So many of your "dear ESB" writers say, "I never thought I would be writing to you..." Not I. I always knew I would have some conundrum requiring serious spunk. So, here it is.
My brother and I are getting hitched almost exactly one year apart, and my mother is super nervous about what to wear to both weddings. She has some reason. She's a gorgeous, curvy, size 14/16 woman with, umm, well, big jugs (and the sass to match). She's really insecure, so I have been trying to encourage her long-distance while she shops. Oh, and she hates shopping. And trying clothes on. And has very little (read "no") fashion sense.
So, she finally called me in happy tears the other day after having found "the perfect dress" for my brother's wedding this summer. It fit great and she felt beautiful in it. I was ecstatic for her... until she sent me a picture. Yeah. Awful.
Two questions: One, do I tell her how awful this dress is? The wedding is in less than a month, and she has already bought accessories. Two, if it's too late for this wedding (as I suspect it is), can you give me some tasteful yet, um, not atrocious suggestions for what she could wear to my wedding next summer? I love the woman, and would proudly stand next to her in photos if she wore a bedazzled trash sack. But, I want her to feel as pretty as she is.
As mentioned, it must fit and flatter a busty size 14. And she likes yellow. And I won't be able to talk her into anything over $250 (she refuses to spend money on clothes). Oh, and the wedding is outdoors, in Wisconsin, in July.
A million thanks.
I'm posting this too late to tell you to tell her, "NO, MOM. JUST... NO."
So she'll look a lot cooler at your wedding. Oopsies.
After LPC had such great shopping-for-the-MOTB advice to offer here, I figured I'd ask her to help me out with this one.
Here's what Our Lady of Privilege and Anxiety came up with:
1. Don't tell your mother something she's bought after ages of searching is hideous, UNLESS you're willing stick by her side until she finds something reasonable. If she could have done better herself she would.
2. Tell her what you want her to wear for your wedding. BTW, Mothers of the Bride don't have to match anything if they don't want to. But if they want to, help them out.
3. If you love her so dearly, my guess is that most of all she loves you too and wants to make you happy.
4. However, she will have no objection to looking beautiful and even a little bit cool. That's what we used to say when we meant bitchin'. At our age, simple is better, judicious use of color is better, silk is the best.
Amsale makes some great dresses. Nordstrom has a wide range, here.
This one's my particular favorite. Something about the slight raggedness makes sense. $290.
[Editor's Note: Definitely worth keeping your eye out for a sale. And according to the reviews, these dresses run small, so your mom should order a 16 or even an 18.]
Alternatively, there's a company called Siri, in South San Francisco, that has a really wide range, here.
This one even comes in yellow. It's a little pricier than your mom's ostensible limit, but hey, silk.
Siri's short sheath dresses can be had for $250-$280. The long dress (I just can't use the word gown) above, known as the Sorbonne, is $380 in duppioni or shantung, up to size 16. They offer up to size 24, but there's additional cost for plus size. In silk taffetas, the same dress costs $410.
If your mama just can't get comfortable with arm-showage, she can always resort to those ubiquitous little jackets, but I'd rather ask the people at Siri if they could add sleeves, or wear a spider-webby cardigan. Most mother-of-the-bride jackets are stodgy.
Finally, give her an esb-approved necklace with a garnet-eyed snake charm. Or something. If it's small enough, she'll wear it and smile her face off. We never meant, really, to leave all that behind.
Top Image: Kristen McMenamy by Juergen Teller for Marc Jacobs 2005