Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dear ESB: What should my MOM wear?

My mom is very petite, she is 4'11" at 91 lbs and is 59 years.

Most people think she is much younger than her actual age. I am at a loss since most of the mother of the bride dresses I've been seeing look so horrendous and very old-ish. I want my mom to look beautiful and comfortable and the dress should work for her, not drown her in fabric.

I am looking at something knee-length since we are having an outdoor wedding in California this August (and Christina Richards will be our photographer! So excited!). But I still haven't found anything. I would love suggestions, please! :D

Note: My dress
[pictured above] is short as well.


Depending on how adventurous your mom is....

This silk abstract floral dress from Banana Republic has a youthful/ladylike feel.

And then the is just RAD.

(Both come in petite.)

First two images: Saja by Jose Villa via Once Wed


  1. omg, i went through the EXACT same thing with my mom. although she is 5'5 and was 60 during my wedding last year, she does NOT look her age is skinny AND she is so damn fashion forward. suffice it to say, dress shopping for her sucked ass. we ended up finding a dress she liked at a bridesmaid shop called bella bridesmaid: maybe they have one by you? you should check them out.

    fyi, someone needs to start a dress line for fashion forward mother of the brides and grooms. ya know, dresses that don't make moms look like they pulled the drapes off hotel bedroom windows.

  2. Don't shop for something labeled as mother of the bride. My mom and I went shopping for party dresses at a level one up from the formality that we expected the guests. Nordstrom was the winner for us.

  3. Geez, *I* want the tucker wrap.

  4. yep, went through this same exact thing with my mom. nordstrom had some nice stuff, and you can return anything you don't end up wearing no matter how many days have passed (REALLY great for ladies who like to buy several dresses and try them on at home to decide which one is the best.)

    emerson made has this really sweet silk dress right now. It's flattering and I feel like it would fit well with the look/style of your (beautiful!) dress. Or, if your budget allows, this is a beautiful one.

    actually, you should just browse net-a-porter!

  5. that wrap dress is effing gorgeous

  6. As someone in this demographic, albeit 6 inches taller, I'd add that most women in their 50s prefer a little sleeve, and dresses that touch the knee. Also, the question of where the dress ought to touch the body, i.e. waist, bust, hips, becomes more important. We lose structure as we age, if you will, and we rely on the kindness of garments to give it back or to conceal. One or the other.

    If fashion forward, /Trinidad-Dress/501179446,default,pd.html. If wildly well-resourced,,default,pd.html.

  7. Some lines in general that are great for petites are the Loft and Ann Taylor, their clothes come in XXSP and OOP. Modcloth and H&M also have some great petite options.

    I love Jean from the blog Extra Petite as inspiration...

  8. I second Shayna's statement: "Don't shop for something labeled as mother of the bride."

    I told my mom I didn't want her to look frumpy and to pick something that was actually flattering. She ended up with a dress that could have been a bridesmaid's dress: floor length, grecian one-shoulder style in royal blue.

  9. For our summer casual wedding, my mom ended up with this:

    it has some sleeve, covers knees, has a flattering empire-ish waist, and a youthful red color! (oh, and super affordable and re-wearable!)

    I think she should pair it with nude pumps, but we have some walking over cobblestones to navigate, so she might end up in tan/beige flats.

  10. I love @LPC's way of making everything sound lovely.

    Here's a bit of floral with some sleeve.

    And LPC's wildly well-resourced at a slightly lower price point.

  11. I hate pink ... I LOVE the Tucker Wrap Dress. I wish my body would let me rock the shit out of something like that.

  12. My friend's mom got an amazing cocktail dress from Nordstrom for cheaper than those awful MOB dresses and was one of the best dressed people at the wedding. It looked similar to this:

  13. This is pretty tough without knowing the MOB's style or price range, but definitely look for a cocktail dress, not a dress labeled Mother of the Bride. My mom is a young-looking 49-year-old size 2 and definitely didn't want to look frumpy. While Nordstrom had lots of choices, she ended up getting her dress at Saks, which had lots of good options about a month ago (

  14. Maddie - Why thank you!. BTW, Modcloth is good for our demographic, the retro silhouette believes in structure.

  15. wow! thank you so much for your suggestions! i should have stated.. my mom *used* to be quite the fashionista but not that much now. (she immigrated here in her 50s and i guess the quest for shopping for her size here was much more difficult than in asia.) nevertheless, my mom would be able to rock something fashion-forward. i would say that her budget is probably $300 and under. :)i do love the hussein chalayan dress that was suggested! :)

  16. It's possible you've already found something, as this is an old post. But my Mom is about the same size and age as your Mom.
    We walked into a few bridal / mother of the bride shops and she was horrified by the giant, dowdy, matronly suit-type outfits with the giant hats.
    She settled on a pink, floaty, knee-length dress that she bought off the rack at some high-street-type store. (Zara?). On top, she wore a lacy white cardigan that had a little shimmer worked into the fabric.
    She also wore cream-colored high-heel sandals.
    This was for the garden / daytime part of my wedding. For the dinner, she changed into something more formal.
    Hope that helps!
    P.S. I found you via LPC.
    P.P.S. You can kinda seem Mom's outfit here. Just scroll down past Kate Middleton.