How to find the perfect mother of the bride outfit

09 Dec 2016

When it comes to wedding fashion, the iconic mother of the bride outfit is something that every woman wants to get right, but this can be easier said than done. Fashion e-tailer Kaleidoscope proffers their expert advice

Image gallery

Image gallery

Traditionally, mother of the bride style has been deemed to be frumpy, ill-fitting, and unflattering however, nowadays there are more options than ever before to ensure that mothers look their stylish best on their daughter’s big day.

Recent research by Kaleidoscope revealed that woman believe they hit their style peak once they’ve reached their fifties, and therefore, there is no reason not to look and feel fabulous when playing the important role of mother of the bride. 

To help provide some guidance for future MOtBs on how they can stand out from the crowd and wow those wedding guests, Kirsten Emery, head of design at Kaleidoscope, shares her top hints and tips for the upcoming wedding season.

1. Flatter your figure

One of the best pieces of advice I can offer is for mothers of the bride to dress for their shape and don’t forget what works for them - those wedding pictures will be around forever so choose wisely. A good figure-flattering tip is to choose a dress style with a ribbon tied or belted waist which will cinch you in and accentuate the narrowest part of your frame.

Also, remember that sophistication is key, so keep your outfit demure by avoiding any ensembles that are too low cut or have a short hem. Many women are concerned about exposing their upper arms. Experimenting with three quarter length sleeves, cover-ups and looking for cinched in jackets will keep you feeling confident and can help add some variety to your look.

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2. Let the bride be your guide

Another important tip for dressing for your daughter’s big day is to let her bridal style guide you. Before you start your outfit search make sure you are aware of the colour palettes for the day, flower arrangement ideas, how formal the occasion is going to be, and what the bridesmaids will be wearing. As mother of the bride, you may want to find a look which complements these elements,
without being matchy-matchy. For instance, if the bridal party are wearing soft duck egg blue, select a subtle mocha or grey which you can team with duck egg blue accessories without looking too try-hard.

It’s important you still find something you feel confident wearing and that reflects your own individual style. Aside from this, the classic golden rule for keeping the bride happy, unless otherwise instructed, is to never wear white or any colour close to what the bride has chosen to wear – that hue is for the bride and the bride only.... but this tradition continues to be defied.

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3. Be inspired

Although, of course, your bride is your guide, there is no reason you cannot take inspiration from some of the most stylish MOtBs from the celebrity world. Carol Middleton and Judi Murray are great examples of how to perfect the structured look; a well-fitted coat over a shift dress can add an extra twist to your outfit, and keep you warm during the winter wedding season. Although Carol and Judi stuck with simple outfits for their children's big day, they let their hats do the talking. This can be an elegant way of ensuring you stand out as MOtB without going too over the top.

If you’re keen to experiment with colour and design, take inspiration from Hillary Clinton. She shows that a more flamboyant number can still look classy, with a bolero adding sophistication. If you are choosing to go both bright and textured, stick to one colour palette, a la Hillary, to make sure you don’t detract from the beautiful bride.

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4. Get it right, for day to night

Weddings are notorious for being very long days, so make sure whatever you are wearing is comfortable enough so that it doesn’t distract you from enjoying your daughter’s big day. Opt for non-creasing, moveable fabrics such as scuba or lace, teamed with stylish but practical shoes for that added touch of glamour. If the wedding moves throughout the day into the evening also ensure that you have a wrap/pashmina on hand to keep you warm.

Go for a colour that complements or adds drama to your dress or accessories. The most important thing to remember is that many eyes will be on you for your daughter’s big day so ensure that you are confident, happy and comfortable in your attire, with plenty of movement in your dress so that you are free to dance the night away.

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5. Location, location, location

When first starting to plan your mother of the bride outfit, look to the wedding location itself for inspiration. If you’re attending a beach wedding or one in a warmer climate, go for minimum
accessories and flowing fabrics, adopting a more relaxed style. For a more formal occasion, take the opportunity to make a bold statement by wearing an eye-catching headpiece or fascinator. When choosing a headpiece accessory make sure you don’t detract from your outfit as a whole, it should accentuate your look instead of dominating it. It’s important to ensure that any headpieces don’t swamp your frame, and don’t hide your face.

Finally, make sure that you opt for a colour which complements your dress or matches the rest of your accessories. This will complete your outfit and bring it together as a whole.

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