What To Wear To Your Family Holiday Dinner

Holiday family dinner outfits can be somewhat of a tricky territory. While a family dinner is a special event that constitutes our every desire to roll out the red carpet runway for the latest edgy fashion trends, we also want to spare ourselves those awkward sideways glances from conservative Aunt Susan all night long. Though you may think catching up with your cousin is all smiles and fun, there's nothing worse than Grandma calling the day after the dinner to tell you your cousin is mad after she caught her new boyfriend eyeing up your risqué ensemble from across the room several times.


So, in light of keeping things completely family-friendly yet still fashion-forward, let's explore how you can stun at your next family holiday dinner without skimping on style. For starters, it's important to note that winter fashion trends for 2022 are spilling over from what was hot in the earlier stages of the year — just with a cold-weather flair this time around. "The season's overarching mood is one of fun and extravagance," Morgane Le Caer, content lead at Lyst, tells Who What Wear. "And the winter trends are set to be all about [over the top] fashion. Bags are getting bigger, colors are getting brighter, and everything seems to have been covered in shiny sequins."

Since fashion brands are completely prepared for consumers to be dressing up at nearly every chance they can get this season, à la Who What Wear, throwing in a dramatic touch to your family holiday dinner ensemble is almost part of the territory. So don't be shy about experimenting with bold colors, funky patterns, and unique designs this year — after all, every family needs at least one fashionista.


Velvet dresses

While you could catch velvet on nearly every Parisian runway over this past summer, velvet dresses will always be regarded as "a classic for the holidays," Sarah Tam, chief merchant of Rent the Runway, noted to Harper's Bazaar. And it's true — the holidays have been decorated and adorned with velvet-wearers for centuries, and if you're anything like us, you probably even have some childhood photos of yourself donning a festive black, red, or green velvet dress during Christmas. This tradition can be attributed to the fact that velvet was historically a textile of great status and nobility, so wearing it once a year was likely more achievable than daily wear for common folk (via Toast).


In order to rock the perfect velvet dress this year, be sure to reach for an option with color and pizazz, such as the Smak Parlour Green Sparkle Velvet Fit & Flare Dress from Unique Vintage. A dress with both rich green hues and sparkle — two of this year's other major fashion trends — is a great way to stay at the top of your style game while also keeping things classy for the family.

Leather everything

The Trend Spotter reports that 2022 was a year all about pulling fashion inspiration from other decades — particularly the '70s and '80s. The biker fashion in those days trickled into popular culture, and soon leather became a staple in almost everyone's wardrobe. While typically thought of as a masculine style, women figured out ways to incorporate leather pieces into outfits for a gloriously feminine touch to the classic look. Leather may not be the first option that comes to mind for a family dinner, but there are plenty of ways to mix and match pants, jackets, shoes, and bags for an effortlessly timeless ensemble.


The best way to rock leather at your next family get-together is to pair the leather pieces you have with different blends. For example, Instagrammer @Suserlin flawlessly combines a cozy ribbed sweater with a pair of leather paperbag shorts, black tights, and a slim belt to tie everything together. The best part about this look is that it allows you to play with different color combos, materials, and accessories to create a head-turning vision in leather.

Tasteful corsets

According to The New York Times, corsets were initially reintroduced decades ago into to the modern fashion world as a somewhat sexual liberation of femininity. "It was sort of taken out of pornographic imagery and brought back onto the street," director and chief curator of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Valerie Steele, explains. "So girls started wearing corsets, girdles, and brassieres over their clothes, and this then led to the trend for underwear as outerwear." Steele continues by sharing that though corsets have stayed en vogue since this era, each resurgence emerges a little bit differently than the time before — mostly due to pop culture influence.


Luckily for us, the corset evolution has allowed this garment to become generally accepted as a style of clothing as opposed to something you'd only wear in the bedroom, so donning one of these sexy pieces at a family party is 21st-century norm — if done the right way. Manière De Voir schools us on how to execute this perfectly with its Technical Corset Top; this piece truly embodies subtle sensuality by showing off just the right amount of skin while hugging the curves in all the right places.

Cargo and heel combos

Had you mentioned the words "cargo pants" to us a few years back, nostalgic images of Justin Timberlake and Nick Carter circa 1998 would have zoomed to mind. But People confirmed that cargos made their official comeback earlier this year, and all the stars looked nothing but phenomenal in this late '90s trend. What's more, these A-listers took the liberty of styling their cargo pants with various shapes and sizes of boots and heels — offering us a new and edgier silhouette than we've seen before. Celebrities like Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kim Kardashian, and Shay Mitchell have taken the cargo-slash-heel look to an iconic level.


What's great about this look for a holiday gathering is that the cargo pants offer just a touch of casual, while the heel adds just a touch of glam; there's enough fabric to offer warmth in the cooler weather and some coverage for those family members who don't appreciate too much skin. Instagrammer Rachael Dickens shows us a dreamy combination of olive-toned cargos and a snake print heel for a bit of an edge. She tops the look off with a contrasting coral sweater — completing a great holiday color duet of green and red.

Faux fur trims

Why is faux fur such a winter staple? Fibre Mood reveals that because fur is such an easy material to style, the options are essentially limitless. Plus, the warmth and coziness that our fur pieces offer us is enough to actually make us not mind going out in that dreaded winter weather. Brands like Gucci have paved the way to faux options with luxury right in the palms of our clutches, per Equilibrium, so there's no excuse not to allow fur statement pieces into our wardrobes anymore.


"It excites me to see clothing pieces that incorporate faux fur-trimmed details appear on the market," fashion blogger Alicia Farrell writes. "Most brands that feature fur-trimmed detailing are high-end/luxury brands. However, seeing Zara and H&M create their own versions makes me believe that this is a trend that will continue into the new year and one which we should see many brands experiment with." With that being said, a great way to incorporate faux fur into your holiday get-together wardrobe is by reaching for sweaters and cardigans with faux fur trims. You can experiment with colors, fabrics, and styles for unlimited styling choices.

Oversized blazers

Before the pandemic hit, it's safe to say we all had at least one work blazer in our closets. However, after more and more companies made the switch to remote work, our professional gear seemed to be traded out for cozier options more suited for the couch or bedroom office. "If you've thrown out all of your work blazers, don't fret," fashion blogger Jodie Filogomo tells Sixty + Me. "The second hand stores can have a huge selection. And don't think they need to be boring. You can always DIY some embroidery or any kind of extras onto the blazer to make them less 'professional.'"


As Filogomo notes, figuring out creative ways to dress down your blazers is perfect for rocking them at more casual events. Since this year is the year of oversized clothing, try a blazer that's either designed to be oversized or is a few sizes larger than you'd normally wear. Instagrammer Karina Leon beautifully delivers this trend by pairing her oversized blazer with a vintage rock tee and leather leggings, and loafers.

Matching suit sets

A matching suit set goes somewhat hand in hand with the oversized blazer trend — except this look is more focused on coordination, whereas there are unlimited combinations with a single blazer. Byrdie fashion stylist and writer Elizabeth Tamkin explains that when she began her fashion internship, it was a matching suit that her mother encouraged her to buy, which brought her the extra confidence boost she needed. It's hard not to know exactly what Tamkin is referring to — the moment we step into a suit is a moment that catapults us into a feeling of chic power. Whether you're dressing for work, an event, or even a family dinner, there's just a certain je ne sais quoi about the exciting rush that a suit set can bring to a woman.


The Dark Green Woven Oversized Suit Jacket from Pretty Little Thing is a perfect place to start your matching suit set because the coordinating vest and pants can easily be purchased separately. The green color is a rich evergreen shade that encapsulates the holiday season subtly yet certainly.

Bold color choices

As a form of combative emotional medicine for a fresh start after the last few years, dopamine dressing blasted its way to the front lines of fashion this year. The concept that dressing in bright colors can cause an increase in the dopamine in our brains makes sense, and it's only natural that we are still enjoying the happy feelings as a result of this trend. In fact, according to Today, leading companies like Pantone used vibrant color as a major inspiration for choices they've made this year.


"Creating a new color for the first time in the history of our Pantone Color of the Year educational color program reflects the global innovation and transformation taking place," said Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute. "As society continues to recognize color as a critical form of communication, and a way to express and effect ideas and emotions and engage and connect, the complexity of this new red violet infused blue hue highlights the expansive possibilities that lay before us." Fortunately for us, the holidays are all about colors, so infusing bold classic holiday shades into your ensemble is an ideal choice.

Chunky boots

Remember the chunky boot and platform trend that swept the floor with its popularity this summer? If not, let us refresh your memory. "[Platforms] are equal parts comfort and a friend to both short and tall girls, giving you lengthened, toned legs instantly," celebrity stylist Cindy Conroy told Instyle earlier this year. "[Summer 2022] is all about the platform and I'm so here for it!" Long story short, this is a trend that graced us with its presence over the summer and still hasn't gone anywhere. In fact, styling your chunky soles with your winter wardrobe is a fun and exciting new way to play around with this fashion.


Chunky boots or platforms are great for any holiday dinner outfit because they can top off any look so nicely. Instagrammer Rachel Iwanyszyn gives us the perfect example of such with her "subtly '90s look" that features a modest fishnet pairing with knee-high boots. A festive floral blouse and burnt orange hat mesh flawlessly with the ensemble to create an ingenious family-friendly dinner look inspiration.

Sequins, shimmers, and sparkles

If anything was for certain about this year's biggest trends, it was the use of sequins and glitter anywhere possible. Footwear News reports that 2022 New York Fashion Week's most prominent looks glistened like a disco ball with nods to a "roaring '20s" New Years' party. Crystals were intertwined in shiny metals, sequins jeweled countless mini dresses, and shimmering satins blinded onlookers with a lustrous gleam. Furthermore, fashion director Paula Moore explains to Woman & Home that the holiday season is the ideal time to buy shiny clothing if it was something you were too nervous to rock during other months.


But how can you successfully pull it off for a family dinner? "I love sparkle, but the key is to keep accessories to a minimum," Moore states. "If you wear a standout piece, avoid overwhelming the look with lots of jewelry or prints. Let the clothes do the talking." ASOS offers the perfect opportunity to let your outfit speak loud and clear with its Curve Jersey Sequin Suit Wrap Blazer in Rose Gold. With the option to purchase matching pants separately, you have complete freedom to go for an overall suit or just the blazer for a toned-down choice.

Quirky knits

In the earlier phases of the pandemic, turning loungewear into statement pieces was something we made work. We were omitting bras and choosing comfort over fashion, but 2022 couldn't be any more opposite of those days. Yet sometimes, we tend to miss and yearn for those soft and cozy pieces — after all, we realized just how comfortable life could really be in sweatpants. So, how can we somehow meet in the middle of comfort and style? Enter: The knitwear trend.


"We're seeing a huge rise in popularity in layered knit looks throughout the fashion world this year," Gigi Ji, head of the brand and business development of Kokolu, tells Life & Style. "Knit matching sets are perfect for winter. They're warm and easy to wear." To make your knitwear super en vogue, Ji recommends choosing a bright color to correlate with this year's dopamine dressing trend. Lulu's It's Groovy Mustard Yellow Multi Knit Turtleneck Sweater Dress is a dream come true for all of your holiday knitwear needs. The buoyant yellow color emits a hit of sunny joy, and it's just quirky enough to be the standout piece your wardrobe needs.

Classic plaid

It's true that plaid is a Christmas classic, and it just so happens that it was also very in style during other seasons this year. The Guardian reported a major spike in searches for tartan over the fall, and the numbers continue to increase as Christmas approaches. The surge is part of the '90s "preppy" trend that took over in 2022, with other classics like loafers and varsity jackets making their way through the rotation; inspiration has been drawn from iconic pop culture moments such as Alicia Silverstone's famous plaid apparel for her role as Cher in "Clueless."


The perfect 2022 plaid holiday look? Try pairing a plaid cardigan with a tennis skirt, high socks, and loafers. "For the colder months, I would style loafers with a contrasting white cotton sock, and for the evening they look great paired with a sheer black sock," Liane Wiggins, head of womenswear at Matchesfashion.com, tells The Guardian. FashionGum also notes that the key to rocking plaid and tartan during the winter is to keep the colors bright. The site recommends steering clear of "clumsy checkered prints" to avoid a less timeless look. It's important to reach for high-quality fabrics when it comes to plaid clothing because blends like polyester can actually throw off the whole "old-money" inspiration that drives this trend.