Choosing the Right Mother-of-the-Bride Dress

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly
Holly Cook's wedding colors were coral, gold and charcoal, and her mother donned a simple cap-sleeve sheath.

Chances are your mom helped you pick out the dress of your dreams. But when faced with the task of choosing a dress for herself, many moms are understandably overwhelmed. There's a lot to consider, after all, including color, length, silhouette, the formality of the event and even dressing appropriately for her age and role in the wedding.

But above all, "the most important thing is that your mother feels very comfortable," says Lisa Ermine, director of the Fifth Avenue Club at the Polaris Saks Fifth Avenue. "It's a long day, and it can last 12 hours between the pictures and the wedding and the reception. You want your mom to feel comfortable, you want your mom to feel beautiful and you want your mom to feel elegant."

After you've selected your gown and your bridesmaids' dresses, sit down with your mom to discuss any guidelines. Her dress-and the dress of your soon-to-be mother-in-law-should complement the wedding colors, Ermine says. If your bridesmaids are in navy, a major trend this season, she could go with a pale-blue dress.

"The dress should reflect your personal style and should be flattering and tasteful," Ermine adds, while also cautioning against anything too similar to your own look. Her neckline should be different, for example, and she should avoid sequins or anything too showy-unless you want her to go that route.

If your mom is self-conscious about exposing her arms, Ermine suggests finding a matching coat, bolero jacket or shawl to cover up without looking matronly.

"My major suggestion is to start [shopping] at least six months out," Ermine says, as long as the bride and bridesmaid dresses have been selected. She also advises moms to inquire about personal-shopping services at department stores.