Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gilding the Llama

The most frustrating part of wedding planning of late has been trying to find something for my sweet mama (we like to call her Llama) to wear. Now that we've gotten Jon a nice-fitting tuxedo and all of the other wedding party members are under control, it's time to find something for the mother-of-the-bride (and groom), stat! Would you like to see my Llama? Here she is:

(photo by Philip Vullo for Georgia Electric Membership Corporation
magazine. Random, I know, but Mom is just that popular)

Clearly a lovely lady such as this should not be consigned to a monochrome monstrosity! Unfortunately, that seems to be dominating the MOB dress market these days. We perused the offerings at Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom and even Neiman Marcus last weekend and came away utterly discouraged. Most of what we saw fell into the following categories:

1. The frumpy top-fasten cardigan over tankdress

2. The stuffy jacket + skirt combo that swallows a petite mama whole

3. The dreaded and curiously ubiquitous layeredy/fish-scaley dress

If it wasn't one of these three, it was probably strapless and only came in size tiny. Everything we saw was a) ugly and b) only available in downright mournful colors. This is a May wedding, retailers! Why are you not accommodating our seasonal needs?

We hopefully browsed the more specialized selection at Bridals by Lori on Tuesday when we went for my fitting, but still no dice. Well, there was one that we liked... but it was nearly $1,400! Behold:

(Dress by Theia, for those curious. Couldn't find it online
but I did see a cocktail dress in the same color scheme here)

It is indeed lovely, but perhaps not $1,400 lovely, especially when Llama would prefer a longer sleeve.

The most promising lead we've picked up so far are the dresses from Siri. Not only do they have sleeved options, they also have many lovely colors, and you can choose to have a contrasting sash (on sashed dresses). Double score! Here are the favorites:

1. The June Carter gown (picture this with a long skirt with fewer pleats)

2. The Loretta Young gown

I love these because they are simple -- no beading, no unnecessary frills or appliques -- classic and (can be) colorful. Not to mention they keep one's arms covered without the hassle of a wrap or bolero paired with an unwieldy strapless dress. I love the open neckline on the first dress, but the Loretta Young is probably easier to wear with a normal bra, which is always a plus. And, compared to the other somewhat palatable MOB dresses we've seen, these seem pretty reasonable at about $420 apiece.

I've been emailing the company about rush charges (since we're pretty close to the wedding, oops) and Mom located a bridal boutique in Marietta that carries Siri bridesmaids. We're going to go check out fabrics and styles and swatches on Saturday... who knows, maybe we'll have ordered a dress by this time next week!

Anyone who has been through this process with their mama... where did you find her dress? Was it an ordeal or was it quick and easy?


  1. Ooo of your favs my fav is #1! We found my mom's dress at Ann Taylor online - granted she didn't get to try it on before she bought it, fate was on our side and it was perfect!

  2. I had a hard time finding something for my mom too-- we went everywhere in NYC-- the only success was at Saks or similarly insane prices (figures). She ended up having hers made by a good seamstress we know... but I can ask Shane's mom what brand her gown was (if you liked it? It was a strapless dress with a jacket I think. Not too crazy of one, no ruffles or anything.

  3. Yeah, another option mom has mentioned is having hers made. Hell, she could probably make one herself! But at this point we're still looking in stores. Shane's mom's was pretty, but I think something not-strapless is what we're aiming for. I've seen a lot of things similar to her dress on various slideshows though!