Myth: For the Celebrate Israel Parade,
it’s all about comfort.
Truth: You do need to look good.
It’s that time of year again. I’ve written about this before and this is my annual reminder to my readers. The parade is coming up soon. Yes, we need to be comfortable, but we also need to look good. And we can do both.
From me, you get the truth.
With the rise of Jew-hatred both in Eretz Yisrael and in chutz la’aretz, it’s more important than ever to show our support for Eretz Yisrael. So it’s more important than ever to show up at the Celebrate Israel Parade either as a marcher or as a spectator. You don’t have to dress up fancy– you’d look silly if you did. But you do have to dress neat, clean, casual, flattering, and comfortable. And it’s not hard to do all of the above.
Here is where you need real sneakers with socks. Yes, this is a cultural and social event and I would normally recommend real shoes, but you’re going to be doing a lot of walking even if you’re a spectator, so you need sneakers. There are slip-on shoes with thick sneaker bottoms and those are fine, but real lace-up sneakers are safer because you’re less likely to slip out of them accidentally. Black sneakers are best because they show less wear and tear and thus appear neater. Strong athletic socks will prevent chafing and blisters, but stick with ankle socks because high socks are not flattering. If the weather is cooler (or if your minhag requires it), you may wear hose under your socks as needed.
Your best skirt for this is a casual one like a jean skirt. Most denim skirts have the structure that flatters everyone but they won’t look overdone. However, khaki or cotton skirts are fine too. Your best shape for this is an A-line. Not only does it flatter most bodies, but it gives you plenty of room for movement. A straight skirt is fine as long as you can move comfortably in it. JBTK (just below the knee) is a length that works on everyone. Mid-calf does not work on most. Ankle-length is okay if that flatters you, but don’t go longer than that; you need to be able to walk without tripping.
It’s best to wear at least one top in the same value (lightness or darkness) as your skirt. That way you get the long line that elongates and flatters. If it’s warm out, wear just one top. If it’s cooler, wear layered tops. If you prefer to wear softer tops, it’s okay to go with that, but if you need structure on your top half go with a button-down shirt. No matter what, make sure that the top nearest your face is in a flattering color. Not only will the color make you appear healthy, it will give you an energy boost for all that walking.
Keep accessories to a minimum. A fun pair of earrings is fine, but it’s best to avoid necklaces or oblong scarves because they’ll just get in your way.
A regular pocketbook is not your best bet here because it may come off too formal. A duffel bag or knapsack is actually better. But keep it on the small side as best you can. And don’t carry more than what you absolutely need: keys, ID, money, phone, snacks, and water.
Make sure you’re taking good care of your skin, and don’t forget to use sunscreen. If you feel comfortable without makeup you’re not obligated to wear any, but if you do want it, keep it to the absolute minimum. I don’t use more than eyeliner, concealer, powder, bronzer, and gloss if I use anything at all.
If you’re wearing hair of any kind, keep it simple. If it’s long enough, pull it back and keep it out of your way. Curly hair need not be straightened. In fact, curly hair goes into ponytails and updos much more easily than straight hair. This is one of the very few times that I do not recommend a sheitel. The parade is casual and doesn’t require it and it’s best to save your sheitel for when you do need it. However, if you choose to wear one, keep it simple as I wrote above.
Non-sheitel hair coverings work well here. I particularly love mitpachot for this because they have that Israeli vibe to them. But go with a simple one-scarf wrap. If you like tails, be aware that long tails will get in the way, so either keep them short or keep them in the back. But if you like hats or berets, go ahead and wear those in plain cotton; you don’t need anything fancy.
If you’re marching in the parade, remember that you have to wear the group T-shirt. It’s usually not sophisticated or flattering, but wear it anyway. Unlike the teens and tweens who get the largest size they can, you need to go only one size bigger than your normal size so you can layer it over your own top.
You can look casual, comfortable, and good for the parade, so do that and enjoy!