Family dinners can be awkward – especially when, ahead of time, the people inviting you have emphasised how important the whole affair is. At the table, you could be uncertain what subjects to bring up for conversation and be nervous about the possibility of inadvertently putting a foot wrong in other areas… such as what you wear. Here is what you should consider when choosing your attire.
Resist putting on any t-shirts that show slogans
We’ve all seen them; many of us might even have some in our clothes drawers. What am I referring to? Those t-shirts emblazoned with words or letters that could look trendy to you, but would probably just baffle other people at the dinner table.
Maybe they could spend much of the dinner trying to figure out what ‘RADARTE’ is supposed to mean. Worse, the slogan ‘Karl is My Father’, which appeared on a dark shirt shown off by Kylie Jenner on Instagram not too long ago, could confuse your actual father if his name isn’t Karl. So, ditch the tees sporting such eccentric sayings and go for something more formal.
No, don’t wear that crop top
There are lots of crop tops that “walk the perfect line between chic and festive”, as Harper’s Bazaar phrases it. However, the website of this women’s fashion magazine insists: “Not even Taylor Swift would be so careless as to make this mistake.” So, if you’ve just donned a crop top, take some advice from the woman herself and “shake it off”.
Similar advice is given in an article titled ‘Twenty new rules of dining etiquette’ and published by The Telegraph. This advice explains that, while women “may allow their bare arms, shoulders and/or a modest portion of décolletage to be visible … exposed midriffs are strictly off-limits.”
Some special tips for men
A crucial family dinner calls not simply for men and women, but gentlemen and ladies. To look the part, women can wear pretty dresses, spruce up their hair and put on some make-up. Therefore, while men aren’t necessarily expected to arrive in dinner jackets, they should still put some careful thought to what clothes they will wear for the occasion.
In the previously mentioned article by The Telegraph, middle-aged and middle-class men are advised to “pass on the standard jeans/cords-shirt-and-sweater combination and consider the possibilities afforded by a jacket, or an informal suit.” A set of slim fit work pants from online clothes store Dickies Life could nicely complement that torso attire. Being wrinkle resistant, these pants can stay looking great even throughout a long and busy dinner.
Avoid clothes that immediately look very expensive
Perhaps the biggest problem with such clothes is that, if people get the impression that you are sufficiently wealthy to be able to afford them, they could decide to ask for various financial favours from you. If they don’t, they could still end up discussing your spending practices in a broader sense – and that subject wouldn’t be an ideal focus of dinner table chatting.