From my days as a portrait photographer, I spent my months of August and September every year pulling looks and helping clients to finalize their wardrobe details for their annual portraits. I never thought it would be something that I would miss. The thought occurred to me that just because I am no longer a portrait photographer doesn’t mean that I can’t still find a way to bring this kind of inspiration and assistance to the blog in some way. Because, after all, so many of us families are in the middle of holiday craziness with that nagging thought on our mind that we need to figure out what we are doing for family pictures. It’s tradition after all! Even if you find yourself at the last minute setting the camera up on the tripod and gathering everyone on the sofa to flash a quick smile – I believe each year should be documented any way that we can make it happen. More on that later this week! Right now, I am excited to share with you my 2017 Family Style Guide – ideas and looks I am loving for the family to be in front of the camera for this year’s photo opp.
When I have done this before, I usually picked a color scheme for the season and pulled wardrobe options for that. However, to make this a little more helpful for a larger audience, I curated three different looks for the family ranging in style. Each piece was pulled to help you get the visual to have on hand as you shop or pull from closets, but I took it one step further. Because honestly – from one busy mom to many others out there, I get this time of year and how nuts it can be. I also pulled the information of each piece, store and price as well as direct links in case you see something below that you just have to have. And with us being a week away from Thanksgiving, I also kept all of the stores I pulled inspiration from to mainstream local ones that you would find near you so that you can actually get a hold of these pieces for those of you feeling pressed for time.
Are you ready?!First up is ‘Edgy Neutrals’. This is a more casual look using my own personal go-to color scheme since it is easy to pair things together without losing control of your patterns and palette.
For Mom, a simple pair of well-fitted skinny jeans, over-the-knee boots with a heel to elongate those legs, as well as a simple wrap sweater. For Dad, well-fitted jeans, cognac boots with a collared button down.
For big sister, a darling white and black polka dot crew cardi paired with tall moto style boots and distressed skinnies. For big brother, I went with khaki wash denim, a denim button down and finished it off with easy and simple sneakers (these fashion sneakers are a fantastic option to get the men in your life who don’t necessarily love to dress up to feel more comfortable and keep the complaining at bay – wink!).
And then for little sister I went with a chunkier, cowl neck sweater paired with leggings and some easy pull-on boots. For littlest brother, I went with a button down that tied in both the grey and brown already happening in other outfits, a great pair of jeans and again, some cool looking sneakers.
All in all, when you are shopping or pulling from closets, remember to stick with the five colors and finishes – blacks, greys, whites/creams, tans/browns and denims. Don’t stray from those and you will be able to pull together a great look that keeps the family comfortable, but allows for a well-styled finish.
This next look is ‘All-American’ – preppy, a bit more rustic, sticking with your traditional colors and definitely a great fit if you are shooting outdoors in the Fall and Winter and want that Ralph Lauren/Tommy Hilfiger/Abercrombie look.
For Mom I went with a classic deep red cable knit sweater layered over a gingham button down poplin shirt. When styling this, make sure the cuffs of the poplin shirt are pulled outside of the sweater sleeve and rolled back once – this helps to really drive home that layered look. I also went with a lightly distressed pair of skinnies with a tall pair of riding boots. For Dad, you’ve got your basic boot cut jeans matched with a tan v-neck sweater and a nice sturdy pair of boots.
For big sister I loved pulling in the pea coat look with skinnies and a pair of riding boots. I also topped off the look with a chunky pom beanie. Big brother has a classic pair of jeans, a great plaid button down and a pair of boots.
For little sister, I wanted to pull in a bit more blue to off set her bright red hunters and I love the look of a navy knit sweater. Then simply add a pair of well-fitting skinnies. For little brother, I loved the look of a cable knit one-piece paired with warm and comfy moccs.
Remember to keep to your basic all-american and traditional holiday colors and you should be good to pull off this look – reds, navys, hunter green, denims and creams. To drive the look home, also think about adding in longer silk ribbon bows to ponytails or your daughters’ hair to give it that classic preppy vibe with a tailored finish.
This look is for those families who enjoy a little bit of a traditional and fancy look for their annual portraits. Keep your looks to blacks, reds and creams/whites to keep things polished.
For Mom, I pulled together a classic silhouette in a satin skirt, paired it with a simple sweater and topped it off with a pair of statement heels (seriously, I am dying over these ones) as well as a statement necklace. For Dad, I kept it simple with a black pair of pants, a crew neck sweater finished off with a pair of black oxfords. To add a bit more, layer a white button down dress shirt under Dad’s sweater.
For big sister, a black tulle skirt, a cream cardigan and simple ballet flats keep her look classic. And for big brother, I followed suit with Dad’s outfit and pulled together a sweater, black pants and black boots. Remember for all of the boys including Dad to add a black belt to finish the look.
For littlest sister, I think a dress in a holiday plaid is the perfect addition to everything. Finish her look off with black tights and ballet flats. For littlest brother, I kept it to khaki pants, a cream sweater and black boots.
Remember for this look, keep things simple, but dress your final looks up with the smaller details. Girls should have jewelry, maybe even black satin ribbons in hair/ponytails and the boys should always have a great pair of shoes and matching belt.
So there you have it – three solid looks that covers the entire family. I hope you find the 2017 family style guide helpful and maybe even get you feeling completely ready for your annual family portraits this year without the usual headache we all experience in trying to dress everyone. Wink!