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What to Wear to Entertain at Home
The balance of getting dressed up, but not too dressed up to host or attend a home-cooked dinner (aka Thanksgiving)
Getting dressed to entertain is an entirely different beast than getting dressed to go out on the town. The host’s job is to set the tone, but also make guests feel welcome and comfortable. If you wear cocktail attire and your guest shows up in jeans, she might struggle to enjoy herself. Same goes the other way around, if say, you are wearing lululemons and she is wearing her favorite jewelry, brocade and heels. So what to wear that toes the line between festive host and extreme comfort? Below, five failsafe ideas that all share one common theme: you can sit on the ground comfortably. Should all the sofas be taken, you want to be able to simply say, “Please sit! I’m fine right here!” Grab your wine and lean into the intimacy of it all.
If you only take one of my recommendations to heart this season, let it be these pants (don’t worry they are on SALE!). I have owned them a month and they have already solved so many outfit problems for me. I wore them to a work dinner, to a tot shabbat service (unspoken directive: look nice! but be prepared to roll around on the floor!), a speaker series at the Prada store (aka an event filled with very cool and intimidating fashion-y intellectuals), and on and on and on.
They are fascinating pants really. They are shaped like a sweatpant, but made from this fancy springy not-quite-shiny-but-not-casual jersey material so they basically just morph into whatever you happen to wear them with. Hosting your extended family and 10 kiddos under 12? Try a sweater! Friendsgiving? Our favorite black jackets with gold buttons. Great with a silky button down and lots of bead necklaces or a lurex top come holiday party season. They do everything. Also, throw them on the next day with a sweatshirt and sneakers to put all your glassware back in storage.
Growing up, my mom brought her own slippers to weekly family Shabbat dinners. I now recognize her brilliance. You are going to take off your shoes, but its winter (in Minnesota) and floors are hard! I am now a slippers-at-all-times evangelist. I love my Charvet slippers, which I pretty much only wear when entertaining. And also recently discovered this fun new brand in very festive colors! Not no to bringing these with to my sister-in-laws for Thanksgiving this year.
Not all families are dress up for dinner families
Maybe your guests are all going to show up in jeans or whatever they wore to the Turkey Trot that morning. You can lean in to loungewear and still feel great about what you’re wearing. Embrace the beige (AKA the Brunello/Loro Piana method). And if you want to, add pearls! A true fancy/casual mix that doesn’t look awkward. Love these milky colored Wilson track pants and I’ve basically recommended this Alex Mill sweater to anyone and everyone who has talked to me in the past two months. Voila!
A “Swing Dress”
Borrowing the term J.J. Martin uses for the first and (IMO) best La Double J dress. She launched the brand with this long, slightly A-line, silk, short-sleeve style in a few prints as an answer to every occasion. To me, its perfection. It is completely unfussy while still being semi-maximal (aka print heavy). She does new prints in the style each season. I wear mine at the holidays and also on summer holidays! This dress pictured isn’t actually LDJ, I accidentally left mine in Minnesota last time I visited. But I love this shape so much and have a few dresses in this style. LDJ doesn’t own the sheath, they just make buying it very easy. Added bonus, it looks great with an apron! Ditch your belt and look cute while you put the finishing touches on the Turkey.
Go Big But Go Stretch
Resurfacing my “fun” pants we talked about in the What to wear to dinner newsletter. But this time wearing the full get up. The beauty of this outfit is in the material: a stretch brocade. So I can basically do squats in it even though I look extremely dressed. I don’t want to make you feel like you need to shy away from getting super dressed when hosting at home. On the contrary, I love getting dressed, and so will a lot of your guests, I’m sure. What I’m trying to say is, there is a way to do it without feeling like you need to adjust every three minutes. Here is where someone might suggest a chic pajama set. Also a great option! Just make sure your guests aren’t so old-school they will feel insulted! And you might want to share a dress code before arrivals.
And a final note about collared sweaters. You can see I used them in two of our five points this week. And they could easily be added to the other three. For thanksgiving especially, a time when we want to feel warm and cozy but also presentable, these seem to be just the ticket. They look good with jeans, fancy skirts, both pants above, over a swing dress, etc. etc. etc..they just kind of add the right amount of finish. I think it took me writing this to get there, but lets make it easy. Here are three great ones below. And with that I will sign off.
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