If you’ve got an impulse to outfit your mom for your wedding, Houston bride, Barbara Coolidge Tibbetts advises you to fight it. Hard. “Brides dress their bridesmaids. Mothers dress themselves,” Tibbetts says—and, as co-owner of Houston’s T. Carolyn Fashions and author of “I Want My Mother’s Dress to Match the Napkins: Funny Stories and Serious Advice for Looking Your Best at Your Child’s Wedding,” she ought to know.
If your mother, or your groom’s, has already started searching for the perfect MOB/MOG dress, she’s probably aware of T. Carolyn, which is among the nation’s tiny handful of boutiques dedicated to dressing wedding moms. In fact, proud mamas travel to T. Carolyn from all over Texas, the United States, even other parts of the globe, to get that picture-perfect dress. If your mom doesn’t know about the shop, she’ll thank you for pointing her in the right direction. And if you really, really want to help, instead of insisting on that seafoam pantsuit or mauve-ish mumu, just buy her the book (available at the store, too). She’ll love it (unlike the mumu).
In the meanwhile, here are some words of wedding-dressing wisdom from Tibbetts herself:
“The three most important things in a dress are color, color and color. Color can transform a woman from being ordinary to being beautiful. This is your second most photographed day after your own wedding. If you don’t wear your color, you’re not going to be happy with the pictures.”
“One thing I have a real beef with is women executives who come in here and turn into bowls of jelly in the presence of the bride. When shopping for a dress, mothers of the bride should first go into the store themselves and see what the options are. After you’ve done that and narrowed your choices, take your husband or the bride. It’s important not to get confused by too many opinions.”
“Dresses run anywhere from $200 to $2,000, and we sell lots in the high range and lots in the low range. To find the right dress, and something within your budget, start shopping early—six months in advance. That gives us time to order without a rush charge, and with plenty of time for alterations.”
“The mother-of-the-bride and mother-of-the-groom should coordinate with each other—if one goes long, the other should go long. But they should each wear their own color, although it’s not a sin to wear the same color if they both look best in that color.”