My daughter is getting married this fall, which means I’ve got a lot of planning to do in the next few months. These days, weddings are pretty complicated and the planning can get overwhelming, but until recently, we haven’t hit any major snags. Things were actually going very smoothly (my daughter is making some very smart choices, thank goodness), right up until the minute I decided that it was time to start shopping for my mother-of-the-bride dress. And then, at least for me, things came to a grinding halt.
Honestly, I expected this. My body has always managed to be different sizes in different places, so dresses that fit well are never an easy thing for me to find, and I’m used to a long search whenever I need to buy one. For me, buying a dress is almost as difficult as buying a swimming suit, and my system is the same: head into the dressing room with as many as I can carry, and keep trying on until I find one that doesn’t look completely awful. That goes into the “maybe” pile, and when I get enough dresses (or swimming suits) in the “maybe” pile, I go through them and pick the best of the bunch. I’ve been doing this for years, and it works for me.
But now that I’m middle aged, it’s become hard even to find a store that caters to someone my age and with my tastes. The malls are full of small stores that target teens and twenty-somethings, with maybe a Chico’s or a Talbots thrown in almost as an afterthought. There’s usually a department store or two with a small section of clothes for “women”, as opposed to “juniors,” but I’ve never had much luck finding something I actually want to buy. And when I do find a store for “mature” women, I can’t help but notice that most of the other customers are past retirement age by at least a decade. Call me vain, but I still don’t always want to wear the same clothes as my mother. (No offense intended, Mom!)
Just once, I wish the people running the stores would realize that there are lots of middle-aged women out there who are still shopping for clothes, regularly heading into the mall with our credit cards and our high hopes. And that some of us (like me, for instance) have short, somewhat rounded figures that do not look good in the long, flowing fashions that are usually offered to women of a “certain age,” and that still others of us do not like lots of fringe, leopard stripes or sequins. We want comfortable, nice-looking clothes that flatter our middle-aged bodies and are appropriate for wearing in our normal, everyday lives, as well as the occasional dressy event we may attend. It doesn’t seem so much to ask.
Meanwhile, the search for my mother-of-the-bride dress continues. And if anyone has any leads on where I can find a fancy dress that looks good on a middle-aged woman with a small bust line, short legs and ample hips, let me know! And please, no sequins. I look better without sparkles.