August 23, 2008

Mother of the Bride Style

We’ve seen those wedding disaster reality shows on television. You know the ones, with the Bridezilla and the ultra controlling Mother of the Bride. Planning a wedding can test the relationship between Mother and Daughter. But one thing that can be an especially difficult task is choosing the Mother of the Bride dress.

For a Mom, it’s hard to let go, and remember this is HER big day. As a Mom, one of our jobs is to try to alleviate as much stress for our Daughters as we can. One of the stressers can be what we wear, the Mother of the Bride dress. A mistake Moms make is forgetting to consult with her daughter about the attire for the wedding. Believe it or not, many Brides have very specific opinions about what Moms should wear on the big day.

Etiquette states that the Mother of the Bride should communicate with the Mother of the Groom on the Bride’s vision for the Mother’s attire. The Mother’s dresses should not match, but should echo the same formality. Also, as a general rule of etiquette, the Mother of the Bride should choose her dress before the Mother of the groom. This isn’t always realistic, but is something that should be remembered.

Color of the Mom’s dress should be of primary concern. Her dress doesn’t need to match the colors of the wedding party, but the color should coordinate. The MOB should stay away from cream, white – anything that looks like it would compete with the Bride’s gown.

Some younger Moms want a gown that is full of sequin and sparkle. This is fine, if it is OK with the Bride. Just remember, this is the Bride’s day, and as the Mother, you don’t want to upstage your daughter.

The time of the day will dictate, somewhat, the style of your dress. An evening wedding calls for a more formal gown, whereas a morning wedding can be more casual. Location will also lend a hand with choosing a style. A traditional church wedding can be more formal than a beach wedding.

Moms should also consider her shape when choosing a MOB dress. She wants to look her best, and be comfortable.

Hourglass, or “X” is a Mom whose hips and shoulders are about the same, and she has a defined wait. An ‘X” Mom should:
  • Call attention to a well-defined waist with princess seaming or other details
  • Deemphasize ample bust line – avoid embellishment in the chest area
  • Soften the lines of the body with long open ‘over blouses’, wraps (pashmina or cape), and soft jackets that flow in a line from shoulder to thigh
  • Dresses cut in an a-line or sheath style

Rectangle or “H” Mom is one whose measurement of her hips, shoulders and waist are all about the same. She needs to:

  • Wear a dress that falls gently over the midriff - or look for a style with rouching in the midsection
  • Look for styles that give an illusion of a waist or flow past it
  • Wear drop waist styles
  • Keep necklines and shoulder area interesting – try v-neck tops with interesting jewelry
  • A sheath dress or halter or strapless style with embellishment at the neckline
  • Try a mermaid style dress

A diamond shape Mom is one who carries her weight in her midsection. She might look at herself and think she has no hips, and thin legs. A diamond Mom should:

  • Wear wedge-shaped dresses with a narrow hem
  • Jackets with silhouette-enhancing seaming, like a princess seamed jacket
  • Use necklines or scarves to create long, vertical lines
  • Look for dresses that are simple on top, keeping any embellishment on the bottom (ideally at the hemline)
  • A dress with a simple sleeve and a-line skirt, slim skirt or an empire silhouette

The triangle or “A” Mom is one whose measurement of her hip is larger than the measurement of her shoulders and waist. This Mom needs to:

  • Emphasize midriff and use belts/embellishment to help define the waist
  • Focus the attention above the waist with color, line, and detail
  • Avoid long jackets
  • A dress with interest or embellishment above the waist
  • Find a dress with a fuller skirt
  • Strapless or halter styles or a traditional Cinderella style or ball gown – if Mom isn’t comfortable with her arms, add a pashmina or wrap for added detail

Finally, the inverted triangle, or “V” Mom is one who has broad shoulders. This Mom should:

  • Look for a-line styles to balance her shoulders
  • Avoid any vertical embellishment on her top
  • Steer clear of halter styles and boat necklines, instead, look for a long v-neck style
  • Look for a dress that has a constructed shape, one with a defined waist (maybe with a sash or belt)
  • Longer accents will draw attention away from her broad shoulders, things like long necklaces, chandelier earrings will do the job.

(this article is the sole property of Kathy Friend. Contents of this article can only be reprinted with the expressed written concent of the owner)

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