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Vintage Clothing Theme For Thanksgiving

Updated on April 12, 2017
Vintage shoes, what goes around comes around.  There is nothing original on fashion runways.
Vintage shoes, what goes around comes around. There is nothing original on fashion runways. | Source
Lupita Nyong'o going retro with this jumpsuit. You'll be surprised what you can find in your aunt's or mother's old brown suitcase or a cardboard in the basement.
Lupita Nyong'o going retro with this jumpsuit. You'll be surprised what you can find in your aunt's or mother's old brown suitcase or a cardboard in the basement. | Source

U.S. Thanksgiving is on the 24th of November. The common thread that runs through everything with vacation, is family.

Magazine spreads show happy families dressed in black dresses and black men’s suits, the tree dressed to perfection with ornaments, the dog sleeping peacefully in the corner, the gas fire blinking and the turkey browned to perfection.

Vacation is supposed to be the time when families renew their ties and also meet young ones that were born miles away, where they live with their parents.

That is the script for advertisers, because it can also be extremely lonely for people outside the loop, older family members.

Grandparents will be happy to contribute to a vintage dressing theme.  They might even tell you that what you are wearing is old recycled fashion.
Grandparents will be happy to contribute to a vintage dressing theme. They might even tell you that what you are wearing is old recycled fashion. | Source

Holidays and Older People

They are outside the loop because of the age gap, compounded by their inability to speak languages used in mobile phones and other electronic gadgets. Forget Twitter and Facebook. They are clueless. Some grandparents enjoy being with family over the holidays.

Others dread getting on the plane or bus because they feel that their kids are just fulfilling an obligation, judging from the indifferent reception of the family member who picks them up from the airport or bus terminal.

During those few days during their visit, they are afraid to ask questions because that might demonstrate their ignorance about recent technological and social trends.

Grandchildren might also resent their intrusion with instructions like: ‘Junior your pants are sagging, pull them up.’ Junior just rolls his eyes because his grandma does not understand that it is how fourteen year-old dress from Antwerp to Cape Town.

It is not easy finding something that can unite three generations, especially if they live in different cities and houses, for most of the year.

Junior’s pants are below his waist because of the time, his time. His grandfather used suspenders. Families can bring fun to the few days they have over Easter by comparing notes.

What was in vogue during each generation? Junior will have fun listening to his parents and grandparents. Family photo albums and VHS videos will come in handy.

How about a vintage clothing Thanksgiving dinner where kids dress in their parents and grandparents clothes? Impossible! I don’t think so. Parents and grandparents used to be young too, wearing size 8 and 12.

Besides, fashion rotates like the earth on its axis. There is nothing new in fashion. Ask any fashion designer.

Pre-Planning Vintage Clothing Thanksgiving

  • Do you have any old clothes in your basement, garage or on top of the closet? Take an inventory with your kids. Try to gauge their excitement when they see your old shoes and pillbox hats.

  • If they say a lot of ‘This is cool mum,’ you have a winner in the idea of a vintage Thanksgiving dinner.

  • Get in touch with family members and get their buy-in. A selling point would be keeping clothes and their memories in the family rather than sending everything to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

  • Involve your kids, nieces and nephews at an early stage. After all, they are the target of the whole exercise.

  • Be prepared to spend money. If there is an aunt who has tons of stuff in her loft because she was the make-up artist for Spice Girls, the all female British singing group, send one of your kids to London, England to see those clothes.

  • There is nothing to beat being there, because it serves our purpose i.e. to involve older family members in Thanksgiving activities. They will share memories that go with every piece of clothing.

  • It will also be a great morale booster for your brother in Port of Spain, Trinidad to boast that his nephew has come to see him on an important family mission.

  • Your daughter will have to fall back of cellphone photos if there is no budget to fly her from Toronto to Delhi.

Dry Cleaning Vintage Clothes

  • The next step will be deciding which clothes the kids will wear on Thanksgiving depending on shoe sizes and height.

  • At this stage, e-mails about what is in whose basement are connected like the flight centre at Gatwick Airport.

  • The dresses and men’s apparel must be taken to the cleaners for obvious reasons.

  • Missing buttons must be replaced or repaired creatively like using a brooch or a scarf.

  • The dinner will be held in New Rochelle, New York, but the vintage clothes are in Miami. Where do you dry clean them? Simple. If your kids went to Miami in the first place to check what is in Grandpa Raphael’s old suitcases, they would just fly back to New Rochelle with them.

Teen Kids Creativity

The kids might decide that it is not enough just to wear the vintage clothes. They might decide on a fashion show. Males in the family should not expect to see their cummerbunds around boys’ waists. Girls might turn them into designer hats.

A fashion show will need extra cash. Parents might grumble a bit but they will be very happy to be talking to their kids, seeing their enthusiasm and appreciating their original ideas to make the vintage Thanksgiving dinner a success.

The greatest reward will be seeing the joy in the older members of the family when they see their old clothes embarking on a new life with their grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Project Management

The vintage Thanksgiving dinner was more than a family event. It was also project management involving teams situated in various cities and with various skills

The kids in the family managed resources, financial or vintage clothing, took decisions over who will wear what, drew up agendas and staged an interesting finale to the project.


  • Older members of the family are happy about the pre-Thanksgiving visits to look at the clothes.
  • They are happy that they shared precious memories about clothes they didn't throw away.

  • They discovered something in common with the kids that came to do the research.

  • Nieces and nephews that live in different parts of the country or the world re-connected.

  • Family members learnt something they didn’t know about their parents and themselves.

  • Teenage kids discovered that real family ties are more important than YouTube, FB and Instagram ties.


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    • bonda profile imageAUTHOR

      Nonqaba waka Msimang 

      4 years ago from Canada

      Yes indeed Peach Purple. You are right RTalloni, grandparents are a great source and we will realise their value when it is too late.

    • RTalloni profile image


      4 years ago from the short journey

      A vintage clothing Christmas dinner is a neat idea and by planning to use grandparents' clothing when possible amazing conversations could begin, memories could be made, and new traditions begun.

      peach purple hit it. Come dressed to a holiday dinner, please. Comfortable is fine, indecent is selfish.

    • peachpurple profile image


      4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      if teens and adults could dress properly on christmas day, it would be a wonderful christmas. I hate those people showing off their fat butts with sliding pants


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