Dear Francesca, I have been reading your column for several months now. I am a petite bigger girl; 5’2″ and around a size 18-ish, with an hourglass figure. My daughter once told me I was not allowed to call myself “fat” when she was about 4 years old; “Mama, I just call you soft.” *melt* Such a sweet girl!
I have a bit of a dilemna. My father is remarrying in early October. My statuesque stepmother-to-be will wear a beautiful Dessy nu-georgette strapless gown in aubergine, and the “wedding party” (my stepsister-to-be and daughter, the maid of honor and flower girl, respectively) will wear Jim Hjelm chiffon gowns in a beautiful shade of purple (“tranquil”). I would like my siblings and our spouses to fit in with the general color palette. (Won’t the family pictures look stunning?) My husband and brothers will be
wearing black suits and shopping for purple tie (and/or shirts), and my sister-in-law will likely shop for a new dress.
I would like to find an attractive tea-length dress, elegant, not too casual, preferably classic in style — able to be worn again. I’m having trouble figuring out where to look in places that won’t break the bank. I work full-time and live in a smaller town without many bridal shops. I am expecting to mail order a dress, hopefully with enough time for alterations.
If I can find the right dress, I can reuse a pair of beaded black shoes from my brother’s wedding 2 years ago along with a darling black beaded purse I’ve got.
Can you help me find something lovely and flattering? Am I asking for too much? I’m worried I won’t find anything reasonable in time.
Thank you for any assistance you can provide!
Indeed, the wedding photos will look stunning as you say. Francesca loves purple! She also loves when brides eschew the tradition of wearing a white dress, and instead embrace the colors which make them (and, one hopes, their bridal party) look and feel superfantastic!
Francesca wishes to point out to Becky and her sister-in-law that since the bride has chosen to wear a deep purple, it would be best to avoid similar shades such as eggplant. Just as it is gauche to wear an all-white dress to a white-clad-bride-wedding, so too it would behoove one to allow one’s new stepmother to look unique in the wedding photos.
Francesca will assume that it is OK with the bride for family members who are not technically in the “wedding party” to wear colors in the same palette. It seems reasonable to Francesca for children of the bride and groom to be color-coordinated, but it is always best to check with those are doing the marrying.
So, we are searching for an elegant, tea-length dress, available in size 18, which will work with the “tranquil” dresses without clashing with the aubergine. Francesca is relieved to see that the Becky expects to have to make alterations, as it is probable that any dress we find will have to be shortened. Them’s the breaks.
Here is a lovely cocktail dress in lilac which would work beautifully with Becky’s hourglass figure, and whose black trim would make the black shoes and purse less jarring against the pastel dress:
Here, a similar dress in black and ivory would complement the purple bridal party quite beautifully.
Here, too, is a sweet dress at — believe it or not — Home Shopping Network. With the hourglass figure, it could be worn to great effect with a pretty black belt, and may hit the tea length on the woman who is 5’2.”
At HSN, Francesca also found this fetching number, which, in silver will once again complement the wedding party without trying to matchy-match it. The beaded accessories and elegant earrings and necklace would bring the outfit to an appropriate level of wedding fanciness.
Francesca wishes Becky a good time at her father’s wedding!