Mother-of-the-groom journey: hits & misses


Happy Tuesday, friends!  Welcome to an update on my Mother-of-the-groom journey with hits and misses!

Yes, there has been a “miss”, and I want to address it because I promised to take you through the journey as the mother-of-the-groom.

My desire was to help others who will be mother-of-the-groom or even a grandmother in making your best confident clothing choices.

So, let’s get started…with a positive note…in my mother-of-the-groom journey.



Last weekend, we were invited to the bride’s parent’s home for hors d’oeuvres, wine, and gift opening with the happy couple.

We are only 19 days away from the big event, and it was a blessing to share this time with our young adults and watch them open some special gifts.


The food was delicious and our hostess shared how several items came from Trader Joe’s. 

And, as always, it was a beautiful display and setting.


Right down to the couple’s love of their golden doodle!

I chose to wear another of the Italian designed washable silk tops from my favorite local boutique, Elizabeth’s Boutique in San Antonio.

I am such a fan…perhaps there is a little Italian inside of me somewhere.

The fit of these tops is so flattering, and they are cool and comfortable…heat is beginning to set in.

I also love this vibrant color and that is why I asked Mr. B to take this photo by a neighbor’s beautiful display of flowers.

This mother-of-the-groom felt great in this outfit.  A bold print not for everyone, but definitely for me.

I also wore my JCP a.n.a. jeggings in white…the cost per wear for me on these are so low because I wear them often…such a great deal.

And I am wearing the Jack Rogers Collins Casual Sandals.

For me, this outfit was a hit for a nice, comfortable, casual evening with new family members to be.  I felt very comfortable an appropriate.

The mother-of-the-bride looked perfect in a black, tiered, cotton casual dress…which brings me to my next topic…dresses!



I told you I would share with you what I wore to the lovely spring bridal shower…but I am not going to show you.

What we do here more than anything is discuss clothing and I feel an obligation to have the good and the bad as part of the discussion.

First, allow me to emphasize that these events really are all about the bride.

If you did not see what she wore in Spring Bridal Shower: All About the Bride, you really need to see her dress…she was the star…again, as it should be.

Also, sometimes I stress over it too much and once I was at the shower and got over my epic fail, I relaxed and had a wonderful time visiting with her friends and family members.

Here is the background.

In the post titled Mother-of-the-Groom journey: A Texas ranch luncheon, you saw me in another Italian design….a dress I love.


My original intention was to wear to the ranch some beautiful Eileen Fisher pants and a brown top, and wear this dress to the bridal shower.

That would have been a hit….appropriate choices for each event.

But, my beautiful daughter showed up in town for the shower and wore a wonderful green dress, so for some reason, I grabbed this dress and wore it to the ranch.

(I know you are saying…she really is overthinking this)

Perhaps…but, when I went to get dressed for the spring bridal shower, I was out of dresses to select from…a couple are being saved for wedding weekend festivities.

So, I put on the Eileen Fisher pant outfit and headed off to the shower.

Where I was the only one in pants and the only one NOT in spring colors.

At first, it really, really bothered me, but as I got into the events of the day….I let it go.

For those of you who originally wrote that the mother-of-the-groom should be in the background, well, I was.

The reason I am not showing you this look, is because I do not want anyone to think I recommend It for a Spring Bridal Shower.

Dresses are the preferred attire…or pants in spring colors…put not really what I ended up wearing.  Everyone there was in a dress.

It is not as bad as wearing a huge hat to the coronation and blocking the view of others behind you…(sorry Katy Perry)…but never-the-less, to me it was a failed decision.




As I looked around at the many lovely dresses, the women were wearing, it occurred to me that there was perhaps only one design that I would actually wear.

Dresses remain difficult for me…though, as I am in process of losing some of my middle, it is getting a tad bit easier.

But the Italian dresses that I have discovered at the boutique check all of the boxes for me.  I just cannot wear them to everything.

I wrote recently about the importance of dressing current to help us feel youthful and confident.

I do try my best to do that, but there are many, many trends that do not work for me and will actually make me feel older.…especially with current dress trends.

The mother-of-the-bride is tiny and she looked perfect in the tiered dress last weekend, but a tiered dress on me, adds weight.

I have tried on so many dresses of this style and they just do not flatter me or build confidence.

I also must be careful with florals…some work but few…a bolder, artistic floral looks better on me than a smaller print.

Then, there are many many designs with belts or ties in the middle….again adds weight to me.

I do not want to the “eye of the beholder” drawn immediately to my middle.

The Italian tiered dresses are sleek, and slimming.  My only challenge with them is to cover my arms and as the heat is on that becomes a little problem.

I like the other designs which are called shirt dresses, but many of those are too casual.

Headlines of blogs that really frustrate me include….5 SPRING DESIGNS EVERY WOMAN MUST OWN….something like that.

Every woman will not look her best in every design or trend…just the facts.

Alas, such is the plight of a woman desiring to wear more dresses in a youthful, flattering, confident way with little selection.

I hope you do not think I am whining…I do not want to appear so…just to acknowledge for some of us, shopping for dresses is a stressful activity. 

Any comments you have on my mother-of-the-groom journey: hits & misses are welcome. 

Sometime in the near future, I will wear this pant outfit for a different occasion and picture it here…the pants are lovely…despite, it all, I hope you will join me as I……


By Pamela Lutrell

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  1. That feeling of not being appropriately dressed can definitely put a damper on the event you are attending. I have not worn a dress in years mainly because I do not like for my legs, and arms, to be exposed, and it seems that no one wears hoses anymore. I can cover my arms, but I’m very self-conscious of my legs. I keep thinking I will try one of those long, tiered dresses, but have not done so yet. I’m sure that your smiling face, and lovely demeanor were what people were aware of, but if one is uncomfortable in their clothes, unfortunately that too may be reflected in their attitude. However, many years ago I read an article that stressed how little people remember or pay attention to what we say or do so I always take comfort in that thought.

  2. I hope I didn’t reflect it at first…I know I eventually got over it and enjoyed the day and the people. Gift opening was fun and the other guests very sweet!

  3. Pamela-
    I always cover my arms. I’ve had sleeves made for a sleeveless dress and it’s worked beautifully! I’m
    Short so I went with 3/4 length slightly loose sleeves. You can always find a matching fabric. So often if the dress looks good on one part it exposes another. Another time I bought 2 dresses ( on clearance!) so plenty of fabric for sleeves.

  4. I attended a bridal shower in a lovely mint green chiffon type dress, looking quite fetching. Every single woman at the shower was in shorts or Jean shorts and tank tops or T shirts. So, I was mortified. I will admit that I tend to overdress at times, but jeez. I guess that crowd was just very casual.
    I’m learning, and I love clothes but my casual life doesn’t call for much dressing up.
    I’m sure you looked lovely as always.

  5. Thanks Mari! I support being the best dressed in the room! I bet you looked amazing.

  6. I don’t know why dresses are so difficult to get right. It would be great to wear a casual dress, especially in summer. But every time I try one on it just doesn’t look good, no matter the style. Is it a mind game, a sudden shock from the usual pants and top combo? By the way, the blue dress with jean jacket looks fabulous on you.

  7. Thanks for sharing your story, Pam. We have all been there. However, I’ll bet you looked lovely in the brown outfit. Your positive attitude and confidence is what will shine through. Besides, it’s fun sometimes to NOT look like everyone else. I’d like to see the outfit.

  8. It is hard to be a ‘fish out of water’, especially if photos are being taken. It is also difficult to find the right dress these days. (I am very envious of those slimming boutique dresses.) Then, as a fellow autumn it is sometimes difficult to fit in with the riot of spring colors. These days, there may be one in 100 dresses that I would wear. Tiers. Flounces, ruffles, small prints…none for me. Thanks for sharing this story, Pam. You have been so gracious to share this journey with us, and the reality is that along with the joy comes a bit of stress and occasional wish for a do-over. I have the same feelings as I look at some of my photos at my son’s wedding. Then I just focus on the bride. Your overcoming smile and ability to put your discomfort aside is the True Lesson here!

  9. Yes I too have dressed bit “off” for various functions but none lately. And yes, I think I know how you felt-vaguely out of place(?)
    But once the event got underway I soon let it go. It was not an event tied to either of my children’s weddings however.
    I imagine you still looked lovely and slim. I keep one all off white pants combo tucked away for summer events when I’m unsure. With a change of jewelry I change the feel with it! I also don’t think dresses are as “all in” up here in the North as they are where you live, in a much warmer climate. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  10. I, too, am in search of the perfect dress topper. Someone recommended Masai cardigans found at Nordstroms.

  11. When I see those headlines about 5 things every woman must have, I page on by! There’s never anything for women our age at all. And white, collared shirts ( evidently one of the things you MUST have) don’t become everyone so why make women feel as if they must have several?
    A silhouette that has worked for me for years is a shift. I think it would work on you too, Pam. The problem is finding ones that are not too short and that aren’t sleeveless. But it can be done, I have a couple that I bring out now and then. I would never have thought I could wear this style, but it does work to skim the figure. I like your tiered dresses too, but I never feel comfortable in tiers. The colors are lovely.
    I’m sure that you were beautiful at the shower. Life isn’t all 100% hits, we’ve all been there.

  12. I have one dress, no skirts, in my closet. I gave them all away a few years ago. Here’s why: I need supportive or orthopedic shoes. No heels, no pumps, no sandals. So it struck me in reading your post, that we women are locked into these archaic notions of feminine dressing. I’d be in pants or leggings at a bridal shower myself (hide the ugly shoes and keep my ankles and feet warmer so less pain) and I contrasted your angst with what I’d also be stressing about. I thought to myself why do we women do this to ourselves? Men don’t fret over their attire in general and their clothes are much more comfortable. Maybe not those skinny pants men are wearing now! My husband gets dressed in a nice suit, not the baggy old fashion kind but not the tight, skinny leg style either, and he’s comfortable. And he’ll wear the same suit the next event and not think he needs a new outfit cause he wore that suit last time. His suit attire is considered dressy but a woman is only considered dressy in a dress, and a new dress at that. Why? I’m more and more questioning these societal norms that restrict women and cause us anxiety. I’m mostly writing to say I hear your angst about wearing the pants. And I want to reassure you that you did good being the “rule breaker” as the lone brave woman in pants. We need to release ourselves from the old, tired, unhelpful fashion thinking. We can still love fashion while freeing ourselves from fashion rules that don’t serve us. I know you looked great!

  13. I certainly know how you felt seemingly not being dressed appropriately. I’ve done it so many times. I love the tiered dress but may I suggest you look for a thin blouse to wear as a jacket. Solid or colorful would not be so heavy looking with the airy look of the dress. I probably would also have worn pants. So, many of these dresses now look like the “prairie” style of old. Since most of the guests probably were young your solid look was most likely better than you think. Still liking your new hair style.

  14. First I want to tell you that you look fabulous in the silk print top. lt’s wonderful that you have found a boutique that carries such unique items that really suit you like the dresses you are modeling today. A shop like this knows its customer base and tends not to get caught up in the latest fleeting trend. I’m sorry you were initially bothered by being the only one in pants and very glad it was brief & you were able to enjoy the shower. I can really resonate with your insight “As I looked around at the many lovely dresses, the women were wearing, it occurred to me that there was perhaps only one design that I would actually wear.” That is so true. Style preference, body type, age, etc. all contribute to what we feel good wearing. Like you I like to feel current but right now nothing that is “on trend” really suits me. I also find shopping for a dress stressful. I’d love to have one in my closet that I could easily accessorize for different settings. I hope you don’t take this the wrong way but I’ve been thinking why we as women are concerned about not wearing the same outfit again. Men don’t worry about this. But we do. I know have. Should we? I know as Mother of the Groom you are more noticed than other guests but I would venture a guess that no one would judge you for wearing a dress they have seen you wear before. And thanks for reminding me to keep smiling.

  15. Thanks Susan…I love those dresses. They are flattering to the fit, they do not make me feel old, and I believe look current. It really is difficult to find many that get it right.

  16. I try not to leave the house unless I am confident in what I am wearing. I would be confident in the pant outfit I did not show probably under any other circumstances.

  17. Usually, I do not mind being the different one, but this was one occasion where it bothered me like never before. I did get over it, but will remember next time I am invited to a similar event.

  18. Thanks Deborah…once the bride arrived…my complete focus was on her and that helped immensely. I forgot what I was wearing.

  19. That may be correct, Paulette. I do remember working in NYC one time very long ago, when most of the women were wearing lovely dresses. But that was a long time ago.

  20. I will look at them, Annie. The problem with cardigans where I live, is that they can be very warm and not comfortable unless in air conditioning.

  21. Thanks Babs…I cannot remember a time lately that I felt that way when I first arrived. We all must remember that comparisons are deadly and can ruin wonderful times for us. I am glad I eventually let it go and enjoyed the event.

  22. The jackets were worn because when I wore these dresses, the weather was colder. But, not I will be looking for lighter options…thanks for the suggestion Cathy.

  23. You are right…men do not care or think about it! Sometimes I wish I could be more like that. I have been pushing Mr. B to get a new shirt for the rehearsal dinner…but I don’t think it will happen. He will wear something he already owns and be fine with it!

  24. My son was married this past weekend and I was lucky enough to have a very light (almost open stitch) cardigan in a light gray. I haven’t worn it in years but it was perfect over my Rehearsal Dinner dress, which is dark navy with lighter floral design. I got the sweater from Talbots but haven’t seen anything remotely as nice this year. I’m still looking though because it is so versatile.

  25. I don’t think young women (or men) stress as much about appearance. You wouldn’t believe what some guests wore to my son’s wedding last Saturday, Attire ranged from floor length dresses (a couple casual), to party dresses, to pants. One of my son’s friends wore (nice) jeans with his dressy shirt and jacket. He lives in Rome, and looked very chic Roman to me …Anyway, it was interesting. The important thing — everyone had a terrific time, and my new DIL was gorgeous.

  26. Chiming I’m here a little late. I too dislike almost all dresses on me, especially in these current puffy, tiered, very feminine iterations. I too felt I missed at my sons bridal shower. Because I was days away from my breast reduction, I didn’t want to buy anything new and ended up in something I’d wear to school … black pants and a colorful top. Our family is small, and I knew almost no one there, making me feel even more exposed. It never feels good to think you are inappropriately dressed. But it’s over and one “miss” is a “so what,” right? It’s long in the rear view mirror.

  27. One time I attended a memorial service at a park. I dressed not in all black, but mostly black and darker colors. Somehow, everyone else had been told to wear white. I felt like an old crow among the swans. Of course, white is a mourning color in some cultures. I felt awful for a while, but what could I do. It was more important to show up for the event than worry about what I was wearing. I would also like to say that for those who don’t like the look of their legs and avoid dresses, I still wear opaque tights that are very lightweight but dark enough to hide the issues. Southern California is pretty mild where I live, and I get that any kind of hose or tights in summer is not always comfortable. However, it works for me.

  28. You weren’t whining just stating a fact. Dress shopping IS hard. I am short & at the upper end of misses sizes or the lower end of plus sizes. Most dresses & skirts these days are not flattering to my particular figure. Some have told me to just have them hemmed. That is not always the answer as hemming can ruin the line of the garment. I know that I look best in a-line styles that hit just below the knee, but those are not existent in today’s world. Perhaps by the time my recently engaged granddaughter gets married, things will have changed, as fashion is ever evolving. Thank you for sharing your story of your fashion miss. I appreciate your honesty, & I think we have felt that way at one time or another. I’m glad you were able to put your feelings aside & enjoy yourself.

  29. Sounds fun…it will be interesting to see what some wear to this one, but I anticipate more formal attire.

  30. It is in the rear view mirror…if I hadn’t promised to write about it…it would be farther back!

  31. Mary, I completely understand those feelings. At the beginning of the shower, I also felt old wearing what I wore. I just reprimanded myself mentally and stopped thinking that way…but I get it. So sorry you had that experience.

  32. The many ways you present yourself are always lovely for you and appreciated by your readers. Thank you.

  33. The story is a little complicated to follow, but what I get is that if you’d followed your original layout you’d have felt more comfortable at both the shower and the ranch event. But, you had a moment, possibly influenced by your daughter, and you switched your choices around.
    So you and your daughter were in tune to each other at the ranch, but possibly a little out of tune with the crowd. It happens! Plus, you were “supporting” your daughter.

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