When it comes to fashion for a wedding, there is generally a powerful hierarchy which dictates the priority of selecting a person’s wardrobe, which is based on that individuals role in the wedding. With the Bride’s attire obviously being the most important piece of wardrobe, and the bridesmaids attire usually coming second, couples then have to select fashions for the groom and his groomsmen, the ring bearer, flower girl, and are even selecting attire for the less traditional attendants, which may include miniature Bride and Grooms, miniature bridesmaids and grooms, ushers, and even pets! With so many people to dress and coordinate, both the Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom often find themselves in unflattering, nonchalant, off-the-rack sales gowns which leave them feeling unimportant and running from the photographer.
With the wedding industry booming as strongly as it is today, we’re now seeing stronger and more desirable collections of gowns and formal pant suits for the Mothers in the wedding, making not only the Bride happier as far as promoting cohesion amongst the bridal party, but also pleasing Mom on a day of such great importance to her – whether she be the Mother of the Bride or Groom. In order to get a good idea of what is available for the Spring 2011 season, below you will find a selection of attire to give you an overview of what’s on trend, where you can find these styles, and other relevant details about these styles to help Mom pick out something you and she both will love to see her wearing on your wedding day.
Trend One: Turn up the Color!
Great Source: David’s Bridal, Macy’s
Occasion: Casual to Black Tie
One of the typical similarities amongst Mother of the Bride or Groom’s attire used to be that it were a neutral color, so as not to take away from the Bride and her attendants. As it turns out, most Mom’s are more hip than we originally thought, and not only want to wear some of brights chosen for wedding colors, but they also don’t mind standing out from the crowd a little. For example. if your colors are Kelly Green, Lemon Yellow, and Rose Pink, Mom might want to wear a nice Kelly Green frock to stand out from the rest of your party, who is dressed in the Yellow. If you’re comfortable with your Mother or the Groom’s Mother getting a little funky, let her enjoy herself – you’ll be surprised how much more fun the event turns out when Mom feels sexy.
Trend Two: Channeling Michelle (Obama, that is!)
Great Source: Saks Fifth Avenue, David’s Bridal
Occasion: Semi-Formal to Black Tie
Since the first day President Obama hit the campaign trail, women across the world have been in awe of the impeccable taste Michelle Obama exhibited on a consistent, day-to-day basis through her sophisticated, and yet seemingly simple, wardrobe. With pieces reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy, another timeless style icon, our First Lady has brought back two pieces which every woman seems thankful for: the sheath dress and the ball gown.
When dressing for a semi-formal wedding, nearly any woman can find a flattering sheath dress, which should hit right at the knee, and be paired with a chic bolero or cardigan, featuring simple details, that can be removed should Mom get too hot during the day or while dancing the night away at the reception. The color of the garment can match those of the wedding, or be a soft, ivory hue to allow the posh cuts of the dress to speak for themselves.
When dressing for a formal wedding, a Mother should always, as everyone else, avoid white. Even shades of ivory and cream should be avoided, especially with longer gowns which may look too bride-like and send the wrong message to guests. At the Congressional Black Caucus Dinner, for example, the First Lady wowed guests with a bright-red halter gown that was exciting, but not over-the-top, as while it was modest, the cuts of the gown and the color were the perfect balance of sexy and class appropriate for a trendy Mom.
Trend Three: Eco Chic
Great Sources: Jovani, Purely by Alfred Angelo
Occasion: Very casual to Semi-Formal
With so many of us making a conscious effort to make even the smallest difference for the planet by, “going green,” many Brides are making an attempt to use recycled, organic, and sustainable products for their wedding- this even goes for attire. Brides, bridesmaids, and Mothers of the Bride and/or Groom can all purchase high-quality, affordable dresses made with organic cottons, organic taffeta, and organic silks, or even purchase gowns, like those from Purely by Alfred Angelo, which are made from recycled fabric. Practices used to make these gowns use less energy, less harmful chemicals, and are an all-around more responsible choice which help do small things to protect our planet and typically help bring down the costs of a wedding. In terms of Mother of the Bride and Groom dresses, eco-friendly dresses have become incredibly popular, especially because of the coziness and breathe-ability of the fabrics, which help keep Mom comfortable.
Trend Four: Show Some Skin
Great Sources: JC Penney, White House Black Market
Occasion: Very Casual to Black Tie
Please, take this advice and think long and hard before you allow tradition to dictate making both your Mothers look as if they are wearing trash bags with jackets to your wedding. Whether we want to think about it or not, our Mothers are sexual beings who want to look nice and enjoy how they feel: no mother what you may have heard, your Mothers will not feel sexy (or photograph well) in a boxy, floor-length, off-the-rack, excuse for a dress which requires she wear a jacket with shoulder pads and giant gold buttons. It isn’t fair, it isn’t, “age appropriate,” – nonetheless appropriate for anyone to wear, and is an atrocity no Mother should be subjected to. It’s time to let Mom free.
Some Mothers, are, by existence, just conservative women, but this season leaves many options open for the conservative lady. A nice pantsuit, a jumper with a cardigan, boat-necklines in the place of V’s, sleeves instead of strapless tops, and longer skirt options all create more conservative looks, but still allow Mothers to wear trendy garments that turn heads.
On the other hand, some mothers have few reservations. Should you and your groom not have a problem with either of your mothers rocking bare shoulders, cleavage, and some leg, then let her fly- but don’t be afraid to speak up if you feel Mom becoming the center of attention over the Bride. You can always reign a wild Momma back in if need be- and if you don’t feel comfortable doing it, have the wedding planner or coordinator suggest Mom wear something less suggestive for any number of reasons – chilly weather, conservative future in-laws, or whatever it takes to keep conflict out of the way while respecting Mom’s sense of style.
Trend Five: Mother Mix n Match
Great Sources: Macy’s, White House Black Market
Occasion: Very Casual to Black Tie
Should you be lucky enough to have a Mother and a Mother-In-Law who get along famously, don’t be surprised if they devise a plan to dress very similar, nearly channeling each other, from their shoes to their nail color. Some brides admit to being mortified the moment they realized that there had been a bond formed between their Mother and Mother-In-Law which turned into the selection of similar dresses, but later admitted to how great it looked at the wedding and how much they loved the cohesiveness in the photographs. One Bride even admitted she is still complimented to this day for, “getting both Mom’s to look great together!” Looking like a cohesive family in photos is more important than you realize while you’re planning you’re wedding, but once you have your wedding album in hand and it’s time to show off your photos, you’ll be excited to see your Mother and Mother-In-Law both decked out in a similar tune, whether it’s similar outfits or just matching accessories.
When it comes to dressing the Mothers in your wedding, you will more than likely face several challenges, but if you stick to one or more of these trends, you’ll have a solid foundation to work with when you begin the search to find the ensemble for your Mother and Mother-In-Law. While it’s important to stay on trend and keep your Mothers’ attire cohesive with the entire Bridal party, it’s also just as important to use this time to have fun and get to know more about your family.