A curious thing happened to the mother-of-the-bride on the way to the wedding. She disappeared.
At least, the style of her clothing did.
Retailers and designers are noting that 21st-century mothers of the bride – a time when 50 is the new 40 – are no longer interested in long chiffon jackets or beaded jackets over A-line skirts. The shift means that some boutiques, such as Mary Linn’s Bridal in Santa Barbara, Calif., and Swoon Bridal in Reno, Nev., are doing away with mother-of-the-bride lines in favor of bridesmaid looks. Bridal manufacturers are even dropping the name from their labels.
“We got rid of our mother-of-the-bride line last fall,” says Michelle Depoali, owner of Swoon. “For us, bridesmaid’s lines have gotten so much cuter and fit the bill.”
Designer lines, such as Amsale Bridesmaids, are what resonate with Swoon’s customers, says Depoali. Amsale Bridesmaids dresses in chiffon and jersey in body-skimming styles are popular looks, she adds.
“The dresses are floaty, glammy and the sophistication translates well for 25-year-olds to 65-year-olds,” Depoali says, noting that Noir by Lazaro is a line that she’s considering to stock.
With nary a mention of mother-of-the-bride in its name, Collection 20 (C20), a six-year-old collection from Watters Inc., caters to moms’ interests in showing off their best assets, whether it’s a strapless dress to reveal toned arms or tighter styles to show off shapely figures, says Maria Prince, vice president of Dallas-based Watters. The company even launched another collection, Encore, last April, geared to wedding events like rehearsal dinners, and the lace styles also are a hit with mothers, she says.
“All we hear from moms is that they don’t want to look like a grandmother of the bride,” Prince says. “Moms today have a youthful style sensibility.”
Retailer Dillard’s promotes a number of conservative-looking mother-of-the-bride dresses on its website, but it’s also stepping up the sass factor with lace sheaths by Adrianna Papell and Tadashi mesh gowns with front slits. Nordstrom’s mother-of-the-bride section showcases short sequin and lace dresses by Kay Unger and one-shoulder styles from Lauren by Ralph Lauren.
One thing that hasn’t changed is a mom’s respect for her bride’s wishes in terms of what she should wear. “Most mothers are conscientious of what their daughters think, and they don’t want to look inappropriate,” Depoali says.
What they’re embracing are bolder colors. Beige gowns are out, says Prince, but blue tones, vibrant shades of purple and coral are in. Textured dresses, such as combinations of lace and taffeta or chiffon, are a key trend at Tustin, Calif.-based Enzoani’s Love collection, says Vivian Ramirez, marketing coordinator for Enzoani. Trench coats are a fun way to accessorize and up the glamour while drawing attention to tiny waists, she says.
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