Photo by Muffy Aldrich
The Modern Guide to The Thing Before Preppy

Monday, March 21, 2022

Mother of the bride dress for an outdoor summer wedding? Fabrics? Silhouettes? Reusability?


A reader question:

I spent the day shopping for a mother of the bride dress for an outdoor summer wedding. Fabrics options are terrible. Silhouettes available are not flattering, nor could you wear them for long and enjoy yourself. Do you have any recommendations for where to find something timeless, comfortable, and appropriate for the occasion?

Also, it goes against every fiber of my being to buy a piece of clothing to only wear once. There must be practical options.



  1. Have the dress made for you. Choose a simple style that works for you in your favorite solid color. You will wear it many times after the wedding. Most of the mother of the bride dresses that are available are much too fussy and stereotyped, and simply far too much for a summer wedding.

  2. One mother of the bride I know wore a knee length, red wrap around dress that was stunning. She accessorised with a big hat and heels (in England you wear hats to formal occasions). She could easily wear the dress again since it wasn't the usual Hyacinth Bucketesque style that is trotted out as mother of the bride wear. Another MOB I know wore a tailored navy trouser suit, with tapered, high waisted trousers and a sleeveless silk blouse under the jacket. I do like the suggestion to have your outfit made for you. You can then choose the style, fabric and colour that suits you best. And by the way, congratulations on your daughter's upcoming nuptials!

  3. I was the stepmother of the groom, not the MOB, on Nantucket last September. I bought 2 dresses from Sue Sartor - one for the shower in June and one for the wedding. I've already worn one 3 times and the other twice. And I'll be wearing one shortly for Easter at the club. They have POCKETS! And are insanely comfortable.

  4. Molly Moorkamp's dresses are beautifully made and in classic silhouettes. One of her shifts would be perfect for a summertime MOB.

    1. I second Molly Moorkamp. Halsbrook may also have some good options.

  5. Classic styles in luxe fabrics for all occasions.

  6. Don't forget about checking upscale consignment shops. My mother found the dress she wore to my wedding in 1992 at a shop for...$13! It was street length (daytime wedding) and she wore it to many dressy occasions over the years.


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