How To Dress As A Mother Of The Bride

what you should wear as mother of the bride

How To Dress As A Mother Of The Bride

Every time I hear the words ‘Mother Of The Bride’ I think of two things, taffeta and flesh toned stockings that are too dark for the wearer.


It’s hard to find a look that doesn’t make you stand out for the wrong reasons, that lets you have a sense of style and doesn’t scream ‘menopause’. Now, I say this as a woman in her twenties who has only ever had the privilege of being the mum to a cat called Meryl Streep, who is yet to elope with the other cat, Kevin, in my apartment building, but sometimes, just looking at the dresses many of my mother of the bride clients are exposed to before hiring me, makes me feel like the hot flushes are only weeks away.


While everyone at a wedding always looks happy and the smiles on their faces make them look radiant, cheerful and beautiful – a little help from a great outfit ensures you don’t have to rely on your emotions to make you look fantastic.


Once those water works start, if you’ve hit up one of those mother of the bride specialty dress shops, you’re going to look like a ruffly, pastel confection with a runny nose. So, the question is; How do I dress like a mother of the bride without stereo typically looking like a mother of the bride? And the answer is this:


Maintain your style. When a special occasion like this arises, it’s easy to think ‘I need a dress’ and whatever fits and looks age appropriate will do. This isn’t the way to go, obviously you want to keep your daughter happy, but you are the one wearing the outfit in photos that are going to last a life time, so my question to you is; what is your style? Find your inspiration, just like the bride does for tracking down her dream dress. Look at magazines, jump online or watch a movie with characters that dress well. Once you’ve determined what your style is, you can move on and leave those frilly, pastel and taffeta over-priced dresses on the racks where they belong.


In this weeks post, I’ve styled various looks for you to get some ideas and inspiration from. These looks can cater for casual, cocktail and formal dress codes. Don’t forget to do a dress rehearsal, complete with your shoes and accessories on so that you know what needs altering, if the shoes are comfortable and if your outfit looks great from all angles!

A Traditional Wedding


Choose a colour that the bridesmaids aren’t wearing so you don’t look like part of the bridal party. A fit and flare dress is a safe option for all body shapes, however, be mindful of two things, the neckline and the length. Get it altered to finish just past or on your knee for the length. If you have a larger bust, try a square, V-Neck or wrap neckline so that your bust doesn’t look out of proportion with the rest of your body. If you have broader shoulders, opt for a style with 3/4 sleeves and  try to steer clear of boat neck styles. For all other body shapes, you can choose any neckline you like and if you’re unsure, opt for a v-neck.

A Casual Wedding


Casual weddings can be hard to dress for, however, it’s not a jeans and jacket event. Think of it more as smart casual and choose fabrics that don’t crush easily. This combination is great for rectangular shaped figures, hourglass, strawberry and pear shapes. If you’re more of an apple shape, you can still go with the wide leg style pants, but you’re best wearing an untucked blouse with a fitted jacket for the most flattering look.

The Summer Wedding


This ensemble would work well with a shawl or a fitted jacket, but the best thing about this style of dress is that it works on all shapes. Look for a shoe in a nude to elongate your leg and a sturdy heel so you can stand up for longer periods of time and choose accessories in solid colours.

Cocktail / Night Time Wedding


A cocktail or night time wedding can be hard to dress for because you want to wear something a little glitzy but nothing over the top and completely covered in sequins. A printed pencil skirt, printed pants or a printed jacket will help you to add a statement piece without stealing the show. This ensemble is great for all shapes, however, if you’re mindful of prints on your back side because you’re more bottom heavy, put them up the top. Or, if you have a larger bust, keep the prints down the bottom so that your figure looks more in proportion.

Alarna Hope

Alarna Hope is a fashion stylist and writer based in Sydney, she's considered an expert in her field as a personal stylist and is also quite good at writing about herself in the third person. She cries during movie makeover scenes, has a jar of Nutella under her bed for safety and can tell you the synopsis of every Kath and Kim episode ever. She currently resides in Sydney with her Oscar-worthy cat, Meryl Streep.

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