Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Mother of the Bride Shopping.

As a child growing up in the late fifties most of my clothes were made for me either by a lady who lived upstairs or an older cousin. I remember well those days of standing on a footstool having a dress pinned on to me. I can still feel those pins pricking my arms and around my hemline.
One of my hand made dresses
I was invited to a neighbour's wedding when I was about eight years old and the lady upstairs made my dress from red velvet and also a matching hairband and little bag,my mum called it a Dorothy bag. I think that was the poshest dress I ever had.
My mum would find a paper pattern she liked for a summer dress and I would have about six dresses made in that style in all different colours and patterns.
As I hit about ten or eleven I started to rebel and wanted dresses bought from a shop. I wanted to be the same as everyone else but looking back on it from a mature point of view my dresses were always nice and a lot of work went into them.
As a teenager in the late sixties early seventies my favourite shop was Chelsea Girl which I have found out is now River Island and where my daughter shopped as as teenager.
My wedding dress was made by my older cousin. I didn't even go into a wedding dress shop and try one on, I looked at patterns from a book and picked one.

Now I'm older and not a size twelve anymore shopping for clothes is not such a wonderful experience and this is where we get to.....
Shopping for a mother of the bride outfit.

I like to shop on my own. I know what I like and what I don't so I thought I'd have a good look around the shops first before taking my daughter with me. A trip into Glasgow city centre where I looked in all the posh shops I usually pass by, tried on lots of outfits but didn't see what I was looking for.
 I even visited Frasers Department Store, which made some memories flood back to me. My aunt used to take me into town with her, and told me Frasers was the poshest shop in Glasgow. She lived a different life from my mum who looked after two children as well as nurse her invalid mother. My aunt had no children and always going to dances and going on holiday and loved buying clothes. After shopping and visiting Lewis's toy department we would go to Frasers for high tea which was tiny sandwiches and scones and cakes.
 I still didn't find anything in that whole store.

I ventured over to Partick where a wedding shop called Catherines has been for seventy years. Yet again this was somewhere I would come with my aunt probably fifty years ago and if my mum had something special to go to she would come too. We would ride a bus into Glasgow and then get a subway train over to Partick. This was the only time I would ride the subway and I found it exciting.
I'm such a big softie and feeling emotional these days so I was hoping I would keep any tears at bay as I entered the shop as I thought about the last time I walked through the doors with my mum and my aunt.
I have to say I also didn't like the thought of having a personal shopper showing me each outfit and waiting until I tried it on but when in Rome and all that.

The lady who served me was lovely she made me feel at ease. I knew what colour and style I wanted and tried on three dresses with jackets and found one I really liked. She persuaded me to try a hat on and I couldn't stop laughing at myself as I last wore a hat when I was about twelve years old. She said to keep it on as we spoke because I was out my comfort zone and would soon get used to seeing it on my head. She was right as I ended up thinking, "Yes it's nice I do suit it"  That woman was good at her job!
I have never been known to buy the first dress I try on (who would?) I said would be back with my daughter to allow her to see it.

As usual the best laid plans go aft astray and my daughter was on holiday for two weeks then she was working at weekends so when I saw a sale in another shop I persuaded hubby to accompany me.
Again the sale's assistant was very nice and showed me each dress in the sale in my size. I despaired as I shook my head time and time again. Then we looked at the outfits which were not part of the sale.
 I said I would try them on but they were either low cut or had straps instead of a small sleeve or made me look fat.
She couldn't understand why I didn't want to show off my boobs or why I needed a small sleeve. I felt like the most awkward customer the world has ever seen. If I had been left to my own devices I could have told her just by looking at the dresses that they weren't for me. I said again I would come back with my daughter.

Leaving the shop I said to hubby that it had been a good idea to go there and he looked at me wondering why I had had a different experience from him.The reason it had been a good idea to shop there was I knew I had compared everything I tried on to the one I liked at Catherines and there was none that topped it. Hubby suggested we just go and buy that first dress.

This is one of the many reasons I love my hubby he is good at making decisions. When we arrived at the shop the same assistant served me and she remembered me by my necklace and my watch. I obviously do not have a face that's well remembered, just my jewellery.
I loved the dress every bit as much as I did before and if I had just bought it in the first place I could have saved a lot of time. Hat,shoes and bag and I am set to go.
I love my outfit and I can't wait to wear it while I watch my beautiful daughter in her beautiful dress marry her true love. Next on the list is waterproof make up because I just know I will cry.
Like the bride my dress is under wraps until the big day and then I'll share some photos.....well every girl has to have a secret.


  1. That red velvet dress sounds awesome! I dislike shopping for clothes and always have b/c my mom is the indecisive one and it drives me batcrap crazy. I am a 'I like this, I'm getting it, that's it, no I don't want to look around more' person. Congrats to your daughter! When's the big day? I'm getting married too and I have a dress I got a couple years ago. Not a wedding dress, more like Hogwarts dress, but i'm wearing it anyway. I don't like the styles they are showing these days. Strapless gowns are really in and they don't look good on 95% of the women out there.

  2. Nearly all my dresses were homemade when I was a child, and I even had a navy blue velvet dress. Believe it or not, Chelsea Girl was THE shop to buy clothes when I was a teenager too. (This could possibly be because we are about the same age!)
    I've been Mother of the Bride twice and had a hat for the first and a fascinator (?) for the second, with ridiculously expensive outfits which haven't seen the light of day since. These posh shops really make a fortune on us gullible mums who just want to please and impress! It is very exciting though, and I can't wait to see the pics of your special outfit.

  3. We had a huge Chelsea girl in Glasgow. Loved it. I agree about the prices I was so annoyed about that but I only have one daughter so I won't be doing it again. I'm hoping I'll get a good photo taken as I don't photograph well.

  4. She's getting married on Nov 1 st. Why am I not surprised your dress is like a Hogwarts dress? Lol! I'm sure it will be beautiful.

  5. I'm sure you'll look wonderful.

    A few months before one of the daughter's weddings I was in Vietnam and found a wonderful pair of yellow silk pyjamas - not the sort one would ever wear in bed, for they had floaty legs and fitted jacket and were simply lovely. Not many brides' mothers go to the wedding in PJs!

  6. So glad you went back for that favourite outfit and I can't wait to see it! I had a similar experience as a child. My Grandma and Great Aunt had a private dressmaking business. They made all my clothes and I remember that scratchy dress-full-of-pins experience and their regular warning, "careful of the pins!"

  7. Awww, glad you found your dress! My mum was a nightmare for picking an outfit last year when my brother got married, it was months of torture!

    Ooooh I'd love to have dresses and outfits tailor-made! It's one of my (pipe) dreams to be able to make my own clothes. Love the photo, that's a risqué length of skirt young lady! :) x

  8. That dress is long compared to what I wore as a teenage Catherine. I have been a nightmare too hunting for an outfit. My hubby is so pleased I can stop talking about it now.

  9. Thanks Ros. Did your aunt and grandma have a pincushion the wore round their wrist? That memory just came back to me. I think the worst thing was taking off the dress while it was still full of pins.

  10. They sound lovely Jo. One of my aunts had a pair of silk pyjamas her daughter sent her from Singapore (back in the seventies ) she was going to wear them to a dance one night,they weren't like yours and looked like pyjamas my mum and me could hardly tell her for laughing. In my younger days I have worn two cotton nightdresses to dances they were lovely,far too nice to wear to bed.

  11. I so enjoyed reading this, Anne. Because of my studies, I'm staying off FB and Twitter at the moment, so I'm enjoying reading blogs even more. This is a lovely nostalgic and heartwarming post. I'm so glad you found a lovely dress and I think the way you made your decision was just right. I'm now looking forward to the wedding to see a photo of you in it!!

  12. we are soo the same vintage: My mother made my dresses (no consultation and in colours I didn't like) until I was 14 ..when I rebelled! We had a Chelsea Girl in St Albans - it was, with Peter Robinson, the first ''teenage'' boutique! Those boxes look so tempting...good on you for keeping us all in suspense! I am sure you will look stunning (not as stunning as the beautiful bride) and we're all agog to see wedding day pics!


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