Trying to figure out what to wear to Thanksgiving dinner? You’re in the right place.
Heck, even if you’ve got it figured out, anyone can level up their holiday attire. And we can always use tips and reminders. You never know when you’ll end up getting invited to a wildly different Turkey Day celebration than you’re typically used to.
Here’s everything you need to consider when putting a men’s Thanksgiving outfit together.
Fall Colors and Fabrics
Let’s start with the basics: Textiles and Colors.
We get into this in our men’s winter fashion guide, so make sure to check that out for a comprehensive overview regarding how to dress during the cold seasons.
You want darker, richer hues, and more substantial fabrics. Fall is a great time for patterned weaves like houndstooth and herringbone.
So instead of that light gray suit, go for a charcoal one. Instead of that lightly-woven pastel cardigan you wore around Easter time, go for a forest green cable-knit shawl cardigan.
Dark colors like navy, charcoal, aubergine, camel, and burgundy work for both winter and autumn. However, there are actually a few bright shades that you can go for, if they’re styled correctly, since they’re reminiscent of autumn leaves.
Some include burnt orange, dark and cool yellows like mustard and ochre, and chestnut red or maroon. Since Thanksgiving is a celebration, it’s one of the more appropriate times to choose the livelier fall shades.
And of course, brown is an important fall color as well. Some might argue that it sits in the center of the autumn palette, and for good reason.
Let’s say you want to dip into the aforementioned brighter colors for a special Thanksgiving party. To stay in-season, you can combine them with shades of brown.
For example, a russet-toned check tweed jacket might feature orange lines in its pattern. Or maybe you wear a dark mustard cashmere turtleneck with brown trousers and brown boots.
Brown can properly contextualize autumn colors that you might also find in warmer seasons.
Some heavy fabrics you can consider include denim, twill, flannel (which is not the same as plaid), thick wools, canvas, and down-filled outerwear.
Where is the Thanksgiving Venue? What’s It Like?
One of the most common Thanksgiving venues is simply someone’s house. And it’ll likely be fairly casual, which is always smart whenever there are little ones running around.
I grew up in a pretty formal, WASPy household, and we occasionally had suit-and-tie Thanksgiving dinners. But even within this ceremonial culture, the go-to was a casual Turkey Day.
Here are the contexts we’ll cover:
- At home with extended family and friends
- At home with your wife and kids
- With friends at a restaurant
- At home with friends (otherwise known as friendsgiving)
- The after-dinner outfit—remember when Joey changed into his stretchy Thanksgiving pants in Friends? You’ll want something a bit more put-together than that.
At Home with Extended Family and Friends
The most common Thanksgiving dinners are typically casual. Remember, this doesn’t mean sloppy, and just because you’re around close relatives doesn’t mean you can wear just anything.
First off, if you’re attending Thanksgiving at an uncle’s house or a sibling’s house, you’re still a guest. Even in the most informal, tight-knit families, you want to be respectful of their space.
What if someone brings a new girlfriend or their college roommate? You always want to make a good impression.
If you’re a guest of a guest, even more reason to look as put-together as possible—ditto if you’re the host.
A good way to level up your casual Thanksgiving outfit is to have fun with the textures and layers that autumn allows us to use.
For example, you can go for corduroys, brown loafers, and a flannel
But, top it off with an unstructured blazer or even a chore coat, and you’ve fully leveled up the elegance. The added layer is a bit like a workwear version of a suit jacket.
Basically, you can upgrade the class factor of your casual combinations by finding pieces that are the casual, fall-practical versions of more formal garments.
Some examples include a brushed twill
Another thing to consider is whether the hosts have a shoes-off or shoes-on household. This means your socks can potentially be a visual part of your outfit. By the way, you can’t go wrong with pattern-woven wool socks.
If you’re hosting, you can always wear indoor leather slippers or shearling-lined moccasins.
At Home With the Spouse and Kids
It goes without saying that a Thanksgiving dinner at home with just your immediate family can be as casual as you want it to be.
Still, I like to think of occasions like this as an opportunity to make the dinner more special or to give your children an at-home example of how to dress as dinner guests.
You can take a simplified version of the above approach, or you can level up some basics with more structured items.
For example, a twill
But, they’re also comfortable and practical enough for a dinner at home, whether you’re on the couch watching the game or doing the toast at the head of the dinner table.
Would you rather just wear a t-shirt when you’re in the comfort of your own home? Go for a henley instead, then jazz it up with a two-pocket blazer.
Unlike tying a tie or getting into a full suit, it’s no sweat off my back to wear my “nicer’
Other examples might include a nice belt or men’s jewelry like rings or bracelets.
Celebrating with Friends at Home (Friendsgiving)
You can of course be relaxed when you’re with your peers. But, no different than a Thanksgiving at a relative’s house, you never know what the guests-of-guests situation will be.
Moreover, when you’re celebrating with friends, you never know if the night will lead to other venues.
You want your outfit to be practical and versatile. Imagine the regular t-shirt and jeans combo you might wear to the pub with friends, then add some intentional, autumnal upgrades.
Some options include a chore coat, a tweed blazer, a quilted vest, or a nice cardigan.
Friendsgivings are also an opportunity to try out some of the brighter fall colors. Temper a burnt orange or rust-colored cashmere sweater with a pair of gray flannel pants or brown tweed trousers.
You can do the same to a mustard
And a pair of neutral sneakers in a classic silhouette like the Nike Killshots are an easy outfit finisher.
Going Out to a Restaurant With Friends
The most important thing to consider when you’re having Thanksgiving at a restaurant is, naturally, the dress code.
Very few restaurants these days have a strict
It never hurts to wear a nice sport coat though, regardless of the required attire at a restaurant. No one is going to kick you out of a casual-dress establishment for it. And similar to a Friendsgiving at home, you never know where the night might lead.
To give your restaurant look a Thanksgiving makeover, incorporate the colors, fabrics, and patterns previously discussed.
Instead of a dress
Instead of a full suit, go for a broken suit with autumnal colors. A brown suit jacket with olive pants or
Having An Extremely Casual Thanksgiving (Or Need An After-Dinner Outfit)
In cases of highly casual Thanksgivings, you can basically take all of the most casual examples up there and combine them without thinking too much about balance.
A Henley with jeans and some camp mocs are a good option, as are a flannel
In the most casual situations, you can also go an athleisure route.
This is what I opt for at the end of the evening, when the football games are over, the dinner table’s been cleared, and we’re gearing up to turn the leftovers into make-your-own sandwich stations.
Fortunately, due to athleisure becoming more acceptable as everyday wear, a lot of brands have infused their performance pieces with clean lines, structure, and style.
Nike is an OG performance brand that people started wearing equally as much for style reasons as they do for athletic reasons. Understandably, they’re still a go-to brand to find training wear with structure and clean lines.
There are also newer brands, like Olivers which we’ve reviewed, that have great athleisure options.
Structured sweats, cinched-hem joggers, and quarter-zip sweaters are good examples of comfortable but non-sloppy garments.
I’ve worn the Nike Sportswear Club Fleece Joggers at the gym, as well as paired with henley, chore coat, and sneakers to a casual dress party.
We have a perfect example of Thanksgiving athleisure coming up, but first…
Other Things to Consider When Choosing a Thanksgiving Outfit
Remember that the two main components to Thanksgiving are people and food. As such, here just a few more things to consider when picking out pieces for your Thanksgiving outfit:
- What’s your role? If you’re the host, you need to set the standard. If you’re a guest, particularly a guest-of-a-guest, you need to be mindful of being respectful. What’s acceptably casual to your household might be different in another.
- The comfort factor. You might want pieces with a little bit of stretch. If you can, go for stretch jeans and chinos, and avoid highly-tailored dress trousers.
- What’s the weather? Late fall can sometimes feel like winter. Dressing in layers is stylishly autumnal, as well as practical in cool weather situations.
- Attending multiple Thanksgiving celebrations? Make sure your outfit is appropriate for each one, because they could be very different!
Thanksgiving Outfit Ideas for Men
Here are four Thanksgiving combinations for different dress codes!
Outfit 1, At Home Casual
Remember when I mentioned that an added fall layer can really level up a simple t-shirt combination? A chunky shawl cardigan turns an already good outfit into an elegantly good one, worthy of an at-home party.
Outfit 2, Smart Casual
Textures are truly autumnal. However, the finer patterns and textures on this flannel
Go for the leather house slipper if you’re a shoes-off household. Otherwise, complete the look with the Timberland lug sole boat shoes.
Outfit 3, Smart Casual
Fall versions of suit separates make the perfect restaurant attire. Each piece here has enough texture and weight to ensure it’s high-class but not stuffy.
If you do want a suit-like silhouette on Thanksgiving, this combination is perfect—it’s more university professor, less ‘80s banker.
Outfit 4, Casual
This outfit is a perfect example of chic athleisure, each piece being perfectly acceptable as everyday wear.
The quarter-zip is a handsome, comfy, casual classic, while the sweats have added structure. Even more, the khaki colorway almost makes them look like relaxed-fit
And look, you’re at home with friends or family, and it’s after hours, after the meal, after all the festivities… and you’re chillin. Your clothes should match that vibe.
Frequently Asked Questions re: What To Wear On Thanksgiving
What do people normally wear on Thanksgiving?
Nowadays, Thanksgiving is usually a casual affair. Flannel is common. You usually can’t go wrong with chinos, a
Can I wear jeans to a Thanksgiving dinner?
You can usually wear jeans to any Thanksgiving dinner that isn’t truly formal. Even a pair of dark, well-fitted jeans can be styled to cocktail dress code standards.
What are neutral colors for Thanksgiving?
Brown, charcoal, camel, and navy are neutral enough to be base colors for a fall outfit. Black is fall-appropriate, but might not be as easy to style considering how common shades of brown are in fall attire.
We Hope That Was Helpful!
Most Thanksgiving dinners don’t stray too far from the smart casual dress code. It’s really a matter of navigating a few small nuances that come with attending or throwing a party.
I should also mention that if you’re the host and you’ll be cooking the dinner, to get a good apron. You don’t want to ruin your well-planned Thanksgiving outfit!
Which of the four outfits above are you more likely to wear given the Thanksgivings you usually attend?