This Thanksgiving, take fashion cues from the Mayflower style set

By Emily Kirkpatrick
November 26, 2015 06:00 PM
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Bonnets. Buckles. Neck ties. Ruffle collars. Head-to-toe thick, gray flannel. The Pilgrims started some serious style trends. And it’s no wonder four centuries later celebrities are still obsessed with America’s Thanksgiving founders’ buttoned-up, modest aesthetic.

Kris Jenner Marc Jacobs Zosie Mamet Pilgrim Style


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The reigning queen of the Pilgrim dress is undeniably Kris Jenner. When she posted an Instagram snap of an email Kim sent her saying, “no more pilgrim adams [sic] family outfits,” the Internet immediately rushed to the defense of the momager’s choice in attire. The wrist-cinching ribbons alone make this look a clear winner. Gunning for her spot as best dressed settler, however, is Marc Jacobs in this outfit from the 2012 Met Gala. His pilgrims shoes complete with oversized rhinestone buckle may have been too flashy for the original early Americans, but they’ll look right at home at all your Thanksgiving-related festivities. Toss in Zosia Mamet’s ruffled high-collared shirt, and you’ve got the perfect look to leave just about everything to the imagination.

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If you’re looking for something a little more similar to the Jenner-brand of monochromatic full-coverage glam, Elle Fanning, Anna dello Russo, or Jaime King’s cocktail dresses should do the trick. But the secret to these looks is more than just a wide collar and modest cut, the real beauty lies in a smart choice of accessories. A bold hat, whether wide-brimmed like AdR’s or closer to Elle’s cloche, will immediately convey to guests how seriously you take this holiday. Top it off with Jaime’s falling band secured with a black ribbon choker and everyone will know you also aren’t messing around with historical accuracy.

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But if you aren’t trying to go for full-blown petticoats and breeches, try out one of these more modern Pilgrim-inspired looks. Alexa Chung’s blouson sleeves feel perfectly historically appropriate, but their sheerness gives them a decidedly modern edge. Ellen also balanced out her old-timey pussy bow blouse, waistcoat, and velvet blazer with a pair of slimly tailored slacks our forefathers would have found downright indecent. Finally, Michelle Williams silky tuxedo-inspired take puts a youthful twist on our nation’s fashion history.

And remember, if anyone gives you a hard time about your super holiday-appropriate apparel, just let them know you were told it was a ’90’s theme party.

What are your Thanksgiving outfit plans? Would you dare to try out pilgrim chic? Sound off below.

–Emily Kirkpatrick