Fashion & Beauty

Sophisticated Mother of the Bride Dresses

Sophisticated Mother of the Bride Dresses
Shop Story

So your daughter is getting married! Congratulations! Of course, you’ve spent tons of time focusing on her look for the big day, and it’s been a blast. Now it’s your turn to figure out what dress you’ll be wearing when you watch your little miss become a mrs. How did time go by so fast? Sniff. In any event, we know the prospect of finding a sophisticated, age-appropriate, figure-flattering, not too over-the-top, not-too-boring mother of the bride dress is daunting. That’s why we did some recon for you and created the ultimate list of sophisticated mother of the bride dresses you’ll be proud to wear at the event you’ve been helping to plan all year. Whether you want to keep your look understated and elegant, or you’re intent on finding a dress that is fun and makes you feel special, you came to the right place. We know you’ll find the perfect dress that you can look at in photos in years to come and think “Yup, I looked good.”

 

 

Finding a Mother of the Bride Dress

 

Tips:

The type of event and season will dictate the style of your dress to some extent. For instance, a ¾-sleeve gown is a nice pick for a winter affair. Your body type will also inform your choice. We have included both plus-size and petite options on our mother of the bride dress roundup. Also, think about the silhouette that looks most flattering on you as you peruse the dress options. Read the reviews to see what other women are saying about each frock and how they wore it. Finally, don’t sell yourself short! You deserve to look and feel special at your daughter’s wedding, even though the day is all about her.

 

 

How to Select a Mother of the Bride Dress

 

Etiquette:

There are some rules when it comes to what the mother of the bride should wear at a wedding. Most importantly, white is out of the question—unless the bride says it’s OK. In general, you want to respect that this is her day, so your dress shouldn’t be too flashy or imply that you’re trying to steal the show. Other than that, you should wear a dress that makes you feel good, because remember, you’ll be photographed. A lot.

 

 

Cost:

Dresses on this roundup run from $50 to $400, so there is sure to be one that fits your budget no matter what.

 

 

Color:

It’s a good idea to ask the bride what color she wants you to wear. Some brides want the color of the mother of the bride dress to match that of their bridesmaids, while others hope to avoid this. Many styles of evening wear are going to be black or navy, which are typically safe bets unless the bride says otherwise.. But you’ll also find lighter tones work well for a summer or beach wedding, as well as rich hues like plum or hunter green, which are ideal for fall nuptials.

  

 

Style:

Just because we’re talking mother of the bride dresses doesn’t mean you have to look matronly. Many MOB gowns are figure flattering and stylish and have fun elements like shoulder cutouts, capelets, slits, ruching, sequins and even pleats. You’ll find an equal amount of short and long styles. What you won’t find: Boring dresses that make you feel old or unimportant.

 

 

1 of 16 Image Credits: Macy’s

Best Plus Size Short Dress

Betsy & Adam Capelet Sheath

Price: $189.00

More than 80 reviewers can’t be wrong about how figure-flattering this short, chiffon sheath looks on the body. And the cape! We are in love with the sheer, asymmetrical illusion piece that lays over the pleated, knee-length, black dress. Women rave about the fit and how they felt great wearing this scoop-neckline cocktail frock, even after trying on many others that failed to make a good impression. We can see this look coming together with simple jewelry and shoes with a pop of color. Maybe some look-at-me lipstick? If the bride will allow it...

Specifications:
Chiffon overlay
Lined

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“My daughter brought this dress to me and encouraged me to try it on. I fell in love with it immediately! It fits perfectly and is exactly what I wanted for the wedding. If you have extra weight, and think you will never find a formal dress you look good in, this dress is for you. It hides a multitude of sins. I got it in black but also tried on the plum in the store. Both colors are lovely. I am pear shaped with tummy issues, but this dress somehow managed to camouflage all of that. This dress also has some stretch, which makes it very comfortable. I highly recommend this dress. This dress was absolutely one of the best dresses I've worn in a while. It fit perfect on my size 22 body. I'm also short at 5' 2”, and it hung perfectly. The price seemed high at first, but I needed it quick so I purchased it anyways. I was amazed and glad I purchased it. The price was well worth it.”

2 of 16 Image Credits: David’s Bridal

Best Plus Size Long Dress

Cold Shoulder Gown With Crystal Accents

Price: $120.00

You will feel beautiful, yet comfortable, all night in this jersey sheath with crystal-accented open-shoulder detailing and figure-flattering ruching. This simple and elegant dress comes in black, navy or plum and is highly rated for how good it feels on the body and how lovely the draping is in photos. We’re loving the side slit and 3/4 sleeves, which give the otherwise basic silhouette just the right amount of interest. Just add sparkly earrings and strappy shoes, and go celebrate!

Specifications:
Back zipper closure
Partially lined

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“The stretchy material allows the dress to fit comfortably. It’s very elegant. The color is beautiful and pictures look amazing. I was surprised how comfortable and well weighted this dress feels on. It is very stretchy and fits to the body without being restrictive. It has a beautiful flow and for someone who hates dressing up, I feel great in it. It's a fantastic dress at a great price.”

3 of 16 Image Credits: David’s Bridal

Best Embellished Neckline Option

Long Cap-Sleeve Party Dress

Price: $230.00

This embellished-neckline gown, which features a ruched waistline, left us breathless. Not only is the peacock green color beyond beautiful and the teardrop beading stunning, the draping on the dress is so flattering. This truly seems like the perfect mother of the bride dress because it features special elements that will make you feel beautiful, but it’s not overly flashy.

Specifications:
Back zipper closure
Fully lined
Cap sleeves
Also in navy and wine

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“My mother-in-law ordered this dress for our wedding and absolutely loved it. She not only felt like she looked important, but she felt extremely comfortable in the fit of the dress. There was nothing too revealing about it, and she was able to dance all night long in it. The pictures came out beautiful as well. I definitely recommend it!”

4 of 16 Image Credits: David’s Bridal

Best Dress for a Black Tie Wedding

Short Sleeved Sequin Illusion Gown

Price: $190.00

If it’ll be a formal affair, consider this short-sleeve sparkly number with an illusion neckline from David’s Bridal. We heart the detailing on the bodice that cascades down the long skirt. A removable satin sash adds the perfect finishing touch. Wearers say they love the modest cut of the dress, which allows them to wear a normal bra (hip, hip, hooray!). We could see this gown moving beautifully on the dance floor. You don’t even need a ton of jewelry given the sparkle of the sequins.

Specifications:
Back zipper closure
Fully lined

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“I got many compliments on it and was very happy with it. The dress was a perfect fit, and I received so many compliments on it! It is very comfortable. It was beautiful and fit great. I loved that I could still wear a regular bra. The bottom doesn’t flare out as much as the picture when you’re standing still but does when you walk. I got a ton of compliments from strangers. I’m 5’ 9” and a size 12 in most clothes. The size 12 in this dress fit perfect.”

5 of 16 Image Credits: David’s Bridal

Best Long Sleeve Option

Sequined and Beaded Long Mesh Dress

Price: $210.00

A lace and beaded long-sleeve top meets a long, flowing skirt in eggplant or ash on this sophisticated mother of the bride dress. This is the perfect gown if you want your look to be modest, yet fun on your daughter’s big day. And the best news? Women say you don’t need to wear Spanx with this figure-flattering, sequined gown. So, take a deep breath, zip it up and enjoy yourself. We would style this with elegant up-do, dangly earrings, and strappy sandals, which you can totally take off to dance later.

Specifications:
Back zipper
Partially lined

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“I am a size 16, and it is difficult at times to find a beautiful dress that is slimming and stylish and also packs well. This is that dress. I also did not want to have to wear a heavy and tight body-shaping garment, and with this beautiful dress, I don't have to. This dress simply flows.”

6 of 16 Image Credits: Macy’s

Best Tea Length Option

Jessica Howard Portrait-Collar A-Line Dress

Price: $109.00

Meet the tea-length frock that has more than 275 near-perfect reviews on Macy’s website. The Jessica Howard design is both fun and flattering with a crisp portrait neckline, ruched bodice, full skirt and folded, buttoned ¾-length, cuffed sleeves. Wearers praise the unique, yet age-appropriate look and say the fit of the 1950s-inspired cocktail dress is just right, unless you are extremely busty. The reviewers also boasted how many people loved their look. It’s available in navy, black, or eggplant.

Specifications:
43-1/2 inches from back to hem
Lined with tulle

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“I found this dress online, read many reviews and decided to buy it. I’m so glad I did! It fits very well, and it's so classic and charming. I just love it. The nice fabric drapes well and feels good on the body. It’s an excellent tea length hitting just a smidge lower than mid calf. The top fits beautifully over the shoulders, and the gently sloping V-neckline is quite 'come hither-ish.’ I received so many compliments on this beautiful dress. The statement 'classy' was repeated over and over. Also people wanted to know where I got such a stunning dress.”

7 of 16 Image Credits: Macy’s

Best Sexy Dress

Alex Evenings Cold-Shoulder Draped Metallic Gown

Price: $139.00

Who says the mother of the bride look sexy? If you aren’t afraid to show a little skin and have some fun with your wedding-day look, you’ll adore this cold-shoulder gown that also features a slit and a flirty, draped hemline, as well as subtle sparkle. Don’t worryit’s not too sexy! We love the smoke color, but the gown is also available in black and berry. Wearers gush about how many compliments they received while wearing it. Just note that some women say the glitter sheds, but you can just think of it as your good luck dust for a perfect wedding day for your daughter!

Specifications:
52-1/2 inches from back to hem
Cowl neckline

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“I wore this dress for my son's wedding. I received so many compliments. I wore this to a Saturday evening black tie optional wedding. I received so many compliments for this dress. It is extremely flattering. The way it gathers at the waist hides any little bit of belly and bloat. It’s extremely thinning. This dress is an eye catcher. There’s no doubt about it. It’s gorgeous really.”

8 of 16 Image Credits: Macy’s

Best Dress with Jacket

Alex Evenings Sequined Lace Sheath

Price: $179.00

If short dress with a jacket is your ideal mother of the bride outfit , this Alex Evenings sheath will check all the boxes. Available in navy or champagne, the sequined, knee-length frock is paired with a matching lace, open-front jacket featuring 3/4 sleeves. Wear the jacket for the ceremony, then rock the dress at the reception! Either way, you’re bound to love this sparkly, fun, figure-skimming look as much as reviewers, who say the lined dress is understated elegance embodied.

Specifications:
Square neckline, scoop back
Jacket hits at hip, 23 inches long
Dress 39 inches from center of back to hem

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“The sequins are secured well. The dress is subtle but classy. I purchased this dress to wear to my son's wedding, and I absolutely love it. The sleeveless shift and the lace jacket are perfect for a mother-of-the-groom dress. The lace and underlayment material this outfit is made from are high quality and the sequins are stitched on, not glued like many other dresses. It is also very comfortable. I like it so much, I hope that I will hopefully get many more opportunities to wear this! It’s a lovely dress. It’s perfect for mother of the bride. I like that the dress has stretch to it.”

9 of 16 Image Credits: Macy's

Best Taffeta Gown

Alex Evenings Off-The-Shoulder Crinkled Dress

Price: $169.00

We love this off-the-shoulder taffeta gown designed by Alex Evenings for a mother of the bride. The silhouette is sexy, yet sophisticated, and the platinum color will wow your guests. Featuring a fishtail skirt and all-over crinkled fabric, the flattering gown has side-ruching, and, we should mention also has tons of great reviews. Women rave about the figure-flattering fit, saying it hugs curves in all the right places. Nothing wrong with that! So, wear this gown and shake what your mama gave ya on your daughter’s wedding day.

Specifications:
55-1/2 inches from center of back to hem

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“All the reviews for this gown are dead-on. It is amazing and elegant. It has just the right touch of stretch to beautifully hug and accentuate your curves. I truly felt like a red carpet celebrity and got many compliments. I wouldn't normally buy a party dress like this online, but after reading the reviews I ordered this dress. The reviews don't lie. I am 5’ 4” and about 140 pounds and curvy, and a size 10 fits like a glove. I wasn't sure about this dress when I saw it in the store on the hanger but once I put it on, I felt like I was at a red carpet affair. It’s stunning.”

10 of 16 Image Credits: Dillard's

Best Popover-Style Dress

Jkara Beaded Trim Gown

Price: $268.00

Our jaws hit the floor when we saw this dreamy, flowy popover-style dress designed by Jkara. Featuring capelet sleeves and a beaded neckline, this elegant and eye-catching dress is sure to earn you tons of compliments on the big day. We can see the blush, full-of-motion gown being the perfect pick for a beach, summer or spring wedding. If you go with natural makeup and hair, and simple, nude sandals, your mother of the bride look is going to win big. Congratulations!

Specifications:
60 inches from shoulder to hem
Polyester

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“This is the dress I am wearing to my son's wedding in Maui. It is beautiful. I only had to shorten it. I’ve looked for a blush, long dress since last October and finally found it! Thank you Dillard’s. I loved this dress. Good thing I was willing to take a chance on trying it on. All of the pictures do not do it justice. It is so much prettier in person.”

11 of 16 Image Credits: Dillard's

Best Halter-Style Option

Alex Evenings Embellished Sheath Dress

Price: $219.00

Halter-style neckline is flattering on everyone, so this is a great choice for a mother of the bride dress. Women are obsessed with this knee-length, halter-style dress they say is so comfortable, it’s like wearing activewear. That’s the nylon/spandex fabric blend talking; it’s universally flattering, and easy to wear. We love the embellished neckline and ruched waistline, which would look great on any body type. All this dress needs is a pair of sparkly, silver, strappy sandals, and perhaps a sleek up-do, and you are ready to watch your daughter say “I do.”

Specifications:
40.5 inches shoulder to hem
Hand wash

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“I bought this dress to wear at my daughter's wedding. I wanted something that was comfortable, flattering and still elegant. This dress has done all of those things and then some. I highly recommend this dress and that says a lot as I do not wear dresses. I love the material of this dress as it is like activewear. So it’s very flattering and comfortable. It was long on me. I'm on 5’4” but got the dress shortened. I can't wait to wear it to the formal wedding I am going to. I’m thinking of pairing the dress with fuschia pumps for the pop of color.”

12 of 16 Image Credits: Bloomingdale’s

Best-Reviewed Dress

Adrianna Papell Beaded Blouson Gown

Price: $209.00

You aren’t alone if you desperately want to find a mother of the bride dress you can wear with a normal bra instead of a strapless one. Those are SO uncomfortable! Meet the gown that makes donning everyday undergarments to a special event a reality. Designed by Adrianna Papell, the long round-neck frock won’t reveal too much. But it’s still has an element of interest with a beaded mesh overlay that beautifully accents the rich, navy hue. Wearers say the silhouette, especially the blouson top, is extremely flattering and they get tons of compliments. With almost 50 near-perfect reviews, it seems you can’t go wrong if you decide this is the MOB dress for you.

Specifications:
60 inches back of the neck to the hem
Seamed waistline
A-line skirt

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“I bought this dress for my daughter’s wedding. I am 5’ 3”, and it is hard to find a long dress that does not overwhelm me. This dress is stunning. It is slimming, and the slight blouson waist is flattering. The navy color and beading are beautiful, and I received so many compliments. The navy is a true navy and very subtle, but the beading adds the sparkle it needs. I highly recommend this dress.”

13 of 16 Image Credits: Bloomingdale’s

Best Trumpet-Style Dress

Tadashi Shoji Mesh-Inset Gown

Price: $408.00

Drama! That’s the word that comes to mind when you see this black, trumpet silhouette gown that features sheer banding at the shoulders and hemline. But don’t worry, the gown isn’t over-the-top, so your daughter will love it, too. Reviewers praise the elegant look and feel of this flattering gown, which will stun in photos and on the dance floor alike. If you are hoping to look elegant, but don’t want to stumble into boring territory, this gown is a great choice. Just add pearl earrings and black pumps, and have a great time!

Specifications:
Fits large, order 1 size down
60 inches back of neck to hem

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“I loved this dress, the material was form-fitting and very flattering. The dress fit me like a mermaid style dress. You would need to wear some sort of heel with this dress to keep it from dragging on the ground. This dress is pretty much exactly as pictured on the website. The trumpet illusion bottom will surely make it stand out at an event. It makes for a really elegant silhouette. The dress fits the body nicely and is true to size. It is a great design and the material is high quality. It was a bit longer than I expected but not something a tailor could not fix.”

14 of 16 Image Credits: Nordstrom

Best Little Black Dress

Alex Evenings Embellished Shift

Price: $179.00

If a LBD is the look you want for your daughter’s big day, we are nodding our heads. It’s a good way to go. Simple and perfect for any occasion, you could wear this version of a little black dress again. Designed by Alex Evenings, the elegant shift features a sparkling neckline that adds interest and a touch of drama to your wedding-day look. A sheer, illusion neckline is sophisticated and polished-looking. All you’ll need to rock this flattering silhouette is a pair of black pumps!

Specifications:
42 inch length
Back zipper closure
Partially lined
Available in petite sizes

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“This dress has simple elegance and class. No jewels are needed with this comfortable, well-made dress. This ‘little black dress’ is no small thing! It had just the look and feel I wanted.”

15 of 16 Image Credits: Walmart

Best Maxi Style

Ever-Pretty Fit and Flare Sheer Lace Dress

Price: $55.00

Moms of the bride are in love with this flattering lace and chiffon gown from Walmart. Customers say the dress is well-made and comfy, which is important because you’ll be wearing it all night long. We love the blend of the sexy lace top, figure-conscious ruched waistline and flowy, fun-to-dance-in, floor-skimming skirt. Pick from black, navy, purple, gray or sapphire. Just maybe not white.

Specifications:
Fully lined
Padded bust

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“This dress fit perfectly. It has a beautiful satin-lined chiffon skirt and chiffon and satin-lined lace bodice and arms. The open back isn't too low as it goes only half or so to the waistline. The dress has a sturdy zipper with hook and loop closure. It is very long. It's beautiful, fit perfectly and is extremely comfortable. My daughter said it was the perfect color and style for her upcoming wedding. I love the dress. It’s very well made. The material is good.”

16 of 16 Image Credits: Dillard’s

Best Petite Option

Pisarro Nights 3/4-Sleeve Beaded Lace Gown

Price: $248.00

If you’re petite, meet the petite mother of the bride dress shoppers are raving over. Intricate lace and beadwork adds tons of sparkle in sage or slate. The floor-length dress is great for dancing the night away, and the 3/4 sleeves are a modest touch. We can see this sophisticated and elegant gown being the perfect choice for a winter wedding or a black tie event. Just pair with nude heels and prepare to enjoy one of the most special nights of your life.

Specifications:
55 inches from shoulder to hem
Boat neckline
Spot clean

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“I bought this dress for my son’s wedding in September. I love it! It fits perfectly, and I can't wait to wear it. It’s stunning! I felt like the belle of the ball. It fit perfectly and was so nice to dance in. It has beautiful beadwork. It’s a great formal gown. I couldn't ask for anything more.”