Photo by Salt Water New England

Monday, December 5, 2022

Reader Question: Your Favorite/Iconic Christmas Clothes? (Repost)

 

Dear Muffy, 

Special clothing for the holidays (emphatically not including ugly sweaters) are a longstanding prep tradition.  I inherited the lovely family tartan bowtie my father always wore chiefly during the holidays.  Other seasonal items I have known and loved include tartan pants (bonus points if they are in your tartan), embroidered cords, red vests, and Christmassy ties.  Yesterday I saw a pretty nifty bright red and dark green schoolboy scarf.  Even though these items may have a short season, I think it is nice to have one or two.  What do others think? Any favorite items? 


28 comments:

  1. I believe seasonally correct GTH pants are a natural pairing with liberally flowing holiday cheer. I opt for true bright red cords embroidered with something like wreaths. Shades such as Breton, Nantucket (sorry, Murray's) or barn are fun but not seasonally correct. I have never been a big fan of Christmas ties with designs like twinkling lights or wrapped packages, but if your family colors are suitably festive, a tartan tie can look pretty sharp with a grey herringbone or a camel odd jacket.

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  2. You would see me tomorrow in a “close to a black watch” tartan Nanchung silk shirt. It’s in perfect condition. And it’s 40 years old. Merry Christmas to all!

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  3. My Christmas attire is quite simple these days. I usually wear a beautiful silver Christmas tree necklace I inherited from my mother and I sometimes wear a silver bracelets.

    As for clothes, my go-to Christmas basics are solid colored tops in black, white and deep red - all paired with black pants.

    For festive color and brightness, I add one of my red or red and green scarves (one with holly and berries, for example, another a royal Stewart tartan).

    No more Christmas pins and bracelets and sweaters for me.

    It's a cold and rainy Christmas Eve here in Atlanta tonight. It's our first Christmas alone and apart from our family in NC and NY, but our tree lights are sparkling in the darkness and cloves and cinnamon are simmering on the stove, so it's still a magical time.

    Muffy, I love your blog and appreciate the connection to New England (Tim's family originated in Plymouth) and intelligent people. We wish you and your family a very peaceful, healthy and joyful holiday!

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  4. My Yuletide ensemble is a pair of fine corduroy slacks in red, with a hunter green Shetland crewneck sweater. Merry Christmas everyone!

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  5. I wear a Christmas tree brooch from a relative two generations back. Love tartan. My favorite dress is green tartan with a blouse top and a black sash bow. I also have a read tartan skirt with a scalloped hem. Love tartan! My husband wears a green vest with a Ralph Lauren shirt that is green and red striped. Our wardrobe is the same year after year.

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  6. Our family is Scottish, so we wear tartans all year round. It's an odd Americanism to see them so strongly associated with Christmas-wear.

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    1. Very few real Scots wear tartan all year round. I only wear kilts in family tartans at weddings and other formal occasions. My family has several tartans (from Lochcarron and House of Edgar) so lots of extra points for us. It's useful to have kilts in both summer and winter weights.

      At Christmas, I usually wear a blazer and charcoal flannels with a white shirt and tartan tie. This year, however, our family Christmas has been cancelled by our Government Grinches. We have been put in Tier 4 which is, in effect, Lockdown 3. With nowhere to go, I'm relaxing at home in a tattersall shirt, shetland jumper and heavy moleskin jeans from Cordings.

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    2. @Ken: Those Cordings moleskins are bullet-proof and can stand up on their own.

      I love 'em.

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    3. Two years on from the above post, the Brits are finally free from being imprisoned in our homes by their Covidiotic politicians who hypocritically flouted their lockdown laws. Thankfully, the bullying Bullingdon buffoon has been booted out of office.

      However, the trade unions have just announced more Christmas railroad strikes so I'll be staying at home again. With temperatures dropping, I'll be wearing thick cavalry twill or whipcord trousers rather than moleskin jeans which (bizarrely) Cordings have dropped this year.

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  7. My Christmas morning outfit is a red plaid Pendleton wool shirt and corduroy pants. The shirt shows up well in photos.

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  8. My favorite vintage Bean cords, paired with another timeworn Bean classic red chamois shirt, with corduroy trim! Thanks again!

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  9. My Birthday suit fitted smartly against Charlotte Thomas Bed Sheets of high quality Merino wool fabric woven with small amounts of gold carat and a silk jacquard….clouds of blankets of Mulberry Silk, random heaps of assorted woven throws of baby yak and alpaca first sheared wool, topped with an assortment small, expensive dogs that ever so adoringly snore.
    For headwear, Sferra Utopia Eiderdown Pillow of amazing softness and warmth, all designed to tenderly cradle your head, cocoon you into the sweetest of euphoric dreams.
    As one can guess-I am sleeping in that day.
    Cheers to all.

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  10. I've got three or four wool tartan ties that I enjoy every year between Thanksgiving and New Year's.

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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  11. For Christmas eve a holiday bow tie, pink shirt, green vest and flannels. For today, chestnut colored Polo cords with pheasant embroidery and a color matching Vineland and brown suede loafers

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  12. 19 years ago my husband, who is not a gift giver, had a pair of simple gold hoop earrings made for me for Christmas. They are classic hoops with a little twist (my style exactly.) It was a thoughtful and beautiful gift and I only take them off to shower or sleep. It's the best thing he's ever given me.

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  13. My trusty Oleana of Norway wool ski jumper that I have owned for almost 25 years. It’s got an all-over Fair Isle type pattern, and hence, is the most Christmassy looking item I dare wear, even if it’s not red and green (red and green are just a bit too naff-looking for me, worn on one’s body,).

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    1. My lovely Oleana of Norway sweater finally succumbed to wool moths last year. I now wear a Dale of Norway cardigan with snowflake patterns but it's not the same. My backup sweater is a simple navy cotton-cashmere number with a huge Westie puppy on the front. If it snows around Christmas and if I will be spending any amount of time out of doors, I might put on a hand knit Mati Ventrillon Fair Isle jumper with a hoody as it's the warmest thing I have. Thanks to this blog, I also have a couple of Bosie Fair Isle sweaters that I enjoy wearing.

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  14. In a ‘born on third base’ situation, I can lay claim to the Clan MacDonald tartan and have slacks made in the modern version. For Christmas Eve services they are a built-in GTH pattern that goes very well with a plain blazer and tie. At this point, if I wore anything else my acquaintances would ask questions!

    Christmas Day I often wear kakhis with a sweater (between trip to Scotland and dating a few Norwegian women I have a nice selections).

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  15. I love all the comments as I love holiday dressing! I’m a retired teacher, my final 15 years were working with Autistic middle school kids. Over the years I collected up enough Christmas items to ewear a different one each day between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The kids loved them and I loved making them happy. I kept a few items like a Talbot’s red boiled wool vest with a vague Christmas patter embroidered in white along the edge, and a black vest with snowmen appliqu├ęd from Cross Creek. The rest is jewelry I’ve gotten through the years like a beautiful gold wreath pin I purchased the year we were married from a high end jewelry store in town. It has small rubies and sapphires (I never understood why not emeralds) sparsely scattered on the delicate pin. I worried about purchasing something that I only wore a few times a year. It turned out to be one of my best purchases!

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  16. This is a season of tolerance. Rock the embroidered cords, the tartan pants, the garish vests, and even the Christmas sweaters! Just be nice to everyone! It's a pretty simple concept, and it really does work all year long!

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  17. There are many items in the rotation that work well for the Advent and Christmas season(s), but for me it is the four or five wool tartan neckties along with three silk and one wool tartan (self-tie) bow ties that stand out as favorites. Incredibly vapid of me, I realize, but dressing with a bit of holiday snap, crackle, and/or pop -- and seeing others attired similarly -- at this most festive time of year brings me great pleasure. Even more than usual.

    Kind Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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  18. Bought a pair of new, with tags, wool blackwatch slacks at a thrift store in Colorado. Beautiful, and the tag read that they were from a top men’s clothier in Dallas. BUT, they were so uncomfortable due to not being lined. Wore them to the symphony on New Years Eve and was squirming throughout. Sold them on Ebay for 5x what I paid. Replaced them, stylistically at least, with a matching set of tartan neckties, one red, one green, from Tommy Hilfiger. -JDV

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  19. We are somewhat more casual. Green or maroon sweater with an OCBD of the opposite color, khakis, and some goofy socks since all shoes are removed indoors. Merry Christmas everyone, and thank you Muffy for such a fun site!

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  20. Tartan slacks, with proper colour shetland crewnecks! And some Bean gumshoes! Cheers!

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  21. First time commenting on SWNE. My employer recently hosted a large holiday gala at a swanky hotel downtown. I planned to wear a simple black cocktail dress. However, browsing online I saw a beautiful tartan gown with a full, taffeta skirt and modest, black velvet bodice. It reminded me of something my grandmother - a woman of impeccable taste & style - would’ve worn for holiday events. I told myself it was too expensive and over-the-top, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. After a couple of weeks, I went back and saw that it was on sale, and there was one left in my size. I figured it must be fate, and bought the dress. It arrived 2 days before the event, I looked and felt beautiful wearing it, and got dozens of compliments. Though it’s for limited occasions, it’s a dress I plan to keep forever and pull out at Christmastime for years to come.

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