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Helpful tips for mother of bride or groom dress shopping

Posted June 4 2014 by

1380784_10151900764191685_1209395551_nHelpful tips for mother of bride or groom dress shopping.

For many women shopping for a mother of the bride or groom dress can be a scary task.  There are so many things to worry about and we all have had a friend what was taken advantage of or had a horrible experience when they special ordered their gown.  The following points are things women say to me ALL THE TIME and I thought I’d take a moment to address the Top 10 things women say to me when they begin their dress shopping.  Hopefully I can take some of the drama out of it for you.

  1. “I am SO FAT & DISGUSTING! I can’t stand myself!  I can’t even look in the mirror without wanting to throw up.”   STOP!!!!!  That is a horrible thing to say to anyone ESPECIALLY to you!  Be kind to yourself.  Life happens, weight comes & goes.  A loving heart & a lovely personality is the most BEAUTIFUL thing in the world.
  2. “I want to look good because I don’t want to embarrass my son.” Seriously?  Unless you start doing body shots with the groomsmen during the cocktail hour, I’m sure you will not embarrass your son.  He loves you.  He’s always loved you.  You raised him not to care about appearances.  What makes you think he’ll suddenly wake up & judge you or your weight?  Focus on the love between you & your child.  That’s all that matters.
  3. “I don’t know what I want to wear.  The other mom is a little stick & can look good in anything!”  Ok, so the only person that compares you to the other mom is YOU!  KNOCK IT OFF!  You won’t even be standing next to the other mom for many pictures.  RELAX & breathe.
  4. “I can’t wear that.”  How would you know what you can or can’t wear unless you put it on?  Do you wear formal gowns on a daily basis?  Of course not, so let’s put it on & see what we’ve got!  Be a little positive & you might be pleasantly surprised.
  5. “I’m fine. I don’t need your help.”  I understand that many women don’t like people to hover when their shopping, HOWEVER this is my profession not just my store.  I am a fountain of knowledge that is free to you.  Use my experience & expertise!  I won’t let you leave here looking anything less than spectacular.  It’s ok to allow me to assist you.  I’m on YOUR team and I’m free with the price of the dress. ;-)
  6. “I don’t want to spend a fortune on a dress…. but if I see something I love then we’ll see.”  Ok, ladies, I don’t mean to be preachy but determine your budget before you go shopping & stick to it.  We offer lots of great options in a myriad of prices.  I promise not to judge you based on what you can afford to spend on a gown you are only going to wear for a maximum of 12 hours.
  7. “I’ll know it when I see it.”  Most likely you won’t.  When a dress is on a hanger they almost always look horrible & do not give you a hint as to how they will look on.  It is best to give the professional you are working with the details of the wedding.  Show us a few things you might like and then allow us the opportunity to put you in a few things that we think might work.  We should know our stock & how things fit.  I can usually identify styles that will look good on you that you might never “see” on a rack.
  8. “If I like the dress, then maybe I’ll let you fit me for a proper fitting bra.”  In this case we’d be attacking the problem backwards.  In many instances women can go without a heavy duty girdle or SPANX if you have a well fitting bra.   Click here about the importance of a bra fitting.  We offer free bra fittings daily.  I promise you that the well fitting bra makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE!
  9. “Order me a size smaller.  It’ll give me incentive to lose weight.”  This is a HUGE mistake…. HUGE!  Dresses can always be taken in but you cannot make a dress grow.  Go with the size you need at the time you order it and then take in if necessary.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve held firm & insisted customers stick with the size they are & not the size they think they’ll be.  Recently I had a woman pick up her dress & it fit perfectly even though it wasn’t the “smaller size”.  She said to me, “Thank you for insisting that I get my regular size.  My brother died suddenly last month and I couldn’t focus on my diet & never lost a pound.”  Whew!  Disaster averted.
  10. “The wedding isn’t for a couple of months.  That’s plenty of time to get a dress, right?”  Not exactly.  So there are 2 different kinds of dresses.  Off- the- rack dresses and special order dresses.  Off-the-rack dresses are usually $250 and under, they cannot be ordered in other sizes or colors, and your choices are limited. Special order dresses are usually $250 and up.  They allow you to choose the color & size you want.  Usually they are dressier with more bling.  The biggest drawback is that they require 2-4 month lead time.  Then you need to allow for alterations that you may need.  If you want options, then you need shop about 6 months before the wedding to eliminate wedding drama.

Hopefully I have been able to shed a little light on Mother of the Bride or Groom shopping for you & have given you a little food for thought as you embark on your shopping adventure!  Now get shopping!

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How to choose the best dress for your plus size bridesmaids

Posted February 28 2014 by

 How to choose the best dress for your plus size bridesmaids.

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Though a wedding is a wonderful event in a couple’s life we also know that picking the right attire for the day can be somewhat daunting.  Picking bride’s maids dresses can bring its own brand of crazy.  Nowadays bridesmaids are given more input as to the dresses they wear & when you have a bridal party of varying sizes it can be extremely difficult to make everyone happy.   Here are a few helpful hints on how to choose the best dress for your plus size bridesmaids.

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  1. As a rule of thumb I often tell to brides to pick a dress that the largest girl looks the best in.  Usually the small bridesmaids will be equally flattered in the same dress.
  2. Keep in mind that most plus size women do not like exposing their arms. So maybe choosing a dress with a wrap or a picking out a shrug or shawl that they can wear that day will make them feel more comfortable.
  3. If shrugs, shawls or sleeves are not options then maybe you want to choose a dress with a built up strap for a little more chest coverage & bust support.
  4. The cut of the dress is very important.  I often suggest A-line or a full flowy skirt that allows for a little more camouflage than say a sheath dress.
  5. Fabrics are pretty important as well.  I’m not a huge fan of satin for bridesmaids’ dresses.  Satin is pretty unforgiving and can show every ripple and bump, not to mention it gets a little prom-y.  I’m partial to chiffon & matte taffeta for bridesmaids’ dresses.  They are forgiving fabrics that are also cool and comfortable.
  6. Length of a dress can be tricky as well.  If your maids have heavier legs, then I would suggest a long length.  In general I like a long on a plus size woman no matter her height because it “stretches her out” and makes her look leaner & longer.  Should you opt for short dresses try to coordinate the hemlines of the dresses on your bridesmaids so that in the pictures it looks like a straight line or a curved line verses a hodge podge  You’ll thank me for this little tidbit when you get your pictures back!

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All in all I suggest that the bridesmaids & the bride have a little flexibility when dress shopping.  But keep in mind allowing the plus size bridesmaids some input on the dress choice will ensure their cooperation and will make them more likely to be supportive and help you with anything that you need help with. If they are happy, they will be more likely to keep you happy throughout the planning and the big day.

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Buyer Beware of Chinese Knockoff Dress Websites!

Posted February 11 2014 by

Buyer Beware of Chinese Knockoff Dress Websites!


The manufacturers of the bridal and formal lines we represent at Botticelli have made us aware that internet sites are using their photos to sell gowns.  After some investigation there is over-whelming proof that these are not authentic gowns and legal action is pending.   I assure you the designer’s legal teams are ferocious in their endeavor to stop these companies.

In many cases these illegal factories are located in China and have been shut down before gowns have been shipped and customers are out of their money.  In the rare occasion the dresses ship they are destroyed in customs as a result of US TRADE AGREEMENTS on designer “knock offs”.    Furthermore, these companies are not even selling the gowns pictured.  Again, the gowns are knock-offs, just like a designer purse knock-offs, with inferior construction, fit and fabrication. Those that I have seen have been un-alterable if even wearable.

It is impossible to name all the internet sites because new ones appear every day and if you have any question if the web site is legit PLEASE contact the designer directly for verification.

A few easy tricks to identifying a knockoff site is:

1. Pay attention to their use of grammar & spelling.

2. When you see a site that has international payments accepted (pic below) then that is a RED FLAG right there!


3. When you see dresses discounted even by 25% it is not a legit website.  Designers have a set retail price for their gowns & they do not allow discounting.

Remember, you are making the biggest decision of your entire wedding and none of us in the bridal industry want to see you wedding become a nightmare.  If it seems too good to be true, it ALWAYS is.

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How best to chose a photographer when you are a plus size bride.

Posted January 22 2014 by

How best to chose a photographer when you are a plus size bride.

Picking your Photographer for your wedding may seem like a daunting task to any size bride, but for a plus size bride it can be EVEN worse!  So many brides I meet are self conscious and they hate being the center of attention.  In their everyday lives they tend to avoid the camera & they know they can’t escape it on their wedding day.  What does one need to look for when looking for a photographer? Here’s what Marisa Bettencourt from M.Studios in RI had to say about this, “My best advice is for the couple to look through the photographer’s blog and find weddings with plus size brides. Does the light flatter her? Is the photographer using the bride’s best angles while composing the shot? The idea isn’t to try to make her look smaller but to flatter her as she is which is beautiful.”   If you cannot find any pictures on their blog or on line, then don’t be afraid to ask for an example of their work or ask to see a portfolio of pictures they have of plus size brides & moms.

”I would also say that the fit & style of the dress is the very first step, which is where you come in Janet! What looks good on a size 2 may not flatter a larger size and this will be reflected in the photography! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a bride say “do I have back fat?”! If there is even a question of back fat (for those who don’t know, that’s the skin on your back that puffs out over the top of a strapless dress that is too tight). If the styling is done right and the bride feels confident the photography will reflect that.” Marisa goes on to say.

Here are a few other things to consider when choosing a photographer.  Your photographer basically controls the pace of your day.  They make sure they get all the key shots & still make sure your day runs on time.  If the photographer has no concept of time, you will be late all day long & the rest of your vendors will be running late as a result.  I once went to a wedding where the photographer & the caterer had a fight on the lawn because the whole day was running 2 hours late. Yep, the bride was an hour late for the church & then the photographer held up the day by an hour waiting for the “sun to come out” for outside pictures.  Needless to say, it was a hot mess!

Though they are usually floating throughout the day trying to be unnoticed they play a vital role in your wedding.  I highly recommend that the photographer be someone you enjoy and fits your personality.  If they get your personality, they are able to capture that and you will have amazing photographs to cherish for a lifetime.   As far a price goes, you may want to opt to spend a little more on the photographer and a little less on something else, say flowers.  Flowers die and cake gets eaten but photos last a lifetime.

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What’s the Difference Between Plus Size Dresses and Regular Dresses?

Posted January 5 2014 by
What’s the Difference Between Plus Size dresses and Regular Dresses?
When I meet with plus size brides, MOB’s & MOG’s they are often scared of trying on dresses for they are afraid the styles will look horrible and they will look foolish on a day they SO want to look their best.  In our chatting I explain to them there is a difference between large size missy dresses & plus size dress.  At Botticelli almost all of our dresses are in the plus size grade.  What does the grade mean? “Grading” a dress pattern only makes a dress larger or smaller BUT doesn’t reflect the fact that different sizes are proportionately different.  Even though other stores offer dresses in size 2-32 they are in the “large size missy” size grade not the plus size grade.  This also means the dresses don’t have allowances for larger breasts or “back fat” like dresses in the plus size grade.    Why is that a problem?  The large size missy dresses often require an awful lot of costly alterations to make it cover all those those bubbles that plus size women wish to conceal on their wedding day. And in many cases the dresses can’t ever be altered to make these adjustments & the dress will sit funny all day, be uncomfortable & not photograph well.  Often times when you deal with a bridal store that does not specialize in plus sizes they do not know the difference themselves & will only discover the issues when you do….when it’s too late!
Knowing what you know now, it doesn’t make much sense to purchase anything but a plus size graded dress does it?   At Botticelli we will guide you through the dress shopping process, offer dresses in your size grade & take the drama out of dress shopping.  Hope I was able to make some sense out of the dress shopping for you!

How Chinese New Year can affect planning a wedding.

Posted January 2 2014 by

It’s that time of year again….CHINESE NEW YEAR is upon us & it is for the entire month of February!   Which means the ENTIRE country goes on vacation & it is impossible to get anything out of the country for 29 days. What does Chinese New Year mean to the bridal industry? I hate to say it, but in every dress so matter what the tag says, there is some component that comes from China. So when the factories close down that means the entire apparel industry grinds to a halt for almost a month. With that said, it means dresses will require an extra month on top of the regular delivery time. Please keep this in mind when you are making your shopping plans.  Yes, we must think globally when planning a wedding!

FALL into Plus Size Clothing for Real Women

Posted October 9 2013 by


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It’s about that time to change over your closets & pull out those gorgeous sweaters & tall black boots you’ve seen in fashion magazines for the last 2 months!   While swapping over your closets start thinking about what you want  need  to add to your wardrobe to keep it fresh & stylish.  Do you need a pop of color?  A basic shell or mock turtle neck is great way to add color without over investing in a jacket that you might not use more than a season or two.  Do you need a couple of new jackets that work well with jeans or dress pants?  Do your pants still fit or are you experiencing the “long zipper”?  (Psst, long zipper means your pants are too big!)

While we are at it, let’s talk jeans….We never buy pants or jeans based on how they fit in the dressing room, you buy them based on how they will fit in a week.  The biggest mistake I see my customers make is buying jeans that fit loosely.  They need to fit a little snug so that when they give after a washing 7 a week’s wear they are not too big.  Ever wonder why black jeans fit snugger than any color jeans?  The fabric is saturated with dye thus making them fit tighter.  After a couple of washes they should fit as well as the other colors.

Fall is a great time of year to have a bra fitting.  Many women don’t know that they are a different size in the fall/winter than they are in the spring/summer.  A proper fitting bra makes all the difference when it comes to tailored jackets & fitted shirts.

We are getting new things in every day!  Stop by & have a look!  Don’t forget that we offer free layaway every day!

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You are invited to New England's Only Plus Size Trunk Show October 3-6.

New England’s ONLY Plus Size Trunk Show

Posted August 22 2013 by

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Botticelli is VERY excited to announce that we are hosting

New England’s ONLY Plus Size Trunk Show October 3rd-6th!

We will be featuring Allure Women  Bridal Gowns.


  • This will NOT BE a wedding gown free-for-all that you see on TV. This is a very quiet & intimate setting solely focused on the bride & her comfort.
  • Bridal Appointments are 2 hours long & we are focused on 1 bride at a time.
  • Every bride will be working with me, the owner.
  • This IS NOT a sample sale.  You will be trying on new samples & brand new dresses will be ordered for you.
  • Trunk Shows are the 1 time of year retailers are authorized by the designers to discount dresses.  We are offering 10% Off the gown’s price & a $100 veil credit with the purchase of your gown.
  • All our samples are size 20W-28W, the majority being a size 24W.
  • To reserve an appointment a $50 deposit is required.  Your deposit will be applied to your purchase or it will be refunded to you if you do not find the dress of your dreams!
  • Please call the store 401-353-0074 or email info@BotticelliRI.com to schedule and appointment or if you have any questions!


Jan’s 20 Points of Light to a Happy Marriage!

Posted July 31 2013 by


1. At the end of the day you will be married!!! The bride & groom set the tone for the day. If you have fun, then everyone else will too! If you don’t, then no one will.
2. Always fight like you are single. When you fight when you’re single, you hold back a little. When you fight like you are married you don’t.
3. Always be sure to have a little stash of money aside somewhere for your use only. Your spouse doesn’t need to know about every penny you spend.
4. Though you’d like your spouse’s feedback on every little decision you make, they really don’t need to know everything. Choose carefully what things you allow the other to give you an opinion on. Not doing this can cause more tension than necessary. TRUST ME.
5. Always work on the friendship you have between the two of you. It is that friendship that will get you through “the worst” times. Remember that you are on the same team and it’s only a “win” if you play as one. Now, I’m not going to promise you that you’ll always like each other but you will put your head on the pillow at night knowing that you both played from the same dugout.
6. Never forget to say “thank you” for the little things they do. As a rule of thumb, always thank them fir things you’d thank a friend for if they did them. This includes vacuuming, housekeeping, laundry & dog walking.
7. In your marriage you’ll either want peace or you’ll want to be right. You can’t have both so pick which one means more to you. And I’m NOT sayin’ to always choose peace…
8. Real love & respect is knowing your spouse so well that you know exactly how you can manipulate them into doing what you want and yet you don’t.
9. Anyone who tells you a marriage is 50/50 is lying to you. The ratio will always vary from 40/60 to 20/80 to 50/50… and not always in your favor. Take care of each other always. Carry each other through tough times & you will find a balance that works for YOU!
10. Spend one day a week totally focused on your spouse. Set it aside and whatever you do, make it a day about the two of you. Sundays are a great day for this.
11. Trust is the foundation for all relationships. Never give your spouse any reason to distrust you. “To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved.” (George MacDonald)
12. Every now and again it is ok to show the other that there is still a little “crazy” left in you. Sometimes it’s good to remind them how really lucky they are that you are so “calm” now.
13. Remember to still hold hands even if it’s just when you fall asleep at night.
14. Words spoken in anger can’t be taken back, so cool off before you try to hash things out. It’s ACTUALLY OK to go to bed angry.
15. Unconditional love is the greatest gift you can give to one another.
16. Whether you have lots of it or none of it, it’s only money.
17. Try to remember to find the humor in your life & lean on it during tough times.
18. In this world there is too much emphasis on being a perfect couple & soul mates… You two just “work”. Be proud of that & do not put any more pressure on your relationship by trying to live up to such labels.
19. Your marriage is yours & it is not your parents’ marriage. It could never be. Do not waste precious time worrying that it will be like theirs. You are fine & you’re going to be fine. Have faith in yourselves.
20. Always have each other’s back EVEN when it comes to your family.


Best of Rhode Island 2013

Posted July 26 2013 by

Last night Jan accepted the Best of RI Award for the Best Wedding and Bridesmaids Dresses in RI!  What an amazing honor for the only plus size boutique in the state to receive.  As a Botticelli bride myself, I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to be able to shop at a store that carried a gorgeous array of gowns that I could try on in my size.  Such a breath of fresh air!


Bridal gowns are sold by appointment only and through our upcoming trunk show.  We are so excited to bring Rhode Island the first ever plus size bridal gown trunk show!  It will be happening October 3rd – 6th at the store and again, by appointment only.  Stay tuned for more details.