Pilgrims Vs. Today: What Is Worn to Thanksgiving?

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Pilgrims Vs. Today: What Is Worn to Thanksgiving?

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We all know the stories about the First Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims and we all recognize the attire worn by those early settlers like the Pilgrims. Today we’ll look at just how far fashion has come and be thankful no one (hopefully) shows up to Thanksgiving dinner dressed like this guy (see Left).

To start with, a Pilgrim man often wore a felt hat (with a buckle in some interpretations). The next easily noticeable accoutrement is the Ruff. It looks much like the variations of ruffles and large white collars worn throughout history, mostly in paintings of royalty. This would get covered I gravy so fast, it wouldn’t be funny (ok, it would be) if worn today.

Slightly less awkward and odd is the doublet with cuffs. This is a fairly typical jacket of the time (also for quite some time before and after the Pilgrims) and it could be compared to a waistcoat or suit jacket. Some pilgrims also wore a vest and a long sleeved shirt if not the doublet.

Further down the body we find the Breeches, garters, stocking, and shoes . These breeches look silly by today’s standards but they obviously looked good to the Pilgrim women. While there are few comparisons between this style of pants and today’s modern suit pants, at least the color of the pants and jackets matched (with the shoes , too!), making the men look well put together. Today, men wear solid color jackets, shoes, and pants to the actual ankle, leaving the stockings to the women.

While the history of the suit ad tuxedo is long and convoluted, we can still see some similarities to the traditional pilgrim garb. Wearing a suit to Thanksgiving dinner will make you look and feel good, but it can also be a history lesson. Impress the friends and family (and in-laws) by comparing your suit pieces to the good ol’ fashioned Pilgrim attire.

If you don’t want to go the suit route (because gravy on your best suit, tie, or shirt is a definite no-go) then consider dressing closer to a traditional Native American the Pilgrims may have contacted (see Right). Replace the deerskin mantle with a suede shirt or jacket and the deerskin leggings with jeans or corduroy, and tie a piece of twine around your leg for the legging tie. You can also pick up a pair of moccasins at any number of shoe stores, as with a shell or leather necklace. Don’t forget a nice turkey feather accessory to keep it extra festive! If you must have some sort of fur robe for maximum authenticity, shop around for just any faux fur scraps. As for the knife, make it functional and bring your own turkey carving knife—festive and functional!

No matter what you choose, keep Rose Tuxedo in mind for all of your holiday attire needs. There isn’t a man alive who doesn’t look better in a high quality, well-fitting suit.


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