Charlotte
Beginner September 2021

Mother of the bride dresses - where to buy?

Charlotte, on February 18, 2020 at 8:35 AM Posted in Wedding Attire 0 18
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Hi all!



Just had my fitting yesterday at DB (holy hemming and 22-point bustle) and had my mom take a look at some dresses. She hated every single one, and to be fair, most were ugly in that jersey/chiffon/loose but oddly clingy fabric that isn't the most flattering for a woman in her 60's.
Additionally, my mom has had very low self-esteem her whole life, doesn't want to show her arms or legs, and is just overall very hard to shop for dresses with. In total contrast, my FH's mom is fairly young and so are the rest of the women in his family (mid to late 40s) who get dressed up in cocktail attire and go on party/fancy outings regularly so I don't want my mom to look like she's older than she is or give off a grandma vibe (and she looks plenty youthful so she shouldn't be in something that makes her look old!). I just feel like she's closing herself off/is already dreading this whole thing because this experience (looking "pretty"/getting dressed up) is something very out of her comfort zone. Our wedding is in late May and my mom tends to run warm/hot so I'm thinking of using that as a way to get her to try some different styles. It's frustrating because she won't so much as try a subtle high-low hem and I feel like she's purposefully being difficult (example: yes, mom, that ribbon is for cinching the waist - what do you think it's for; that dress off the rack is obviously a size 12 but PLEASE just try so we can gauge the style!!!).
I'd appreciate any help or tips you all have, or anyone who went through something similar. And of course, what are some good places to find dresses? We'd like to keep it under $300 so some of the higher department stores are out of the question.

18 Comments

Latest activity by Charlotte, on February 20, 2020 at 11:09 AM
  • Sarah
    Dedicated May 2021
    Sarah ·
    • Flag

    I can relate to your mom. My first note to you is that she is likely NOT behaving like this to be difficult. Easier said than done, but the best thing you can do it be patient and supportive. I really struggle with body image, and sometimes shopping for ANYTHING is a struggle. When I am feeling really bad, I just order A LOT of stuff online and then return what doesn't work. Amazon Prime Wardrobe is fantastic. You can order up to 8 items and you have a 7-day try on period without being charged. Maybe you can take the reigns, order some stuff, and have a dress date somewhere your mom is comfortable. Worst case scenario, you send everything back. The good news is that you didn't waste a day running around town to every store!


    My mom found her dress at Lord and Taylor and it was under $300! Department stores are the way to go, in my opinion! Also, check out TJMaxx, Marshall's and Nordstrom Rack... All of which offer online shopping. My mom and I have both found fabulous evening and cocktail dresses for reasonable prices!


    Also something to keep in mind... All dresses can be altered. My mom is 5'0" and wanted a tea length gown. the dress she bought is WAY too long and has a bunch of tulle and crinoline under the skirt. She will get it altered to be tea length and have some of the pouf removed. Keep an open mind when shopping!!

    • Reply
  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn ·
    • Flag
    I agree with all of PPs suggestions and would also recommend checking out Azazie.
    • Reply
  • Don
    Super February 2021
    Don ·
    • Flag
    Hi Charlotte,
    I know some people don't like
    jjshouse, but I've purchased many evening dresses from them and loved them all! they have many styles, available in 40 colors.I'm getting my bridesmaids dresses from them, my girls will be wearing the lilac color, and I am wearing this same dress in lavender as my second dress, I hope your mom finds something she loves ❤️Mother of the bride dresses - where to buy? 1
    Bridesmaids and my second dress!!!!
    • Reply
  • Ashleigh
    Beginner September 2020
    Ashleigh ·
    • Flag
    Any shop that sells dresses or pant suits would be good to look at. This is about comfort first.
    • Reply
  • Cyndy
    Rockstar May 2019
    Cyndy ·
    • Flag
    I highly recommend Macy’s. She could even order online and have them shipped to her house and return what she doesn’t like.
    • Reply
  • Chrysta
    Master November 2022
    Chrysta ·
    • Flag
    Nordstrom is always mine and my mom’s “go to” store when it comes to dresses. They have a huge selection in a wide range of styles & sizes. Maybe go on the Nordstrom website (we prefer Nordstrom over Nordstrom Rack, just because there is a much larger selection), and look through dresses with your mom. If there are several she likes, you can always order them in her size and have them delivered to your home so she can try them on. They offer 100% free returns, so you can easily return the ones she does not choose.
    • Reply
  • Renay
    Devoted April 2020
    Renay ·
    • Flag

    I get ya! My momma has always had a tough time with self esteem and self worth. Not only did she not like how any dress looks, but she also hates the idea of spending any money on herself. We ended up finding her a great dress at JC Penney's and it was on sale for $30.

    Might be a spot to check!

    Also, we did a lot of the try on process at home and just returned them when she didn't like them. It made her feel a lot less self conscious and may be a thought.

    • Reply
  • Samantha
    VIP October 2020
    Samantha ·
    • Flag

    As others have mentioned, online shopping is the way to go! If you're really self conscious then just walking out of the dressing room in gowns you hate can feel pretty embarrassing. You also get better selection and it's in your size. Amazon Wardrobe, Saved by the Dress, and Modcloth are great. But if none of those work, most retailers have an online component.

    • Reply
  • MOB So Cal
    January 2019
    MOB So Cal ·
    • Flag

    I was the MOB and can relate to dress struggles.... I'd agree with your mom that most of what I saw at DB was definitely not my style. To complicate things, for sentimental reasons, I had my heart set on a pale pink dress. We looked everywhere! I had my best luck at Macy's; however, at least near us, different stores carried VERY different selections of dresses. The store closest to us was in a mall right in the center of a residential area that was mostly senior housing. At that Macy's the selection was pretty close to the kind of stuff at DB. But, a couple miles further away in a very high-end mall, that Macy's had a HUGE selection of formal and semi-formal dresses that were a much better fit for what I was looking for. To help cheer your mom up, I am definitely not a "fancy" person. I dress semi-professionally for work and try to look reasonably put together, but we rarely "dress up." When I found the right MOB dress I LOVED it. I also had my hair & make-up done by daughter's HMUA (something I'd never done before), and I've got to say, I felt wonderful about how I looked. It was a little out of my comfort zone, but it was so much fun. The reactions I got from family and friends were WONDERFUL; I've probably never felt so pretty. (My best friend of 40+ years told me when I first came through the doors into the ceremony site she initially thought I was one of the BMs.... Smiley winking ).

    This was my dress (not me in it, but I looked good and NOT matronly...and I'm 60). Good luck to you and your mom! Smiley heart (Also, on sale & with coupons, I'm pretty sure I paid around $120 for my dress.... Macy's is GREAT about sales.)

    Mother of the bride dresses - where to buy? 2


    • Reply
  • Ocbride2019
    Dedicated June 2019
    Ocbride2019 ·
    • Flag
    I agree with Amazon. You can get so many good deals on designer dresses or even those off-brand dresses that are still good quality, and there’s something nice about being able to try on dresses in the privacy of your own home. My mom, who is in her early 50s and wanted to cover at least her upper arms, Amazon Primed a bunch of dresses and ended up keeping this one for my June wedding: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07733VMDK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_m5LqEb36C353C
    • Reply
  • Lauren
    VIP February 2020
    Lauren ·
    • Flag

    I highly recommend Macy's or Belk for formal dresses! My mom got her dress from Adrianna Papell, and it's beautiful! I highly recommend their dresses too!

    • Reply
  • Melle
    Legend June 2019
    Melle ·
    • Flag
    My mil just went to Ross and got a dress there since there’s quite a bit of selections
    • Reply
  • S
    Devoted October 2020
    Stephanie ·
    • Flag
    My Mom is similar, she typically just wears jeans and t-shirts, but she will dress fancier for the right occasion. She has not gotten her dress yet, but she has been looking online at JJsHouse and they are affordable and have so many options!
    • Reply
  • Neeva
    VIP September 2020
    Neeva ·
    • Flag

    My mother in law got her dress at Macy's.

    • Reply
  • Fleur
    October 2020
    Fleur ·
    • Flag

    Look at Adrianna Papell! My mom is currently debating between 2 of their dresses. They sell some of their styles at Macy's and other dept. stores, but have a huge selection online.

    • Reply
  • Joanna
    Dedicated October 2020
    Joanna ·
    • Flag
    Mother of the bride dresses - where to buy? 3
    My mom tried on MOB dresses at the bridal store we found my dress. All the dresses were above $600 and all looked old lady. So, my mom asked to look at mature BM dresses, and we found this! And it was for $250! My mom is in her mid 60s, and honestly needed a lot of encouragement to choose this dress. She was so nervous and then my dad approved and you can see she's so happy!
    Be patient with your momma! And don't be afraid to get creative with the dresses she tries on!
    • Reply
  • Megan
    Super October 2020
    Megan ·
    • Flag
    My mom found her dress completely by accident when we were shopping at Macy’s one day. It’s a Macy’s with a really nice dress department, but they also have a ton online.


    My mom also feels self conscious, especially because she’s older than my FMIL but she ROCKS this dress and feels awesome in it! Oh, and it was on sale!
    Mother of the bride dresses - where to buy? 4

    • Reply
  • Charlotte
    Beginner September 2021
    Charlotte ·
    • Flag
    😭😭😭 thank you to all for the helpful comments and suggestions! And especially for sharing your personal experiences on your daughters' special days 💖
    • Reply

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