How to turn heads as mother of the bride

‘Mother of the Bride’ – it’s a title that brings lots of joy, but equally has a rather negative connotation when it comes to style.

Abbia dress

Often when we hear the phrase we automatically think frumpy, with ugly matching outfits, or looking like the Queen Mother. So, when you become the mother of the bride (or groom), it’s only natural if you start to panic about what to wear. After all you want to look modern, chic and sophisticated, not old fashioned and dowdy.

I’ve heard stories of how distressing women have found shopping for a ‘mother of the bride’ outfit can be. Typically, bridal shops have limited options, and while there are some brands that cater for this customer, the models they use are half the age or the clothing itself isn’t stylish.

Taking a different approach

Toss the sentiment of being the ‘mother of the bride’ out of the window. You’re automatically constraining yourself by believing you have to dress a certain way. Instead, by seeing yourself as a VIP guest to your daughter or son’s wedding, you’ll be freed up to explore other – and more exciting – options

Step away from the matching separates. Yes, you may want to look colour coordinated, but dressing in the same colour from top to toe is very passé. Instead start with one star piece, and create your look around that. Is it going to be a beautiful dress? Or perhaps a stunning blouse or jacket with tailored trousers? (Yes, there’s nothing wrong with wearing those.)

Scarborough Mint

This is your opportunity to go for that beautiful piece you’ve had your eye on. You might not have initially thought you could wear it for a wedding, but if it is smart, sophisticated and fun, then it is appropriate.

Think about accessorising. This is just as important as your base look to keep you looking contemporary. As with matching separates, try to avoid a bag and shoes that are the same colour as the rest of your outfit.

Instead, opt for complementary colours – or if you’re wearing a print, pick one of the less dominant colours in it to match your accessories to.

Additionally, try to avoid the fail-safe option of wearing nude shoes – go for metallic instead, which are just as versatile, but far more interesting.

Splashes pom pom jacket

If you need a jacket simply as a cover up if you get cold, rather than going for a traditional short boxy one or a pashmina, try a beautifully cut blazer – even a simple black one will do. It’s the choice and cut that make it unexpected and fresh.

The big question: what about the hat? This is where it is fine to pick a colour that matches your outfit, because the rest of your accessories don’t. But be sure to make a real statement with your hat –you are a VIP! And, unless it’s a truly stunning bold one, steer clear of a fascinator; because small hairbands with a few feathers can really degrade the stylishness of your outfit.

So with these tips in mind, take your time building your outfit, and don’t worry about conforming to the conventional ‘mother of the bride’ look. All you need to remember is this is an opportunity to go full-out fabulous, whatever that means to you.

Jacynth Bassett

About Jacynth Bassett

I'm the founder of the-Bias-Cut - Shopping With Attitude Where Ageism Is Never In Style. Swiftly becoming recognised as one of the UK’s leading pioneers of style at every age, I have written on the topic for The Guardian online, The Huffington Post and have contributed to an internationally published book. I also regularly speak on panels and podcasts, am a ViewVo accredited business mentor, and the weekly ‘Style Advisor’ for The Menopause Room. In my spare time, I love to dance, specialising in hip-hop, and to dine out with family and friends.