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What to Wear in Your Family Photos – 12 Tips to Look Your Best

My biggest fear is to look back at family pictures and be horrified by what we were wearing. Okay, it’s not my biggest fear, but it’s something I think about each year. Probably because there’s one too many pictures that are super embarrassing. We all want to look our best, and we should put our best foot forward! These pictures are going to be around for a long time, your great-great-great grandkids are going to be seeing these, you have to put in the effort and a little planning now will save you from regrets later. As you get ready for the flash bulbs to start popping, there’s a few simple things you can do that will make a huge difference. I’ve put together 12 tips to help you create a successful and timeless picture and 12 family wardrobe groupings to give you ideas on what to wear for the occasion.

  • Tip 1: Similar, But Not Identical 1 of 12
    Screen-Shot-2013-12-02-at-10.13.41-AM

    Break up your look with a cardigan and put a tie, jacket, or vest on one of the guys in your life. The patterns on mom and daughter mix up the palate, and add some visual interest. Pick two patterns that have similar colors, but aren't the same. The mom pattern is small and the daughter pattern is a little more bold. The chambray trend is a charming option, as long as it's done right. To keep it from looking like it's the '80s, when it was called a jean shirt, don't have the whole family in the same shirt, especially not with khakis.

    Photo Credits Guy: J.Crew $69.50, GalH&M $34.95, Boy: H&M $14.95, Girl: JCPenney $13.99

  • Tip 2: Stay Classic 2 of 12
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    Choose colors and styles that are classic. They won't have you embarrassed when you're looking back 10 years from now. I always say, if your grandma would like it, and your mom wouldn't mind it, and you love it, then it's probably timeless. 

    Photo Credits Guy: H&M $59.95, Gal: J.Crew $450, Boy: H&M $9.95, Girl: J.Crew $198

  • Tip 3: Less is Usually More 3 of 12
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    It's Christmas! You are looking for a festive and dressy picture for that holiday card. Keep the men classic suits, always timeless! Ties can be festive touches, but don't go overboard. The focus should be on the smiling faces. Also, be careful when mixing red and green together, if both colors are on the same person, keep it simple. It can go towards kitsch instead of cute really easily. Keep everything elegant and simple, less really is more when you want to go with red and green. Want to be festive, but don't like red and green? Another great holiday option, is gold and silver. 

    Photo Credits Guy: H&M $69.95, Gal: Nordstrom $325, Boy: J.Crew $148, Girl: J.Crew $98

  • Tip 4: Dressing Up is Optional 4 of 12
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    You always want to look your best, but don't feel pressure to dress a certain way. If your family isn't into dressing up, don't force it. Being yourself is important!  It will help you get the most comfortable smiles and your pictures will actually look like you.

    Photo Credits Guy: H&M $29.95, Gal (similar): J.Crew $88, Boy: H&M $19.95, Girl: H&M $19.95

  • Tip 5: Personality Please! 5 of 12
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    Work with each individual's personality. If your husband wouldn't wear a cardigan or a bow tie, try a simple pullover as a compromise. If you have a dress that you feel great in, wear it.  You can always tell if everyone feels confident and comfortable.

    Photo Credits Guy (similar): Asos $29.95, Gal (similar): Anthropologie $188, Boy: H&M $9.95, Girl: Belk $24.75

  • Tip 6: Mix It Up 6 of 12
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    When working with a color as intense as green, stay away from having it on everyone's shirts. Green looks great paired with navy, black or grey, and it gives your eye a bit of a rest. Not everyone in the shoot has to have your color of choice, as long as they have the complimenting color, and they look like they belong in the family. 

    Photo Credits Guy: Nordstrom $195, Gal: J.Crew $475, Boy: H&M $9.95, Girl: J.Crew $49.50

  • Tip 7: Monochramatic Magic 7 of 12
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    If you want to hop on the monochromatic trend, feel free to rock it hard, but choose a color that won't be too intense. Blue, grey, and white would be nice, but hues like green, orange or yellow might be a little too intense from head to toe. Make sure to mix different shades. To get more tips on dressing in a head to toe color check out Brooke's article here.

    Photo Credits Guy: J.Crew $64.50, Gal: Anthropologie $78, Boy: H&M $12.95, Girl: H&M $17.95

  • Tip 8: Stripes 8 of 12
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    Stripes have been in style for most of modern history. They are a great choice for your pictures, but watch for patterns that are small as that could cause moiré. Those patterns include small herringbones, plaids, checks and especially stripes. 

    Photo Credits Guy: J.Crew $128, Gal: J.Crew $208, Boy: Zara $29.90, Girl: Zara $35.90

  • Tip 9: Welcome To The Future 9 of 12
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    What's great about digital cameras is that you can see what your picture looks like right away. Check out the camera's screen to make sure you like what everyone's wearing and how everyone looks. Have your makeup kit and brush handy, and an extra outfit, just in case. 

    Photo Credits Guy: J.Crew $198, Gal (similar): J.Crew $695, Boy: H&M $19.95, Girl: H&M $19.95

  • Tip 10: Pop of Color 10 of 12
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    Nothing makes a statement like well placed pops of color. Don't underestimate a happy hue.

    Photo Credits Guy: Nordstrom $495, Gal: Anthropologie $398, Boy: Nordstrom $42, GirlJ.Crew $78

  • Tip 11: Look In Your Closet 11 of 12
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    Money doesn't buy style, so if you don't have the money for new clothes, don't splurge. Even if you have the money, check your closet first. Look at things you don't usually pair together, it could bring new life to your outfits.

    Photo Credits Guy: Asos $54.45, Gal (similar): Free People at Nordstrom $108, Boy (similar): H&M $39.95, Girl: J.Crew $59.50

  • Tip 12: That Color Looks Great On You 12 of 12
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    If you aren't sure what color makes you look your best, think about what color you are wearing when people gave you the most compliments. That's your sweet spot! When you're picking a color theme, start there.

    Photo Credits Guy: Zara $139.99, Gal: J.Crew $443, Boy: H&M $19.95, Girl: Kohl's $10.40

Now you are prepared to document your family this year, without documenting any fashion faux pas. Tag your family pictures on instagram to share them with us! #familypictureproject If you want to see some actual family photos to get fashion inspiration from check out this article here. And if you want to see what NOT to wear check out this article (so hilarious!).

Thanks for reading! We’re the Girls with Glasses!

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