100 Years of Fashion: Wedding Dresses ★ Glam.com
18 Mother of the Bride Style Icons to Emulate
Lesson learned: Embrace the LBD.
Your mother may be most comfortable in black, and let's face it–it's chic. Laces and beading look most expensive in the darkest hue, and women that have the figure to pull it off–like BAZAAR's own Carine Roitfeld–know it's the best way to don something slightly sheer and subtly sexy, without the look going raunchy.
Lesson learned: V-necks are your friend.
Women who prefer to wear a sleeve–but have a whittled waist and a to-die-for décolletage–should take a page out of Helen Mirren's book. The Dame and Oscar winner would likely also win an award for dressing for her body type, if there ever was one, knowing to consistently highlight her smallest point and take risks with color, print and texture.
Lesson learned: Try a Le Smoking
This lead actress has mastered the ladies' tux, and for the MOB that isn't the dress-up kind, perfectly tailored suiting will keep her looking well-dressed and feeling like herself. Black isn't a pre-requisite for this look, although it's incredibly chic. Feel free to dabble in shades of blue, pastels, jewel tones and even shades of ivory if you're so inclined. And, if you're dying to have your mom in a suit but she's on the fence, remind her that she can repurpose all its separates post-wedding.
Lesson learned: Express Yourself
We all too often see wedding photos where mom could look a little more comfortable (and a little less stuffy). If your MOB is more of an eccentric, let her go for it. Vibrant prints, like this Gucci gown on Anna Dello Russo, don't work on everyone–but your mother will look just as uncomfortable in anything conventional if she's used to sporting something more styled.
Lesson learned: Pull a Mrs. H.
Carolina Herrera is undoubtedly the epitome of classic elegance, partnered with an effortless style that never feels too overthought. Whether it's a clean, classic gown in a bold hue (paired with a matching pop-of-color lip for added effect) or a full ball skirt paired with a silk oxford shirt, Mrs. Herrera is a forever-timeless yet constantly current reminder that simplicity and quality is all it takes.
Lesson learned: Go floral
When in doubt about prints–go floral. Be it graphic, romantic, appliquéd or embroidered–like artist and model Anh Duong's Dolce & Gabbana stunner–this is one motif that instantly elevates looks and inspires jewelry and accessories that are equally feminine. While your Southampton or South Beach based MOB may love a graphic Pucci print, steering towards a more delicate print if your other party members are in solids will make for more balanced family portraits.
Lesson learned: If you've got it...
Regardless of your age, the old adage still applies: if you've got it, flaunt it. Is your mother a spinning, yoga or jogging devotee? Odds are her midsection is more toned than half of your under-30 guests and deserves its moment in the sun. At the age of 85, Carmen Dell'Orefice has a figure well-worth celebrating. If your mom is in that boat and can show off her assets tastefully, let her have her moment.
Lesson learned: Nothing wrong with a drama mama
Taking a page out of Iman's book is never a bad idea. Go big–Your wedding night is your mother's to celebrate as well–she's only been looking forward to it for decades. Donning a stellar gown with a dramatic sleeve, skirt or neckline helps keep eyes on her, without detracting from the night's focal points. When done in a conservative color like black, navy, emerald or oxblood, these statement features look even more luxe.
Lesson learned: Easy, Breezy, Beautiful
Ines de la Fressange is the queen of easy, borderline-bohemian red carpet looks–and one to emulate if your mom is no-frills. Go for a bias-cut sheath or a shift in a fabric that has movement rather than a stiff skirt and a defined waistline. Another tip to learn from Ines? You'll almost never see her in a heel on the carpet–a flat evening sandal suits her (and likely, your mom) just fine.
Lesson learned: Add a bit of whimsy
DVF exemplifies style–and seems to be having a lot of fun while doing it. Cheeky, playful prints, easy silhouettes that don't feel cumbersome and a hairstyle that feels both natural and signature to her are part-in-parcel of her chic effortlessness. Encourage your mom to wear something that makes her happy, and may have others cracking a smile when they see her too, whether it's a graphic print, statement accessory or pop of color that suits your wedding's palette.
Lesson learned: Glam up.
Jane Fonda knows how to pump up the volume, and if your mom has an inner glamour girl, she should too. While keeping in mind her body type, metallics, fur and embellishments are only some of the many go-tos to giving her that little bit (or lot of) something extra.
Lesson learned: Age? What Age?
Yes, Julianne Moore is over 50. Her style, however, is ageless. Known for sporting intricate details, silhouettes in any hue that change from fitted to voluminous, short to long, plunging V to open back and more, this is one style icon that transcends the boundaries of age-appropriateness. Rather than dressing for her age, this is one woman that just dresseswell.
Lesson learned: More is more
Joan Collins and her infamous character on Dynasty, Alexis Carrington, embrace the maximalism with style. It's never just about a solid dress paired with a simple earring and an evening clutch. Instead, think prints, fitted silhouettes, big hair, statement jewelry, a bold lip–the list goes on. We're not suggesting your mother look overwrought, but we are standing by her personal style if she's so inclined.
Lesson learned: Be fearless
Linda Fargo's fashion fearlessness is almost a pre-requisite for her role as Senior Vice President of the Fashion Office at Bergdorf Goodman–but her foolproof methods of nailing stellar looks on the daily are not to be discounted. Fargo consistently showcases that age doesn't limit women from wearing sparkle, bold color choices, strapless and fringe.
Lesson learned: Take risks–while keeping it classy
First Lady Michelle Obama has a long list of rules and regulations that she applies (and creatively circumvents) to achieve one fashion win after another. Her role requires dressing flawlessly for every occasion (your MOB can relate) and observing tradition–but necklines like athletic racer-fronts (pictured here) to highlight toned arms, architecturally draped bodices to emphasize a stellar décolleté and textures like brocades, laces and beadwork contradict the matronly style she (and your MOB) could easily fall prey to.
Lesson learned: Comfort is key
The first black supermodel, Pat Cleveland, has always been known for her ability to saunter everywhere–from the runway to the dance floor. As one of the darlings of the '70's, this style icon has loads of fashion know-how to impart, but wearing eveningwear you can dance in may just be at the top of the list.
Lesson learned: How to dress your curves
Knowing how to dress for curves is a true balancing act that Susan Sarandon and others have easily embraced. Balancing a cut-out and a slit with a sleeve for coverage, pairing a fitted waistline with a fluid skirt and train and opting for colors that aren't jarring to keep looks seamless are top tips to winning this often-done-wrong fashion struggle.
Lesson learned: Follow suit
Tilda Swinton's chameleon-like style will have her look shifting from carpet to carpet, but this buttoned-up Chanel ensemble is the perfect reminder that your MOB can never go wrong with a perfectly tailored suit.
Video: 100 Years of Bridesmaid Dresses | Glamour
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