Dear Melbourne Darling,
Where can I find the best Mother of the Bride dress?
A mother of the bride outfit can initially seem like a daunting outfit to search for. In my previous styling experience I assisted a number of Mother of the Brides and after a while I would tend to hear the same things:
- No white
- Preferably not a black dress
- Something that won’t clash with the outfits of the bridal party
- Above all, something that is flattering and elegant
This may seem like you have already ruled out some of your favourite options but I want to show you that you can most definitely find a stunning outfit if you know where to shop in Melbourne!
Similarly to my post on finding wedding shoes in Melbourne, just like a mother of the bride outfit or any special outfit for that matter, when first embarking on a big shopping quest for the perfect outfit, I would always suggest not dismissing Myer and David Jones as your starting point. I find the department stores to be the quickest and most effective way to firstly get a sense for the prominent trends, styles and designer collections currently available. The exposure to a variety of different designers in the one place also makes the department stores the best first stop to allow you to start hitting the fitting rooms. Try on as many different styles as you can, as sometimes it’s the best dresses that don’t look great hanging limp on a rack but do wonders when slipped on the body!
I also want to point out that you may not want to wear a dress, and that’s absolutely fine too! Whether you decide on a perfectly paired two-piece suit, mix and match coordinates, prefer a feature skirt with a simple top and blazer or a gorgeous top and simple black pants set off by a remarkable pair of shoes, you want to choose something that you will be comfortable in and will make you feel and look your best!
After a visit to the department stores, you may want to check out the stand alone stores of the designers you liked the best as they may have a larger selection of new styles or matching coordinates and accessories in the same collection of the pieces you liked. Below are my top suggestions to get you started with the retailers I believe are reliable in regularly stocking a wonderful assortment of styles that can be beautifully suited (pardon the pun) for a mother of the bride outfit. Keep in mind, it will also depend on the personal taste of the individual, so I’ve tried to cater for some different tastes:
Coast is still fairly new to the Australian market, only arriving to our shores in 2011. This actually works to our benefit, as Coast has saturated the UK market to the point that I have heard if you were to go to a wedding in the UK and wear a Coast dress, it would not be uncommon to see another wedding guest wearing the same outfit as you! However, it tends to be the opposite in the Australian market where their smaller presence works to our benefit. I still like to refer to Coast as the best kept secret when shopping for occasion wear in Melbourne, with their more traditional yet versatile range of fancy and feminine occasion wear pieces. (Check out their gorgeous collection of mid-heels! Comfy and funky!)
Put simply, Coast London was made for weddings and special occasions. They are a popular destination for bridesmaid dresses and create cleverly designed garments to flatter different body shapes with sizing ranging from a size 6-18. Many of their dresses also come with added practical features like detachable and adjustable straps, boning in the bodice, secret pockets and design features to allow you to wear one dress, multiple ways. Coast London in Australia is hard to find online, but I can tell you that they do have a stand-alone store in Melbourne Central (click here for more details) and a concession store in Myer Bourke Street. You can also buy Coast online at their global website and on ASOS.
If Coast London is the girly, sweet girl next door, then Karen Millen is her sleek and sophisticated, seriously on-trend sister. Karen Millen, sister brand to Coast London, produce beautiful, ultra-modern floral and graphic patterns and statement prints in dresses and coordinates, usually created with perfectly matching clutches and shoes crafted from the same material.
Cue has become quite similar to Karen Millen with their focus on modern, sharp tailoring and darker colours for a more edgy yet refined style. Cue pieces sometimes appear to create a more corporate look, so offset this by adding some extra sparkle with statement accessories like a headpiece, cuff or necklace from Mimco.
If you are after something more suited for a day wedding, or something a little more casual or girly, Review is a great option for floral and colourful vintage inspired pieces. Accentuate a very soft and feminine look with accessories from Alannah Hill.
For something a little less structured but still makes a statement, Charlie Brown create spectacular patterns in comfortable stretch fabric that can be more suited for day weddings. They particularly produce outstanding maxi dresses too.
Anthea Crawford stock an extremely sumptuous collection of striking dresses with delicate and ornate detailing. They make enough of an impact on their own so all you need to add is a simple pair of shoes and you’re done! Perfect for those who like to keep their accessories to a minimum.
Alternatively, when less is more head to David Lawrence for more classic, understated pieces and understated coordinates. You can always dress up a classic with some fun accessories and keep it for years to come, creating an entirely new look with the help of on-trend accessories each time you wear it.
Now I wouldn’t be a Melbourne Darling if I didn’t appreciate how to wear a little black dress just as much as the next Melbourne girl, but if you do opt for black or a simple and classic style, don’t underestimate the power of a pop of colour using clever and playful accessories. If you are up for some colour, jewel tones like purples, blues and greens tend to suit most skin tones and make for stunning evening wear options. Alternatively, pastel colours, graphic prints and florals are wonderful choices for daytime, garden themed or more casual weddings.
Don’t forget about comfortable footwear too! For a long day ahead in heels, try a supportive stack heel, a mid heel or choose a shoe with lots of inner support such as the Airflex brand heels. Otherwise prepare to pack Party Feet or invest in a good pair of soft insoles. You’ll be thankful when you hit the dancefloor!
Here are some fantastic finds to inspire you you Mother of the Bride outfit:
- David Lawrence Orchid Embellished Corded Lace Dress
- Mimco Flashback Clip
- Karen Millen Crystal Metallic Asymmetric Court Shoe
- Airflex Blake Nude Heel
- Anthea Crawford Garnet Sequin Embellished Mesh and Stretch Satin Dress
- Anthea Crawford Shiraz Stretch Velour Drape Gown
- Jo Mercer Zalia Heel
- Samantha Wills Love Like Libra Cuff
- Meri By Design Black Rabbit Fur Cape
- Review Dion Jacket
- Mimco Mini Origami Envelope in Blossom Pink
- Oroton Freshwater Pearl Earrings
- Coast London Ariel Shoe
- Lady Petrova Wonderland Coat
- Fillies Collection Pillbox with Large Flower
- Swarovski Bolster Bracelet, Atelier Swarovski by Christopher Kane
- Coast London Matilda dress
- Alannah Hill Close My Eyes Flower in Navy
- Samantha Wills Heart of Aries Earrings in Silver
- Coast London Jasmine Printed Shoe
- Cue Double Weave Origami Dress in Navy
- Karen Millen Graphic Stripe Suit Jacket
- Cue Stretch Satin A-Line Skirt
- Review Eliana Dress in Petrol
- Mimco Sporto Large Pouch in Absinthe
- Mocha Brighter Than Gold Earrings
- David Lawrence Sleeveless Synergy Print Silk Top
- Diana Ferrari Tanzy in Black Patent
- David Lawrence Synergy Print Wide Bangle
Happy Shopping Melbourne Darlings!