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Shopping for your Shape – Mother-of-the-bride (or groom) style

When you’re searching for that all important Mother-of-the-bride or Mother-of-the-groom outfit, nothing beats knowing which styles flatter your body and make you feel great inside – but how do you get to that point?

Claire Muir finds out…


Finding a look that’s going to make you feel a million dollars on your son or daughter’s big day isn’t just about finding something with hanger (or website) appeal.

The most important part is how it looks on you!

And, of course, how it makes you feel.

Every single woman in the world is unique; there’s certainly no one-size-fits-all when it comes to occasionwear shopping – and it’s arguably something that’s far better done in person.

“For me, it’s got to suit the woman’s body and personality, which you can’t tell from looking at photos in magazines or on the internet.

“It’s all about the feeling. And when you know, you know,” advises Louise Brown at Catwalk, Falkirk.

“Finding ‘The One’ is a journey of trying a variety of styles, colours, fabrics, necklines and hemlines.

“We have an amazing selection here at Catwalk and lovely assistants more than happy to guide you, so we’d advise mums looking for an outfit to suit their shape to book an appointment at an occasionwear boutique.”



But what if you don’t know your shape?

Luckily, most Scottish bridal boutiques have their consultants trained to identify which category a customer falls into, says Natalie Rock at Frox of Falkirk.

“An apple, for example, is a woman with slim legs and arms, and a wider torso.

“A woman with an ample bust and hips plus a smaller waist would be curvy/hourglass.

“Once we know your shape, we can advise on styles to best suit it. Finding out what flatters your body is a great help when starting to shop for a special outfit.”

Once you have that box ticked, your consultant will be able to point you in the direction of the designers or styles most likely to work for you – and Georgea Scobie at Gina Smart reminds mums that different designers may have differing proportions.

Ispirato, for instance, has shorter body lengths so these designs often suit those who are 5ft 6 inches and under.

Condici has standard sizing and Dressed-Up is specifically tailored for size 16 plus,” she explains.

At Catwalk, Louise recommends more petite mums look at outfits by one of the boutique’s most popular designers, John Charles.

“The fit and fabric is superb, and these designs really work for ladies who are shorter from the shoulder to the waist,” she says.

“Catwalk stocks this collection in sizes six to 22.

“Meanwhile, we find styles by the designer Veni Infantino particularly suit a taller lady.

“They have some beautiful floaty prints, perfect for summer and destination weddings.

A rule to remember

At Freja Designer Dressmaking, Mette Baillie (a designer whose work is solely bespoke for her clients) uses the start/stop or accentuate/distract rule as her f
first port of call when dressing mamas.

“This is a great tool that can make a big impact in not only looking good in your outfit but in feeling good and confident in yourself,” she says.

“If you stop your skirt hem where the leg is at its biggest, for example, it can look very frumpy and almost like the leg is that heavy all the way.

“But dropping or lifting the hem a tiny bit, to finish at a narrower part of your leg, can have a huge impact.

“The same with jacket and blouse hems – if you stop them on your hip where you’re at your widest it doesn’t work well, especially for pear and hourglass shapes.”

“Once you know your shape and where to start/stop, you can shop accordingly,” she adds.

“You will know which garments will flatter you the most and make you feel like the best version of yourself.”

Pop of colour

When Natalie Rock, née Godfrey, at Frox of Falkirk tied the knot, there was no doubt who’d be styling her mum Maureen for the big day!

PHOTOS by Casey Stewart Photography

“Natalie’s 2023 wedding to Chris at Glenbervie House Hotel was going to be my last time being mother-of-the-bride so it was very important to find an outfit I

loved.

“I knew I didn’t suit certain necklines and I have a short upper body, so I wanted something with a nice length and a flare.

“I also knew light pastel shades aren’t for me – and I wanted a different style and colour to what I’d worn when my first daughter got married in 2010 (a structured, fitted dress and jacket in fuchsia pink).

“We booked a double appointment for myself and Natalie’s now mother-in-law, Karin, at Frox of Falkirk – although I’d already had a sneak peek as Natalie often asks me to come in and do some modelling!

“I was keen on a dipped hem so tried quite a few of those on but there was a dress in my head that I’d modelled a while beforehand.

“It wasn’t there anymore but they did have the same style in royal blue in my size.

“I tried it and knew it was right for me – only my heart was set on the teal and I was keen for shorter cap sleeves.

“Fortunately, the outfit I chose was by Teresa Ripoll and Fiona, who owns the boutique, can order bespoke from her any time.

“When it arrived a few months later, I chose my matching teal Sarah Crozier headpiece.”



“I felt absolutely amazing on the day and so many of the wedding guests commented on how fabulous my outfit was.

“I’d say to other mums that although dresses on the hanger might not look like something you’d wear, it’s best to try them on – you might be amazed at how good it looks with the shape of your body.”

Tailor-made

Freja Designer Dressmaking

Mother-of-the-groom Stephanie-Anne Harris wanted a bright dress that would show off her legs and look great when dancing, so decided to design her own

“I know what suits me and what doesn’t, and I really wanted a unique outfit for my son Alexander’s wedding.

“I absolutely didn’t want the traditional look which, in my head, was a dress with a jacket, shoes, hat and bag – all matching.

“I don’t really like clothes shopping in general but when I have to refresh my wardrobe I tend to use one of the larger stores’ personal shopping experiences.

“I actually had my own wedding dress made and decided I’d do the same with my MOG outfit.

“I Googled ‘dress makers in Edinburgh’ and found Mette at Freja Designer Dressmaking who provided a great, stress-free experience.

“I showed her photos of me in dresses I have that I like, as well as ones from magazines.

“We talked through what would suit my shape – something to show off my legs, something with sleeves and, of course, something that would ‘swoosh’ when dancing!

“Mette sent me through some drawings then I went back for a ‘paper’ fitting where she adjusted the waist height, neckline, sleeve length, etc.

“The next try-on was with fabric and I really got the sense of what my dress was going to be like.

“I think by the time we’re lucky enough to be MOB or MOG, we know our body shape so go with an outfit you know will suit you, as well as the colours that suit you.”

Twirling with joy

Petite Sue Allison had specific criteria for her MOB outfit and, thanks to her husband, she found the rainbow dress of dreams

“Embarking on the search for a dress for my daughter Clare’s wedding that would be stylish and comfortable (especially to dance in) was so exciting but also somewhat daunting.

“At just 5 ft 2 inches I didn’t want to look like I was drowning and knew a more traditional sleeveless shift or A-line style was not for me.

“Oh, and I wanted to make sure my outfit was different enough that none of the guests would be wearing the same!

“My husband helped me look online and came across a boutique south of the border called Suzannah London.

“After spotting ‘the rainbow dress’ and falling for it immediately I arranged a fitting to coincide with a trip we’d conveniently already booked.

“Having never been to a London atelier before I was a little nervous but Conny at Suzannah London was welcoming and helpful, and completely put me at ease.

“My clothes shopping mantra has always been that if I feel like doing a little dance in the fitting room then it’s for me…

“Well, on this occasion, I was twirling round the shop floor!

“All that remained was to choose the neckline and sleeves (having customisable elements was great for helping me dress to suit my shape) and place my order.

“The whole experience was just wonderful and I went back a few months later for a final fitting.

“That was when I added the little straw boater hat and completed the look with L K Bennett suede court shoes that felt like slippers, even when ceilidh dancing!

“I know choosing a dress from Suzannah London was very much a treat but I always consider the price per wear of an outfit.

“I’m delighted to say I’ve already re-worn my rainbow dress at the races and will continue to don it for special occasions for many years to come.”

Need more inspiration for your MOB or MOG outfit?

Read here for outfits that reflect the mums’ personal style

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