What to Wear to Thanksgiving Dinner

Yes, it’s a family dinner, not some big evening out on the town, and you want to be comfy. But life is too short to be frumpy!

This Thanksgiving, seize the holiday spirit by saying no to sloppy sweatpants and boring slump-around-clothes. Try these suggestions for cozy knit outfits that are casual, but classy.

purple cape top and jeans

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1. The Statement Sweater

Just because it’s a low-key meal doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. Chunky sweaters are in, so why not wear one with some personality?  Look closely and you’ll see that this purple marled knit poncho has the tiniest bit of metallic shimmer, making it the perfect top to kick off the holiday season.

Pair this pretty cowl neck with a thin long-sleeved t-shirt and jeans. Then glam things up by adding a rose gold watch and some soft, pretty jewelry and accessories to look feminine and sophisticated. Don’t be surprised if you are the best dressed at the dinner table.


red sweaterdress

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 2. A Cozy Sweater Dress

If pants seem too boring, and a dress feels too stiff, the perfect compromise a soft, warm sweater dress.  I love sweater dresses because you get to feel a little bit dressed up without having to sacrifice comfort.

This graphic, black and red sweater dress is a lively choice. The A-line cut is very flattering, plus who doesn’t love a bit of a sleeve?  Pair this dress with a luxurious embossed satchel and a pair of classy riding boots. You’ll feel fab sitting around having a glass of wine in this modern, easygoing look.

green sweater with leggings

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3. Leggings and a Turtleneck

If you can’t wait to curl up by the fire this Thanksgiving, then you’ll love the idea of wearing this cozy leggings outfit. The recipe is easy. Take a pair of soft, stretchy leggings. Then, add a long turtleneck that covers your bottom. Throw on a pair of cute suede booties, a rustic scarf, and a fab bag to finish off the look. Chillin out in style is easy when you’ve got the right mix.

cableknit sweater and jeans

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4. Super Simple

If you are the kind of gal who likes to keep things simple, then here’s how to add some sophistication to a classic denim look. Take a traditional cable knit sweater, add a pair of jeans, a quality black leather bag, and flats. Then polish the look by adding some sophisticated studs and a gorgeous silk scarf.

This outfit is easy and foolproof.  Now, go enjoy yourself and have that extra piece of pumpkin pie!

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  1. The ideas are all so very cute, but most people probably cannot afford spending $200-300 alone for one piece of clothing…myself included. It would be nice to see the same alternate version in a price range that is affordable to the average person. We shouldn’t have to spend that kind of money just to look and feel beautiful!

  2. Corinne Garrett says:

    Great article: chock full of good suggestions for a stylish holiday gathering. We always ‘dress up’ – even if I am cooking for 20. After all it IS a party – coming to the table in sweat pants is not an option.

    • Corinne Garrett says:

      Every outfit here can be closely “replicated” with finds from consignment shops, discount stores, and online sources. The individual pieces are not expensive, and you may have components of each in your closet already! Shop Ross, TJ Maxx, Target, J.C. Penny’s and Marshall’s for fashionable clothing and accessories that don’t break the bank.

  3. EricaRenae says:

    I sometimes marvel at these extremely warm outfits for several reasons. Most houses are very warm at least 70 degrees….Most older women run warm anyway so who wants to wear a sweater, jeans and a scarf INSIDE? Many people live in the Southwest or in California even where the highs on Thanksgiving day are in the high 70s. I feel like there is a lot of reality being left out in these suggestions for Fall dressing at times. There should be also suggestions that include the realities of the above scenarios.

    • Hi Erica, These outfits were created with Northern Climates in mind, but you make a good point. Next time we will have to include some sets for our Southern readers. These outfits would be far too hot for Florida or California, and if you were experiencing hot flashes too – you’d get more cooked than the turkey! Thanks for your input! Cheers, Deborah

  4. Okay, these are all so darling that I’m ready to go to all the relatives and eat numerous meals :) while wearing each one of these outfits :)
    I especially love the long turtleneck with leggings!

  5. All of these outfits are darling, but all very $$!

  6. Lisa Slattery says:

    Love all the options! As the hostess I think the sweater dress is the best option as I won’t get my sleeves in the mashed potatoes! Even though I live up north the shirt dress is a good alternative as it still gets hot in the kitchen!

    • Hi Lisa, You’re right. A lighter shirt dress may be a better choice for the hostess/cook who is certain to be dishing out the dinner over a hot stove, but it would be a fabulous dress to wear if you were going to Thanksgiving dinner as a guest. Imagine yourself walking into the party in this cute outfit! Talk about turning heads and so comfy too! Cheers, Deborah

  7. I have the same concerns as the reader below. It’s pretty much always summer where I live. I’d love to wear boots, tights, and sweater dresses but I would swelter, especially with hot flashes added to the equation. How do I stay comfortable while looking seasonally appropriate?

    • Hi Eva, What about a shirtdress with leggings (long or capris) and flats or heels instead of a sweaterdress with stockings and boots? Check out my post on shirtdresses to see what I mean.http://www.fabulousafter40.com/how-to-style-a-shirt-dress/
      These dresses are everywhere and look great with leggings. Cheers, Deborah

    • Corinne Garrett says:

      Tunics in light fabrics or long sleeveless vests for Sutherin’ ladies in warm climes. A classic (long belted) white shirt with jeans/leggings or a pretty plaid shirt which designers are showing this season. Wear a light silk scarf in seasonal colors vs a heavier scarf – and tie loosely versus cinched up around the neck. Ditto leggings in thinner material and wear the booties – just don’t buy the ones lined with shearling. Booties are imminently more stylish than flip flops for fall. Use the same jewelry, the same flats, the same great looking bags and there you are: dressed to wow.

  8. Ann Paulson says:

    These are great suggestions as long as you live where it is cold. It will be 85 degrees for my Thanksgiving Day…no sweaters, turtlenecks, or ponchos for me! I would really appreciate you addressing seasonal styles for the different parts/weather of the country. It is sometimes a challenge for me to wear and enjoy the seasonal fashions when the season change is not evident in the weather….how to look appropriate to the season and also the weather. Thank you and happy Thanksgiving!

    • Hi Ann, check the answer I just gave Eva about shirtdresses. That is one good option. You make an excellent point. I spend part of my winters in Florida so if your are there full time or somewhere else warm, I can see how you would need suggestions. I will work on that and bring you some posts in the next couple of weeks. Cheers, Deborah

  9. Marylin morello says:

    What is the difference between tights and leggings

    • Hi Marilyn, good question. Many people are confused. Tights are generally footed. Think of a thick opaque stocking or opaque leotards. Leggings are not footed. You can have different thicknesses of leggings. Some are as thick as an oapque tight with the foot cut out, and other leggings are a heavier knit almost like a pair of pants. Of course there is everything inbetween.
      The heavier, bulkier your top the thicker your legging. For example if you wore a long, blousy shirtdress you would wear light-medium weight opaque leggings. If you were wearing a long chunky sweater you’d be better off in medium-heavy weight opaque knit leggings. I hope that helps. Cheers, Deborah

  10. Donna Cognac says:

    These are great suggestions for Thanksgiving Day outfits. Relaxed fit knit dresses or tunics over tights or tapered stretch waist pants are perfect to look good and feel you can still breathe after dinner. Just be sure the room temperature won’t be too warm.

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