What should we wear?
It is the question that I get asked when booking a session, every.single.time.
I totally get it. Finding clothes that you feel good in can sometimes be a chore. (I’m feeling that big time being only 8 months post-baby and my old jeans still don’t fit quite right…) Now add on the fact you have to coordinate outfits for every other member of your family, it is seriously stressful.
My advice to clients is this:
YOU need to feel good in what YOU are wearing. Mom is the only person in the picture who cares that much about the clothes. Your husband doesn’t care. Your kids look cute in everything. The only person that feels worked up about the outfits is mom. And that is totally normal. I always suggest finding what YOU feel great in first. Then build the other outfits around that.
Here are a few rules of thumb that tend to help create great family outfits:
Use colors that are opposite on the color wheel of your photo location. So if you are going for rich fall colors at a park, I would avoid wearing mustard or rust colored clothing. Instead I would look for navy, deep purple, cranberry or emerald colors to pop out against the yellowy-orange backdrop. Likewise, if you are heading downtown and will be surrounded by a lot of grey cement, have fun with a bold color like a pop of bright pink or fun red and black buffalo check.
Layer, layer, layer. Stylize your outfit by layering on statement necklaces or scarves. Give your hubby a blazer to wear or put a collared shirt under his sweater. Use vests and tights and boots. Basically put on more clothes then you probably would have if you just put on this outfit to go to dinner.
Jewel tones flatter almost every skin tone. I tend not to favor pastels or neon colors. Basics like white, ivory, cream, grey and black are always a safe bet!
Don’t be afraid of texture. Have fun with chunky knit sweaters, furry vests, leather or suede detailing, silky blouses, etc. Texture in clothes is another great way to give visual interest.
Here are a few things I would avoid:
Small-scale pattern. Small-scale pattern (like gingham, hounds tooth or tiny stripes) do funky things in the camera. Pattern itself is totally great to incorporate, just make it large in scale. Plaid, buffalo check, wide/thick stripes, large polka dots, florals, geometric patterns are all fine!
Too loose of clothing. I know you might feel like an over-sized sweater will make you feel less self-conscious but really, I can’t see any shape of your body in those types of clothes. If you are feeling stressed about a certain part of your body, pick a fabric that skims the body, not clings, but still shows off your curves. And when in doubt, wear spanx. (Seriously, I wear Spanx for every photo shoot I’m in. It just makes me feel tighter, toned and less worried about the tacos I ate the night before.)
Matchy-matchy family outfits. Blue jeans and white button-downs for the whole family are a thing of the past. Pick 1-2 colors that you will use for your outfit selections, then mix and match patterns, textures and use neutrals to bring it all together.
Shop your closet first!
Please don’t feel like you have to break the bank buying new clothes just for your family photos. And if you do buy some new items, make sure you love them enough that you will wear them time and time again. My favorite places to shop for clothes are:
Once Upon a Child
And when in doubt, if you shop at Old Navy or Target, you can outfit yourself, your hubby and your kiddos in one stop and the color palettes will be similar across the board so you know all your outfits will coordinate.
For inspiration, here are a few families that really knocked it out of the park!