What to Wear as the Mother of the Bride or Groom


Reader Jill asked me for some help finding a Mother of the Groom outfit:

I am quite thin with a bony chest and torso (only 47 kilos), small bust, average height, rectangular body (carrying a little more weight below the waist) and am 60 years young. My hair is jaw-length brownish red (a similar style to yours) and my eyes mid-brown with fair skin (wear beige foundation). I am a Warm Autumn. I have a long thin neck and thin arms and lower legs. I hate matronly clothes, and those that are overly fussy. I like the chic, elegant look. I am an average sewer. Many of the dresses on the racks are too bare or too matronly. The mother of the bride will be changing  – one short outfit for the church and one tea-length for the reception. I would prefer one outfit. The bridesmaids are wearing long dresses in a mid brown/bronze colour.

I really am desperate for any suggestions – shops/colour/styles!!!???

What to Wear as Mother of the Bride or Groom?

I’ve collected some great posts from around the internet for inspiration.

Duchesse from Passage des Perles has come up with these solutions  as she hates much of the MOB wear out in stores.

Rebecca from Between My Peers was recently a MOB and did a series of posts on finding her outfit.

What Rebecca wore and when she went about choosing options.

Are there any rules?

  1. Well of course, stay away from white and black.

    Warm colours
    Warm colours
  2. Find a colour that suits your colouring, you want to look great – there will be lots of photos to remind you of the day.
  3. Don’t overshadow the bride
  4. Find a colour that doesn’t clash with the bridesmaids, but is not the same as the bridesmaids.  So avoid the brown/bronze colour of the bridesmaids, but you could try a deep rusty red, a beautiful olive green, a soft coral pink, and lovely warm red-violet – all these would tone well, work with your colouring, and not clash.
  5. Wear something that is a reflection of your personality – you still have to be you.

You may find that it’s easier to find a top and skirt and add a jacket than find a dress.

Look at the weather, no point in being overly hot or cold, it’s hard to have fun when you’re uncomfortable.

What to wear as mother of the bride or groomThere are plenty of online resources, you can look at for inspiration, such as I Do, but if you don’t want to go down the regular path, I’d try looking in boutiques for something great to wear.  Put together an outfit that you can split up as well as wear together.   A beautiful skirt and top with a divine jacket would be a good option.

You could try Anthea Crawford (pictured above available at Myer) or Carla Zampatti  and see if either of these have good options for you.  There may be some other options at the department stores.  Alternatively look in boutiques, there are lots of great clothes by New Zealand brands (such as Verge) or Australian designers (try Master and Margarita) that are stocked around the place that would be suitable as they are aimed at an older clientelle, but are still current and not fussy.

Of course you need to shop with your body shape and proportions in mind (I or H I’d guess, not having seen you).

Anna Wintour

Have a look at what Anna Wintour wears for inspiration, she may have a similar body shape and proportions to you and is always elegantly dressed, much of what she wears would be appropriate for a wedding.

Take your camera when you go shopping, have a photo taken of you in each outfit you try on – that way you can see how the outfit photographs (and this will be important).

If you need help and would like a local image consultant to take you shopping, check the Association of Image Consultant’s directory, you can do a search via location.

Does anyone have any other suggestions or ideas on where to shop (Sydney Australia)?


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  • Wonderful choices you've shown.

    I would have an outfit made, for example a 3/4 coat over a dress like the Wintour one shown- as an ensemble, not a 'separate' coat. Or a beautiful suit. Since Jill likes the "chic, elegant look" she could have a gorgeous fabric, but simple lines.

    I always smile when I see the rule "don't outshine the bride". Do mothers of brides really think they have a chance of doing so?

  • I saw one of those reality shows recently, and the Mother-in-law of the Bride realllly wanted to wear a dramatic, deep red, satin gown — it totally did overshadow the bride's dress, and the bride was very hurt.

    I don't anticipate that this MOB, with her elegant style, will do such a thing, but it is possible.

  • The best dressed mother-of-groom I've seen wore a silky long light green dress. More importantly, she looked like she felt comfortable and was having a grand time.

  • While I like what I wore and will use it again, I don't like it better than Duchesse's idea. If it works for the mom's personality, a dress & coat suit would be perfectly elegant and versatile!

  • Duchesse – thanks – yes jacket and dress is another option – especially good if you can then wear each without the other!

    Rank – poor bride!

    LPC – you make me laugh!

    Rebecca – yours was a good option for you and a nice example.

  • Imogen,

    I remembered this post and came back to look at the dress again only to find out it is not showing up. I love the style and suits me well and will be the mother of the groom in October here in the states. Do you mind sending it to me at: [email protected]? Also if you know if it can be purchased in the USA and the price…

    Thanks so much….I enjoy your blog so much, I was in your business years ago and have forgotten much and much changes over the years as well as my body shape!


  • Thank you Imogen for your very interesting site! I’ve finally found an Australian fashion blogger!

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