Have holiday plans that include a big, important, nerve-inducing introduction to, say, the parents of the guy you’ve been dating for the last six months or so? It’s a stressful situation always, but doing it over a high-performance meal like Thanksgiving makes it even more intimidating. Enter Mindy Kaling (and Mindy Lahiri), master of the colorful, fashion-forward, parent-appropriate outfit. Take a cue from her before packing your suitcase and go into the hellos with confidence.
#1. A Cocktail Dress Layered Over a Button-Up
Have a flirty dress that completely broadcasts “This is who I am, world”? Those are the pieces in our closet that typically give us the most confidence, but skinny straps or a curve-hugging cut don’t always jump out as the most appropriate when making a first impression on future in-laws. I love this styling trick: put a classic button-up under it to instantly make it feel more professional. The added layer gives you an extra bit of warmth, too, if you’re holidaying somewhere cold.
#2. A Wrap Dress
There’s a reason the wrap dress is such a classic—it’s flattering on all body types. The easy style strikes the perfect note between dressed up but not overly so, a major check in its pro column if you’re not sure whether his family goes casual or not for the big meal. If you’re busty, avoid over exposure by wearing with a thin camisole.
#3. One Bold Accessory
Whether you’re sticking with a safe and simple LBD or dressing for a casual get-together, let some personality shine through via a bold accessory (I love Mindy’s orangey red pair heels). It’ll make for a great conversation starter if his mom’s super into fashion and, if not, it’ll make you smile every time you catch a glimpse. Win-win.
#4. A Statement Coat
Career expert Nicole Williams told me we have under three seconds to make a first impression, so think about this: If you’ll first be greeting your love’s parents after walking in from the outside or in the parking lot of a restaurant, they’ll see whatever coat you have on, not the carefully selected outfit you’ve got on underneath. Consider leaving your warm, down-filled puffer at home and pull on something more tailored instead.
#5. Matching Monochrome
If you don’t want to do all black or navy but a bold print feels too risky, consider something in between. The monochrome look is chic no matter what shade you select, and a bright brings in a whole lot of personality. To experiment with a pattern, try a graphic windowpane.
Are you meeting your love’s parents for the first time this holiday season? Do you remember what you wore the first time you did? I was getting ready for a 7-hour car ride before I met my in-laws, so I bet I was in jeans…
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