Dress Shopping for Mother (92)

bonnie_nmiJune 8, 2007

This is so OT there is no doubt it belongs here! After much shopping, I finally found a suitable dress for myself for my son's July wedding. It needs a few alterations, but nothing I can't handle. Now to find one for my 92-year-old mother!! When she's having a "good" day, she is sure she can tolerate the 3+ hour ride to our home and the 2 hour drive to the wedding destination the following day. Other days, she says there's no way she should be considering it. Nevertheless, I have been relentlessly searching every large and small dress/department store in both the Ann Arbor and northern Michigan areas - many more than once - and I can't find anything she will consider wearing. Granted, many of the styles are for the younger crowd, but I have taken her several outfits that I thought were appropriately sedate, only to be told that they're too fitted, too low in the neckline, etc. She's 5' tall and wears a size 14 - a fairly easy size to find in petites - and I can shorten a non petite if necessary.

I know no one can solve this shopping problem for me, but I'm wondering if any of you know of an online or catalog store that deals in conservative clothing -- because that's what it's going to take to please her, I'm afraid. I'm starting to consider thrift and resale shops, but she'd be upset with me if she found out. LOL!! My other option is making something simple, but my garment sewing skills are pretty rusty, and she's very fussy. Nothing wrong with her eyesight or thinking!

Of course, after all of this, there's the very real possibility that she won't come up anyway. I have a houseful of company coming up for this weekend, so I'm going to give myself a stress-break, relax and go kayaking, and maybe someone here who helps outfit an elderly mom will have a clue for me.



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have you considered JCPenney? I was just looking there, they have some nice jacketed and embroidered special occasion dresses. That way if she is a no show, you haven't invested mega bucks...
just a thought!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 12:43PM
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Bonnie, I truly feel for you! I, myself, had that same problem a few years ago and finally ended up taking one of the dresses I got from my sister's closet when she passed away and having it altered to fit. I used to be able to get my dresses at Sears, but don't know if they still carry a lot of dresses. Another option you might look at is a dressy pantsuit......????? At her age, she needs to be as comfortable as possible....especially for the length of time the wedding/reception will take. If you go resale, don't forget to check out the bridal consignment shops.

My mom will be 90 in July and she was just visiting here for 2 weeks. She hates to wear a bra so I didn't make her. At her age, and around the house, who cares? I really didn't care if she wore one when we went out cause she would be in her wheelchair most of the time, but it was her call.

Good luck.....


    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 12:53PM
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Coldwater Creek is conservative (maybe a bit funky, but conservative). It's also kind of expensive.

Ann Taylor.

Christopher and Banks - although that might be a bit casual.

Good luck.

~ Kit

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 6:17PM
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Is Jacobson's still around there? They used to be very conservative. Lord and Taylor???? It's been a while since I've been in that area to shop. I'd look in Bloomfield Hills or Birmingham (maybe call and see what's available dress shop wise). Pricey but very conservative would probably be anything at Somerset Mall in Troy or Briarwood in Ann Arbor.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 8:30PM
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Check Ann Taylor, Coldwater Creek and Travel Smith. They may be a bit high but are all conservative.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 9:52PM
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Do you have Schweissers or Glad Rags in your area? We always call it the old lady store but surprisingly this spring my 83 years old mother, myself 51 and my 2 daughters 25 and 21 all got dresses for a wedding. I did see a much older women wearing the dress to church that I bought for the wedding. I thought it was a fun and sassy dress but maybe so did she!!! My mom orders from some catalogues and I will try to ask her the names.

I hope you got out to kayak today. I did and it was gorgeous. Got a little sun for the wedding tomorrow. Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 12:10AM
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Thanks for all the input! Yes, I've tried JCPenney, Lisa - four of them, to be exact. The two outfits I took home from there for her approval were both no-goes. I forgot to mention that she wants 3/4 to full length sleeves, not an especially easy summer find either. It's an outdoor wedding near the end of July and church dressy rather than formal will do.

Sharon, the Sears stores around us seem to have cut back on dresses. They carry mostly two-piece outfits with tops she won't wear. I have been pushing the idea of a dressy pantsuit so that nylons and shoes won't be an issue. She is afraid she'll be the only one there not in a skirt. I think an outdoor wedding will bring all sorts of outfits - and everyone will be looking at the bride anyway! So I'm still looking in that area as well. I've never heard of bridal consignment shops. I'll have to check the yellow pages.

Kit - I've tried Christopher and Banks - lots of cute separates, but nothing I could co-ordinate for her. I have found blouses there for her that don't have double and triple darts in front. I'm not familiar with Coldwater Creek or Ann Taylor, but will Google them tomorrow.

Nicki - As far as I know, all of the Jacobson's stores are gone. I used to love shopping there. There was a large one in Jackson, as well as Ann Arbor and Birmingham. (I grew up in Berkley, used to live outside of Jackson). I don't get to the Birmingham/Bloomfield area, but I've been in every store in Briarwood, Arborland and Westland while visiting Mom and my sons. We even drove over to Jackson to check out an Elder Beerman store there.

Beverly, Travel Smith is another new one for me to check out tomorrow.

Deanna, I've never heard of Schweissers or Glad Rags. I'll have to get up early tomorrow to run all of my Google searches!! No, I didn't get out kayaking, but I still have hopes. My son and his fiance are here now and they're going to take the kayaks down the hill to the lake tomorrow. Then a friend I used to work with is coming up for several days. We'll get out every day the weather permits.

Thanks so much for all of your suggestions. I'll let you know how I make out.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 10:28PM
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Bonnie, I didn't have this problem, but my sister did with our 84 yr. old mother. The wedding was a formal, 3 day affair. My sister took my mom to 26 stores and nothing suited her. And, my sister did like you did, bring things home for her to try on...they were also no go's. So, my sister told her that if she didn't pick a dress out by the end of the week, they were'nt going to the wedding. Strong tactic, but it worked. She bought one of the first dresses she tried on!

If I were you...I know I'd be stressed out from wedding plans, so I'd buy a conservative looking dress that would look good on her, and keep it at my house. I'd tell her I'm really busy right now with getting things ready for the wedding, but that I have the dress covered. It's here waiting for you...don't worry about it...you're gonna love it! If she comes for the wedding...she has to wear it. If she doesn't come, you can return it.

Good luck..and best of luck to your son!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 12:55AM
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My MinL used to like Appleseed's. There used to be an outlet in NH. I googled it for you: www.appleseeds.com. The dresses are pricey but you might want to give it a try. There is also Talbot's...www.talbots.com (I believe). This is a pricey one too. Did you check the Blair catalog? Or Chadwick's?
Good luck with this...
Kelly - NH

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 7:04PM
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I like some of the things on sale at Appleseed's.


Here is a link that might be useful: dress

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 7:11AM
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You guys are great!! My company just left - and yes, we did get out in the kayaks - great stress relief!! Today is DH's birthday, so I'm working on his special dinner and cake. Tonight I'll take time to Google all of your suggestions. My friend and I did pick up two outfits (both two-piece suits, thus fitting the long sleeve requirement!) from a small Penney's in Petoskey. One is just a larger size of one I took to her earlier. My only hesitation with ordering from a catalog or online is the return factor, but I'll look eagerly tonight!

Woodsy - I loved your suggestion of keeping a dress here until the wedding!! LOL!! -- but my mother is a very strong-willed lady, and that wouldn't work with her. I have friends whose mothers (younger than 92, too) will wear anything their daughters buy for them, but that's not the case here!


    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 1:13PM
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A bit about JCP returns (I use to work returns at JCP):

There's nothing different about catalog/online returns, but you don't get the price of shipping back. You can return both in store. I'm not so sure about if you return online orders by shipping them back, though.

Good luck on your continuing search!

~ Kit

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 1:26AM
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