Appropriate Holiday Meal Attire: Fancy Vs. Casual

When you gather around the Thanksgiving table, do you go with a dressy outfit or glorified PJs?

When it comes to holiday feasting, we at The Takeout can agree on many rules of engagement. For example, the fact that sweets have a place in nearly every course, or that any beloved holiday dish can be turned into a delicious dip. But proper holiday dining attire is where we differ. While we all concur that you should be clothed during a holiday meal, one central argument remains: Should a holiday feast involve your comfiest eatin' pants, or is it a welcome occasion to get a little dressy?

By Lillian Stone

As much as I admire city folk and their structural fashions, I'm a comfort-driven tomboy at heart. I spent most of my elementary school years in navy blue banded sweatpants and my dad's oversized white tees, and my current wardrobe is basically the same.


And while I'll throw on a skirt and a funky pair of clogs for holiday festivities—parties, cookie swaps, the requisite Christmas Eve church service that, if skipped, would surely kill my mother—eating holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas Day demand comfy, forgiving fabrics. I'm talking enormous mock-neck sweaters with leggings and ski socks. I'm talking flannel pajama pants covered in festive sloths. If if clings, digs, or otherwise restricts my fleshy giblets, it has no place at a holiday meal.

This is not to say that festive comfies have to incorporate gaudy patterns, although I'm always down with kitsch. The mere existence of upscale loungewear promises that you can nurture your burbling gut and look damn good doing it. Whether you're strapping yourself into a pair of tights (the devil's undergarment) or merely transitioning into your Day Sweats, I believe the holidays are a time for exhaling. And if that doesn't call for your most forgiving apparel, I don't know what does.


By Marnie Shure

I fully understand and respect my colleague's commitment to comfort; indeed, the sweater/legging/ski sock combo is one that I've been rocking every single day of our current work-from-home era. (These days, I'm only putting on a pair of jeans if I want to determine that I still fit in them.) But that's exactly why I enjoy selecting a nice outfit to wear on Thanksgiving or Christmas day: it marks the occasion as one wholly separate and special and worth busting out the statement pieces for.


There's also the matter of cameras. In a typical year, my Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations are a 40-person affair involving extended family, new babies, and out-of-state cousins whose parents are ecstatic they've made the trip. This means that photos are being snapped by dozens of phones and at least one unforgiving digital camera (my aunt keeps things old school). These are some of the only photos we'll take as a family all year, and I like marking the years by whatever dress I was excited about from one season to the next.

To Lillian's point, though, there's nothing about my nice clothes that clings, digs, or restricts. A good ol' fit-and-flare dress accommodates the most casserole-bloated belly imaginable, and a lot of nice cardigans mercifully don't even have buttons.