Sunday, April 20, 2014

Style Over 50: Mother of the Bride Dresses

An over 50 girlfriend just found out her son is engaged. The wedding is not for another year, but already she's fretting about what she'll wear. I told her I'd do a little preliminary mother-of-groom dress hunting to put her mind at ease. A few nights ago, I went online and found a number of dresses at Nordstrom that I thought might be perfect. I decided to share some of dress styles on Flattering50, in case anyone else is looking for mother-of-the-bride or -the-groom dress ideas.

The funniest part of shopping online for mother-of-the-bride or of-the-groom dresses is the models. Even though I clicked on the "mother of the bride" link at Nordstroms, all the dresses are modeled by splinter-thin girls who don't look like they've graduated high school yet. How silly is that?!? Still, if you can ignore the teeny-bop faces and pencil figures, I think there are some flattering dresses, such as the Alex Evenings Tiered Dress & Bolero (Petite) ($195) above.

One of my two favorite mother-of-the-bride or mother-of-the-groom dress styles is the embellished sheaths. For a day wedding, I would keep it simple: a beaded collar or tiers of chiffon, like the dress above. Another options might be a dress with lace overlaid (below). Heavier embellishment, like a thickly jeweled collar or bodice, is a sophisticated and stylish choice for a festive evening wedding.

Alex Evenings Tiered Lace Sheath Dress (Regular & Petite) Champagne 10P ($140)

A spray of sequins, like this lovely Alex Evenings Shimmering Lace Sheath Dress ($148) (below), is perfect for an evening reception, but might also work for an afternoon affair. Three-quarter lace sleeves is a great solution for women prefer to keep their arms covered.

Are you looking for a gown? Again, I like the ones with a little embellishment, like this J Kara Embellished Bodice Chiffon A-Line Bodice ($238) with a sequin faux wrap bodice and a chiffon skirt.

Obviously, the color of the bride's maid dresses is an important consideration. I also don't want to wear the same color as the other mother. Other than avoiding those colors, I would steer clear of some of the sassier hues, especially red. My mother-of-the-groom goal: To look smashing without standing out. Hence, I love sophisticated neutral tones--champagne, antique blue or rose, lavender--on the mother of the bride or the groom.

Can't wear neutrals without looking washed out? Me, too! My complexion favors the "winter colors"--the brightest reds, blues and greens. If you're like me, you might opt for a blue, which I like to think is the new neutral. All shades of blue are very trendy right now.

Recently, I was at a evening wedding. The mother of the bride wore a sheath in a midnight blue, a shade lighter than navy. The bodice was overlaid with crochet and bead work. The short sleeves were crocheted with beads--all in the midnight blue. It was gorgeous.

For a day wedding, I would choose a color lighter than midnight blue. A pretty blue dress in a lush fabric--silk, crepe, satin, chiffon--doesn't need beads or sequins. In fact, I would probably avoid embellishment other than your pretty jewelry. Take, for instance, this Adrianna Papell Pleated Crepe Dress ($98) in bright aqua.

For an evening reception in fall or winter, I might choose a bolder blue, like this Ellen Tracy Side Gathered Crepe Sheath Dress ($118)

My other favorite dress for mothers of the brides or grooms is the suit dress. They are stylish, sophisticated and offer the option of removing the jacket when your dancing. The year before last, I was at a wedding where the mother of the groom wore a cream suit dress like this Tahari by Arthur S. Levine Metallic Jacquard Jacket & Dress (Regular & Petite) Ivory / Gold 8 . Cream is not a color I would have thought of wearing. However, it was clearly a flattering choice for the mother of the groom; she looked beautiful.

There's a lot of variety when it comes to dresses with matching jackets. Here are two more styles...

JS Collections Embellished Lace Dress & Jacket ($168)

Komarov Pleated Satin & Chiffon Dress with Jacket ($398)

Do you have a favorite mother-of-the-bride or mother-of-the-groom dress style?