Kirstie Clements: Dumpy, grumpy, frumpy. No wonder mums cry at weddings

What women of a certain age mostly want is something nice to wear to our sons' black-tie wedding.

What women of a certain age mostly want is something nice to wear to our sons' black-tie wedding.

I was watching the interminable ready-to-wear fashion shows when a male commentator in the Alexander McQueen audience helpfully enlightened me – and my fellow sisters – by confidently stating that women wanted to look “dangerous”.

That was new one.

We get told by male designers and stylists that apparently we want to look “sexy” every single minute of the day, that we want to “slay”. But I’m here to tell you, mate, that what we mostly want is something nice to wear to our son’s black-tie wedding.

This is the big gap in the market, the one designers studiously avoid. Dressing mature women of all shapes and sizes who want to look elegant and appropriate when the children get married.

The current trend for destination weddings in glamorous international locations in order to produce top-tier Instagram photos has also upped the ante for 60-years-plus mothers, who have been instructed to use Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief as our fashion inspiration.

There is a great deal of irony in this demand, given that it comes from the actual children who ruined our waistlines.

A lot of mothers have come to me for help, and I’m going to be in the same boat/Riva soon, as my son has recently become engaged.

One of the women, Jacqui, said she had bought a relatively plain dress but when her future daughter-in-law saw it, she commented that it wasn’t black tie enough.

The things we do for our kids

So Jacqui took it back and started again, visiting every designer store she could think of – more than once. She bought something at Zimmermann, decided later it was too girly and frilly for her, but could only get a store credit when she returned it.

Her main issue was cut, and I hear this from all the petite women – everything is cut to suit tall, slim model proportions, not 5-foot-0 (152 centimetres) with chunky upper arms. 

If you are looking for something decorative, it’s not as easy as just taking up the hem or shortening the sleeves, especially if they are lacy or scalloped. You will need to have a whole new sleeve reset.

It made me think about why that “mother of the bride” fashion reference is used with some disdain, meaning an outfit that looks a bit dowdy and homemade.

That’s because the poor mothers of the bride have had to resort to having something run up for them by a dressmaker, because off the rack Prada doesn’t fit anyone with regular arms and is $8000 for a skirt.

Jacqui eventually chose a beautiful silver-grey lace gown at Moss & Spy, although she did need to have the delicate, long sheer lace sleeves remodelled.

I have been idly thinking about what I will wear when the day comes, and the location is a mountain top-villa in Andalusía in 35-degree heat and I’ve been asked to channel Penelope Cruz.

I think it would be much better for everyone if they just eloped.

Topics: Fashion
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