistication, take off your tie and jacket and help out with the dishes. That will win you more points than anything you are wearing.

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