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What We’re Wearing to Thanksgiving Dinner

It’s all about the elastic waistband.

A Thanksgiving dinner table Photo: Elinor Carucci/Trunk Archive

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Thanksgiving is America’s premier eating holiday, and as such, none of the usual dressing rules apply. Comfort is priority one and also priority two and priority three is stuffing and then priority four is comfort again.

That said, priority five — for some — could be looking like a competent, presentable adult so your extended family doesn’t ask if you have a job and you have to be like, “yes, I have a job, GOD, Aunt Jane, I just like sweats, get off my BACK, Aunt Jane” and then everyone feels uncomfortable and no one’s even brought up politics yet.

So, to that end, the staff of Racked is offering our own takes on what we’ll be wearing this holiday. Leggings abound.


I have two younger cousins who are much cooler than me, and they always come to Thanksgiving dressed really casual (leggings and college sweatshirts, Uggs, things like that) but in that way where they're actually kind of dressed up (they both have beautiful long blonde hair and wear mascara). I always try to put together a "look" that's equally casual but not pajamas or something lame, to present as the Cool Older Cousin Who Still Gets It. That translates to head-to-toe Brandy Melville, a brand I am both obsessed with and made depressed by, because I've clearly aged out of it.

Tiffany Yannetta, shopping director

I’m going to wear this pretty hideous oversized sweater dress that I’ve had forever. It’s truly the least flattering thing I own, but it’s massive and cozy and has pockets. Given the political discord into which we’ll spiral before the cheese plate’s been cleared, I need to be wearing something that makes it very easy to both stand up and shout and also curl up into a ball when it’s all over.

Britt Aboutaleb, editor-in-chief

I will be wearing a lightly oversized and fairly stain-smart sweater from Madewell and, if all goes to plan, pajama jeans. The only time I have previously worn my pajama jeans in public was when seeing Les Miserables in theaters with my parents in 2012, and the fact that I managed not to see anyone I went to high school with at the screening continues to feel like a miracle. This year I'm embracing their good luck, and their stretch, when I settle down for The Meal of the Year.

Meredith Haggerty, senior editor

I'm thankful for a lot of things this year — the health and happiness of my family, for one — but I'm also particularly thankful for the tank top dress over T-shirt trend. I've been wearing this look since kindergarten but at least now I look "current" while doing it. I'll be putting it to work on Thursday with an ultra-stretchy, extra-long, baggy but very presentable dress (WITH POCKETS!!) I got on sale at Cos over my favorite high-neck tee from J. Crew, or maybe a sheer long sleeve shirt if I manage to find one I like in time. (The dress doesn't seem to be available anymore online, but the brand has dozens of other presentable bag/sack/eat-whatever-you-want dresses that would be perfect for the occasion, should you need.)

Cory Baldwin, shopping editor

Whenever I go home to St. Louis, I feel like a dark, moody New York transplant, in part because I pretty much only wear black jeans and navy sweaters all fall and winter. (This is, for the record, a perfect outfit.) In order to look a bit more family- and suburb-friendly (also, just friendly), I plan to wear a pink sweater that is actually neon orange and white, but looks pink because of eye science. It's by T by Alexander Wang, and I got it for exactly 63% off on The Outnet (not available anymore, sorry!). I'll still wear my black jeans and grown-up mall goth creepers though, let's be real.

Julia Rubin, executive editor

On Thanksgiving, I'm obviously looking for an item of clothing in which I can successfully enjoy the rounds of pecan and pumpkin pie without having to unbutton or unzip. Which is why I'm definitely going with the sack dress... and not just any sack dress— the Mimu Maxi Frock dress.

This dress hails from the modest fashion brand Mimu Maxi, made by two Orthodox Jewish women from Crown Heights. While I initially had feelings about how Mimu Maxi had been hyped up in the press (are giant sack dresses really the only option for women who want to dress modestly??) I caved last year and bought one and am never turning back. There is SO MUCH ROOM in this dress so I know I won't feel subconscious and it still looks cute, especially when paired with cute mules or booties.

Chavie Lieber, senior reporter

I'll wear leggings and probably an oversize knit sweater that'll make me look like one of those Fabulous Yet Cozy House Women and also disguise wine stains, since I can start to get sloppy when the sun is just setting and I'm already on glass number 5.

Laura Gurfein, deputy managing editor

Over the past few years, my family has slowly morphed from a normal family into a Fitness Family. Thank you, I appreciate the condolences. This means that the morning of Thanksgiving I will not be preparing my stomach for its enormous dinner by eating mountains of cinnamon rolls but instead RUNNING A 5K. While I personally find this to be offensive to a holiday specifically designed around food, I will nevertheless spend Thanksgiving wearing Outdoor Voices leggings, a tank top I normally reserve for sleeping, and a decade-old sports bra. Pray for me.

Rebecca Jennings, associate producer

While many people gravitate toward sweatpants for a casual Thanksgiving, I always opt for leggings. Why? Not only do most pairs offer a high waist and a certain degree of compression — both helpful when you're indulging in seconds or thirds — but they're also slimming and smoothing by nature. I'm a big fan of Alo Yoga's Moto Leggings, which have the added benefit of quilting and paneling that makes them look less like leggings and more like proper pants. Or as I like to say, they're not workout pants, but rather work/out pants (as in, I'm going to wear them to work, and also wear them out).

Elana Fishman, entertainment editor

I am visiting a super cool friend and his partner in Chicago, who both work in the food and wine industry, so the pressure is on. I’ll be flying out for the night and cooking, so I wanted to look nice but pack something that won’t take up a lot of space in my small carry-on. I love Emily and Fin’s dresses and the Poppies a Plenty pattern is my all-time favorite. It’s a very easy dress to wear for all shapes and sizes.

Annemarie Dooling, director of programming

My big Jewish family has always been religious, but as we've grown up, we've gotten a little more diverse. Case in point: While I tend to wear jeggings and a flannel on Thanksgiving day, my cousin — about the same age as me, but married with four kids — will be wearing a wig. In her religious community, it's customary for women to cover their hair with wigs once they marry. But once a year, on the one secular holiday we all celebrate together, my cousin happily ditches the wig (and briefly swaps it in for a scarf) and lets me and my mother try it on. We feel glamorous, silly, and totally not ourselves. Trust there are many photos taken before we hand it back over.

Ellie Krupnick, managing editor

This is the first Thanksgiving I won't be spending with my mom, which is sad, but instead, I'll be with my boyfriend's lovely, large Italian family, which is great. My mom and I have always loved getting all dolled up for holidays, even though it's only ever just the two of us. So, even though I won't be with her this year, I'm wearing a printed sweater dress she bought me at a boutique in Georgia a couple years ago. It originally came with bell sleeves, which I hate because she also hates, so I had it altered to have regular sleeves. I'll be wearing it with a pair of J.Crew tights and a leather belt, and boots from & Other Stories, and I'll be thinking about her while I do!

Stephanie Talmadge, social media editor

I'm from Chicago but I have never flown home for Thanksgiving once in the 15 years that I've lived in NYC because I am not a masochist. Instead, I throw on some heavy leggings and a ratty old beanie and walk over to the Macy's Thanksgiving parade with my kids and husband. We've been doing it long enough now that we know the secret ways to go and how to avoid being crushed by people wearing turkey hats. After the parade, I'll go home, keep the same leggings on, and eat dinner with a group of friends, every one of whom I like and want there. Something to be thankful for indeed.

Cheryl Wischhover, senior beauty reporter