Top-to-toe mother of the bride (or groom) fashion tips

It may be tough to be the mother of the groom, but the mother of the bride (MOB) gets my sympathy vote every wedding season. Forget the stress, potential running costs and emotional demands from fraught daughters — is there a harder dress code acronym to nail than MOB?

I don’t think so. I am 30, that age when everyone is getting married, and having lots of conversations with friends’ mothers about what they should wear for their daughter’s wedding. Finding their outfit is often more of a journey than the bride’s. Ahead of my wedding, my mum was quick to remind me that it would be the most important day of her life too. The outfit — a bespoke silk ruby-red wrap shirt dress — had to measure up.

The mothers of the couple have a starring role on the wedding day; MOB especially because it also involves a bit of backstage management. Either way, you’ve got to feel confident, comfortable and like yourself; equipped, style wise, to support the bride, perhaps play host and remain calm enough to enjoy it all.

It is no small feat. Consider the below tips a starting point.

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The ensemble

It’s got to be polished but not fusty; memorable without any risk of scene-stealing. Ideally your outfit should provide a bit of gravitas — this is your armour, remember — and come with enough give to let you hit the dancefloor. You also want it to be sufficiently special and unique, without risking a guest turning up in the same thing.

“Try to find an outfit that you really love,” says Lalage Beaumont, whose label is an MOB go-to.

Jasper Conran Edie midi dress, £420

Jasper Conran Edie midi dress, £420

“Don’t feel you have to step out of your comfort zone. If you don’t dress up often, try to find something that you feel you can wear again,” she says.

Jasper Conran’s silk full-skirt shirt midi dress ticks several boxes: it would offer a nice silhouette, some structure and comes in lots of bold block colours (£420, jasperconran.com). Wearing this you would be in safe hands.

Suzannah velvet coat, £2,590

Suzannah velvet coat, £2,590

The same goes for Suzannah’s velvet Hunter coat frock in navy or emerald. It would particularly suit a black tie or winter do (£2,590, suzannah.com). If you are leaning towards less traditional or dressing for a far-flung destination wedding, the more-is-more Milan-based label La Double J designs floaty frocks in the most stunning boho-inspired prints — some with a feather trim on the hem, if you are that way inclined (from £670, ladoublej.com).

La Double J dress, £790

You may well prefer tailoring. Find some that feels celebratory, in a shade that suits the season. Lalage Beaumont’s trouser suit in sugar pink, for example, would be a showstopper (blazer, £999, and trousers, which come in a wide-leg or cropped cut, £559; lalagebeaumont.com). Its made-to-order cropped sateen trousers (£650) come in a spectrum of shades and are quite fabulous, particularly paired with a matching sateen top (£599) and one of its Jade dress coats (£1,350).

Lalage Beaumont blazer, £999, and trousers, £559

Lalage Beaumont blazer, £999, and trousers, £559

On which, don’t forget you’ll need a warm layer: a tailored jacket, coat or, if you like a bit of drama, a cape. Don’t think of it as something you are throwing on. It doesn’t have to match what’s underneath but should be coordinated.

Lalage Beaumont top, £599

Lalage Beaumont top, £599

Lalage Beaumont cropped trousers, £650

Lalage Beaumont cropped trousers, £650

Lalage Beaumont coat, £1,350

Lalage Beaumont coat, £1,350

The millinery

Are you a hat person? A fan of fascinators? What about a headband? One MOB I know got her hat from the royal milliner Philip Treacy — and it cost more than her daughter’s entire bridal look. Knowing it was not her thing, my mum didn’t wear one at all, instead opting for a statement hair clip that looked so pretty.

Lock & Co

You will know how big you want to go on the headgear. Head to Jane Taylor (janetaylorlondon.com), Lock & Co (lockhatters.com) or Emily-London (emily-london.com) for the chicest options. Again, Lalage Beaumont has a fine selection too.

Emily-London
Jane Taylor

Remember to take in any of your millinery contenders with the rest of your outfit in a full-length mirror. Consider whether it is overpowering. You do not want it to be the only thing people remember.

The jewellery

Very important, obviously. Do not shy away from the sparkle: guests’ eyes will be on you.

For a bit of colour, go straight to Kiki McDonough (kiki.co.uk): her gems come in a variety of gorgeous shades to suit any outfit.

Kiki McDonough earrings, £4,500

Kiki McDonough earrings, £4,500

Kiki McDonough earrings, £1,300

Kiki McDonough earrings, £1,300

A matching suite might sound grand, but this is an occasion you can get away with one. I think the Fortuna Creole iteration by David Morris (davidmorris.com), made up of a choker, pair of earrings and bracelet in pink opal, chrysoprase or blue agate, is rather splendid.

David Morris Fortuna Creole suite, POA

David Morris Fortuna Creole suite, POA

For those after a classic look, Graff’s Icon collection (graff.com) offers no-nonsense, head-turning frosting. You know the type.

Graff Icon diamond pendant, £12,000

Graff Icon diamond pendant, £12,000

Graff Icon earrings, POA

The shoes

Well, look — this rather depends how you feel about heels. If it were me, I would want something elegant but comfortable and certainly not too high.

Jennifer Chamandi Mario 65 shoes, £630

Jennifer Chamandi Mario 65 shoes, £630

Jennifer Chamandi designs just the thing in varying heel heights. I love the Mario 65 nappa kitten heels in ivory and sand (£650, jenniferchamandi.com).

Manolo Blahnik Axidiaso pumps, £745

Manolo Blahnik Axidiaso pumps, £745

Manolo Blahnik’s powder blue Axidiaso pumps are equally pretty and have a low, walkable kitten heel (£745, manoloblahnik.com).

Manolo Blahnik Maysale pumps, £645

Manolo Blahnik Maysale pumps, £645

Alternatively, you can never go wrong with its trademark buckle-bedecked Maysales (£645, manoloblahnik.com). Just avoid the mules. They will be a pain.

Going to be on grass? For a plain wedge that isn’t an espadrille, try the leather Hermès Legend sandals in taupe or black (£790, hermes.com).

Hermès Legend sandal, £790

Hermès Legend sandal, £790

If a high-summer or beach bash calls for raffia, the brand’s Elda iteration helpfully comes in five colours (£730, hermes.com).

Hermès Elda sandals, £730

Hermès Elda sandals, £730

The bag

It probably needs to hold only some emergency make-up, mints, phone and a packet of tissues — but your bag should not be an afterthought. I like Lalage Beaumont’s Fonteyn (£695, lalagebeaumont.com) for a straight clutch.

Lalage Beaumont Fonteyn clutch, £695

Lalage Beaumont Fonteyn clutch, £695

If you feel you need more versatility, go for Manolo Blahnik’s Capri (£1,325, manoloblahnik.com) or a new take on Métier’s Ease, made in collaboration with the Brazilian-born jewellery designer Fernando Jorge (£1,350, net-a-porter.com), each with a handy detachable shoulder strap.

Manolo Blahnik Capri clutch, £1,325

Manolo Blahnik Capri clutch, £1,325

Métiers x Fernando Jorge Ease clutch, £1,350

Métiers x Fernando Jorge Ease clutch, £1,350

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