Somewhere between fascinators and foliage, there’s a sartorial sweet spot – here’s Anna Murphy’s no-fuss guide for mothers of brides and grooms...
It’s your daughter’s moment, but it’s also your moment. It’s one of the most important days in her life, but also in yours. And just as it matters what she wears, your daughter – once upon a time your baby, now a gorgeous woman about to walk down the aisle and live happily ever after – it matters what you wear too.
Firstly, don’t get stressed. Enjoy it. What’s not to like about getting to spend some time and money on yourself? Sure, there’s some fuss involved, but that fuss should be fun. I call it fnuss…
Secondly, you know you are going to be a centre of attention, so you want to look your best with a killer mother of the bride outfit. And therein lies the secret of nailing mother of the bride dress.
It’s about your best, not someone else’s idea of what that might be. So you should dress in a way that is true to who you are. If you are a trousers person, don’t feel you have to buy a dress. If you love hats, buy one; if you don’t, don’t. There are only two rules that can’t be broken: no white, and no black.
Other things to ensure… that you are all-day comfortable, and that includes your footwear. That neither your hair nor your make-up looks too “done” (there’s nothing more ageing). That you have gone the less-is-more route: fussy looks fussier still in photographs. And don’t buy any one-hit wonders: invest in pieces that you will wear again.
That’s it. Remember: fnuss.
If you’re struggling, we’ve put together some brilliant mother of the bride outfits to help you get started with mother of the bride dressing…
The floral number
There’s something lovely about wearing a owery frock to a wedding, but you do want to avoid looking like a guest at a vicarage tea party. Modernising touches might include mix-and-match prints and/or an interesting hemline, both seen here below courtesy of Primrose Park (£269, primroseparklondon.com). another great choice – especially if you are a different size on your top and bottom – is co-ords. added bonus: you can mix and match with the rest of your wardrobe after the big day. Tabitha Webb does the best around (from £550, tabithawebb.co.uk).
The all-day heel
I don’t need to tell you why. I just need to tell you, buy! A kitten heel is a flattering leg-lengthener that requires absolutely no suffering (£119, kurtgeiger.com)
The feminine trouser suit
Recently, I met a lovely woman in her seventies who was worrying. She was a trousers person, and her daughter was getting married – what on earth should she wear? her daughter had said, “Mum! Trousers, of course!” She still wasn’t sure. What did I tell her? “Mum! Trousers, of course!” Oh, the look of joy. There are some great trouser suits around. Like this Baukjen’s mint green twosome (trousers, £119 jacket, £160, baukjen.com)
The sleek dress
They knew how to burnish a woman’s curves in the 50s. So what better approach than to make like a 50s bombshell for your daughter’s big day? Introducing Bombshell London, a frock specialist that does exactly what it says on the tin. This blue silk number is especially knockout (£379, bombshellhq.com), and there are cheaper options from £199.
The flexible bag
It’s all about options for me when it comes to a bag, and this style – with a detachable strap so it can be carried as a clutch or worn as a cross body – definitely delivers. The small homegrown label DeMellier – loved by the Duchess of Sussex – has cleverly conjured up some corking colour options too (£285, demellierlondon.com)
The statement cover-up
It can be one of the trickiest aspects of wedding dressing, your top layer. I love this colourful cotton coat from James Lakeland (£299, jameslakeland.net), which will look just as good worn over a classic white tee and blue jeans back in the real world.
The affordable hat
My advice here would be, don’t splurge too much money. Unless you spend a lot of time at Royal Ascot, that price per wear equation is never going to work out to anyone’s satisfaction. Besides, there’s no need. A titfer-loving friend of mine swears by Joanna Violet, whose ravishing retro numbers are a snip (£38, joannavioletmillinery.co.uk). I have to take her word for it because you will never, ever see me in a hat. and if that is you, too, then don’t feel you have to be seen in one either.
The final flourish
This stunning synthetic corsage is not cheap but I happen to think it’s a genuine ever-after item. It’s by faux- florist to the stars Philippa Craddock, who has worked for luxury houses like Alexander McQueen and Christian Dior, and it’s a one-stop way to turn a tailored jacket, or a simple blouse or dress into a party piece. A beauteously blowsy fresh bloom – not one of those uptight affairs the men wear – is a great way to dial things up. (£235, matchesfashion.com)
The precious jewellery
I think it’s nice to wear some real stones on a day that is all about what’s real. Even nicer to match those stones to your outfit. There’s no one better at delivering affordable semi-precious jewellery in a rainbow of hues than the boutique British brand Sushilla. These pink and green tourmalines are a particular standout. (£159, sushilla.co.uk)
The special occasion jumpsuit
A jumpsuit smooths your lines in the same way a dress does, and always looks bang up to date. We love this one from Coast (£129, coast-stores.com)
So what will you wear?