Dressing For The Holidays: Casual Outfits for Thanksgiving

Dressing modestly for holidays can sometimes bring the stress of seeing family members you have not seen for a long time. This might be your once in a year visit with them, and you only have that one chance to leave a good impression on them (with your goal being representing our Lord and Savior).

Consider this scenario:

A family with six children comes to a family gathering. They recently decided to homeschool, making them the topic of conversation among the family. Just the mere fact that they have six children has made them look outlandish to the extended family. Their concern is that the poor children will never be able to socialize with anyone. The larger than normal family shows up at the family gathering and the family realizes their worst fears are coming to pass. The children all are wearing mix matched clothing that is wrinkled and stained, the girl’s hair is not brushed (let alone fixed in any way) and the boys all need haircuts and look scraggly. The mother is wearing a stained skirt and her top looks like it has never seen an iron before.  The family is pleasant enough, but their appearance has left an impression on the extended family – and it wasn’t for the positive.

Now picture this scenario:

A family of three children has spent their life homeschooling their children. They have poured their time into it, and are approaching the age where their oldest is about to graduate high school. This young man has decided to pursue college online, and the extended family is horrified. Everyone in this family has gone to the most prestigious colleges in the country, and the oldest son in the extended family has been overseas with a high paying job for 10 years now. This is the first time this family from overseas will be back for the holidays, and the homeschool family is a little nervous about how they will be received since they know the family is upset about the college decision. When they show up at the family gathering, they bring a calm, sweet, yet confident spirit with them. The 2 girls in the family have grown up to be lovely young women, and they are dressed in a modest yet very becoming outfits. They have learned what colors look good on them, how to quickly fix their hair to make it look attractive, and the oldest just started wearing a small touch of  colored lip gloss and blush to bring a little bit of color to her face. They are tidy and are extremely pleasant to talk to. These girl’s can actually carry on a conversation with the prestigious college graduates! When they leave, the rest of the family is amazed over what a nice family this “weird” family actually is!

Now these scenarios might not apply to you. I use a homeschooling family because I can relate to that story line being one myself. Regardless of what your family looks like, I think you can see the stark difference in these two families lives, and what a simple amount of proper grooming can do to leave a good impression on our extended family.

You do not have to possess a lot of money to have a tidy looking family. Please do not fall into the trap that because you have a large family, or you are at poverty level that you can’t look nice. Train your girls how to brush their hair, and your sons to wet their hair down and comb it. Almost everyone owns an iron, so please use it before going to family gatherings. It takes just a little bit of effort, but you can help your family out a lot if you work on some basic hygene skills in your family.

When I think of Thanksgiving outfits, I think of darker colors on the palette. Browns, tans, deeper reds, dark blues or purple,  these are all appropriate colors for this time of year.

colour palette : warm seasonal pastels
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Colour Palette Dots

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If lighter colors look good on you, don’t lose heart! You can still pull off a fall look without making yourself look totally washed out with dark colors. Here is a lighter color palette that you can use to pull out the cream colors  from and create a look for yourself that would be appropriate.
colour palette : hello June...

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Ideally, we don’t want to show up to a Thanksgiving dinner in a summery skirt with colors of light pinks and roses galore. It just does’t fit the mood of a Thanksgiving dinner and the beautiful colors of fall. Some might say that it doesn’t matter what colors we wear, as long as the outfit is modest. I think God gave us different seasons for a reason, and we have different colors that stand out in those seasons. There is nothing wrong with taking those colors and reflecting them in our wardrobe.

If you don’t know what colors look best on you, here is an excellent post that tells you how to figure that out.

So what should you wear if you are going to a casual Thanksgiving dinner? Here are some outfits I put together from clothes I have that would be fine for a casual look that still looks nice.

Outfit #1 

Ruched Ruffle Skirt

Cream Sweater -My sister gave it to me

Scarf – Zulily

Boots (My sister found them at the thrift store for me!)

Gibson Twist with a size Large Flexi Clip 

Outfit #2

Rainbow Denim Skirt

Cream layering shell (similar to this one)

Corduroy Jacket- I found it at a garage sale this summer. Old Navy brand

Knee High Socks

Brown Mary Jane Shoes – Zulily 

Gold and Red earrings – New item at Deborah & Co.

(FYI, if you have the Festive Fallen Leaf Flexi clip, they match perfect with it as a set!)

I twisted my hair together and secured with a size small flexi clip. I own a festive fallen leaf clip which would have been perfect for this outfit, but I happen to have a two year old who loves to run off with things, and my clip got in her hands. Alas, it is yet to be found. 🙂

Now you can take these ideas and go to your own closet. Pull out your accessories (scarfs, boots, jewelry, hair clips) and figure out a casual outfit that would work for you based on your body type and coloring. Don’t lose heart, it IS possible to dress modestly and beautifully! 

I would love to hear what you are planning on wearing! If you want to share below that would be great, or feel free to snap a picture and share with all of us on our Facebook page here

If you are needing some holiday outfits for your children, Thred Up  (an online store that sells gently used clothing) just released a coupon for $5.00 off your order until Sunday. I’ve been very pleased with all the clothes I have received from them.


  1. Nice look.

  2. I love dressing the kids and I in the colors for the season.It makes it feel more festive for the Holiday.We all look more put together and get better responses from people when we go out in public. When you leave the house with five children and one on the way people can be cruel. I found when we are dressed nice and talking calmly people respond to us much better. Amazing what appearance does! Not loooking to always please people but I think it shows we respect for ourselves when we make the effort to look nice. It doesn’t cost a lot of money either. I have fun searching through hand me downs ,going to the church thrift store,sewing twirl skirts with the right colors from scraps or looking through clearance to find seasonal outfits.

  3. Ouch! I am so in the category with the first family. No one in my extended family has or believes in having more than two children, and we have five. I am not good at cutting their hair, but I do try to learn. I haven’t ironed in about a year (not because I don’t want to, I just don’t feel like I have time) and I hardly ever wear make-up (I love to wear it but don’t know what I’m doing, and I usually forget.) I should really write down a list of ways that I can improve our appearance–learning to cut hair better, teaching the girls how to comb their hair better, new hairstyles, figuring out my colors, etc. and make goals for each month. Good, convicting, motivating post–thanks!

  4. Although I live in Canada, I’ve had a hard time giving up my American Thanksgiving! We are going to celebrate with other American friends that day. I have a couple of different options in mind to wear. One is a long denim skirt, a white, tan, and black print layering shell, and a denim jacket, adding color with my jewelry. The other is a black corduroy skirt with the same shell and a white denim jacket. I always wear knee socks and Mary Janes. I’m beginning menopause and am hot all the time, so tights are out right now! 😉

    I really enjoy seeing the outfits you post here. I’ve been dresses-only since I was 9 years old (I’m now 47), and I still love seeing how others dress modestly and stylishly. I’m so glad I found your blog!

  5. I agree with your thesis, but, as you know, with young children, you can leave the house looking like family #2 and get there looking like family #1 even with your best efforts.lol. Yes, I love to dress us tastefully and in keeping with the season too. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • True! I keep a brush and hair ties ready in the van so I can redo what happened on the 5 minute drive to church 🙂

  6. As always, I love the outfits you put together! Our Thanksgiving dinner will be just me and hubby since he has to preach, and all our family is out of state. We will be wearing sweats and eating pizza 🙂

  7. Thanks for the great reminder that we can “shop” our closet and find great things to wear! I am currently visiting family and had to bring a limited wardrobe with me so I am missing a lot of things I have at home!! I will do the best I can with what I was able to bring!

  8. Hi!

    I enjoyed your scenarios –I think we’re closer to the second than we used to be. I used to wear makeup but haven’t for many years. I’d like to get back into it. Also, this year seems to be the year that many of my clothes need to be replaced. That is a hard thing because I have to try on so many to get a comfortable fit–it’s a real re-building process.

    I enjoyed your outfits. My coloring is similar to yours so I can appreciate the colors–especially the browns and blues. I like the ruched skirt–what kind of a waistband does it have?

    I’m enjoying this series! Thanks so much for putting it together!


    • Krista,

      Hello! The ruched skirt has an elastic waistband. I find that skirts with an elastic waistband can work for a mommy’s fluctuating waistline very nicely. 🙂

  9. Thank you for your encouragment that woman with skirts can be pretty and feel pretty! This may be an odd question but where did you find your lovely brown socks? I always struggle to know what socks are appropiate. I love knee highs but where do you find nice ones? Thanks!

  10. I really need to sew some nicer things for myself. I’m afraid I try to make the rest of the family a priority and I end up looking dowdy. Thanks for the encouragement and the ideas. Maybe I will go to the thrift shop and look for myself for a change.

  11. Great post. I especially like the first photo. Very pretty. Great ideas too. Thanks for sharing.
    Have a Blessed Sunday,

  12. Tiffany Keeton says:

    How long is the Ruffled skirt your wearing? I’m looking to order one.

  13. gabby evans says:

    The outfits you put together sound great. I think the most important piece in my winter wardrobe is my Down Jacket. I just bought one at Burlington Coat Factory and I love it. It’s so warm and I know it goes with everything. Best of all, it was about half the price I had seen it for in the department stores.

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