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They say fashion is cyclical. They also say style is timeless. And smack dab in the center of that Venn diagram, you’ll find the various menswear looks that were on display in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Officially 30 years old, the ever-quotable holiday film sees three generations of Griswolds celebrating Christmas in Chicagoland. And from timeless, functional staples to bold looks that have roared back into style in recent years (‘80s fashions are here in a big way), the outfit envy is very real.
Sure, there are missteps. Cousin Eddie’s powder-blue leisure suit comes to mind, as do the matching silver workout kits donned by Todd and Margo, Clark’s uptight yuppie neighbors (the latter played by a pre-Veep and Seinfeld Julia Louis-Dreyfus). But by and large, the various oddballs who wander in and out of the Griswolds’ festivities bring very good holiday vibes to the table.
For some advice on channeling those vibes at your assorted holiday parties and shindigs, we asked Chicago stylist Kourtney Thalgott (who has been dressing men for over a decade with Nordstrom, Michael Kors and Trunk Club) for some tips on how to replicate the film’s best looks. Good news: half the pieces are probably in your closet right now.
Clark Griswold’s Backyard-Dad Chic
This practical, Midwestern ensemble is pure form meets function. It works for hanging lights, swinging by the store or meeting someone for a bite. If you’re like Clark, you’ve left exterior illumination tasks to the last minute, so your outfit needs to be durable and warm. This is an outfit you probably already own, but if you need to spruce it up, see below.
Patagonia Men’s Down Sweater Vest
5 Year Basic Long Sleeve Henley
Plaid Sherpa Lined Shirt Jacket in Charcoal
Men’s Chicago Bears New Era Navy Griswold 9FIFTY Adjustable Hat
Todd Chester Makes the Naughty List
An outfit to impress in. Don this number when you want to look sleek, sexy and expensive. Dazzle the crowd at your spouse’s work party, or take in a performance of The Nutcracker. This is the look that lets them know you belong in the good seats. Yes, this fit can be done for less, but we would never do Todd the disservice.
Gucci Navigator Metal Sunglasses
Hugo Boss Formal Coat
Calvin Klein Men’s Cardigan-Ribbed Logo Scarf
Calvin Klein Fenwick Chelsea Boot
Cousin Eddie Keeps It Cozy
First of all, Cousin Eddie is completely pulling off this lewk, so stop snickering. But for the doubters, the mock turtleneck-sweater combo can be done very, very right. Thalgott says “a good turtleneck will turn you into a holiday season style god.” To look more Drake and less Steve Jobs, focus on a neutral sweater hue like solid camel or charcoal. Thalgott adds, “pick a style that is slim around the shoulders and slightly more forgiving towards the middle for the ultimate winter look that your buddies will be envious of.”
Traveler Collection Merino Wool Mock Neck Sweater
Nordstrom Cotton & Cashmere V-Neck Sweater
Skinny Built-In Flex Textured Ultimate Pants
Clarks Men’s Bushacre 2 Chukka Boots
Clark, Sr., Gives a Masterclass in Winter Layering
Regardless of your plans – could be a religious service, meeting up with the extended family or taking in brunch and a movie – this layered look gives you options. Clark Griswold, Sr., is power-clashing like a pro. “Mixing different textures and patterns has been a trend for a few seasons and it is a fantastic way to experiment with your look this winter,” says Thalgott. She recommends starting with colors you already love (and have) in your wardrobe. Then, opt for less expensive, patterned accessories: “They’re items that you can switch out really quickly and easily. Since they’re less expensive, you can afford to experiment and make mistakes with them if you aren’t 100% sold on mixing prints.”
Bailey Liston Driving Cap
Topman Faux Shearling Collar & Faux Leather Flight Jacket
1905 Collection Slim Fit Houndstooth Plaid Sportcoat
L.L. Bean Marled Men’s Cardigan
Rails Plaid Button Down
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