Reader Q | Sophisticated Thanksgiving Options for Moms


**Note:  This post has been updated as of 11/17/2013**

Sweetpeas!  My parents are in town (their original visit was rescheduled due to hurricane Sandy), so this will be a quick one.  So many of you had asked for more formal versions of a Thanksgiving dinner outfit, and I didn't want to leave you in the lurch.  Besides, reader Amy cracked me up:

My family is the Fockers, and my in laws are the same as the movie. I would love a bit more sophisticated option for them πŸ˜‰

How could I refuse a mother Focker?

Work Shift + Chambray + Man Accessories


[photo credit: J.Crew]


Try layering a chambray shirt under a shift dress to make it feel less workplace stuffy.  It's a holiday party!  If you fear the look is a bit too casual, swap the chambray for silk.  

Polish off the whole thing with quirky menswear accessories:  a tie (or bow tie), plaid scarf, large watch.  I'd wear sexpot heels with this one, but shiny loafers or ballet flats work OK too.

To recreate, try these pieces:

Dress: J.Crew Factory like the above pic,  Old Navy Ponte Shift Dress, or Mango's Faux-Leather shift for some edge

Shirt: Gap's Tailored Chambray, J.Crew Factory's traditional take or Fossil's surprisingly perfect one

Menswear Accessories: heathered cotton bow tie, plaid scarf, watch

Lipstick: Tarte Matte Liptint in Fiery red.  BEST. EVER.


Thin, Patterned Sweater + Big Skirt


[photo credit: Garnet Hill]

I love this.  Tucking a patterned sweater into a big skirt (extra points for mixing prints) makes this look a bit artsy….rather than expected.  A cardigan (as shown) is fabulous, but I'd also try this look with a striped merino sweater or even something color-blocked (think baseball sweater rendered in cashmere).  Obviously the sweater should be fitted.  

To recreate: 

Sweater:  Garnet Hill (as pictured – I like Houndstooth or Trees), Boden's Color-Blocked St. Ives Sweater, or J.Crew's stripes

Skirt:  Modcloth's bird print skirt, Banana Republic lace skirt

Pencil Skirt + Peplum Top + Ankle Booties


Peplum tops are perfect toppers for pencil skirts, and flatter so many different body types.  A slim belt and booties, like Natalie from Like Fresh Laundry wears, make the look edgy, but feminine.  Swap booties for pumps if you need a more conservative look.

To recreate: 

Top:  Ann Taylor Pleated Peplum, Fossil's Gold Peplum, a pretty floral by Oasis

Pencil skirt:  Boden Plaid Pencil Skirt


Pencil Skirt + Graphic Sweater (Do the Half-Tuck)


[photo credit: J.Crew]

This, I realize, is barely making the "sophisticated" cut.  But it's my fav, and what I would probably wear to a Thanksgiving dinner at a country club.  I'd pair it with heels and pearls, of course, for a slightly ironic twist on the usual.  

To recreate:

Sweater:   Ann Taylor Dot sweater 

Bright Pencil Skirt:  J.Crew Factory

Hope this helps, Mamas!!  I can't believe were here, almost Thanksgiving…..already??!!??




  1. Love all these ideas but i agree with you- my fav is the last one- a bright pencil skirt and that adorable heartbreaker sweater. It’s also perfect for breastfeeding mammas- dresses are too complicated!
    Thanks and enjoy your parents’ visit!

  2. I love these looks, Shana, thanks! I often need a sophisticated look and have a tough time styling it so that I don’t look boring or worse, old fashioned. Please keep offering an option in your future blogs for a sophisticated/modern look, along with your other options.

  3. I love the cardi-big skirt combo too! Unfortunately, I have neither item in my closet! LOL.
    I wonder how crazy a gal can go on pattern mixing, but still make it work?

  4. Love these outfits, also had to giggle at the reader’s dilemma. I too am from a family that is way more relaxed than the one I married in to – think Dharma & Greg πŸ˜‰

Leave a Reply