The holiday season is upon us, which means it’s time to start planning for the annual family Christmas photo shoot! Choosing the right outfits can be tricky when trying to coordinate multiple people, so having a game plan is key. Here are some ideas to help your family look picture perfect this Christmas.
Coordinating Outfits Without Matching
You want your family to look cohesive in photos, but matching outfits can look overdone. Aim for complementary colors and styles instead. For example, stick to a color scheme like red, green and navy. Have everyone wear one main color, then pull in secondary colors with accents like scarves, jewelry or shoes.
As for styles, opt for a semi-formal look with button-downs, sweaters, slacks and dresses. Keep silhouettes simple and timeless. An oxford shirt looks classic on men, while women can wear stylish sweater dresses. Have kids match their parents’ level of formality. The goal is a pulled-together, thoughtful look.
Tips for Executing Complementary Outfits:
- Shop for key wardrobe pieces ahead of time so you can coordinate.
- Choose 3-4 core colors and limit patterns, sticking to solids and simple stripes or plaids.\n\n- Layer with sweaters, vests, jackets and scarves for visual interest.
- Accessorize with festive jewelry like candy cane earrings or reindeer pins.
- Add matching holiday socks or tights for a subtle coordinating touch.
Comfort Is Key for Kids
While you may want picture-perfect outfits, remember that kids need to feel comfortable too. For little ones, velvet dresses and mini suits are adorable but can get itchy. Stick to soft, cozy fabrics they’re used to wearing like cotton, corduroy and knits.
Choose practical pieces that allow for free movement like leggings, jeans, tunics and soft pullover sweaters. Have kids wear dressier shoes like Mary Janes for photos, then switch to comfy boots or sneakers after. The same goes for accessorizing—skip scratchy tights and tight hair elastics. Prioritize their comfort while still looking polished.
Dress for the Weather
The holiday card photo shoot usually happens outdoors, so make sure to choose outfits suited for the weather. If it’s chilly, layer everyone in warm coats, hats, gloves and scarves. Opt for wool peacoats, puffer jackets or fur-trimmed parkas in coordinated colors.
If you luck out with warmer weather, lighter layers like cardigans and blazers work well. Stay away from shorts or short sleeves though—you want to look and feel festive. Aim for long sleeve shirts and sweater tights instead of bare legs. Having some coverage also allows for more outfit styling options.
Get Creative with Holiday Themes
If you want to get extra creative, choose a fun holiday theme for your outfits. Some ideas include:
- The Nutcracker — Women and girls wear beautiful brocade dresses while men wear military-inspired coats. Accent with prop nutcrackers.
- Rustic Christmas — Plaid shirts, jeans, boots and cozy knit accessories for a woodsy vibe.
- Christmas Carolers — Go vintage with velvet dresses, faux fur muffs and dickens-style suits. Hold old books or sheet music as props.
- North Pole — Wear red, green and white with elf ears or Santa hats for whimsical style. Have kids hold candy canes.
No matter what direction you take, make sure everyone feels comfortable and confident together. The best family photos capture real personalities and joy. Don’t be afraid to show off your family’s unique style.
5 Tips for a Successful Family Photo Outfit Shopping Trip
- Set a budget so you don’t overspend on items you’ll only wear once. Shop sales racks and budget stores for photo outfit pieces.
- Make a checklist of needed clothing items and sizes for each family member.
- Try to shop together and make a fun family outing of it. If that’s too difficult, send one parent on a first pass to pull potential items.
- Grab a few different size options of items you think will work. Trying pieces on together helps coordinate.
- If you can’t find everything you need, fill in gaps by remixing pieces you already own. Get creative!
5 Common Family Photo Outfit FAQs:
Q: Should we color coordinate beyond just wearing red and green for Christmas photos?
A: Yes, choosing 2-3 complementary colors and sticking to those for your whole family is best for a cohesive, polished look.
Q: How should we coordinate outfits between parents, kids, grandparents, etc.?
A: Keep immediate family (parents/kids) most coordinated in styles and colors. Grandparents can complement more loosely.
Q: What if my kids hate dressing up?
A: Make sure outfits are comfortable and avoid scratchy fabrics. Have them help pick special new Christmas clothes as a treat.
Q: Should we match styles (like everyone wearing sweaters) even if colors differ?
A: Absolutely. Matching styles pulls together a theme even when colors vary.
Q: Where can I buy affordable coordinating family outfits?
A: Department stores, Target, GAP, H&M and thrift stores are great places to check for simple, budget-friendly outfit options.
Planning complementary outfits for family Christmas photos might seem daunting, but following coordinating color schemes and styles keeps things simple. Focus on choosing timeless, weather-appropriate pieces that suit your family’s comfort levels and personal tastes. Shop early so you can match colors and themes. Most importantly, relax and have fun with it! Smiling, happy faces are the best accessory. Capture the joy of the season in your family Christmas photo this year with outfit ideas that work for you.