The hunt for the bridal dress is over, so now it’s your turn to find the special outfit as mother of the bride or groom. The pressure is on to not only look good but also feel comfortable. This part of the wedding journey can seem bewildering for some women, particularly if you aren’t a dress person. The added pressure is that you’ll be in the limelight in the bridal party and you can’t afford to get it wrong.
It is important that you go for clothing options that reflect your personal style and make you look and feel good, so it’s worth investing the time.
Getting it right is down to a little know-how, guidance from the experts and the confidence to carry it off. OK, there’s loads of clothes in the shops and online, so where do you go from here?
Shopping online is convenient and there are a lot of websites to explore but for this occasion, it’s not always the right solution. There are more questions than answers in ordering clothes unseen, such as: will the style suit me, what is the true colour, and what is my correct size in a particular design? Buying off the internet may involve returning a lot of outfits until you find the right one.
It’s worth investing in quality, structured fabrics and ignoring the sizes on the hangers as they vary from designer to designer. Check whether you need to go up a size.
Benefits of specialism
You may decide to look at high street brands – not too bad a choice if you’re a guest, but if you’re the mother of the bride or groom, you run the risk of someone else turning up at the wedding wearing the same outfit.
The other solution is to get face-to-face help from a specialist business who can offer honest advice and don’t stock the same lines as everyone else. Buying from a specialist mother of the bride & groom shop is different from buying on the high street, as it is not always possible to re-order a size and style once it’s sold out on the high street.
A good start is recognising what shape you are and these tips can help you get it right:
- If you’re ‘pear-shaped’, i.e. with weight on your hips and legs, go for an outfit with a nipped waist and avoid shapeless garments and clothes that outline your hips and waist. A plunging V-neck or embellished neckline draws the attention away from your lower body.
- If you’re ‘apple-shaped’, i.e. with weight around your stomach and shoulders, dress to flatter your top half and draw attention away from the middle. Wide straps on dresses work well, and emphasise your bust with V-necks or A-line dresses.
- If you’re ‘apple-shaped’ with a thick middle, you need to give the appearance of elongating your torso and draw attention away from the waist. Dress with an empire or drop waist to re-define your waistline.
- Whatever shape you are, if you want to show off your forearms wear a three-quarter sleeve, otherwise wear a full or short sleeve, as highlighting your arms in the middle with a sleeve can look even more unflattering. If you have heavy arms, avoid sleeves or cap sleeves dresses unless you plan to keep your jacket on. Go for full-length sleeves or fuller three-quarter length sleeves.
- If you love your bust line, dresses with deeps Vs or halter necks are attractive for accentuating a big bust. Select fabrics that skim the body rather than stretchy or clinging fabrics that can make the bust look too big.
It is always worth visiting a lingerie service for a personal fitting. It’s hard to look good when your bra doesn’t support you sufficiently or you are wearing the wrong support pants. A good bra will lift your figure and make you look younger. Seamless coverage is a great foundation to a well-fitted outfit.
If you go to a specialist shop start looking for your outfit early. The main collections arrive from December through to February, and a small collection is added mid-season in May/June.
A specialist shop can advise you on what colours and shapes look good on your figure, so be open-minded.
Traditionally, the mother of the bride chooses her outfit first but it’s useful to know what the other mum is wearing to avoid choosing the same colour or style.
It’s important to not only look good but also be comfortable and confident, as you will be in the outfit all day! The same applies to footwear.
Give yourself plenty of time for trying on, and take photographs of your favourite outfits as this will help when making your final decision.
Some women look better in hats than hatinators or fascinators. The choice of headwear is down to what looks the best and is comfortable and the type of wedding.
Allow yourself time to have alterations done. If you are dieting leave the alterations until at least four weeks before the wedding. Finally, it’s a good idea to put on your outfit two weeks before the wedding to check that your weight hasn’t altered.
When the big day arrives, you are ready to step out in confidence and enjoy the attention in your stunning outfit knowing that you look the part.