Mothers of the bride
8 tips when searching for your outfit
If the brides dress is the most important outfit in the wedding party, then the mother of the bride and groom surely come a close second.
But how do you know when to start, where to look, what to wear? We try to answer some of the most common questions you have below.
Where to start… Go to an expert
The risk of shopping on the high street is plainly obvious – one of your guests may just turn up in the exact same outfit! This is a truly special occasion and you, the mum, deserves to wear something very special. After all, those photos will be around for a long time!
To ensure you find that special outfit, seek out a specialist boutique like Chameleon who cater specifically for mothers of the bride and groom. A specialist shop will have exclusive collections that your guests are unlikely to have seen. You will also be in expert hands to guide you on what is likely to flatter your figure.
Here at Chameleon, we have over 250 outfits for you to try.
Mums should first talk to the bride and find out if she expects hats and jackets, or if it’s going to be a more laidback affair. Feeling over (or under) dressed will leave you self-conscious all day.
Next, you’ll need to know the look and feel of the wedding. What you wear will clearly be influenced by whether the wedding will be in a tee-pee in a field or in a stately home!
It used to be that mother-of-the-bride dresses followed a kind of uniform — a cocktail jacket atop an understated sheath. Today, almost anything goes — so long as it’s appropriate for the event. So, while you probably wouldn’t wear a strapless dress to a church wedding, it might be just the thing for a beach ceremony. However, you can add a chiffon wrap or, yes, even a jacket to that same dress and it instantly becomes chapel appropriate.
Make sure you also take the weather and cultural or religious customs into account when finding your outfit.
What colour should I wear?
There is no hard and fast rule as to whether you should match the bridal party or wear a different colour. One of the things you will want to do is to ensure that you choose a colour that complements the party. You will be stood together for photos so you do not want something which jars with the colour scheme, but works harmoniously.
Given this, it’s best to wait until the bride has chosen the bridesmaids’ dresses to begin shopping. See if you can get a swatch of their fabric to take with you — it will be super helpful when searching for a harmonizing hue.
If the wedding colours are blush pink, here are some colours that tone really well with this choice.
Time It Right — and Communicate Your Choice
It is customary for the mother of the bride to buy her dress first and to then share her choice with the mother of the groom. The mother of the groom might also need alterations, so be sure to give her ample time to search for her outfit and to have it fitted to her before the wedding.
The mothers’ dresses don’t have to match (unless that’s what the bride wants), but they should complement each other. Remember, you’ll be taking lots of pictures together and the only person who should really stand out is the bride.
When is the best time to look for your outfit?
It’s never too early to start looking for your perfect outfit – the wedding may seem a long way off but it’s always a good idea to start getting ideas and trying on outfits to see what really suits you.
Generally speaking, boutiques that specialise in mother of the bride/groom wear receive just two deliveries a year: The largest collection arriving in December – January for the Spring/Summer collection and a second smaller collection arriving in June/July for the Autumn/Winter collection.
Due to the dreaded Covid, Designers produced much smaller collections at the end of 2020. This means that most shops will only be receiving a smaller amount of stock in January and won’t receive further stock until June/July. In this case, the early bird will have the most choice!
The best time to start shopping for a Summer Wedding is therefore February/March as you will have the most choice. As the months go by, there is less and less choice as stock cannot be replenished. Unlike most shops, these styles are bespokely made for the shops in question many months in advance and as such there is no infinite supply of outfits. Most shops only have a handful of each outfit/size on their rails and once they are gone, they are gone! No more can be ordered in.
We would therefore recommend that you start looking between 3-6 months before the wedding. Give yourself time don’t leave it until the last minute in case you need any alterations for that ideal tailored fit.
6. Shop with an open mind
Different stores and designers will do different cuts so just because one dress and bolero didn’t suit you in one shop, doesn’t mean you should rule them out entirely. The difference of just 1nch on the length of a jacket could be the difference between it hitting you in the exact right place on your body to flatter.
Quite often mums will say, ‘No, I don’t suit that style’ but it may be that a different cut in the same style just works on your body!
Likewise, don’t rule something out on the hanger. We have to repeat this so many times because in our experience, not every outfit has hanger appeal. However once on the body, it transforms into something truly wonderful! We have lost count of the times that a mum has happily left our shop with her perfect outfit that she had completely dismissed when we first showed her! So please let us introduce some ‘wild cards’ for you to try. You really do lose nothing by trying them on!
7. Size does not matter
We’re afraid to tell you that special occasionwear fits very different to high street clothing. This is because clothing on the high street is usually a more relaxed fit. We are not used to wearing very structured and/or tailored outfits in our day to day lives.
A large proportion of women do find that they have to go up around 1-2 sizes in occasionwear. But please ladies, do not get het up about the size. No-one will see the label! Wearing a different size to what you normally wear absolutely does not make you ‘fatter’ or ‘thinner’. You’re still you and are still the same shape as when you walked through our door.
We have over 11 Mother of the Bride Designers in store. Each and every one will fit your differently and you will most likely wear a different size in each! We can guide you as to the fit of all our designers.
8. Firm foundations
When you come to try on, make sure you wear a supportive bra, preferably in a flesh colour that’s not too soft to give the best shape. Nude seamless briefs are always a good idea when trying on. Try the departments stores such as Debenhams (pictured) or Marks and Spencer for a great choice of foundation garments.
Sometimes mums’ outfits have a lot more structure and support than ‘normal’ clothes which can work wonders for the overall silhouette. Some outfits will have boning and corsetry for extra support.
If you intend on wearing tights on the wedding day, bring a pair with you.
We can provide you with heels to try on with but not all ladies are comfortable in a high heel so feel free to bring your own.
Come Visit us
At Chameleon we have 35 years experience in dressing mothers of the bride and groom. We are here to help you find the perfect outfit for the most special of occasions. Let us guide you through the process and show you all the exciting dresses we have. We have over 250 outfits to choose from!
We do hope that we have answered all your questions about searching for that perfect outfit. However if you have any more, please don’t hesitate to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org