You may have won his heart, but now you have to decide what to wear to meet his family. In some ways, this conundrum is even more vexing than what to wear on a first date. When you met your boyfriend, all you needed to do was make a good impression. Something cute isn’t too hard to assemble and the most important thing for a date is if sparks fly. Maybe it’s optimistic, but if you feel a connection it shouldn’t really matter whether you dress is cotton or silk. Relationships are matters of the heart.
When you meet his parents, things are very different. This time, you do need to impress your boyfriend’s parents and convince them you live up to the grandiose expectations parents have for their sons. With Thanksgiving coming up, I bet many of you girls are getting stressed about how to win over his family at the dinner table. Don’t fret. Meeting his family for the first time will not be easy, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. All you have to do is follow a few fashion rules and use your observation skills to the max.
Do you need to impress some Ivy League-educated, politically ambitious patriarchs? It’s a tall order, but more intimidating than it sounds. In basic terms, you need to look rich-chic when thinking about what to wear to meet his family. Spend some money on the dress and coat. A nice front dress from someone like Moda Operandi and something sleek and warm like a Zara overcoat will do you well. Once you look presentable, impress your boyfriend’s parents with an asymmetrical clutch or sculptural earrings. If you dress upscale and pull off some sophisticated banter about your jewelry, you’ll be well on your way to winning over a power family.
SWEET AND SIMPLE
Sometimes, meeting the boyfriend’s parents is a piece of cake. If he’s a guy who is “best friends” with his parents you don’t need to spend much on crafting a compelling “meeting the parents” outfit. Let cost efficient, trendy stores like H&M and Banana Republic be your guide. A short trench coat and jacquard-weave dress will do the trick. You don’t really need much in the way of accessories. Make sure your purse looks polished and you’re good to go!
THE EXTRA CASUAL
If his parents are the laid-back type, a blouse and jeans are the way to go. You can usually gauge a casual family, by the way, your boyfriend dresses. If he usually walks around in large flannels and saggy jeans, it’s a safe bet his family isn’t expecting a Chanel dress. Think of it as a nice, familiar dinner out. Make sure your jeans aren’t full of holes. Find a blouse without wrinkles or stains. The most important thing to remember here is that casual doesn’t mean careless.
Sometimes, you need to mix it up when considering what to wear to meet his family. There are few better ways to impress your boyfriend’s family than knowing how to be cool and refined at the same time. It’s the equivalent of looking classically sexy in a bar or club. Combinations like a jumpsuit and jacket may feel too business-like to wear to meet his family, but in the right room, these will make you stand out in a positive light. A unique bag will buy you extra points too but start with the outfit. A few stray bits of pop culture trivia will probably also come in handy when try to win over this type of family.
When there is a step-spouse, you can go full fashion-forward. I’m not saying everyone who marries younger is particularly open-minded, but having one parent in the room within a decade of your age gives you the liberty to try out a few things. This is the setting where you can try out the combinations you read about on a recent fashion blog, like Richard Magazine. Impress your boyfriend’s parents with a velvet wrap and pleated skirt. This look is all about keeping it simple with a splash of contemporary edge.
Well, now you have some helpful fashion tips that will assisting in deciding what to wear to meet his family. Meeting his parents doesn’t need to be stressful. Let the Thanksgiving turkey whisk you into over-eating oblivion. If you use these fashion rules and meet the parent guidelines, there’s no reason to get worked up about impressions. After all, what they’ll really remember if you do your job right is what you said, not how you dressed. Right?
— Julie Grossman