Aisle style for the mother of the bride


At the start of each new calendar year, a few things must be planned for. A potential summer holiday, for example, or the birth of an offspring (or, better yet, a responsibility-free grandchild). But nothing takes more planning and preparation than imminent nuptials in the family.

Yes, we’re going to talk about weddings. (I know, it’s January and we should be discussing how best to save your money, detox your body or recoup your festive losses but, frankly, fashion is neither about restraint nor denial.) For the 2013 bride, now is crunch time: time to plan the workout regime, the alterations routine and to schedule the bridesmaids’ tasks.

But there are books for all of that. Instead, let’s consider the 2013 mother-of-the-bride-or-groom. What can one wear to one’s daughter’s or son’s wedding that isn’t satin and involves neither a bolero nor a feathered headpiece? There is no book on that.

Before we begin, know this: a refusal to dress like your mother doesn’t automatically mean subscribing to the school of Liz Hurley dressing (ie dressing like your daughter). There is a wealth of choice in shops at the moment.

The pictured printed dress by Jaeger, for example (€305 at Arnotts) is a great all-weather piece: the floral is summery, but the dark background prevents it looking overly optimistic should the heavens be so bold as to open. With this silk jacket, also by Jaeger (€215), it’s wedding appropriate and could even be coordinated with a coral headpiece, should that tickle your fancy.

The length is demure without being too mumsy, and you don’t need to worry about exposing that tricky upper-arm area. (Disclaimer: upper arms are only tricky in the eye of the owner. I think upper arms, yours and mine, are quite lovely as they are, and require no covering-up.)

Another print option – again, in coral, which is a big colour for spring/summer and suits even the pastiest of Irish skin tones – is the pictured dress by Irish label Fran Jane (€179). It should be made clear upfront that this is satin – but it is not shiny, and there is no matching bolero. The cross-over chest detail is very flattering (but not too revealing) while the gathered waist will create an hourglass shape, and the slightly cocooned arms will keep you cool under pressure.

If patterns are not your thing (I do beseech you to give one a go, because patterns hide a multitude and can brighten up even the dreariest of Wednesdays), what this Rick Owens dress misses in arm coverage (€310 at Brown Thomas), it makes up in chutzpah.

It’s such a simple, draped piece that it leaves you able to mix and match a myriad of accessories: try a gold tribal necklace, for example (this one from Topshop at €23 would do nicely), and some chunky rings, to cement your place as earth mother.

You could also pair it with a black belt and a cropped black blazer to bring some business to your casual draping. You could even get away with wearing flat sandals (you are the mother of the bride, after all, so no one expects you in 12-inch Louboutins).

And don’t be afraid to wear trousers – a chic look composed of sleek separates can take years off, and better still, leave you with items you will be able to wear again.

The sequined tee pictured right looks great with a relaxed blazer and a pair of lightly printed brocade trousers (all from a selection at Marks Spencer), and wearing varying shades of the same colour can be a very modern way to match (without being matchy-matchy).

Just leave the fascinator at home – you may be a mother, but you’re not your mother. Yet.

Mother dearest: dos and don'ts


Wear something you are comfortable in – fidgeting suits no one.

Ask your daughter’s opinion (but don’t allow her to make the final decision).

Bring layers: churches are not famed for their generous heating.


Coordinate with the bridal party, unless specifically asked to.

Think you must buy something brand new; if you have something you love that suits, wear it .

Concern yourself with what the other mother is wearing.

Get your tan done – just don’t.

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