Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mother of the Bride/Groom

The choice of what to wear as MOB - Mother of the Bride (or groom), is a hard one.  The bride may have specific demands of her own as to style and color.  In addition, depending on your relation to your new in-laws, you probably want to look better than the other mother (many mothers make that their one demand of me).  Regardless of in-laws and formality of the wedding, you will certainly want to look elegant, stunning, and regal.  Sure, the wedding day may be all about the bride, but as a mother of the happy couple, you will have plenty of time in the limelight too and want to look fabulous - preserved in photographic detail in all your glory for posterity.

Here are 3 simple guidelines of what to look for when choosing your dress:
1. Keep the bride's criteria in  mind. 
If the bride asks you wear blue, and you show up in magenta, you may stick out badly in the photos, and probably upset the bride - even if you aren't thrilled with your son's choice of wife, you DON'T want to anger the bride.  Bad things will happen.  Both karmically, and immediately (Bridezilla, anyone?).  An angry bride can ensure that you are not in the wedding photos, or have you airbrushed out later.  She can also exact vengence for years, alienating your son and limiting your access to your grandkiddies.  Are you getting the point here?  The wedding day is about the bride, NOT YOU.  If she says wear green, and you think you look terrible in green, work with a stylist to find a shade of green that does work, DON'T simply wear a different color.

2. Go with the time/theme/place of the wedding. 
If it is a morning beach wedding, it is probably going to be a much more casual wedding than an evening wedding at the Ritz, and you'll want to dress accordingly - or look really awkwardly out of place....
A good stylist can help here too, but remember, whether casual on the beach or in a nice hotel, you will want to dress more elegantly than you would for a casual coffee date with a friend, a tupperwear party, or the PTA meeting.  I recently attended a wedding where one of the mothers was dressed in a badly fitting casual dress with a tee-shirt underneath.  Since it was a more formal wedding, this did NOT look good.  Everyone kept asking if she was some cousin or even the babysitter for the guests' children, since she did not look like a member of the wedding party.  When in doubt, ask a stylist!  Even if you aren't in doubt, if you are not known for your exquisite fashion sense, ASK A STYLIST.  This is too important an occasion to just 'wing it'.  Which brings me to my next point.....

3. Dress for your figure and age.
Speaking of wings, we all know that flabby bit under the arm - the tricep - that bedevils most of us.  Unless your arms are tight and toned, look for a dress with sleeves or wear it with a jacket or a carefully draped shawl.  Remember, while not the focus of as much attention as the bride, you will still be the cynosure of all gazes.  Dress to minimize any less than ideal aspects of your figure (we all have them), and to emphasize your good points.  If your figure is no longer perfectly smooth and shapely (as in, if you are older than 12 and not a health fiend), consider an outfit more loose and flowing that gently skims your curves, hinting at your graceful beauty (which you still have), rather than a tight dress or skirt that will cling unflatteringly and show any curves you don't want attention drawn to.
Keep skirt/dress hems AT LEAST JUST BELOW THE KNEE.  No matter how good your figure is, women over 25 rarely look good in skirts that are above the knee in length.  Even if your figure is perfect, a too-short skirt or dress looks age-inappropriate.  Remember Madeleine Albright and her too-short hems?  (Click here in case you've forgotten...  )
She had neither the figure, nor the age, nor the career position, to make her hem lengths appropriate.

Also watch for fit - all too often women wear clothes that do not fit properly.  A stylist should be able to properly fit you.  Skirts should hug the waist, then fall gracefully, just brushing (NOT hugging) the curve of your rear.  Shirts and jackets can fit loosely or closely, but should never be so snug that your bra straps, or any extra rolls of fat, are visible. Shirts should always be long enough to cover your belly, even if you raise your arms.  Belly-baring tops are ok for teens, not for the mother of the bride.  Good posture will help your clothes fit better, make you look younger and healthier, and is healthier.  Back straight, shoulders back (not too far, they should make a plain across your upper back, not stick out behind you like wings), chin up, proud carriage.

Now that you are all dolled up and look smashing (and age appropriate), there is one other little point to keep in mind....

Be comfortable!
Make sure your dress is something that will be comfortable, that you can move in, that you can dance in.  Try wearing it around your house for a few hours before the wedding to see if there are any spots that pinch, rub, or poke.  The last thing you want is to be gorgeous, but have the effect ruined by your constant twitching, or have to leave the party early because you are so miserable.  Think this is impossible when it comes to formal wear?  Even if you are only used to wearing the loosest, most casual clothes, a good stylist or personal shopper can help you find something that will still be soft and comfortable to wear.  Consider silks - as satins, charmeause, chiffons, or velvets; or cashmeres if you want soft fabrics that will drape gracefully and be comfortable.  Silk is a very breathable fabric, which is also cool in summer, warm in winter, and amazingly easy to care for (coming in a future blog post, or contact me directly.)

For more information, or to schedule a complimentary fashion consultation for your big event, please don't hesitate to contact us at Tongue In Chic Design - 303-758-9858.
Remember, we also carry a selection of elegant, modest, clothing for Mother of the Bride or Groom.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Wedding Choices

Having just finished dresses for 3 weddings in the past 2 weeks, and having several more pending... I've been thinking about weddings and the choices people make for them.  It is the bride's day to look and feel like a princess.  Perfect strangers will all smile at brides, little girls will gasp in awe at her fairy-tale beauty and glamor.  A wedding dress should be chosen carefully to reflect the bride's taste, to not clash with the theme of the wedding (if there is one), to fit her perfectly, enhancing all her attributes and downplaying any less-than-ideal aspects of her physical form.
Wedding dresses may be new, family heirlooms, or recycled from the Goodwill.  They may be fussy and formal, or sleek and modern.  While Westerners are most familiar with wedding dresses in every shade of white (a holdover from the Victorian-era, signalling the bride's purity and virginity), dresses in every color are available and can be considered.  Most fair-skinned people look wan and sallow in white.  In some cultures (including many Asian ones), white is the abscence of color and therefore symbolizes purity and emptiness - death.  For them, red may be the ideal color of happiness and joy - the emotions associated with weddings.

Whatever the bride chooses, PLEASE, for the sake of future looks at your wedding photos, and fond memories of your wedding (not to mention the aesthetic sensibilities of your guests), pick a style that is flattering, that fits, and which looks good - not stained, not shapeless, not cheap-looking.  Pick a dress that YOU look good wearing, not a dress that wears you.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Michelle Obama...

Michelle Obama's fashion choices have been the subject of intense discussion and scrutiny since her husband began campaigning.  For once, we have a First Lady whose proclivities run more towards the commercial stores that everyone can patronize, and small designers, instead of established high-end luxury designers.

While many small American designers are trying their own campaign of getting the First Lady to lend her patronage to even more designers than the small handful she currently favors (even I pitched to her when I was interviewed on the radio some months ago), it now transpires that she has an entire website devoted exclusively to her fashion choices.  I cannot recall any First Lady since Jackie O whose wardrobe has so transfixed the fashion-watchers of the nation. 

Check out her website:   and be sure to post comments nominating us or your other favorite small designer for her next dress.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The new ABCs of closures...

Closures - zippers, buttons, and even velcro - are moving from the discreet and functional to the Aesthetic, Bold, and Completely inDiscreet.  Zippers are now used as accessories.  I use them as trims on garments, or exposed zips as a modern take on traditional garments - although I feel that exposed zips belong on edgy/cool clothes, not on classic garments that are elegant except for some odd large zipper just slapped on to make A Statement.
Zippers are not alone in coming out of hiding, as it were.  Buttons in all different sizes are being used together to adorning sweaters and shirts, and even velcro has been spotted in applications far from its traditional sporty origins.

I love these zipper accessories from Spring:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Free fashion show!

London's fashion week is coming up, and in move of unusual gracious generosity, there will free fashion shows open to the public (a shocking rarity) Sept. 18-19, so go!!!  And take photos for the rest of us...  For more information:

For the rest of you who are NOT going to make it, anyone who is in Denver is welcome to come by and check out our cool clothes and play all day...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Luxury Fashion Trends....

It seems that the latest in luxury fashion trends is.... getting the consumer involved in the design process!  Who knew?!  Well, we did, actually.  Tongue In Chic has been working with our clients from the very beginning, making sure their voice is an integral part of the finished product.  Anya Hindmarch is the latest to jump on the 'custom' bandwagon, however, allowing buyers to 'customize' their product by selecting from a series of a handful of options is not quite the same as turning them loose in a veritable playroom of luscious, sensuous textiles and letting their play create the finished product...

Feel like playing?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Tongue In...What?

Many people ask about my shop name - Tongue In Chic Design (Chic is pronounced 'Sheeek' not CHICK - it's French).
I based the name on the English phrase 'Tongue in cheek' - an expression in use since the 1800s that means (according to Wikipedia): "Tongue-in-cheek is a term used to refer to humor in which a statement, or an entire fictional work, is not meant to be taken seriously, but its lack of seriousness is subtle." 
Since the entire design sensibility of my shop is 'classic clothing with an off-beat sensibility' - clothes that are not tied to trends and are subtly witty in a way that Chanel is just classic with no wit, I decided to make a pun on that phrase, substituting the word Chic (which is pronounced almost the same as Cheek), which means something fashionable. 

I invite you to stop in and see exactly what we mean by unserious clothes - and we don't mean funny or silly!  If you want to look smashing, not classically boring, and you want something with panache and flair (panache and flair are sold separately  ;>  ), Tongue In Chic is the shop for you!

Men's underwear predicts economy...

While we've always known to watch women's hemlines as an economic predictor, it now seems that men haven't been ignored. Men, who as we all know just *love* to shop, base their tightie-whities purchases on the economy. When things are bad, they'll keep wearing their old ones until they get too gross even for them, but when the money is rolling in, they're quick to replace old undies. Fortunately, this trend can be tracked without spot-checking men on the street, but it does still require more effort (and less joy) than watching women's skirt lines.....