Should I Say Yes To The Dress?

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(I apologize to my guy readers in advance, but when a woman needs help she usually turns to her girlfriends.  Although a man’s opinion is always welcome, so please feel free to speak up, if you’re brave enough to do so.)

I need fashion help.

I wasn’t going to write about this but after a third night of not sleeping I decided to turn to the best drug I know: writing.  Have you ever noticed how writing about a problem sometimes helps you find an answer?  Well, I’m taking it a step further – I’m writing this post to reach out to my readers.

Here’s why I need your help:  This summer I will be a Mother of the Bride for the first time in my life.  I haven’t wanted to write about this because I made myself a promise that I wouldn’t write about my kids now that they’re old enough to read what I write and yell at me for writing it.  It’s an exciting, busy, emotional time and it’s been difficult not to write an entire blog series about the event.  I’ve been a good mother, however, and avoided the topic completely here at my blog.  But now my back is up against the wall and there’s no way around this without writing about it.  Here’s my dilemma: The Dress.

Not the bride’s, but mine.

Somewhere between the time it’s taken to find the venue, choose the menu, book the band, and help my daughter find her perfect wedding dress, I overlooked the painful fact that I need to buy myself a dress.  And not just any kind of dress, but a MOTHER OF THE BRIDE DRESS.

Oy, the pressure!

You have to understand one thing about me: I grew up a tomboy.  I was comfortable wearing jeans (for climbing trees) and my Dad’s Army fatigue jacket (cause it was cool).  To me, the perfect outfit is sweatpants and tennis shoes.  My daughter would ban me from her wedding if I showed up in a running outfit.  And unlike her lucky dad or brother who barely have to show up at all (fashionwise), and just have to wear the de rigueur tuxedo, I have to wade through the world of women’s couture to find the ultimate MOTHER OF THE BRIDE DRESS.

My friend Vicki is facing a similar problem but she’s only the mother of the groom, and somehow (we both agreed) nobody really cares what the groom’s mother is wearing.

“I’m going with a pantsuit,” she finally announced to me the other day as we commiserated on the phone.  “Who the hell cares?  The wedding’s out-of-town anyways, and we don’t know a damn person in Detroit.”

I envy the Mother of the Groom.

“I can’t get away with that,” I tell her. “…Can I?” I ask hopefully, like maybe there’s some kind of loophole I don’t know about in the wedding guidebook.

“Nope.  First they look at the bride, and then they’ll be checking out the mother of the bride. You better look good,” she warned me.

Could she be any less reassuring?

“Plus, in your case, you’re really going to need help.”

Yep, I guess she can.

I asked her what she meant.

“You’re not normal!” she tells me, a little too easily.

I’m wondering now: Why is it we’re friends?!

“I just mean you’re creative, and artistic, and well, I don’t think you should wear what everyone else is wearing,” she explains to me with words that make me understand just how much she knows me, and how much I really love her as a friend. “You’re your own person – unique and talented, and you may not see many dresses you really want to wear.”

Vicki was right:  I’d been looking on the internet and all the dresses listed under MOTHER OF THE BRIDE were, in fact, beautiful.

For other women, not for me.

They were vampy or too low cut and my best look is a turtleneck.  They were covered with sequins, beaded, and jeweled and I’m a 100% plain cotton girl.  They were clingy and hip hugging and well, I’m a writer, and my work’s muscles are what I sit on.  Nordstrom would call me a “pear” so no way do I want anything clinging on my Bartlett rear.

Is there any wonder why I’m not sleeping?

I was starting to reconsider my decision about the sweat pants (velour?) and sneakers (brand new Air Jordans?), when I decided to take one more journey into The Wedding Knot website and click on MOTHER OF THE BRIDE.

And there is was:  my dress!

It jumped out at me from my computer screen: perfect color (blue), perfect shape (for a pear) elegant yet simple, and not like any other dress I’d seen.  I clicked my way over to the designer’s website and there was my dress again on the front webpage.  I even loved the name of the dress style:  Beautiful Mothers.

I was close to crying.

True, it was a little pricey, but I figured with more than one kid I could always wear it again when the next one of our progeny took the matrimonial leap. And besides, I’d pay the price gladly just to be able to stop looking.  So, I quickly did a search to find out where I could buy my beautiful dress. I figured they wouldn’t have it here in our little California suburb; I’d probably have to go to L.A. or maybe San Diego.  But I could get my husband to drive, and we’d make it a weekend out of it.  It would be fun!  I quickly entered my zip code and the website gave me the closest store where I could buy it.

Yucaipa.

Okay, now I was crying.

I’m not even sure I know where Yucaipa is located, but it just sounds FAR.  Not as far, however, as Tucson, Arizona; San Antonio, Texas; or Caspar Wyoming, where the only other stores that carry my dress are located.

Do I do a road trip?!  Seriously, this is what I’m asking: Is it worth all the trouble (and expense) to go on a scavenger hunt for this dress?  I’ll let you, my dear readers, help me make this decision.  Here’s a photo of the dress, and you tell me what you think:

Mother of the Bride Dress at Marys

Do I call the designer (Mary’s), order my size, pay for it, and pray it fits or at least looks somewhat good on me?  It looks wonderful on the model in the photo (probably a size 2), but it’s liable to look like yesterday’s garbage when I’m wearing it (never in my dreams a size 2).  And if I’ve already paid for it and hate it, then what do I do?

Do you think I should say yes to this dress?

Or do I just take my dad’s Army fatigue jacket out of mothballs?

What do you think I should do?!

(The quest for the elusive dress continues at Saying Yes To The Dress (UPDATE)…)