Where to buy stylish mother of the bride dresses

By IN Advice, Find Your Style, Flatter Your Body, Style Q&A

This edition of Style Q&A is adapted from a question asked in the Women’s Wear Daily group on LinkedIn.

Rick’s daughter is getting married this year and his wife needs to purchase a mother-of-the-bride dress. But she doesn’t know where to look. As she points out, there are plenty of reality shows about buying wedding dresses, but none for the mother of the bride. What are some stylish options for a mother-of-the-bride dress?

Here’s my answer. First, consider what style of dress you are looking for. Is it a more formal evening wedding or a more informal afternoon wedding? This will dictate the length of the dress as well as cut and fabrics–a long sequined dress that’s a little décolleté is perfectly appropriate for an evening affair in a ballroom, but not so much at an afternoon ceremony in the garden.

Next, consider color. Look through the many upscale boutiques online and you’ll see that for mother-of-the-bride dresses–just as it’s been true lately for bridesmaid dresses–the days of bright, even shiny colors are over. Shocking pink and electric blue have been replaced with a softer, prettier palette of greys, silvers, peaches and even black. The best part is this means you’ll actually be able to wear your dress again after the wedding’s over. (So go ahead and splurge a little; you’ll get more than one wear out of it!)

Once you know what you’re looking for, then it’s time to find it. (I’ll focus on the online options since they’re available to everyone no matter where you live.)

Stylish mother of the bride dresses

Here are some stylish options for mothers of the bride that won’t look like the dress everyone expects. Flowing shapes and neutral colors rule the day.

And don’t forget to try your local vintage consignment store; there are often hidden treasures to be found there in one-of-a-kind styles. (Not comfortable shopping vintage? It’s easier than it might seem; here are some tips on how to shop for vintage clothes.)

Looking for more conservative options? For the broadest selection in higher quality designs and fabrics, turn to the better department stores; you might be surprised at how affordable some of them are. Better still, the websites of Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and Lord & Taylor have entire boutiques for mother-of-the-bride dresses in a variety of styles and lengths.

What to buy and where

J Crew gown
$350 – jcrew.com

Sue Wong empire waist dress
$430 – lordandtaylor.com

Adrianna Papell sheer dress
$228 – nordstrom.com

Tadashi Shoji formal dress
$302 – lordandtaylor.com

Adrianna Papell pleated dress
$239 – lordandtaylor.com

V neck dress
$150 – modcloth.com [affiliate link]

Chetta B dress
$219 – lordandtaylor.com

Alex Evenings ruched dress
$158 – nordstrom.com

ADAM Colorblock Long Halter Dress
$395 – shopbop.com [affiliate link]

Halston Heritage silk dress
$595 – net-a-porter.com


Let’s dish

  • My mom wore a rich blue dress with a matching jacket to my wedding. What did your mom wear?
  • Are you a mother of the bride? What do you plan to wear?
  • Jacket dresses: still stylish or only for royal weddings?

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