Thanksgiving can be a fraught holiday or one filled with a lot of joy, depending on your family dynamics. Maybe it’s both! Regardless, there’s pumpkin pie—and the need for Thanksgiving outfits that do more than Joey Tribbiani’s stretchy pants.
“Even the most perfect families have some type of dysfunction,” says fashion psychologist Dr. Dawnn Karen. “Just imagining Thanksgiving dinner, you might start thinking about the past and getting overwhelmed and throw on whatever. Some of my clients and students wear a solid color like all black because they’re literally dreading the moment.”
Which is why, when you get dressed on Thanksgiving day, Karen recommends doing an exercise that she lays out in her book, Dress Your Best Life, called “Having a Mindful Morning.” Simply ask yourself how you’re feeling and be honest with the answer. After that, you have two choices when it comes to dressing: mood illustration or mood enhancement. Mood illustration is about maintaining emotional equilibrium—that is, wearing whatever is most comfortable or reflects your current state mind. Think about it: Do you subconsciously reach for your favorite T-shirt when you’re anxious? Mood enhancement (or dopamine dressing, as TikTok calls it), however, is intentionally wearing something that pushes you into a happier space—bright colors, bold prints, etc.
Regardless of the path you choose, Elisabeth Kassab, a stylist and personal shopper behind the account Stylist Check, advises embracing the fall season of it all. “This sounds weird, but you almost want to match what is on the table,” she says. “So, a lot of burnt oranges, browns, reds, burgundy, beige, and tan. These colors are so cozy and warm, which is exactly how you want to feel on Thanksgiving.”
To make getting dressed for the day even easier for you, we asked the experts and scoured the latest street style photos for the best Thanksgiving outfit ideas. Below you’ll find advice for what to wear regardless of the situation—whether you’re meeting your partner’s family for the first time, attending a friendsgiving, hosting the big event, spending time with family, or just enjoying a low-stakes turkey dinner and a Thanksgiving movie at home.
Crewneck Sweater + Wide-Leg Jeans + Polo