Fashion search for 2023 begins

fashion needs

Happy first week of a new year!  Today, I want to share with you how my fashion search for 2023 begins.

2023 is looking to be a different type of year for me with several special events which will dictate my fashion needs.

Once I left the professional office life when sent home during the pandemic, I began to glean my wardrobe.

At that time, I sent away many of my professional pieces, and began to build a more casual wardrobe.

That has been my focus because it was my need to have nice casual pieces for a new work-at-home life.

However, 2023 is already dictating fashion needs in respect to up my causal wear and fashion needs for some special garments.


fashion needs

A review for anyone new here…the messages I want to send with my clothing are polished, approachable, creative, joyful, and current.

In looking at two trips we have planned in 2023, my fashion needs (and wants) are for more joyful, creative pieces.

Also, San Antonio is a colorful community and with Fiesta in April, there are always fashion needs for fun style.

I can easily do that with print toppers.

Why not use what you have?….you may ask.

Many of my toppers from the last two years are now too voluminous, and I need to replace them with a few smaller garments.

I do not mind volume, but lately I want to reign it in and not have too much.

I decided to begin my search for special pieces now, because the sales are so good and you never know what gems can be discovered.


fashion needs

I visited Dillards after Christmas because they always have great sales on quality clothing, and carry many designers who speak my creative/artistic aesthetic.

A kind lady listened to me explain my fashion needs and brought me the pieces you see in this post….I did not purchase anything…and will explain why.

The top brown jacket by Ali Miles is the Woven Jacquard Wire Collar Bracelet Sleeve Straight Hem Button Front Top

It is a beautiful jacket and, while not on sale, is reasonably priced, but I have an Eileen Fisher jacket that is very similar and I still wear it.

The next top is also Ali Miles, Abstract Print Brushed Knit Cowl Neck 3/4 Sleeve High-Low Hem Tunic.

It is cute, and I love a rounded hemline, but heavy fabric and too heavy for a warmer climate.

fashion needs

fashion needs

fashion needs

You all know I love to wear prints and love colors in my Vibrant Autumn Palette.

However, when considering fashion needs,  there are some prints that make me feel older and some that make me feel frumpy…it is hard to explain.

I cannot tell you why I did like these three toppers and a tunic…but the fit and the prints did not say current to me and that is one of my adjectives.

Well, I will say on the the tunic one…it is too big and the rounded collar too much…I really do prefer a V neck.

I guess because these hit a sour note with me, I forgot to log the brand of the tops.


fashion needs

I decided to walk around…this area wasn’t working at this time…and I headed to Bryn Walker, IC Collection, and Eileen Fisher.

Please remember, I am just getting started and there are so many special occasions on the calendar for 2023 that my head is spinning with fashion needs.

fashion needs

Honestly, I love this dress and almost bought it.

It is on sale and is an IC COLLECTION piece, Textured Woven 3/4 Sleeve High Mock Neck Midi Waistless Asymmetrical Hem Swing Midi Dress.

It is very funky, fun and current…but one size seemed too big and I wasn’t crazy about the smaller one.

It is a fun dress but really does not match up right now with my fashion needs…and I was so horrified when I saw my pasty white legs…I have some work to do.

fashion needs

Finally, I loved this Eileen Fisher Stretch Silk Charmeuse Crew Neck Long Sleeve Top in the color pine.

It is a lovely top and would work for my fashion needs.  However, this price on this top gave me pause.

Also, the majority of my fashion needs will be in warm weather and silk could get hot.  (forever, on the minds of South Texas shoppers!).

I also need to decide how I want to present myself at wedding showers, brides-maid-luncheon, rehearsal dinner, and, of course, a formal wedding!

Add that to two trips and special events…I have much to do.  Many of these places are not for jeans…and lately that is mostly what I wear.

Of course, I want my son to be very proud of the Mother of the Groom.

I will take you along on this journey with me to fill my fashion needs and decisions related to them.  I post what did not work, because just because these did not work for me, doesn’t mean they might not work for one of you.

One thing is for sure, I will be doing more in-store shopping this year, so that I am not constantly returning items.  

I need to see, touch, and try the fit before I know it it fills my fashion needs.

Thanks so much for shopping along with me….and also, thank you to all of you who took the time on New Year’s Day to comment on the posts…just the best blog audience around..

Let me know if you have anything to add about what I have told you as my fashion search for 2023 begins…..then….have a wonderful day and


By Pamela Lutrell

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fashion needs


  1. When I saw your first picture in the brown jacket, I thought how fortunate she saved that Eileen Fisher topper as it’s her color! Then you said it is one you were trying on similar to that EF jacket. Knowing you need clothing for wedding related events can be stressful so you are so smart to begin your search early. And then, you cannot decide on anything for the wedding itself until you know what the bride’s mother is wearing…or that may be passé wedding etiquette now. Since our sons’ weddings are long past, I’ll be excited to follow along with you as you make some decisions.

  2. Good morning! I am thrilled to know that you are sharing your search for a more formal year! I seemed to have donated many dressier pieces of my wardrobe since retiring that I really could have worked in to my dark autumn wardrobe. I can’t wait to see your journey. I love that dark brown jacket, but it must be the wrong brown for me. It seems that it would be lovely with black, but I have no intention of buying black. Did you think that it would work with any other fall colors? I love her tops , and a few solids are in some good colors for me, but most are tipped of with black. You look great, and it is interesting to see in prints the fine line of perfect prints vs dowdy prints. This is exciting and it is going to be a great year for you. I still have one adult child unmarried. I wish he would move things along! I would love to be shopping for events for a change! Good luck!

  3. What is great about a wardrobe built around your best color palette is that it all works together. I would wear this jacket with all of my fall colors…it would be beautiful with the kingfisher blues, or even red and orange.
    But, the blue and green is where I would have added it if I needed it.
    Thanks for asking, Deborah.

  4. The bride’s mother is a friend and I will be in touch with her and her daughter…I know the store they are looking at the most and will stop by there soon. I do not think it is passe, and I am well aware that the day is mostly about the bride and her family. We are so fortunate with wonderful in-laws for our sons.

  5. Pam, I admire you for shopping thoughtfully and not just buying something because it is “good enough.” That makes for a full closet with nothing to wear! This is a helpful post, since we have all been there. But……you do look fabulous in that dress.

  6. Thanks Marcia…that dress is super cool…and I pondered it a long time. One customer, I would guess to be in her 80s told me…BUY IT!

  7. Pam, I’ve noticed that with your slimmer figure solid colors are really lovely on you. It’s hard to find colorful prints that are flattering. The scale is often overwhelming. Maybe you add scarves for the creative flourish you love. I look forward to following your new wardrobe journey! It’s fun being the mother of the groom!

  8. How wonderful to be the mother of the groom and to be looking forward to a wedding and all that leads up to it! The search is on and it can be so much fun! I gravitate towards certain prints like paisley, polka dots and animal designs. Florals don’t usually appeal to me. I often comment that a print will remind me of my grandmother’s house; she certainly liked her designs big and flowery! I’m looking forward to reading about your shopping expeditions and how you pull it all together!

  9. Yes, it is fun… I have been mother of the groom once before, and also mother of the bride once. I do still believe it is possible for me to wear prints successfully..,not all the time, but occasionally. I hear what you are saying though. Scarves in a warmer climate really become more fall & winter wear. Occasionally I wear them in spring & summer. We will see!

  10. Thanks Linda…floral prints are very tricky. I wear them, but find myself more attracted to artisan prints. I have always struggled with polka dots for me….maybe there is a past association within me somewhere.

  11. I hear you- when planning to attend events of the type you’re mentioning,( fun) I too shop a bit differently. The pieces must not only fit my body, but must fit my personality and fit my spirit. They must also fit the event. Does that make sense?
    You do look gorgeous in the first two tops shown but I understand why you didn’t take them home.

  12. Not a bad idea to start with window shopping to get a feel for what is out there & what you like/don’t like.

    Have you sat down & sort of mapped out your wedding capsule? You’ve started with the events: shower, rehearsal dinner, wedding itself. Since you have a couple of weddings already under your belt you probably have a pretty good feel for the outline of outfits. For ex, wedding is probably something like dress, shoes, bag, jewelry, underpinnings. You know the time, so that dictates how dressy. Little by little, the focus narrows.

  13. Oh, I hope you have fun and lots of good luck! I’m looking forward to your journey. This past November was my daughter’s wedding and I ended up making a silk dress, because I knew I wouldn’t be happy with styles on the market. P.S. I did get a spray tan for her wedding, not necessary, but kind of fun–I did a “test tan” a few weeks before.

  14. I am on it, but there are some other details I will think about if I want to mention or not as we get more into this.

  15. I may do that…for the first time ever…get a spray tan…but I will also be getting purposefully out in the sun more often…yes, controlled time, and yes with sunscreen!

  16. This might sound weird, but have you looked at JJills Wearever line? I sense you are ready for some comfortable, but more streamlined and fitted clothes. I don’t mean for the wedding itself, but for the showers, etc. I love that you are looking at more fitted clothes, because that’s my own preference, and I will be doubly curious what you pick up. I’m pretty over the word “frumpy,” because it’s often applied by younger bloggers to judge older women harshly. But all the prints you tried on today I agree somehow screamed the “fr” word. Five thumbs up on the green dress … I thought you looked fabulous in it. That silhouette is so sophisticated, and being tall, you can carry it well. I also think that, while memorable, it’s versatile. Multi-season, worn with western-style boots, rope wedges, or dressier footwear and various handbags.

  17. I agree on the dress…and I do not mind being memorable at all. Yes, JJILL is on the list of visits! Thanks Linda!

  18. I don’t think your legs look bad in that green dress with the metallic shoes. Yes, it harks back to the white stocking fad of the 80s?, but the light legs go with the dress and shoe. However, I don’t think you’ve been watching your diet and exercising to be wearing a dress with wings across the hips, so I agree with your accessment that this is interesting but not the one.

    I think in-person shopping for wedding clothes is the way to go, and I would keep a close eye on stores because often when they get formal/dress-up wear in for a season that’s all they’ll have for that season. I went shopping for my late October Mother-of-the-Groom dress and the store was full of Winter holiday dresses. Shop earlier to get your size in a dress in your price range. Otherwise you end up having to spend more or not finding something you like.

  19. So fun! Both of my sons are bachelors, so I have never been down this path and appreciate you sharing.

  20. As a past MOG, a friend of mine said, “wear beige and stay in the background.” Since I look like death warmed over in beige, I wore a navy dress and agreed with whatever the MOB wanted to do. The main thing is to enjoy yourself and support the couple in any way they ask for.

  21. HI, Pam, my son will be getting married in May, and I have never been through this, so I will be following your journey. I won’t be attending showers or luncheons if there are any. I’m in RI and the wedding is in WA state but need rehearsal dinner and wedding reception outfits I don’t know the bride’s family at all, but I love the bride a lot, so I know she’ll clue me in about what she’s thinking and how formal she will be (as well as colors). My son, as yet, knows only that he’s wearing a suit – LOL. Along the way, maybe you can share why I need to know what the bride’s mom is wearing? I am 5’2.5″ and she is eight inches taller than I am. I can’t imagine that we will have much in common from a style perspective.

  22. Thanks for sharing your search for the outfits you will be needing. We will have 3 weddings in 18 months. Each one very different for the clothes I will need. So I will be watching and reading your posts for ideas. Happy New Year

  23. Maeve, in our weddings, I have never asked what the other mom is wearing. I do pay attention to the bride’s colors. I am also not a beige, stay in the background person. I just want a gown for the wedding I am confident wearing and can dance in!! I will keep everyone informed as I make decisions!

  24. This will be fun to follow you as you prepare for these special happy events. It may be stressful for you but I am glad you are bringing us along. happy New Year!

  25. Hi, Maeve and congratulations on the upcoming family wedding! I’m the wedding coordinator for a large church in Fort Worth, and one of Pamela’s regular readers so I wanted to chime in on your “why ask the MOB” question. With photography prices what they are these days, most weddings want a cohesive look for the wedding party and immediate family members so their outfits complement each other in those very expensive photos. Normally, the MOB will choose the color she is wearing (usually from a palette of choices suggested by the bride) and then the MOG chooses her color so that they don’t match but complement each other and the wedding party. Also, having one mother in a floor length formal gown and another in a short, sparkly cocktail dress looks like they aren’t attending the same event. Grooms are no help whatsoever, so chatting with the bride and possibly her mother if you already have a relationship is an easy way to figure out what’s expected of you. In my daughter’s wedding the MOG went rogue and bought a light aqua dress because it was on sale and a good color for her, while the palette was hunter green, champagne, gold metallic and ivory. We love her to pieces, but it looked weird in December wedding pictures. While I don’t agree with the old “shut up, show up, and wear beige” adage for MOGs that was the standard for decades, it is helpful to recognize that it’s the bride’s big day and going along with the overall color plan and level of formality will help facilitate a good relationship with your grandkids’ future mother and the other grandparents!

  26. Pamela,
    Good call on all those print pieces! I love the confidence you’re showing in knowing what works for your new body and what doesn’t. I love the weird green IC dress in that amazing textured fabric, too, but don’t need the bulk around my hips. The seamstress in me started thinking “maybe I could just alter out that extra bulk, but thankfully I came to my senses and decided not to ruin a statement piece like that. If the green or rust were still available in my size I might be tempted, but no need to add to the pile of “aspirational alterations” I’ve already accumulated! Looking forward to following your MOG dress journey, and I know you will rock whatever pieces you choose!

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