A wardrobe guide for family dinners: What not to wear


Whether it’s weekly or monthly, on seasonal holidays or only once a year; family dinners are a part of life that we all have to experience at some point or another. While some of us see these functions as dreadful and others as fantastic, we are here to help ease the stress of finding the perfect outfit.

Exposing items

First on the list is any item of clothing that exposes a large amount of skin. We are referring to the mini-skirts, plunging necklines, and dresses with high slits. Although these items may look stunning and can surge the confidence of some of us; we suggest keeping these looks for a night out on the town rather than the family dinner table.

These types of outfits may be prone to wardrobe malfunctions and we are sure that none of us need the embarrassment of exposing some of our more personal body parts – regardless of how we feel about the free body movement.

And a word to the wise; unless you like cheesy dad jokes, we suggest leaving the torn clothing at home. The older generation doesn’t always get it when it comes to fashion trends.

When it comes to family dinners, comfort is key. The last thing we need to do is have the added stress of always checking if our skirts are riding up or if anything is popping out.

Photo: Getty Images

Graphic shirts

While graphic Tees are a fashion staple that can add an element of fun to any outfit, we need to be conscious of the message our shirt may be sending as well as if it’s appropriate for the company we are about to keep.

We suggest avoiding wearing shirts that have suggestive jokes on them but the punchlines are in a small font. A classic shirt graphic example is “I’m great in bed, I can sleep for days.” The older attendees at the dinner such as grandparents may not be able to read the punchline “I can sleep for days” without their glasses. Unless they are bold and bring it up, they may spend the entire night thinking that their grandchild displays to the world that they are superb in the sack!

Other graphic tees to avoid include ones that display vivid violence, graphic or suggestive nudity, or promote polarising topics such as politics. Maturity is knowing that there is a time and place for everything – and a family dinner may not be it.

If our hearts are set on a graphic shirt, choose one that can serve as casual conversation starters like shirts sharing our interest in favorite bands, movies, etc. Another great option is to wear a shirt that shares a positive message like ‘plant trees, save bees.’

Photo: Getty Images

Tight and tall

Family dinners are often packed with an excess of delicious meals and delightful treats. Why would anyone want to limit themselves when it comes to indulging in a home-cooked meal, especially if we haven’t had one in a while! Super tight dresses, skirts, and trousers may make us enjoy the food less for the fear of bloating or popping a pants button.

We suggest wearing something with an elastic waist or a loose-fitting (yet still stylish) dress to give a little extra room for the upcoming food baby!

Super-tall heels are also a bit of a hazard when it comes to family dinners. Not only are they more appropriate for a club environment, but they could endanger us when we are greeted by our excited pets.

For more appropriate and comfortable alternatives we suggest sneakers, sandals, or a baby-heeled boot.

Photo: Getty Images

Honorable mentions

While we are at it, we suggest skipping staples like that expensive handbag, unless we are looking for a finance lecture. Fringed jackets should also be avoided, unless some of us don’t mind mashed potatoes and peas in the jacket. Of course, over-the-top outfits like a ball gown or fancy dress, especially since some families take the ‘dogpile’ approach and target one member to tease for the rest of the night.

Photo: Getty Images

We hope this list will come in handy the next time a family dinner rolls around. Just remember that comfort is the key to confidence, and confidence will help us through formidable and fantastic occasions alike!


More about Jael Josevich

“I’m an amateur baker with a passion for writing, scary movies, coffee and anything Kristen Bell related. Also secretly a huge Taylor Swift fan.”