My future mother in law and I went shopping for a dress. Not just any dress. The Dress. Well, her dress.
She joked she needed something beige — to blend in with the walls.
We settled on something blue, violet and silky instead.
Turns out, my future mother-in-law (FMIL for short) is an even easier customer than me. She fell in love with the first dress she tried on.
On a sunny Tuesday back in the beginning of April, my FMIL drove to Ventnor to Linda Greenspun’s shop, A Touch of Panache at Jenny’s.
She had dresses with jackets all ready.
The jacket-dress combo was exactly what we needed because at Orthodox Jewish weddings women are expected to cover their arms. And legs. And cleavage. It’s an issue of modesty. An issue that made it next to impossible to find a bridesmaid dress — that juicy column is in the works, I swear!
But, Linda said, many mothers — bride’s or groom’s, religious or not — want to cover their arms.
“Bubby arms,” my FMIL said. And the last thing she wants to look like is a Bubby, Yiddish for grandmother.
So jackets are good. And if a dress doesn’t have a jacket, a seamstress can fashion one out of extra material. Or you can buy your own material at fabric row in Philadelphia or somewhere closer.
Most women, I imagine, can go with a lovely shawl.
We started out with two choices: The first, a sparkly jacket with swirly lace paired with a floor-length navy dress that would match my color scheme (blues and purples). The second was a patchwork jacket — loose and flowy — over a navy dress with roses embroidered on it.
My FMIL bee lined for the second. She was half in it when she declared it a winner. When you know you know, eh?
It really is perfect. It’s kind of hippie-ish. The jacket is more of a tunic. Lavender rosebuds are painted onto silk squares and sewn together with lace and satin. It’s the right amount of fancy and breezy.
And it’s just her style.
Arguably, the central issue of any wedding — if a wedding is the event and marriage the excuse — is style. Oh, that’s terrible. I don’t mean that at all.
Well, I meant the part about style. It is central.
But I’d like to address the wedding vs. marriage debate for a second. I can assure you, dear readers, that I am more dedicated to being a wife than a bride. It’s just that the day-to-day grind of maintaining and growing our relationship doesn’t make for great writing. It might sound something like this: “Joel painted the deck today. I’m afraid the stain is uneven, but he told me he would do a second coat . . .”
Or: “Joel had a bad day today so we watched Monday night wrestling. I know it makes him happy but it’s sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo stupid.”
So back to business.
We ordered my FMIL’s dress. It was a tad too big, and I insisted she get the right size. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the most basic rule of dressing well. And, by golly, we are all going to be *very* well-dressed Aug. 12, come hell or Tropical Storm Irene 2: Revenge of the Tropical Storms. Shudder.
Think dry and moderate weather, people. I know I am.