1. Seek Inspiration.
The first trick to any special occasion shopping is to identify what you like so you don’t end up feeling uncomfortable. Go through bridal magazines, fashion magazines, Pinterest, or even stalk Facebook accounts for wedding photos. Create a physical or virtual board and share it with the bride. Talk it over with her and make sure your dress aligns with the overall theme of the wedding.
2. Avoid the matronly look.
Traditional mother of the bride dresses look and feel heavy. Remember you are going to wearing this dress for at least 12 hours. Shop both traditional bridal labels (Amsale, Mon Cheri) as well as eveningwear designers (Adriana Pappell, Tadashi Shoji). You do not have to wear taffeta or jacquard fabrics or a dress covered in sequins or beading.
3. Seek a color that is complimentary and not matchy matchy to the bridal party.
Do not wear the same color as the bridal party. This is the most important tip to follow. It’s ok to be in the same color family as the bridesmaids i.e. they are wearing pale pink and you wear dusty rose. Many modern brides will select 2-3 colors to choose from.
4. Pick a silhouette that suits your body type.
Ask the store associates or a personal stylist to help you identify your shape. They should be selecting dresses that highlight your best assets. Its ok to show off those toned arms or small waist. If you hate your arms, don’t cover them up with a bolero jacket, opt for a wrap instead or add sleeves to the dress.
5. Shape wear is your friend.
The days of wearing a girdle or corset are long over. Modern shape wear is lightweight and come in shades that easily camouflaged under the dress. The options range from bras, tanks, bodysuits, and shorts.