tartan fashion for family portrait

Tartan Outfits for the Family for Holiday Card Photos.

*Image above via Ralph Lauren, my sartorial touchstone. When in doubt, go to RL for inspiration.

**A quick headnote that CPC Kids is back on Zulily — and they have a few darling tartan longalls left as well as these duck embroidered longalls (perfect for Thanksgiving) and Christmas print ones, both of which Hill owns! Note that though other pieces of CPC Kids I have purchased in the past run small, these longalls run big. I would size down if you want for current season.

Do you send a family portrait out with your holiday cards? We have never done this ourselves though I have talked on and off about wanting to do it. I had big plans to make it happen this year but with COVID, it just fell right out of my priorities. Next year…! I know I will one day kick myself for missing the opportunity to document our life as a family in this way. I must make it happen!

Anyway — I often receive questions about what to wear for family portraits, and what I am daydreaming of right now is a Ralph Lauren-inspired tartan look for the family. (And I love the idea of having your little one tote a Steiff puppy for the portrait — my parents-in-law gave mini a vintage Steiff airedale stuffed animal when she was born, and it’s one of our family’s treasured possessions.) Below, some amazing tartan finds for the entire family:

Tartan Finds for Little Girls.

THIS TARTAN-SASHED CORDUROY DRESS

TRADITIONAL TAFFETA

CHEERY RED COAT (WOULD LOOK PRECIOUS TO HAVE A PLAID DRESS PEEKING OUT UNDERNEATH)

RED VELVET ROMPER (IN CASE EVERYONE ELSE IS DECKED OUT IN PLAID — GOOD TO BALANCE WITH A FEW SOLIDS)

TARTAN BLOUSE (CUTE WITH DENIM IF GOING THE CASUAL ROUTE)

OVERSIZED HAIRBOW

THE ABSOLUTE PERFECT BLACK WATCH DRESS — ALSO ADORE THIS DARLING CHRISTMAS PLAID DRESS

SWEETEST CHRISTMAS SHOES

THIS $10 RUFFLE-TRIM DRESS (PRECIOUS WITH CABLEKNIT TIGHTS)

Tartan Finds for Little Boys.

THIS TARTAN BUBBLE (MATCHES SISTER’S SASH)

THIS CHRISTMAS PLAID SHORTALL (MATCHES SISTER’S DRESS)

WOOL BOW TIE (TO PAIR WITH NAVY BLAZER, WHITE SHIRT, KHAKIS)

WOOL TROUSERS (GREAT WITH A SHAWL COLLAR SWEATER — AND MATCHES SISTER)

BLACK WATCH BUTTON-DOWN (OR BODYSUIT IF ITTY BITTY, PERFECT UNDER THIS VELOUR SHORTALL SET) OR RED PLAID BUTTON DOWN

TARTAN JON JON

CUTE FLANNEL SHIRT FOR A DRESSED DOWN LOOK

Tartan Finds for Her.

I MEAN, THIS IS RIDICULOUS BUT CAN YOU EVEN?!

PLAID TOP KNOT HEADBAND OR SLIM PROFILE HEADBAND — GREAT WAY TO TIE IN WITH THE KIDS IF YOU END UP WEARING A SOLID DRESS

THIS PLEATED SKIRT COULD LOOK AMAZING WITH A MORE CONTEMPORARY-LEANING SWEATER, LIKE THIS ON-TREND CHUNKY KNIT OR THIS SCULPTURED MOCK NECK — OR EVEN THIS AVANT-GARDE BOW SWEATSHIRT

THIS TOPCOAT (FINAL DAY TO BUY ON SALE TODAY!) LAYERED OVER TROUSERS AND A SWEATER

THIS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING TEXTURED BLAZER WITH SKINNY JEANS (EVOCATIVE OF BALMAIN BUT A FRACTION OF THE PRICE)

THIS PLAID PONCHO

A MAJOR SPLURGE, BUT I’M IN LOVE WITH THIS SMART TOP — IT WILL NEVER GO OUT OF VOGUE, AND THE SHAPE WORKS FOR ANY AGE

TARTAN BOOTIES!!! AMAZING WAY TO TIE IN WITH THE FAMILY

TARTAN TWEED SKIRT

Tartan Finds for Him.

WOOL TIE

THIS PLAID VELVET SUIT IS SO DELIGHTFULLY EXTRA — I’M DEAD OVER IT

FOR A MORE CASUAL LOOK (AMAZING WITH DARK DENIM)

TARTAN SMOKING LOAFERS (SO COOL IF THE REST OF THE OUTFIT IS TONED DOWN — DARK DENIM, A SIMPLE IVORY SWEATER)

PLAID SCARF

TARTAN SPORT SHIRT

P.S. And for the dog!

P.P.S. More first hints of holiday

P.P.P.S. What to wear to Thanksgiving and the prayer that represents the holiday best for me.

16 Comments

  1. Jen – would you be willing to do a version of this for those of us in warmer weather locations? Would love to see your pairings and recs for winter themed options for those of us that will be celebrating in 70 degree (hopefully at least 70 and not 80) temps!!

    1. Great prompt! Let me put my thinking cap on and get back to you, but my first thought is a blue and white palette. Classic, crisp, traditional, and often available in lighter-weight fabrics/warm-weather-appropriate cuts. xx

  2. I never miss the opportunity to send photo Christmas cards. I have 2 grown daughters now and we will either do a family pic or just the girls. This year I’m taking a pass. I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the cards I receive. I’m not going to apologize for it either! Lol! Too much on my plate. It fills me with glee that there’s one thing I don’t need to worry about( face it if the card is not ordered by thanksgiving then well, you know! I’ll look forward to next year and I will take delight in choosing the perfect photo and card! I love tartan plaid and the Marc Jacobs piece is a real stunner!
    Cheers to the weekend!

    1. Hi Carleen — YES! Go boldly into your decision 🙂 No apologies! Nice to take a break!

      xx

  3. Our family holiday card photo session is this afternoon! We are going with more of a cream/tan fall theme which I’m envisioning with a gold holiday card. I have the kids’ candy bribe ready to go 🙂 Wish me luck!

  4. This post could not come at a better time, as my siblings and I are planning to (God willing) have a similar shoot with our whole side of the family during the holidays! We’ll see how things shake out with COVID …

    I am with Jennifer — black watch plaid is definitely my favorite tartan style. That MJ top is a total knockout!

    I’ve been thinking that if we stick with the current red/black tartan palette, it would be fun to wear this red tartan blouse I bought from J.Crew last fall with a black jumper-style dress (which I already own) or even a black jumpsuit/overalls. We shall see!

    xx

    1. I know, that MJ top will haunt my dreams. I will now forever imagine myself wearing it to holiday festivities. Love the idea of an EXTENDED family portrait in red/black tartan!! So RL!

      xx

  5. We will send professional photos shot a couple weeks ago, our son had on overalls so pretty laid back 🙂 Can’t decide if I should do a full family photo on the front or just my son by himself (which, of course, I think is the cutest option, haha.) Though maybe future me will be able to do tartan one year!

    Have you seen “Little Fires Everywhere” on Hulu? Worth stealing your brother-in-law’s Hulu password to watch 😉 There is a Christmas photo shoot scene featuring tartan and it is classic!!! I love Reese. 🙂 [Since I know you’re a big reader: I didn’t read the book. I tried to read Celeste Ng’s debut novel and actually didn’t finish it; I just couldn’t get invested in the story or characters. Full permission to watch this show without having read the book!]

    1. Hi Joyce! I vote big photo of baby boy on the front! So cute! I haven’t watched the show but am intrigued — I actually really enjoyed the novel though I felt some of the thematics were a bit clunky. (Like hitting us over the head with the fire theme.)

      xx

    2. Yeah, I think we will go with baby boy photo on the front — who doesn’t want to hang that on their fridge? 🙂 Ohh, I would love to hear your show vs. book thoughts; there may have been a couple major changes. Overall, I *loved* the show. I am very team Reese and Kerry Washington is also (predictably) amazing in it. I didn’t recognize any of the children actors and actresses, but I was impressed with their performances too. Highly recommend!

    3. Will definitely watch – thanks for the rec! I don’t know why I’d not tuned in yet. Thank you!

  6. After Liberty prints, tartans/plaids are another of my favorite prints, and black watch is my absolute favorite among the different tartan patterns.

    We do put a family picture on our holiday cards, but they’re not holiday pictures, per se. I’ve made it a priority to regularly get family photos so that we’re all in at least a few pictures together. If you don’t want to invest in a full private session, many photographers offer mini sessions (which my husband vastly prefers ha) throughout the year. We actually have one next weekend – hoping for some good fall colors!

    As an aside, if it’s in the budget, I highly recommend getting photos taken while on vacation. We did this last year in Budapest and I’m so glad that we did. Casual vacation shots are great and all, but it was so nice getting a set of professional photos of our trip, with everyone in focus and properly framed. (And we used one of those photos for our holiday cards last year.)

    1. Hi Jennifer! What an amazing idea – I would never have thought of to schedule professional photography while traveling, but so clever and special. xx

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