How Not To Fall Into A Style Rut When You’re Home For The Holidays

Even those of us who don't consider ourselves "traditional" hold holiday traditions to a high regard. Take for instance the night we decorate our apartments while listening to our most festive playlists or the days post-celebration that we spend eating leftovers and watching movies on the couch. And then there are rituals like wearing PJs for a week. This is what it’s like every year when we visit our folks for the holidays: Even the most adventurous and advanced style stars among us can succumb to the appeal of a five-day sweatpants marathon, borrowing dad's oversized flannels, and — should there be reason to leave the house — tossing on that pair of whiskered jeans we thought were a pretty sweet look in college.

But not this year.

This year we plan to keep our sartorial senses intact and, more importantly, embrace all the wonderfully weird and undeniably random style opportunities being at our parents' affords us. To do this, we're keeping comfort and ease at the forefront of our minds by blending chic, standout pieces as well as elevated basics and loungewear from American Eagle Outfitters. The results are ensembles that make all the difference between at-home style that's cool and at-home style that looks like every day is laundry day.

Ahead, five holiday-dressing conundrums and the new ways to break the old-sweats tradition.
Left: Isabel Marant jacket, American Eagle Outfitters socks, stylist's own shoes. Right: Acne jacket.
If the best part about coming home is raiding your mom’s closet…

Up there with the thrill you get from scouring the thrift stores of your hometown, diving into the back of your mom’s closet to unearth gems from the past — such as the suede jacket she wore in the '80s or an intricate handwoven statement topper — is as much a tradition as gift exchanges. So plan ahead with pieces that'll really make the most coveted items of your mother's (or brother's or great aunt's...) shine for the short time you'll borrow them.

Come prepared with casual, luxe-looking basics such as crisp, chunky knits and your faithful denim-on-denim combo to make these favorites feel updated and completely you. Modernize the look even further with your own take on a standout trend that you're probably already sporting on your local coffee run: socks and slides. It's a random style choice for sure but keeps this look laid-back, not lazy.
If your awkward family photos are getting a little too awkward…

Without fail, every year your dad (or your best friend’s dad who’s known you just as long) pulls out the camera — a point-and-shoot, of course — for an impromptu holiday photo shoot. When else will your crew all be together to make meaningful memories? At least you’re all savvy enough to know that the sentiment doesn’t mean you have to succumb to cheesy matching ensembles.

Utilize playful, colorful, and coordinated (not matching) knits to make the most expected of holiday traditions feel less so. Add details like clashing accessories or this year’s biggest budget trend, the bandana, for personalized versions of festive looks.

Left: Coach skirt. Middle: Trademark jeans, American Eagle socks, Converse shoes. Right: American Eagle Outfitters sweater, Jill Stuart skirt, Building Block handbag.
If you default to wearing your old varsity jacket even though it hasn’t quite fit in years…

The beauty of being in your old bedroom is the ability to get nostalgic with styles that once helped shape your identity. Though you may be tempted to throw a beat-up letterman jacket over your shoulders before heading out with friends, this is your chance to show them how sophisticated you've become.

Graduate from these former favorites by packing an arsenal of impeccably tailored pieces, such as a polished peacoat, structured miniskirts with minimal detailing, a soft yet badass leather jacket, or light denim in a trouser cut. With these, you can create outfits that have a prep-school edge but don’t go as literal as wearing your old school colors.

Left: Sandy Liang coat, Jill Stuart pants, Vans shoes.
If your definition of getting dressed is throwing a jacket over your leggings...

Your dedication to staying in soft, nap-ready clothes no matter what is impressive. But just because your look is the next best thing to actual sweats, doesn't mean your friends should be able to call out your random style choices as soon as they see you. A solid (and easy) approach to dressing much more thoughtfully is making whatever you have on monochromatic.

Not only are these looks all about working within one color, they also utilize a mix of different textures — high shine, suede, wool, and knits. This strategy gives an outfit dimension and effortlessly turns it into a piece of eye candy for humans and canines alike.
Left: Sea NY sweater, Theory pants. Right: Rodebjer pants.
If you’ve worn the same “holiday PJs” for the last 10 years…

For every other visit to your parents', we condone the idea of wearing whatever you’ve got at home to bed — it will usually suffice and you'll save space in your luggage. But considering this kind of trip is one where your PJs can also double as the outfit you wear to your neighborhood cookie swap or when you’re running to the market for eggnog, it deserves a bit more creativity and attention.

With this in mind, take mixed prints to the extreme with cozy pieces — silky PJs sets (worn together or separate), blanket wraps, grandpa cardigans, oversized flannels, etc. — that all have different patterns. When they’re within a similar color family, the clash looks intentional, cool, and so much more unique than the snowflake-covered onesie you’ve outgrown in more ways than one.
Special thanks to our furriest models, Bella and Mabel. For information on how to adopt Mabel, check out Social Tees Animal Rescue.

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