Must-Know Style Tips for the Mother of the Bride
Mothers of the bride serve as coaches, referees, shoulders to cry on, and flower-girl wranglers. There’s hardly a moment to think about a dress. Here are some must-know style tips for the mother of the bride that will help ease the stress when it comes to finding the right look.
It’s Still All About the BrideOK, so maybe you didn’t get your dream wedding. Your daughter’s wedding is not the time for a do-over. The mother of the bride must exude an easy elegance that doesn’t outshine the bride. The bridal couple has chosen the colors, venue, level of formality, flowers, theme, and time of day. Mothers of the bride should attempt to complement, not match exactly, the overall style of the event. Sometimes, however, “bride brain” overreaches to asking the mother of the bride to look more like a bridesmaid. Resist. Talk instead to your daughter about length, complementary (not matching) colors or prints, and the level of formality expected. Feel free to bring a swatch of the bridesmaid’s gowns with you if you want to select a color that won’t clash but will still look great on you.
Highlight Your Assets…Up to a PointIf you’ve been maniacally working out since the day your daughter showed you the ring, good for you. If not, don’t worry about it. By now you know the silhouettes that look good on you and your best features. However, if your best features happen to be your bustline and/or your legs, think twice. Your daughter’s wedding is not the time to flaunt a lot of skin. Sleeveless dresses should be reserved for those with super-toned arms. Otherwise, many contemporary styles from evening wear boutiques feature three-quarter sleeves or fitted bodices with flared skirts that flatter just about any body type. If your bust is your best feature, you could get away with an illusion neckline, as long as it isn’t an obvious attempt to flaunt the underlying cleavage. If your legs are your best feature, great. Just show them off on a different occasion.
Matrons Don’t Have to Look MatronlyYou’re the mother of the bride, not the dowager countess. Avoid black (are you in mourning?), excess lace, ruffles, and frills. Less is more. An elegant line with a little embellishment is fine. But you don’t want to be dragging ten pounds of beading around while you foof the bride’s train, double-check boutonnieres, and chase down the ring-bearer. You’ll be standing, walking, or dancing in your dress for a long time, so comfort is key. If the dress requires tourniquet-tight underthings, it’s the wrong size. You want foundations that support and smooth things out but don’t strangle you. Fainting at the wedding would be too much drama for an already dramatic day.
The best style tip for the mother of the bride is to be yourself. Don’t panic and go over the top with a fussy gown that needs a lot of attention—that attention should go to your daughter on her special day.