What to wear to a family Christmas when you’re 60

If you’re looking forward to getting together with loved ones, but unsure of what to wear at Christmas, then here’s some inspiration.

Every family has its own traditions for holidays such as Christmas.  (Please forgive me for grouping all wintertime religious holidays as ‘Xmas’.  I’m British and we tend to use that term in the way Americans use ‘holidays’.)

Some people brave the weather to do a long tramp through the countryside while others like to put on a formal sparkling display of luxury.  But whatever way you celebrate, you’ll want to feel confident that you look great so you can put all your attention into enjoying the day.

I’ve put together a few style tips and suggestions in case you are looking for inspiration.  This post deals with dresses.  I’ll be writing a similar post talking about sweaters and pants next.

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Style confidence

You want to look good when you are with special people, whether that’s family or friends.  But you don’t want to be fretting about your outfit all day.  You want to forget it once you’re dressed so you can focus all your attention on those precious moments with loved ones.

If you feel confident in what you’re wearing you will smile more and people will smile back more too!

So choose an outfit that plays to your best features but which doesn’t need checking on every few minutes.  If you’re anything like me, I always get more concerned about looking good when I’m with my daughter.  Bonkers but true!

Show you regard this get-together as special

Whether a holiday is important to you for religious reasons, because it’s a tradition or because it’s a time when family meet up, you’ll want to dress in a way that shows you care.  Wearing something you don’t usually wear (it doesn’t need to be new), and taking a little more care in styling it, is a subtle way of demonstrating that you consider this day important.  People may not remark on how you look but they will definitely notice.

Many of us over sixty rarely wear a dress or skirt these days.  So this style can be a perfect option for Xmas.

Modesty trumps glamour

If your party outfits tend towards the revealing cleavage, the figure-hugging or the short, then they may strike the wrong tone at Christmas.  What might be great fun at a party with colleagues or friends is not always great fun when it’s family time.

Look for a V neck that stops above your cleavage or look for a dress with a higher neck such as a crew neck or a mock neck (funnel neck).  Think over-the-knee length especially midi.  Tend towards an A-line silhouette rather than anything too fitted on the rear.

Dress for chilly drafts and stuffy central heating

Even if it’s you who is hosting, there may be times when you need to move from the comfort of the sitting room to a chillier seat in the dining room.  Or you may find yourself surrounded by children on the sofa pumping out heat then heading off for a religious service in a much colder building.

If it’s a friend or family member that’s hosting, be prepared for all temperatures!

If you’re wearing a dress you can take along a sleeveless knit top to be right up to the minute however chilly things get.  Take a look at this post on sleeveless knits to get inspiration.

Or consider a poncho.  A cashmere poncho always looks great.  If you can find one with a little fur too, that makes it even more appropriate for the season.

If there’s the possibility of being outside for photos, a walk or after a service then think carefully about a top layer.  All depends on the climate in your part of the world.  A smart wool coat is always stylish.  If there’s the possibility of snow or rain then think about a rain-proof padded coat with a fur-edged hood or collar.

Helping with the festivities and the kids

You may be preparing the whole family meal or you may be an honored guest.  Either way you’ll want to be sure that what you are wearing allows you to easily nip into the kitchen to help out or to finish the cooking once everyone is assembled.

For me that means taking along an apron – nothing is more annoying than getting a splash of oil on a new frock.  It also means taking along rubber gloves for helping clean up or deal with large cookware that won’t go in the dishwasher.  If you’ve manicured your nails for the event you’ll definitely want those gloves.

You’ll certainly want to have fun with any youngsters around.  So when you decide on a dress why not make it one in a jersey fabric.  This allows ease of movement without riding up.  A midi length means you can bend down without worrying too.

Wearing comfortable shoes

Whilst at fifty you may have found heels easy to wear, by sixty you probably find them less comfortable.  Even a classy dinner no longer requires guests to wear high heels.  Flats are just as acceptable.  I’ve got a pair of knitted flats that are super comfortable but on trend.  Even after my feet expand in the warmth or after a large meal, they remain looking and feeling just right. You can see me wearing a navy pair of these great shoes in my Summer Wardrobe 2022 post.

Be prepared to leave your outdoor footwear at the door.  It used to be mainly the Japanese who required this but today anyone with carpets prefers you to leave the outside, outside.

So don’t invest in fabulous shoes that nobody will ever see.  Ideally along with that apron and rubber gloves you’ll bring some flexible flats or slippers.  Lots of retailers sell Christmas indoor footwear these days.  You can get jewelled slippers, sparkle-trimmed flats and inexpensive little tartan numbers that you may only wear on that day.

Of course you can spend the day in socks or stockinged feet.  But while this looks cool on teens and twenties, it’s likely to look less so on us! If necessary wear opaque tights in black or any deep color. And NEVER knee high socks of any description.

And just a note about knee-high boots. Yes, they’ll look great with any of these dresses but leave them in the hallway when you arrive. Far too likely to lead to a major overheating problem if worn all day.

The pre-lunch walk

It might have always been a tradition in your family to head outside and get some exercise on the holidays.  Or it might be something your Y-gen children have started incorporating into their lives.

Either way, make sure you are prepared just in case!  It’s worth calling your hosts a few days before in case they suggest you might need boots for a muddy walk.  Or ask them if they’ve got any in your size you can borrow for the walk.

It’s so much easier to chat as you walk if you are not worrying about your lovely shoes getting dirty.

Be you, but the best you

Apart from your clothes, your make-up will show you care.

Less is more where make-up is concerned, as we age.

Make time a few days before the family get-together to, not only, try on your outfit and shoes, but to practise your make-up. Don’t go for party-drama, go for ‘what a nice mum I am’ style.

Use a tinted moisturizer. Heavier foundation and powders can settle into all the creases and laughter lines of your lovely face as the day goes on.

Add a little extra highlighting through a brush-on blusher on areas of your face that would naturally catch the sun – cheeks, cheekbones, perhaps also jawline.

Pay attention to your eyebrows. Trim them yourself or go to a salon well before the big day so any sensitivity has time to die down. Then add a little extra definition with a brow pencil. Take a look at my post on improving your eyebrows here.

Choose a lipstick that looks good with your dress. A couple of shades deeper than your natural lip color will always look good. But if you like something brighter go for it!

Have a great day whatever you wear. Relax and take part with confidence. Be the real you but be the best you. Because that’s what everyone wants you to be.

2 thoughts on “What to wear to a family Christmas when you’re 60

  1. Very pretty dresses, however I’ve noticed the prices are increasing and my budget is not.
    Happy Holidays to you!

    1. Hi Cynthia. The prices you see when you roll over the image grid on the post are full prices (I don’t have any other way of showing a retailer’s image) but if you click through most items will have a discount at this time of year. These vary from day to day but this year have been more generous than usual as we are all worried about our budget. Thanks for the comment. Joni x

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