Black will do
Photo: Dana Kopel
The flowers are for your mother-in-law
Photo: Dana Kopel
Seder fashion sense
Confused about what to wear to the Seder? It depends where you’re going, of course
Passover eve – what is it for? For cleaning out our closets and discovering that we have nothing to wear. As our Sages taught, “one who did not purchase a new garment – it is considered as if she did not go out of Egypt.”


On the eve of their departure from Egypt, our foremothers ran around “acquiring” jewelry. And aren’t we just as good as they were? Therefore, it is customary for a Jewish woman to “acquire” items of apparel, in order that she may appear suitably attired at the Seder.


Although our forefathers’ clothes didn’t deteriorate during their forty-year sojourn in the desert, modern clothes have a nasty habit of fraying relatively quickly. In fact, something that looked great on you on Chanukah is likely to be fairly tattered by Passover.


This is the source for the widespread custom of setting out on a shopping expedition and wandering from store to store prior to the holiday’s onset.


“So, what’s the problem?” the Simple Son inquires.


Funny you should ask. You see, in order to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt, we all leave our own homes and attend the Seder elsewhere. However, one who visits her parents can not be compared to one who spends the holiday at her in-laws.


Similarly, the outfit that you would don when joining your friends for the Seder is very different than the one you would choose if you were going to be with your grandmother.


Therefore, as a public service, we present our version of the Haggadah, or “What Should You Wear to the Seder”.


'Are you sure that this year we’re at your parents?' (i.e., Seder with the in-laws)

There’s a chance – admittedly rather slight – that your mother-in-law is a very nice woman and that you both get along really well. Nevertheless, this is not the time for avant-garde fashion statements.


Photo: Dana Kopel


When you’re with your mother-in-law, you should adopt the popular motto: “When in Poland, eat gefilte fish and choke on it.” In other words, go with a conservative look. A jumper, in particular, is an excellent choice, because it projects an illusion of innocence.


Add a touch of sophistication with a well-cut garment or a dash of color, because you don’t want your mother-in-law to take you for granted. Therefore, make sure your jumper isn’t too long.


If you prefer colors, pick a patterned top. However, if black is your thing, avoid clean and simple lines. Instead, opt for pleats or an asymmetrical hemline.


'Don’t come at the last minute.' (i.e., Seder at your parents)

 If you’re going to be at your parents’ home, then your sister – with her entire brood – will probably be there as well. And it’s conceivable that in addition to her kids, your parents may decide to invite yet another fruitful family (such as your other sister perhaps?).


Photo: Dana Kopel


Accordingly, in this case, the most important rule is: Don’t wear white. Even if your children are well-behaved, your nieces and nephews are most certainly not! They may be cute, but they have a good deal of – how can we put this nicely? - “joie de vivre”. Hence, pastels are most definitely out.


Avoid tight-fitting clothing as well. At some point during the evening, you just may find yourself running after one of the kids (and not necessarily one of your own). Furthermore, it’s highly likely that during the recitation of the Exodus, you’ll be asked to clear, serve or wash dishes (or even all three).


So, select something comfortable. Your best bet is a festive, patterned dress. That way, if someone ends up hugging you with haroset-covered hands, the stains will simply blend in.


'What do you mean, there’s no room in the car for one more suitcase?' (i.e., Seder in a hotel) 

At a hotel, there’s only one rule-of-thumb: Knock their socks off. You’re going up against the pros, and you want them to spend the Seder simmering with envy. In other words, your mission is to ensure that their chins hit the floor when you enter the lobby.


Photo: Dana Kopel


Don’t even think about holding back. Skip the mall, and head right to the high-end fashion boutiques. The sky’s the limit when it comes to color, but style is another matter.


For instance, long skirts are more dramatic. Lacy over-dresses are fine, but if the classic look is more your style, stick to black – albeit with an interesting cut or glamorous accessories.


Leave the jumpers at home. You can pack them next year, when you go to your in-laws.


'I’ll bake a cake. No, I take that back. I’ll bring a bottle of wine; it’ll be easier.' (i.e., Seder with your friends)

 Unlike your mother-in-law, your friends like you just the way you are. You can use them as fashion guinea pigs and show up in an oddly-cut zebra-print dress.


Photo: Dana Kopel


However, our official recommendation is slightly less radical. Choose a patterned miniskirt and a silky blouse. Add a decorative belt, and you’re good to go.


'When you open the door for Elijah, do me a favor and take out the garbage' (i.e., Seder at home) 

This one is really quite simple. All you need is a pretty pair of pajamas with a lace collar.


Happy holiday!


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