As the mother of the bride or mother of the groom, we know that your child’s wedding day is one you have been looking forward too and, more often than not, spending quite a lot of time helping with all the arrangements.
We also know that, although it is your child’s special day, and of course they deserve to be at the centre of it all, as the mother of the bride or groom, it is your time to look and feel your best also. Your mother of the bride dress can help you feel elegant and confident to take on your role with all the grace and glamour you deserve.
Finding a mother of the bride dress can be a harder task than first expected, as we outline in this article, finding something that fits with the venue and the dress code and everything else a wedding brings with it often exacerbates many women. Check out our previous articles if you are in need of some information to help elevate this stress and make the shopping experience much more enjoyable.
We do know that much of the mother of the bride shopping experience is about finding something that works well with the wedding aesthetic as a whole. But, we think that you also need to focus a bit on yourself, to ensure that you not only find a dress that works for you as the mother of the bride but help you looks and feel your best in yourself.
This is why we have created this article, to help you find your most flattering mother of the bride dresses so you can feel as beautiful as possible on your daughter’s wedding day. By first confirming what body shape you are you can then focus upon what styles of dress best work for your figure to help you find your perfect mother of the bride or mother of the groom dress.
How to find your body shape
Although it seems like a slightly outdated process and in some ways, it is, as we know that women's bodies are much more than shapes or fruits, it is an exercise with a specific purpose.
This purpose is to discover to find out what areas of your body you want to highlight. Identifying yourself with a particular body shape enables you to easily find what style of dress best suits your body shape, making it easier for you to then specify your outfit to your particular body needs.
First, we shall go through the different body shape, outlining what specifically defines each type to help you identify which you feel most accurately fits your body. Then we shall go through each body type to show you which styles of dress will help you look and feel your best on your daughter’s special day.
If, once you have discovered which style of dress best suits your body type and you are after some advice on for choosing your colour then click here.
So, we know that most women have a ruff idea of what body type they are, but, as things change over time we thought it would be a good idea to outline what defines each shape to see if maybe is a different shape to what you had previously thought.
Are you an Hourglass shape?
The website Chic by Choice describes how ‘women with an hourglass body type have the bust and hip approximately the same size and a narrow waist. Killer curves are a strong characteristic of an hourglass silhouette.’ So think Scarlett Johanson or the ladies in Goya's La Maja Desnuda.
They also say you Do have an hourglass shape if:
- Your bust and hips are proportionally equal to each other
- You have a defined waist
- Your upper and lower body are of similar length to each other
How do you know if you are pear-shaped?
Pear-shaped figures are one of the most common and are identified by ‘slightly narrower shoulders and curvier hips and bottom, a small bust and a neat waist. Also known as the triangle, this body type is one of the most common ones: the majority of women have a pear silhouette.’ Both Beyonce and Kim Kardashian are known for their pear-shaped bodies.
You DO have a pear silhouette if:
- You have a defined waist
- Your bust and shoulders are narrower in proportion than your hip-line.
- You may be longer on your top than your bottom half
What makes an Apple silhouette?
The main difference between apple-shaped figures and other body types is that the upper body (shoulders and bust) is about the same size as the waist and hips. This silhouette has a less defined waistline, but leaner bottom and legs. Cathrine Zeta-Jones and Drew Barrymore both have apple-shaped bodies.
You DO have an apple silhouette if:
- You carry weight around your midsection and bust.
- Your rib cage and back seem wide
- You have slimmer legs
- Your waist is less defined
- Your hips may be narrower than your midsection
What is the difference between an Apple and an Inverted Triangle?
The website style angle describes how the inverted triangle shape is the least common apparently less than 5% of women fall into this category. You have this body shape if your shoulders are much broader than your hips, one image that describes this body space is a cocktail glass, think of its broader brim that slims down to the stem. The model Nomi Cambel is an example of a woman with an inverted triangle body type.
-Bottom half is smaller than your top half
-Little or no definition in your waist
-Straight and square shoulder line
Could your figure be described as a rectangle?
The main difference between rectangle-shaped (or banana-shaped) figures and other body types is that the waist, hip and shoulder widths are similar and are usually on the slim side. If you have this silhouette you are likely to have a less defined waistline, even if your midsection is slim. You will also probably have long and thin arms and legs.
You DO have a rectangular silhouette if:
- You have a less defined waist
- Your hips are a similar width to your shoulders
- your curves and bust tends to be small or average
What style of dress is the best of an hourglass body types?
The hourglass body shape is one of the most highly regarded of the female figures, it has been recently depicted throughout art history due to its feminine curves. But, just because this figure has been so coveted we know that this doesn't mean dressing for it is a simple task.
How can you best dress to enhance your hourglass shape? Well as it says here, this process is two-fold: first, it is often recommended that you wear something that defines your waist, second, you should show off your beautiful feminine shape - ‘it’s time to embrace them in body-hugging silhouettes and pieces that hit you in all the right places' such as this beautiful dress below.
So, what styles of dress are perfect for the hourglass figure, that will help you channel your inner Monroe. Styles such as wrap dresses or the fit and flare will help you enhance your natural silhouette. Or for something a little more current why not try an empire silhouette to highlight your natural waist.
What styles are best to avoid? Dresses that are too flowy usually won’t flatter your figure as much as those with a more defined waistline. But, if you have your heart set on a dress of this type of dress here is some helpful advice ‘if you love a dress and it’s a trapeze or other loose-fitting silhouette simply add a belt. In fact, as a general rule - when in doubt, belt it! Just look at the wonderful built-in waist-cinching tie on this dress below, for similar options click here and here.
What about hemlines? Well, here you have quite a lot of freedom as stitch fix describes. If you want your legs on show then spring a short mother of the bride dresses, or if you want a bit more coverage then look for a dress with a defined waist with a skirt that hits right below the knee. ‘For the lovely hourglass shape looking to downplay their curves (why would you?), choose very simple silhouettes in solid, dark colours.’
The perfect dress for a pearshaped figure.
When you are looking to dress for your pear-shaped figure as the Alapion team describes how ‘the name of the game is playing with proportions that elongate the body.’ Finding dresses with embellished tops that draw the eye upward helps to highly the waist, back or neckline. The beautiful dress below would make an excellent mother of the bride dress for a pearshaped figure.
You are often encouraged to spring for some dramatic necklaces and earrings too, what fun! For some more advice on the best jewellery for the mother of the bride have a look at this article.
So, what styles of dress are best for your body shape. Firstly it is great to pay attention to the top half of the dress and for this consider this advice ‘dropped and embellished necklines, open backs, dramatic sleeves, and belted styles will all play up your more slender upper body’, like this dress below.
As for styles, a great option is an A-line dress, which means that it is fitted from the shoulders to the waistline and then drops slightly looser towards the hem. This will give the effect of highlighting your smaller top half while skimming over your lower section. As for hemlines any option ‘that hits right below the knee will elongate your frame and slenderize the hips and thighs’. If the A-line style doesn’t take your fancy then why not long for mother of the bride dresses long, a maxi dress will also look amazing too!
The best Mother of the Bride dresses for an apple-shaped figure
When styling an apple shape you will often look best in a style that plays upon your full bust and amazing legs and/or arms. As Yours Clothing says ‘in general, silhouettes that don’t rely on a traditionally structured waistline are your hardest working pieces.’
What is the perfect dress for a mother of the bride with an apple-shaped figure? So there are quite a few options you can opt for. If you are after a dress that ‘skims your tummy and shows off your legs’ then a swing dress is a great option. Or for something that creates a more defined waist, producing a more hourglass silhouette try an empire line or wrap dress. Just look at the wonderful neckline of this perfect mother of the bride dress.
A little piece of advice for wrap dresses ‘avoid “wardrobe malfunction” moments by wearing a cami underneath’. Strapless dresses are a great option for apple-shaped women, but we suggest that you consider the tone of your daughter’s dress code as you don’t want to be feeling you have too much skin on show. Just look at this beautiful longer swing dress.
What should you wear if you have an inverted triangle shape?
So, when thinking about the inverted triangle shape one thing we want to outline, which you might have noticed, is that as 40 Plus Style describes ‘inverted triangles and apple are somewhat synonymous. Both shapes are known for their broader shoulders. While typically, true apple shapes carry a little more in their midsection while inverted triangles do not.’
When dressing an inverted triangle body shape most women want to accentuate their waist, drawing attention away from your broader shoulders or larger chest area to your slim lower body and legs. A perfect example of a mother of the bride dress for an inverted triangle body shape is the one below, just look at how the neckline balances the flared skirt.
Much of the focus when dressing an inverted triangle shape is to ‘create some volume on your lower body so that you balance out your wider shoulders. This way you can create the illusion of having an hourglass figure, where your shoulders and hips look as if they are a similar size and your waistline curves in.’
The styles of dress that best work to achieve this look for an inverted triangle shape, are a mother of the bride tea length dress, or a fit and flare. Going for this type of style, over, let's say a pencil dress, will help to create volume to your lower half giving the impression of a more balanced silhouette.
How to best dress a rectangle shape figure
If you think that your body shape can best be described as rectangle or aesthetic, mean you are ‘straight-up-and-down’, this means that luckily for you it is ‘so fun to dress’. This is because ‘your shape looks great in almost everything, you have the ability to flaunt or conceal as much as you feel comfortable with and balance is easily obtained like yin and yang with your figure' the below dress can perfectly achieve this balance.
Chic by Choice describes ‘the key to dressing an athletic or rectangular shape is to balance your broad upper half by accentuating your legs and other curves.’ 'It’s all about remembering the athletic shape rule of thumb: Keep the volume on top or bottom. If you go for an oversized top shape, keep the bottom skinny or structured. With a more form-fitting top, pick a breezy or more oversize pant style.’
It is also said that ‘when it comes to dresses, most styles work on you so it’s all about figuring out which feature you want to play up’. But, we do think that there are some certain styles you can wear to accentuate different aspects of your figure.
For example, if you want to make yourself look a little curvier then go for a pencil dress, the hem that tapers at the knee helps accentuate your curves. If the pencil dress is in a tighter stretch fabric then it will help to highlight your waistline. You are also able to opt for a fun neckline, halter, sweetheart or scoops are all great options.