Every year, the fourth Thursday of November rolls around. As we mosey out of bed, ready to prepare for the year’s most noteworthy feast, another event is simmering under the surface, getting ready to rear its head: the competition of who will take home the unspoken title of Best-Dressed Cousin at Thanksgiving Dinner.
We’ve all been there: You have an ensemble prepared weeks before that you think will bring you a landslide win, but then a dark horse cousin you’ve never seen out of sweatpants decides to pull out a leather blazer that beats out your plaid pants, and you have to wait another 365 days to prove that you’re the most fashionable one in the family.
This year, we’re thinking out of the box and coming up with Thanksgiving outfits that say “I’m the coolest one here” with no questions asked—all it takes is a bit of strategy, a winner’s mentality, and commitment to the game.
Traditional Thanksgiving outfits tend to fit in predictable boxes: a sea of deep orange and red tones, pinches plaid, and a flurry of suede boots left in a pile at the front door. But to be the best-dressed cousin, you have to think outside of the box and get a little uncomfortable.
Instead of going for what your gut says, give yourself the opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Instead of terracotta, opt for a shade of marigold; rather than plaid, opt for a retro, trendy geometric pattern. Create the bones of a great Thanksgiving outfit, then add a little bit of spice.
Take advantage of accessories
By now, we know that accessories can make or break a look, so on Thanksgiving, make sure to take advantage of the power they can have.
Stacking up your jewelry or throwing on a pair of statement earrings will make your look feel complete and well thought-out. Since your hands will be visible during dinner, don’t forget rings—when in doubt, stack them up.
If you’re stuck, opt for monochrome
Not everyone performs well under pressure, and there’s always a chance that when it comes to Thanksgiving, you might choke when putting together an outfit—but that’s no reason to panic.
When in doubt, a monochrome look will always deliver, especially on Thanksgiving. Focus on colors in similar hues but pieces in differing textures, like a white sweater with a cream pair of trousers. The result will always be seamless and best-dressed worthy.
Don’t forget to layer
Odds are, you’ll be experiencing a wide variety of temperatures throughout your Thanksgiving excursions. It might be chilly while you’re traveling to your destination, but then it’ll probably be hotter than the surface of the sun in the dining room after the oven has been on all day and there are a dozen adult bodies close to each other.
To account for anything the night might bring, plan for a few different layers throughout the night. Bring a jacket or blazer with you that can be a part of the look when it’s cold, but make sure whatever is underneath is something you’ll be comfortable wearing all on its own too.
Don’t worry about your grandma’s opinion
Odds are, if you go the trendy route on Thanksgiving, you’ll risk getting a look of distaste from your grandma or a comment from your uncle—”you mean you bought those jeans ripped?”—but when we’re competing for best dressed, we don’t care about who might not understand just how genius our look is.
There are probably a few pieces in your closet you don’t break out around certain crowds in fear of them not understanding, but you should be wearing whatever makes you feel the most confident. If that’s a pair of plaid trousers and a red sweater, go for it! If it’s the trendiest pair of pants you own and a satin shirt you’ve been waiting to wear, that should be your look.