Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Note for the Mother of the Groom

Mother and son
Imagine, your son is the groom! This is the happiest day of his life, and one of the most honored times in yours. You are bound to have a mixture of emotions, from pride and happiness to tears of joy. You will want to dress beautifully and stylishly to enhance the lifetime memories to be created. You will be greeting guests and family members and be photographed in family portraits. This is a Big Day to be graciously shared.  For, without you, there would be no dashing Prince Charming for the lovely
bride, your new daughter-in-law you will cherish as your newest family member.

We can make suggestions for you to be as chic and colorful as any mother deserves. It's customary to consult with the bride and her mother before choosing your dress. Consider the location, time of day, degree of formality, season and color scheme. Choose a style of formality compatible with the bride's mother and a color that coordinates, but does not match exactly. As the groom's mother, you can enjoy much flexibility. You can dress as formally as the bride's mother, or you can choose a slightly less formal look in a similar color family.* The bride may make suggestions as to style and color, or will at least let you know what her mother has selected.  Do choose a color that looks well on you. If a color is suggested that you do not like, choose a flattering color that will blend with the bride's theme. There are colors that are considered in the neutral range that nearly everyone can wear, such as silver, gold, lavender or turquoise. The consultant at the bridal or dress shop can help you.
Paige and Christy (mother of the bride)
In the past, it was traditional that the groom's mother would not wear black, or other dark colors, 
or ivory, or bright red. However, today, such decisions depend on the bride's feelings and the fashion colors of the season. Traditions are changing and many more colors are acceptable. We have seen many non-tradtional looks that have been lovely. For example, some brides choose a black and white theme, or a navy blue and white theme.  The bridesmaids will be dressed in black or navy. This can be sophisticated and photogenic. For the mothers' dresses, the bride might may suggest navy or a bright contrasting color. The bride is usually more concerned about her mother's dress. However, as a courtesy, do let her know when you have chosen your outfit.

Sometimes a bride chooses a specific about a color theme to carry out. An example is for a destination wedding where she plans artistic photography to show the friends and family back home. There will be only a few members of the bridal party and honored guests invited. The bride might ask both mothers to wear a specific color to create balance in the photos. It also will mean fewer clothes to pack as the accessories work with all mix and match combinations. Although only a small percentage of brides choose destination wedding in far off places, there are variations on this concept. Some have private ceremonies at one location, followed by a larger reception nearer to home. Some couples have ties to both coasts. Or some are having second marriages. These are all examples when a bride might choose a non-traditional yet stylish look. Then with time, other brides with more conventional circumstance see the look and adopt the idea for their own wedding. That is how fashion trends are created and new traditions begin to be formed.

Traditionally the parents of the groom are responsible for the rehearsal dinner. If that is the case in your family, then you might want to choose a stunning outfit for this occasion. Here, you have flexibility as to style and color. To be on the safe side, if your families are more conservative you would probably stay away from solid black or white. For the more relaxed style of the rehearsal dinner, you should have no trouble finding colors and styles to choose from in street-length skirts or casual outfits. While mothers of the groom are typically not as included as mothers of the bride in the planning, they should still wear a festive and happy color to signal their joy.

Mothers of the bride Marie (l) and groom Sue (r)
Color ideas can be viewed at the following website:
*The category of dresses is referred to as "mother of the bride," however, mother of the groom is also included. We encourage mothers of the groom to enjoy themselves in choosing attire as festive and flattering as the mother of the bride as you will be greeting your family and friends, too.

Joanie Char boutique in San Francisco offers a wide range of custom-made styles in women's special occasion clothing to make any mother of the bride or groom look beautiful. If you are not local to her store, call for a consultation. Photos and swatches can be sent for your consideration. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT. Samples of Joanie Char fashions for mother of the bride or groom and special occasion attire can be viewed on the post below,"Mother of the Bride/Groom Ensembles," dated Saturday, 11/26/2011. 

Joanie Char Boutique
537 Sutter Street
San Francisco CA 94102
Phone (415) 399-9867                                               (c)2011JoanieCharDesignGroup

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

When the Wedding is a Destination

Joanie Char's Silk Chiffon Jacket & Satin Skirt
In Solids & Prints (c) JoanieCharDesign

The intrigue and romance of a destination wedding makes for a unique and memorable series of events. This is sometimes the choice for second marriages or slightly older couples who have already set up their homes. The wedding dress chosen is sometimes casual or informal.* With advance planning, traveling mothers of the bride and groom can carry this off without a worry. When planning your wardrobe for the wedding weekend, there are some special considerations. The key is to coordinate your outfits so you can put together a maximum of varied looks with a minimum of pieces. You will want to choose a color theme in travel-easy, light-weight fabrics that shed wrinkles and adapt to changes in temperature. With destination weddings, you are likely to be with the same people continuously for several days. You will want to look fresh, however long the festivities last, and no matter what climate surprises Mother Nature may bring. Choose fabrics that travel well, such as natural fibers like silks and wools that retain their shape. For casual wear, Tencil is a good choice.

Upon your return, there might be a more traditional-style reception to introduce the newlyweds to friends at home. Each of these special events often require special outfits, as photos will be snapped to commemorate the occasion. You'll want to be wearing different outfits to each event to make it unique and special, rather than feeling you are doing a replay. 

For your daughter's or son's destination wedding, Joanie Char Design can assist you in styling your look. Everything you will need for a destination weekend, from casual novelty tops and easy, comfortable slacks, to dressy skirts and jackets, and luxury silks is available in a fashion boutique. Choose from a wide range of separates in colors-- from pales to neutrals, to brights and richer hues. Make this your destination shop. Or by phone, call for a consultation for your custom orders. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p. m. Pacific time. Be sure to mention this blog.

*Some  first-time brides have also chosen formal gowns and a romantic destination to meet with family residing there.

Samples of Joanie Char fashions for mother of the bride and special occasion attire can be viewed on the post below,"Mother of the Bride/Groom Ensembles," dated Saturday, 11/26/2011. 

Joanie Char Boutique
537 Sutter Street
San Francisco CA 94102
T (415) 399-9867
F (415) 399-9892                                  (c)2011 Joanie Char Design Group

Monday, November 28, 2011

      Selecting Your Mother of the Bride or Groom Outfit

Julie with her sisters and mother, 7 May 11
                                              A smart black and white wedding theme in London.
Finding your perfect mother's dress ensemble begins with some advance planning. Normally, you would take your cues from the bride and wait until she has decided on the style of her gown, her bridesmaids dresses, and chosen her color scheme. Your first considerations are the level of formality or style of wedding your daughter or son has chosen, the date, the location, seasonal climate, and time of day. You can  get ideas by leafing through bridal magazines, visiting the mother of the bride sections in bridal shops or the evening wear section in department stores. 

Mothers' looks tend to have simpler, more elegant, cleaner lines than in the past. Long dresses with jackets, dressy suits, or silk pants ensembles are more popular  than the formal fussy gowns of the past. Tea-length or even knee length dresses can  look fresh and new. Mothers dresses do not want to look bridesmaids but they an harmonize in color or style, if desired. However, this is not necessary. You'll want to be in a related color tone and range.  

Sleeve treatment is another concern. Many mothers tend to favor  outfits with sleeves. The detailing on sleeves can be a festive, novelty treatment.  Choose a color that is compatible with the bride's theme, but do not match it. It is best to avoid any shade of ivory, champagne or bisque. Also avoid black or red, unless the bride has chosen black or red as her color scheme and would like for you to wear it. The bride can also let you know what color the other mother is considering. The bride's mother is supposed to choose first and set the tone. But sometimes she delays, if that is the case, the groom's mother need not also delay if she knows what she wants. Mothers tend to wear dignified colors that will harmonize well with the wedding party. Some suggestions, depending on the season and the bride's palette, are lavender, periwinkle, turquoise, burgundy, or silver.  If the bride is choosing a contemporary scheme for dramatic effect, such as a black and white theme, mothers  still do not have to match the wedding party but can choose a contrasting color. Or accessorize a black dress with bright or contrasting color.   

As  you look in specialty fashion boutiques or department stores, try on various styles to get a sense of what looks well and feels comfortable. You can't tell how flattering a dress looks until you try it on. Let the associate or stylist help, as evening wear is sized differently from normal sizing. Alterations are usually included for free or at a nominal charge. It is best to shop with just one or two other people--your daughter or a friend. But don't bring a group or you will end up choosing nothing.

Mother\'s love | Father\'s emotion

Some women are fortunate to have husbands who enjoy shopping. Just make sure your husband understands the dress color and code and that the floor sample in your size is not going to be the dress in the color you will order. At the end of the season, the floor samples go on sale, but they are usually ivory or black. The bride is normally the only one in white. A color next to her dress is often prettier than an ivory outfit, unless the bride has chosen that ivory and white as her theme.  Sometimes, mothers think they will want to wear the dress again and are trying to be practical. For other parties, a dress in a color can be worn as readily as ivory. If you want a neutral, choose soft silver or pale gold. Then if the next occasion to which you wish to wear the dress is a wedding, you will not have a color dilemma to face. 

If you are proportionally built and a standard sample size, you may well find that many dresses fit you and some look great. If you tend to be conservative, you might want to stretch yourself to broaden our outlook as to what you will wear. However, if a dress absolutely does not suit your personality,  pass it by. We find that sometimes the best person to help a woman make her final decision is her husband. 

Andy and Rita

Some women may feel that their figure is not the ideal they once had and therefore start to compromise their expectations. There is no reason to settle for the wrong style. There are plenty of options if you can give yourself enough time. Consider separates, or dresses with jackets, and experiment with various hem lengths in skirts. There are also many dressy pants options.  Keep in mind that you will be wearing the dress for a number of hours and be moving around a lot, greeting guests, dancing, perhaps even snapping a few candid photos of your own. Look for built-in comfort features, such as bias cuts that move freely and hidden side elastic in the waistbands of skirts or pants. When choosing the style, the concept is understated elegance. The goal is to choose a dress that does not draw attention from the bride. People will be looking at the mothers, plenty of attention will be coming your way. During the course of the wedding day, there might be temperature changes. If your dress is custom-made, a matching or coordinating jacket or shawl can also be requested. 

If you have  another child's wedding coming up, you'll want to wear a different dress for each wedding. Photos are going to be taken of the same family members at the separate weddings. You won't want to be photographed in the same dress. Your children will feel special if you choose a different dress for each of their weddings.

Mother and Bride
The bride chose an ecru dress for her mom. The style and fabric are thematically related to the bride's dress in her all-white wedding. 
Once the mother of the bride has considered what she will wear, she gives the groom's mom a call. However, some mothers are not too fashion-conscious and not  interested in shopping for the right dress. What the other mother is wearing might not be a concern to them. If it is your son who is getting married, and you are looking forward to assembling your new outfit, consult with the bride if her mom has not initiated contact. Let her know you wanted to check on the color scheme, her mom's choice of outfit, the level of formality and the hem length.
Mother of the Groom, Mother of the Bride

Mother of the Bride and Groom's Mother

Accessories are chosen after the dress. The right accessories in jewelry, shoes and purse, will complete your look, creating harmony and beauty. A necklace can provide the finishing touch,  an artistic piece can give an extra flair to your outfit and give you a fresh, contemporary look. This is the time be creative. If you "always wear pearls," then consider a double strand to look special. Think along the lines of completing a fashionable costume rather than feeling you must wear your traditional heirloom piece. Have fun with your look, it will boost your confidence on the day when a lifetime of happy memories are being created.

Husbands sometimes accompany their wives to help her with the final decision. Such men know what looks well on their wives. They ignore what she thinks of as her figure flaws that she scrutinizes in the mirror and magnifies in her mind. They are thinking of the wife's beauty, whereas the woman can be very self-critical. Husbands often suggest a style a bit more daring than the wife had considered. We may have had the same thought, but knew the wife would not consider it, so we didn't show it. When the husband pulls it from the rack, his choice often turns out to be the right one. A woman can radiate confidence in the right outfit. 

A husband also will often encourage his wife to put together the entire outfit at one time, helping choose the necklace and earrings. We have had husbands return on their own the next day to purchase her second and third choices for the other events related to the wedding such as the rehearsal dinner. They are practical-minded. Effort has gone into shopping, researching and deciding. They feel she chose an outfit to please him, he can surprise her with an outfit that will also please her. A husband enjoys making both of them happy on this day full of emotions.

Our Wedding
The bride and the mother of the bride. Lorelle and Adele photographed by Dave Melbourn

Color theme ideas for weddings and dresses can be viewed at the following website:

To see classic or novelty looks for women's special occasion clothing, visit Joanie Char boutique in San Francisco. They will suggest flattering styles and colors for your figure type and personality. They offer jewelry and will custom make your outfit.  If you are not local, you may call for a consultation and have swatches and photos sent to you. Samples of Joanie Char fashions for mother of the bride or groom and special occasion attire can be viewed on the post below,"Mother of the Bride/Groom Ensembles," dated Saturday, 11/26/2011. 

Joanie Char Boutique
537 Sutter Street
San Francisco CA 94102
Phone (415) 399-9867
Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT                                      (c)2011 Joanie Char Design Group

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mother of the Bride/Groom Ensembles

Joanie Char Silk Ruffle Neck Coat with Narrow Leg Pants.   Silk  Mandarin Jacket 
with Palazzo Pants (c) Joanie Char Design

Joanie Char Silk Chiffon Jacket & Silk Satin Skirt
Available in Solids & Prints (c) Joanie Char Design

Joanie Char's elegant silk separates make selecting your mother outfits easy and enjoyable. Visit the store to see a wide range of styles and colors to suit your figure. Or call for a consultation. 

Joanie Char 
537 Sutter Street
San Francisco CA 94102
Telephone (415) 399-9867
Mon. through Sat. 10-6 PT

Dressing the Mother of the Bride or Groom

The Bride\'s Mother

The Wedding Date is Saved! Now, What is Mom Going to Wear?

The excitement of your daughter's or son's wedding plans take center stage. So many things have led to this thrilling event. First was the initial enthusiasm of the engagement, followed by the wedding date announcement. Then meeting the other parents-- your future family members. Once planning begins,  there is an important person whose needs are sometimes overshadowed--that person is the mother of the bride or groom! There tends to be so much focus on the young couple's preparations and that of their attendants, that moms often postpone the vital decision of planning what to wear!

You will want to look your loveliest on your daughter's big day, yet,  there are lots of reasons that this decision tends to be neglected. For one thing, you might not have shopped for a special occasion outfit in a while.  A Mom might simply not know where to begin or what to look for. You might have an idea in mind of overly formal attire that does not seem to suit you. Happily, times have changed, styles for special occasions have become more relaxed, more youthful and fluid. Today's selections are designed to flatter mature figures, are comfortable, easy to wear, and graceful.

The sooner you plan your outfit for the wedding, the better.  Once that all-important decision is made, there are related special events to consider. What will you wear for the shower or engagement party, the rehearsal dinner, or breakfast following the wedding day? You will be seeing a lot of the same people, and lots of photos are going to be snapped. You are going to want different outfits for each occasion. You might choose outfits in varying styles ranging from  casual to dressy, yet all should coordinate. This will make your life simpler, especially if you are traveling, and will help create your "signature syle." There is a place where your needs can be met, with elegant, affordable solutions.
Joanie Char Design specializes in stylish wear for any occasion--whenever you want to look your best. Her dressier styles include stunning styles with hand-sewn couture detailing.  She offers pure silks in various textures, shapes, and colors. Outfits can be three piece ensembles of a stylish jacket over a silk shell completed with a skirt or pants. Choose from straight and sleek to flared with flirty hems. Or finish your look with slim pants or flowing palazzo styles.

For more casual events, she offers charming novelty designs in linens, wools, or blends. Choose your color scheme-- the new pales, or vibrant color statements, or sophisticated neutrals. There are flattering styles for every style preference from feminine to tailored, and for every body type--from petite to tall and full-figured. Custom-fitting is included and alterations are free.

Joanie Char Design can work with you in two ways. You can visit the boutique located in downtown San Francisco, California. Or you can consult with Joanie Char on the phone. Custom orders are
easily handled through the mail. If you would like a special look for grandmothers, too. Joanie Char Design can coordinate outfits for all honored guests and members of your wedding party, too.
Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT. Samples of Joanie Char fashions for mother of the bride and special occasion attire can be viewed on the post below,"Mother of the Bride/Groom Ensembles," dated Saturday, 11/26/2011. 

Joanie Char Boutique
537 Sutter Street
San Francisco CA 94102
Phone (415) 399-9867
Fax (415) 399-9822                                           (c)2011 Joanie Char Design Group