Thanksgiving Day is for most Americans the start of the winter holidays season. Just as the Dutch start their holidays on December 6th with St. Nicholas’ day, US citizens celebrate gratefulness on the last Thursday of November each year.
Thanksgiving is all about the giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and being with your loved ones. If there is a great meal involved, well, that can be a bonus. Like any holiday, Turkey Day is a good day for fashion and for dressing up to celebrate the spirit of the holiday.
Many Americans even decorate their Christmas tree on Thanksgiving Day, therefore blurring the lines between it being an autumn or a winter holiday.
If you want to take your outfit further than wearing a turkey sweater, here are some tips on how you can make the best of your outfit on Thanksgiving and on how to express the spirit of the holiday in a subtle and elegant manner.
1. Wear colors and patterns
Each holiday in the calendar has a certain color scheme attached to it: Christmas is all about red and white, Easter is all about pastel colors and Hanukkah is all about gold and blue. Thanksgiving is a holiday that chromatically revolves around shades of orange, brown, gold and yellow, with pops of white that reflect the snow that is starting to fall at November’s end.
Orange, yellow and brown are colors that are quite similar to each other. Yellow and orange lie close to each other on the color spectrum and are therefore in what we call an “analog relationship”. Colors in analog relationships are colors combinations often found in nature, which look very harmonious and calming and which go together well. These Thanksgiving colors can be easily paired with accent colors such as white or with contrasting colors such as green.
For example, wearing an orange shirt with a green tie is a great way to express your enthusiasm over the holidays and over the Thanksgiving dinner and parade.
To create elegant and sophisticated outfits, try not to wear too many neutrals at a time. Neutrals are colors that can be worn in combination with any other color, pattern or print and are usually used as the blank canvas on which you build a color scheme of an outfit, as they themselves do not generate a lot of visual interest.
Men usually lean towards wearing a lot of neutrals like browns, grays, black, white, tan and khaki; especially during this time of year. Neutral colors can be the main colors of your Thanksgiving outfit, that is not an issue, but you should wear other colors too. For a great sartorial result, you should always add at least a pop of color (although it would preferably be three) to your outfit.
The pop of color can be one of your main pieces or one of your accessories: a colorful bow tie on a dark shirt can make a huge difference, a pair of bright shoe laces on a pair of neutral shoes can make an outfit sing and a pair of orange silk knot cufflinks on a brown button-down shirt can make you look refined and well-polished.
If you want to add rhythm to your outfits, you can wear several pieces in darker colors and pair them with one or more pieces in a bright accent color. A splash of color on an outfit that is composed of mostly dark neutrals is like a breath of fresh air on a November morning. If you are bold, you can take it a step further, and add a second pop of color.
The picture above illustrates a row of Thanksgiving-appropriate neutrals (above), a row of colors you can easily match to those neutrals (middle) and a third row of colors, which you can match to these two colors. These are all safe bets, but they work great for Thanksgiving dinner and for participating in fun holiday activities. Each vertical line is a great color combination consisting of colors from three different categories. You can make use of any of these combinations and rest reassured it will look great.
Patterns and prints
Remember that if you want to mix patterns, you can easily do so by following simple rule: The sizes of the patterns need to be different one from the other. For example, small dots can be easily matched to large dots, lines or anything else, as long as they are not similar in size. For a great effect, pair two very different patterns or prints, but that share a common color. This will indicate that you are a guy who pays great attention to details and will add fluidity to your outfit.
If you want to wear a tie and a pocket square, the two should never be an exact match. The pocket square is meant to compliment your tie, so it should be different in both material and color or texture. How different, is up to you.
2. Add layers
Adding layers of clothes that go together well is a great way to style up your outfits. Putting on a vest over a shirt for example, will generate depth and volume and will therefore make your outfit more interesting from a visual point of view. Vests and cardigans as well as blazers and sports jackets can make for great parts of a layered outfit.
Remember that the number one rule when it comes to layering is that your clothes need to be arranged from thin to thick: the thinnest piece should be the closest to your body, and the bulkiest one should be the furthest. An example of a thin-to-thick scale would be: Undershirt – shirt – vest – blazer – coat (if going outside).
3. Wear accessories
A very subtle way to express the spirit of a holiday through your clothes is by adding one or more seasonal accessories. Regardless of what you are wearing, putting on a pair of cufflinks that reflect the season either chromatically (meaning they are in a specific color) or through shape by featuring designs such as a pilgrim hat or a fun tie that features abstract leaves, is definitely going to set the vibe of your outfit to a whole different tone.
Shoe laces, bracelets and bow ties also make for great accessories to be worn on a holiday.
The bottom line is that you can actually wear anything you want and make you happy, but if you are looking for ways to incorporate the visual culture associated with Thanksgiving Day into your holiday outfit, these guidelines will help you achieve a great Thanksgiving style in no time.
Fraquoh and Franchomme
P.S. How do you dress for Thanksgiving? What colors do you like to wear? What type of accessories do you like to add to your outfits? Share your thoughts in the comments below! For more articles on style, fashion tips and cultural insights, you can subscribe to Attire Club via e-mail or follow us on Facebook or Twitter!