Article by Meredith Keeve a.k.a. The Wandering Parisian
While current conversations are focused on Meghan Markle and her upcoming Royal Nuptials, you may have wedding-wear issues a little closer to home if you are the mother of the bride this year.
As is often the case with the French, discretion is the order of the day.
The bride is the focus of attention, and it is her dress that may be lace, ruffles, sparkles or satin – her mother, or the mother of the groom, or a beloved aunt all need to aim for elegance and subtlety.
(Please, I beg you, SKIP the lace. It is so grandmotherly on someone under 75.)
Obviously, the first questions in selecting an outfit are purpose and comfort.
Now, when it comes to the French and notions of comfort, French Designer Isabel Marant is the queen. After all, she was the one who proposed silver lame trousers as an alternative to a stiff evening gown – thus insuring that glamour and comfort can happily co-exist.
Prepare for rain!
And notions of comfort INCLUDE weather-appropriate gear. Regardless of the calendar date, weather-proof solutions must be considered, whether it’s a raincoat to go over your dress on the way to the church or a jacket or wrap to keep you cosy during the outdoor dinner, you cannot be chic, or beautiful or feel good about yourself if you are shivering with cold, or damp with rain.
Just last year we attended a July seaside wedding and due to unexpectedly inclement weather I found myself buying thick tights to wear under my ankle length Issey Miyake. Because I had closed toe shoes I was able to make it work, but it was not the look I had planned. A closed toe shoe allows you to add tights if the temperature is a few degrees off and tights can really make the difference between manageable and teeth chattering in some circumstances.
Please resist the temptation to come as a candied almond. While pastels are darling on children, and look charming on some 20 year old Instagrammers this season, pastels, like lace, can be very aging – very granny-in-her-jammies. Think about what colors work on you and find a strong true shade of that. Furthermore, a deep color helps you stand out in the floral crowd and makes you easier to find for your guests or event staff.
A good place to start is with details. Look for a dress or jacket with interesting details – whether it’s a deep V neckline, or an unusual collar keep the attention on your face. Necklines are very important post 50. If your décolleté reveals too much neglect try a bateau neckline. If hats are in order, restrain your jewellery. On such a social occasion avoid earrings or a necklace that may catch on your, or other people’s clothing.
A dress with a matching coat is a conventional solution, but a dress and short jacket can be equally effective. Do not overlook the wonderful Issey Miyake Pleats Please collection. These are pieces designed in the permanently pleated fabric Miyake developed and are a wonder. Not only are they completely comfortable because they are flexibly stretchy, but they pack like a dream and are washable on delicate in the machine. I have worn the same Pleats Please ensemble to my son’s wedding and two other weddings that followed. Tara Jarmon, Paule Ka and of course LK Bennett all may propose wedding appropriate attire but don’t hesitate to think out of the box!