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Family Outfit Coordination Made Easy

Coordinating your family outfits for holiday photos can be stressful. These outfits will be featured in holiday cards that are sent to virtually everyone you know, and they’ll be hung on your wall to look at for years to come. But hey, no pressure!

Looking back at my own family pictures from back in the ‘80s, a question comes to mind: Why? Why did my mom put us in those hideous outfits? Those big hair days are over, ladies, and I’m trying to avoid having a dated look as much as possible. I’m thinking classic and timeless yet stylish and cool. Like I said, no pressure.

Ambassador Sara Lopez and her family

While you want to make sure your outfits work together, you also don’t want to look like you’re wearing uniforms. If possible, try and step out of the black-shirt-and-jeans box. This pseudo-uniform look makes pictures fall flat, and it adds zero dimension. Instead, you want everyone to look good together while each individual person also makes their own statement.

My Tips for Simple Outfit Coordination

Unpopular opinion: Shopping isn’t fun. I know – GASP. Going from store to store is just not my thing. So, I’ve learned to how to make this whole process easier. I do all of my shopping online! Not only can I browse on the couch, but the outfits from a particular store likely already coordinate with each other. After all, designers want their season’s colors and patterns to coordinate, right? So, stick to one store, and you’ll find outfits that go together nicely.

1. Start With the Star of the Show

Since I’m a mom of all boys, that means I tend to stick out in the family photo a little more. I’ll usually go with a cute patterned top that’s comfortable, flattering, and a little whimsical. Once I have my outfit picked out, I officially have a color scheme to build on!

This year, our colors are black, red, green, and cream. I based the colors on this top from Old Navy, but to be completely honest, I centered my whole look (and thus the whole family’s look) based on my favorite Pirouette Earrings in Red. Some people start with their outfit and then accessorize. But me? I start with my Noonday and find outfits that work with my favorite pieces.

Use Your Color Scheme

Once you’ve decided on the main outfit, everyone else’s outfit will revolve around this look. For my husband, I go simple. He doesn’t like a lot of fuss, so a solid colored sweater is an easy bet. I played off the color of Fall leaves and selected a jade color for him that’s similar to the colors in my outfit. To make it easy and cost-effective, I paired it with a great-fitting pair of jeans, which he already owns. Having a pop of color on him as well actually makes both of our outfits pop!

Build Upon Your Focus Outfits

Time to dress the kids! I always go through my boys’ closet and see if they already have anything we could use. After all, there’s no reason to break the bank! Grey, black and collared shirts are pretty simple and can be reused. In my middle son’s closet, I found a grey blazer and a maroon shirt. He loved the blazer, so I put this pick to the side as a “maybe.”

My youngest son is the easiest to dress – mainly because he usually goes with the flow as long as his outfit isn’t itchy or uncomfortable. Pro tip: Not advocating bribery here, but a promise of candy usually gets him to wear just about anything. I decided to play off the cream color to keep this outfit playful. I found this cute bear shirt that had a touch of red flannel. The red flannel on the bear shirt gave me the idea to put my oldest son in a matching flannel shirt as well. The red tied in nicely with my own shirt, too!

Reevaluate Your Choices

The last piece of the puzzle is just the evaluation process. I took screenshots of every item in my cart and asked my self a few questions: “Do these outfits go together? Will we feel confident in them? Will I want to look at these outfits every day as I pass our framed family photo on the wall?”

All clothing from Old Navy

I decided that one outfit wasn’t quite the best match, so I made a simple adjustment. I took out the blazer look for my middle son and put him in the red flannel instead. Then, I replaced the red flannel for my oldest son with a simple black shirt. After that, I felt happy with the result! These are outfits that coordinate well and show off my personality, my husband’s and each of my boy’s. Better yet, they’re simple, fun and stylish.

All clothing from Old Navy

Now for the Shoes

The last piece of the puzzle is the shoes. When you have boys, they usually only have tennis shoes. But let’s be honest – that’s not always cute in a picture like this. So, I’ll get them some Converse or high-top sneakers for a casual yet polished look. Skip the logos and cartoon characters if possible!

Not Too Difficult, Right?

So, that’s the whole process I follow to choose family outfits for our yearly holiday photos. If you don’t have time or money to spend on special outfits, find something in your closet. You can always tuck it away if you don’t love it, but years down the road, you won’t regret taking the picture (even if our outfits are completely dated, I still cherish that ‘80s-style photo with my mom).

A Lopez family holiday photo

For this picture I found plain grey and black shirts we had in our closets already and took these pictures the day before Christmas. I even forgot to put on lipstick! I obviously didn’t have time to get cards made, but I wanted to remember my kids at this point in time. 

Remember What’s Truly Important

With all this said, please remember that at the end of the day, the most important thing is to take the pictures. So, don’t wait for the perfect picture – enjoy the imperfect that is now!

Meet Sara Lopez

Sara lives in the suburbs of Austin with her high school sweetheart husband, three active boys, and her Goldendoodle, Penny Princessa. On a normal day, you will find Sara driving all around town chauffeuring her homeschooled boys from one activity to another. As a professional photographer, Sara loves to get to know people and capture them loving life.