Q&A: How to Find a Stylish Mother of the Bride Dress

April 13th, 2007

Q:  I am getting married, and my mother keeps picking out dresses for herself that are beige and shapeless. How can I get her to see that she can look good in a little colour and a dress with some style to it?

 JS Collections Off Shoulder Shirred Taffeta Gown A:  Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!  The only hard and fast rules about Mother of the Bride dresses (and Mother of the Groom dresses, for that matter) is that they should:

(1) Be a noticeably different color from the bride’s dress, so steer clear of white, cream, and ivory.

(2) Not be too flashy.  Too  much exposed skin, or overly shiny fabric can upstage the bride.

Beyond that, the sky’s the limit, so your mom doesn’t have to limit herself to shapeless–or even beige–dresses.  Here’s three dress suggestions that will help your mom look her best on your wedding day:

JS Collections Off Shoulder Shirred Taffeta Gown | $218 at Nordstrom (Pictured)
Off-the-shoulder neckline for drama and a ruched bodice to minimize a tummy.

Niteline Strapless Bustier Gown with Bolero Jacket | $508 at Nordstrom
A criscrossed pintucked bodice with boning for support, plus a fitted bolero jacket.

Sean Collection Beaded Dress with Jacket | $278 at Nordstrom
V-necked floor length dress with bolero jacket, available in both regular and petite sizes. 

Style question?  We’ve got answers.  E-mail us at tips at omiru dot com, or leave us a comment with your question.

Entry Filed under: Q&A, Women's

16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mimi  |  April 13th, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    Maybe it’s a leftover from my Barbie days, but I just love evening gowns. Though I have so few (as in no) events to wear them to. Love the rich burgundy wine one pictured. The other options with the bolero and jackets are beautiful, too. Mom will look like a queen.

  • 2. Trisha  |  April 13th, 2007 at 10:49 pm

    Thanks, Mimi! I know–I love evening gowns too, but the events to wear them to are few and far between.

  • 3. Ria  |  August 18th, 2007 at 6:44 pm

    My wedding was on a beach so all of those suggestions were too formal. Even though I wanted my mom to wear a colour really badly, because I had a rainbow theme, I realized she needed to be happy too. I wore a soft gold wedding dress, so any beige or champagne would have been way too close! My mom ended up wearing dark brown as a compromise. She was happy, and I was happy we didn’t look like twins. Her sleeveless dress had a square neckline and went to just below her knees. Wish I could share a picture! She looked, and felt, really great!

  • 4. Trisha  |  August 19th, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    Glad to hear that everything turned out, Ria! Thanks for the update :)

  • 5. Debbie  |  February 24th, 2008 at 7:55 am

    My daughters wedding colors are navy blue and champagne with pink flowers. I found a dress that I really like that comes in light blue or pink. Which color would be more appropriate for her wedding?

  • 6. laurie  |  March 2nd, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    as a mother of the bride, what would be appropriate for a laid back wedding on the beach in mass. in sept.?

  • 7. Trisha  |  March 4th, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    Hi Debbie,

    Either the light blue or the pink will work with your daughter’s wedding colors. The real question is: which color looks better on you? If your skin has warm undertones, go with the pink. If your skin color has cool undertones, opt for the light blue.

    Hope that helps–
    Trisha

  • 8. Trisha  |  March 4th, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    Hi Laurie,

    For a laid back wedding on the beach, you’re going to want a knee-length dress that’s dressy-casual (read: somewhere between casual and formal). Here’s a few dresses to get you started on your search:

    First, a couple of traditional (more formal) suggestions:
    Adrianna Papell Beaded Shantung Jacket Dress | $238 at Nordstrom
    http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/2953491/

    Sean Collection Ruffle Dress & Jacket | $278 at Nordstrom
    http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/2965110/

    And for a brighter color:
    Super 120s Sleeveless Dress in Bright Azul | $180 at J crew
    http://www.jcrew.com/catalog/product.jhtml?id=prod90821191&catId=cat300191

    And if you’re feeling daring, you may even want to try a more unstructured dress:
    Diane von Furstenberg Naro Washed Silk Dress | $345 at Saks
    http://www.saksfifthavenue.com/main/ProductDetail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524446182851

    Hope that helps, Laurie!

    Trisha

  • 9. michala  |  October 25th, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    My son is getting married at the beach. The attire is casual for guest, but the bride is wearing a gown. I do not have a clue what to wear. My huband is Son’s best man . I can’t seem to pin her down. She mentioned the dress like Marilyn Monroe worn in, ” Some Like It Hot ” and I had looked at one in blue, but now that is out period for that reason. I am 53 year old and most people think I am much younger , but I don’t want to be so flashy. I just thought that was too low at front for me. Her mother from pictures I have seen in kinda large. I have wide shoulders but wear a 36 C . My waist is liike 30 . IN fact I am one of those women that called ” Short-waisted” Help!!!!!

  • 10. Trisha  |  November 3rd, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    Hi Michala,

    First and foremost, wear something that you’re going to feel comfortable in. It’s your son’s wedding - a very special day. You don’t want to spend it in a dress you’re uncomfortable wearing - or one that’s overly flashy! From your description of yourself, it sounds like you’re curvy, have wider than average shoulders, and have a short torso and long legs (lucky you!).

    Given that it’s a beach wedding, you’ll want a dress that reflects that relaxed, casual atmosphere. It doesn’t mean that you’ll be dressed down - it’s just that an evening gown wouldn’t be appropriate here.

    Here’s what to look for in a dress:
    -Try a shorter dress - knee length would work perfectly with the more casual vibe of the wedding.
    -Because you have a curvy figure, try a dress with a medium-low neckline in a v or scoop neckline. You’re right that a really low neckline isn’t going to be appropriate for the wedding, but showing off a little bit of skin is going to be most flattering. Plus, it’ll help to soften your shoulderline.

    Good luck, and have fun at the wedding, Michala!

    -Trisha

  • 11. Denise Blankschen  |  January 9th, 2009 at 8:48 am

    my daughter is getting married aug 09 in Las vegas. She is wearing a traditional gown but the only color she has chosen besides white is Watermelon. I am trying to figure out the best color for my dress and style. I am rather conservative but also want to look stylish.

  • 12. GeorgieNYC  |  July 13th, 2009 at 7:26 am

    just came back from a wedding newport, RI. the mother of the bride wore a really beautiful green floral dress with a sort of matching solid green knee length coat (of very thin material). she looked fabulous. the green was fun, yet classic.
    here are some other great wedding looks

  • 13. belinda  |  October 5th, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Please help! I have not worn a dress in years and my daughter is getting married this month and I would like to get a stylish pants and top, but everying is black. Pleae help me I am also walking her down the aisle!

  • 14. Peggy  |  October 15th, 2009 at 8:18 am

    My stepdaughter is getting married Nov. 14th at 5 pm. It will be outside - weather permitting. The bridesmaids dresses are burgundy. Any suggestions? I normally don’t wear dresses unless they cover my calves/ankles - have swelling that makes it look like I’ve got rubber bands around my ankles.

    Thanks,

  • 15. Barbara Bulling  |  October 27th, 2009 at 8:51 am

    My daughter is having a beach wedding in Jamaica, she will wear a beautiful gown and I need to know what to wear being only 5ft in height not sure whether I can get away with a full length dress or would it be better to stick to knee length. (I am an English size 12), Thanks

  • 16. Anonymous  |  December 30th, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    my son is having a jamaican wedding in october 2010.

    what type of dress or gown shall i wear.

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