Many holidays are associated with color themes that emphasize your festivity at a family gathering. Christmas is red and green, Easter is pastels and Chanukah is yellow and gold. But Thanksgiving — which is celebrated with an intimate family dinner — has no color theme attached to it. So how should you dress in proper festive attire for this national holiday?
Gabriel Wolfson, a junior majoring in biology, had a unique sartorial experience last Thanksgiving.
“Last year my family ordered T-shirts in the most disgusting shade of maroon that said the ‘Wolfson/Weinerman Thanksgiving 2010′ and Thanksgiving-themed hats, a.k.a. whole turkeys with their legs sticking out on the top,” he said.
Any kind of dinner memorabilia can be applauded, but there is also a less embarrassing way to show your American pride.
Think back to how elementary schools teach children about Thanksgiving, dividing half the class into Indians and the other half into Pilgrims. The way students were dressed was integral to their learning process. Convincing kindergarteners to dress up in full Puritan and Native American outfits is a stretch, so the minimal amount of effort to establish the different groups was executed through headgear.
The Native Americans wore headbands crafted out of construction paper ornamented with sloppily glued feathers, while the Pilgrims wore either bonnets made of cloth or tall, wide-brimmed black hats with a buckle, also fashioned out of construction paper.
This memory may not sound familiar to everyone, but regardless, the colors and symbols of the stereotypical depictions of Pilgrims and Indians give a good basis for a wardrobe choice for your dysfunctional family dinner.
The Native American look captures the quintessential hues of fall. For men and women, wear crimsons and burgundy, burnt orange, forest green, caramels, tans and browns. Think of the leaves and trees in the Nature Preserve, excluding bright yellow. These hues are unisex in the form of a sweater or collared button-down, even corduroys and jeans. For women, a dress or skirt and shirt combination with these color tones is perfectly acceptable.
Footwear should be boots or loafers. Any leg-length leather boots (preferably flat), sand or chestnut suede booties, desert boots with or without a little wedge or heel, tobacco-colored driving shoes, oxfords or moccasins (for authenticity) are perfectly acceptable. Hanging feather earrings or brass feather studs for girls and some kind of leather accessory for men will add a nice touch to the Native American image.
The Pilgrim look is slightly darker and appeals to the more somber type, who already has a penchant for dressing in black. Pair black or dark wash jeans with a navy or black sweater and a white collared button-down underneath to break up the monotony. Another color alternative for a top is ash or heather grey. Girls, do not wear a pencil skirt or a black bodycon dress. This is not an opportunity to flirt with your sexy third cousin twice removed who is not even blood-related. Save that for the Christmas/Chanukah party. Velvet and wool skater skirts are welcome.
Black boots at any leg length or booties and loafers are encouraged for both sexes. Ladies, no stilettos or sky-high heels — there were no dominatrixes on the Mayflower. Leave your diamonds and pearls in the safe and accessorize with beaded or simple gold and silver jewelry.
The idea of Thanksgiving is to revert to simplicity and be thankful for what you have. It’s about food and family, not yourself. Do not wear any bold prints, especially stripes. Also, remember that the turkey is the centerpiece of the meal. So even though it is already dead, you may not want to offend it with animal prints or fur. Plus, you will always be remembered as the crazy family member who stole the show by wearing zebra-print pants to Thanksgiving dinner.
Lastly, this is a formal family dinner, so there needs to be some level of sophistication and seriousness in your outfit. No matter if it is with your immediate relatives or extended family or if it takes place in your own home, sweatpants are strictly prohibited.
Danny Arenson, a junior majoring in biology, has an incentive for putting prior thought into his outfit.
“If I showed up in sweatpants and a sweatshirt, my dad wouldn’t give me any dinner,” Arenson said. “So it goes without saying that we need to dress nicely.”