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Flattering Mother of the Bride Dresses and Gowns

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Vintage fashion is my hobby because I am fashion-conscious and try to be unique. My personal signature? Wearing vintage-inspired apparel.

Today, every mother of the bride wants to look great and the wedding event is the best occasion to turn out looking as fabulous and as stylish as is possible. Family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, acquaintances; many people will attend the wedding and she wants to impress her daughter and the guests on this special day.

But then there is usually a small problem, and that is, finding a befitting and stylish mother of the bride dresses to choose from. It has to be the right design, the perfect fit, stylish, unique and one-of-a-kind (if possible), and it's not that simple getting all five features wrapped in one beautiful package.

A bride’s mother wearing a special dress on the wedding day has always been a part of wedding customs, and that is why people believe that it is the second most important attire after the bridal gown. The bride’s mother is an important personality who is involved in the wedding from its planning stage to the main event. Perhaps that is why it is said that the importance of her dress is second only to the bridal dress.

Up until the 20th century, the mother of the bride dresses was expected to be very formal, almost matronly, but then, the typical mother of the bride was older, portly, generally unfashionable. Many came with sombre or severe looks and portrayed the image of a stoic mature woman and the dresses they wore were usually washed-out shades of beige or pale pastel hues. But that was then, and today’s mother of the bride is younger, fitter, many free-spirited with exciting lifestyles, and majorly stylish and fashionable.

Many are still women on-the-move and are as active and valuable to society as their soon-to-be-wed daughters. Modern mothers of the bride now come as young as forty, while those in their sixties and seventies don’t look a day past fifty. They are mostly youthful and like to look good. And while some love the sensual and alluring, others will only go for the opulent or bejewelled. This has brought on high demand for fashionable and youthful mother of the bride dress styles.

These unique mother-of-brides dresses are for vintage style enthusiasts. Not only are they great for vintage theme weddings, they are also show-stopping 1920s style.

These unique mother-of-brides dresses are for vintage style enthusiasts. Not only are they great for vintage theme weddings, they are also show-stopping 1920s style.

How to Choose the Right Dress Style

If you are a soon-to-be mother of the bride, the wedding theme should determine your dress style, its colour, texture, and whether it should be formal, semi-formal, or casual. If it is a traditional setting like a vintage style wedding, your dress can be a trumpet-style gown, tea-length flapper dress, or an elegant A-line with a velvet waist sash. On the other hand, a beach wedding may demand you wear a flowy and breezy dress in pastel pinks, blues, and greens, and a pair of chic and comfortable flat sandals, particularly if it is being held on the sand. But remember, don't outshine the bride.

Is there a secret to knowing the right dress to choose? Yes, sort of. Choosing the right dress style lies in knowing your body silhouette, height, and posture, and knowing what design fits your shape perfectly. The form and style of the dress are just as important as its fabric type, texture, colour, and choice of accessories to go with it.

Sheath/Column off the shoulder floor length satin dress - A fabulous dress design suitable for the mother of the bride.

Sheath/Column off the shoulder floor length satin dress - A fabulous dress design suitable for the mother of the bride.

On the whole, it is important to dress following good taste and a great dress sense and only wear what will fit and complement your body type, its proportions, and the tone of your skin and hair colour. Unlike the frumpy styles of yore, mother of the bride dresses should be smart, chic, graceful, and elegant.

Elegant and body-flattering mother-of-the-bride dresses. Notice the stylish silhouette and details of these formal dresses. Long and sweeping hemlines give them a vintage-inspired old Hollywood glamour look.

Elegant and body-flattering mother-of-the-bride dresses. Notice the stylish silhouette and details of these formal dresses. Long and sweeping hemlines give them a vintage-inspired old Hollywood glamour look.

Flattering mother of the bride dress and gown styles to consider are:

  1. Strapless ball gowns (Yes!)
  2. Off-the-shoulder dresses
  3. One-shoulder styles
  4. Trumpet gowns
  5. Cape dresses
  6. Two-piece suits
  7. High-low gowns
  8. Mermaid dress
  9. Fishtail styles
  10. Tiered ruffled dresses
  11. Tea-length sheath dresses
  12. A-line dresses
  13. Long dress and jacket
  14. Mesh dresses
  15. Column gowns
A-Line jewel neck sweep train tulle dress, an elegant style for MOB dress with beading, sequins, and crystals.

A-Line jewel neck sweep train tulle dress, an elegant style for MOB dress with beading, sequins, and crystals.

The best textile fabrics that make wonderful mother of the bride dress styles include:

  1. Velvet
  2. Jacquard
  3. Mesh lace
  4. Satin
  5. Brocade
  6. Taffeta
  7. Chiffon
  8. Organza
  9. Silk Georgette
  10. Light crepe
  11. Damask
  12. Embroidered fabrics


For women who like embellishments and other forms of ornamentation, it is good to steer clear of over-fancy and overtly embellished dresses. Dress adornment is fine if it doesn't compete for attention with the bride's wedding dress. Without crossing the line, you can break the rules and forget the usual dress codes, if you wish. Breakaway from the norm and the rules of conformity. You can wear whatever style you feel good in, one that looks fabulous on; wear a MOB dress that will give you a lot of compliments and stares.


Further Reading:

What Are the Duties of the Mother of the Bride?

Mother of the Bride: The Dream, the Reality, the Search for a Perfect Dress

Appropriate Colours for MOB Dresses

Mother of the bride dresses must not be the same colour as the bride's wedding dress, so, colours like white, off-white, champagne, ivory, and similar hues must be avoided at all costs. Although some mothers insist on wearing elegant and tailored white outfits, it is not the best because the bride doesn’t need to be in a colour competition with her mother. It is her wedding day, so, she should be the one holding everyone’s attention by standing out from the crowd of guests.

The colour of the dress is best to conform with the wedding colours and if possible, be in harmony with the bridesmaids’ attire. A bride’s mother can wear a colour that complements the colour of the bridesmaid’s dresses.

For instance, if the bridesmaids wear lavender, the mother of the bride can appear in deep purple or eggplant. If they wear powder blue, the bride’s mother can wear royal blue with powder blue accents and accessories. And if the soon-to-be-married couple wants the bridesmaids to wear black cocktail dresses, the mother of the bride dress can be silver or grey. All in all, the bride’s choice of colours must dictate the tune.

Less formal dresses for the bride's mother. These outfits are great for younger mothers who are quite comfortable with wearing something simple but chic.

Less formal dresses for the bride's mother. These outfits are great for younger mothers who are quite comfortable with wearing something simple but chic.

Formal weddings

  • A mother of the bride’s dress can be black, charcoal, or silver grey. Elegant gowns are appropriate for formal bridal events.
  • Emerald green MOB dresses are elegant and graceful colours that look rich when combined with rose, aubergine, or burnt-orange accents.
  • Wine (or burgundy), are rich shades that look spectacular against a bride’s champagne or off-white wedding gown.


Non-themed weddings

  • Red is alluring and bold and on a stylish sassy dress, it is a glamorous way to break the rules.
  • Cobalt blue with gold, silver, or a combination of both as accents, and fashion accessories.
  • Dark pastels. As long as they are the darker pastel colours, that’s fine. Examples are mauve, baby blue, pink, mint, peach, and lavender


Informal (casual) weddings

  • Rust – This colour usually looks fabulous with gold jewellery and other fashion accessories.
  • Navy – Accessorize with accents in pale shades of blue, aquamarine, or baby blue.
  • Multi-colours. Add personality to the bridal train colours with washed-out patterns that echo the bridal colours. if the bridesmaids wear pink, the mother of the bride dress can be in a pink and green water colour wash.


Mother of the bride dress colours NOT to wear

  • White
  • Ivory
  • Champagne
  • Gold
  • Light Pastels
  • Metallic textiles
Youthful styles for the bold and daring mother of the bride. These short length and calf-length MOB dresses are totally for the young at heart.

Youthful styles for the bold and daring mother of the bride. These short length and calf-length MOB dresses are totally for the young at heart.

10 Useful Tips for Mothers of the Bride

Now that you have a general idea of what you can base your choices on, before you go shopping, here are 10 tips you may find helpful.

  1. Floor-length gown if it's a formal wedding.
  2. Short, calf-length dress, or pantsuit for informal weddings.
  3. Only choose colours that best suit the wedding theme.
  4. Only wear styles that compliment your silhouette, height, and weight.
  5. If you can, draw out an idea of what you'll like and give it to a designer or dressmaker to develop on.
  6. For inspiration and ideas, check wedding and bridal boards on Pinterest.
  7. Visit local bridal stores and check the bridesmaid's section. Some of their gorgeous styles will make great mothers of the bride dresses.
  8. Visit online wedding stores and check the 'Special Occasion Dresses' tabs for more motivation.
  9. Gowns and other designs with lace, sequins, faux pearls, and Swarovski stones are beautiful but must be understated compared to the bride’s dress.
  10. Smart and chic conservative dress styles are quite trendy and youthful.


Flaunt your good figure with ruching on the bodice, cinched waistlines, ruffled layering, and silhouette details like longer sleeve-lengths and off-the-shoulder necklines. If being ‘fancy’ is not your style, you may need to bend a bit for this special occasion and dress up more fashionably than you usually do. You can dress stylishly but still be frill-free.

Finally, pay special attention to the accents and accessories and chose wisely, depending on the dress style, its texture, and colour. They must not only be equally gorgeous, but they must also complement the dress, your skin tone, hair colour, and your personality.

As a mother of the bride, this is one of the most cherished days of your life. Live it!

© 2009 viryabo

Your Views Are Welcome

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on October 03, 2020:

Hello Kathy,

You can view some informal pant suits here - http://shrsl.com/2jdqr and some nice jumpsuits here - http://shrsl.com/2jdpz Hope you find something you like for the wedding. Best wishes.

Kathy alpaugh on October 01, 2020:

I’m looking for a petite informal pant suit for my daughters wedding because it’s outside on a hilltop I was wondering if you could help me? I wore a couture gown for my other daughter wedding and felt like a million dollars

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on February 28, 2020:

Hi Cheryl,

Black wedding dresses were worn centuries ago in different cultures. In Europe, and some cultures still wear them today.

It was Queen Victoria who originally started the trend for wearing white bridal gowns.

Cheryl Lesley on August 12, 2018:

Black foe a wedding? I did not like the colors.

sonoda on January 15, 2012:

i like soooooooooooooo much

mother of a bride on November 30, 2011:

where can i buy this lilac dress and jacket

and price ??

motherbridedress on August 03, 2011:

beautiful ant hot

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on July 27, 2011:

Thanks guys, and thank you for visiting.

Blessings

ournote2self on July 26, 2011:

Great tips. Thanks for sharing!

Mother of the Groom Dresses on June 21, 2011:

Wow! I see you have really taken time to research and provide good information about dresses for the Mother of the Bride and Groom. Thanks for sharing.

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on June 10, 2011:

Hi Thelma,

Philippine style outfit designs truly look wonderful because asides being chic and stylish, their designers pay much attention to detail.

For sure you have chosen a great mother of the bride dress.

I can assure you that you wont look overdressed, but will look the part you play, one that will make your son proud. everyone wants a stylish mother.

Thanks for the visit Thelma. Glad you like the article.

GodBless and goodluck.

Thelma Alberts from Germany on June 06, 2011:

Hi! This hub is great. My son is getting married this end of the month and I was excited looking for a dress to wear. Now I have choosen a chic Filipina dress from the Philippines with laces and I hope I´m not over dress on the wedding. I don´t like to shine more than the bride. Thanks for sharing.

linen-fabric from Belarus on November 08, 2010:

Nice hat - I'm going to give it a try.

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on September 28, 2010:

Thank you Rebekah. For your visit and very nice comments. From a great hubber as you, i appreciate your views.

I'm so excited for you for the coming wedding. It will definitely be your day to shine.

Best wishes for that important day.

GodBless

rebekahELLE from Tampa Bay on September 27, 2010:

very nice. I like your selections and advice. the frumpy dresses do not ever belong at a wedding! my oldest son is getting married this Nov. and I'm so excited. the dress is beautiful, in fact the bride to be helped me choose the perfect one! I love your hubs. they're very well done and so chic. [I think something also important to remember is the location and formality of the reception.]

Wedding Planning Bay Area on August 26, 2010:

Very nice dresses, good photos.

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on April 04, 2010:

Thanks Neil.

And thanks for finding the time to leave a comment.

Cheers

George Poe from United Kingdom on April 04, 2010:

Excellent !!! Love it..

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on July 16, 2009:

Thank you so much, Mother of the bride outfits, for reading my hub, for your nice comments, and for your advice which i'm following now.

Mother of the Bride Outfits on July 16, 2009:

Some absolutely stunning Mother of the Bride outfits here. Unfortunately the main picture is too blurred to enjoy, but one still gets the idea and it is lovely.

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