mother of the bride dresses that are not frumpy
Love this ombre sparkle dress — now THAT'S a not frumpy mother of the bride dress!!
The thought of our batik and blue jeans-loving artist mother donning a demure taffeta sheath and bolero for the wedding strikes us all (but most of all my mom) as a little silly, but she'd still like to wear something festive that reflects her special relationship to the bride and groom.


She's stuck, my sister's stuck, I'm stuck. We'd love some offbeat ideas for mother of the bride dresses that are not frumpy! -Megan

I consulted with my own mom about this one since she too is not the sheath and bolero type. She's a cool chick and totally understands how to look fashionable but also age-appropriate… she's the queen of dresses that are not frumpy.

Your mom should wear something that not only looks and feels good, but that expresses her style (and potentially the style of the wedding!). Whether it's a gown or a midi-dress, you want something with a neckline that subtly reminds everyone how she came your mom (bow chicka bow bow!) but a silhouette that feels dignified and like she knows how to flatter her body type. Some of you might be more into a jumpsuit, others might want a skirt with a jacket… no matter what kind of mother of the bride outfit you're looking for, we're confident we can find something for ya!

So for all of you mothers of the bride preparing for your daughter's wedding, or step-mothers of the groom getting ready to rock the day, or nonbinary nurturing caregiver types getting ready to go to your LGBTQ child's wedding day… we have got the inspiration for you!

Mother of the bride dresses that are not frumpy, option 1: GO VINTAGE

40163 Ruby alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

If you want to channel those Dowton Abbey vibes, we love Wardrobe Shop's vintage vibes! The layered fabric and detailed embroidery on this midi dress gives it such a luxe vibe, and the lace around the shoulder neckline feels sophisticated… but most definitely NOT frumpy.

Wardrobe Shop
Lookit those cute little gloves and shoes, too!

They have a wide range of mother of the bride or groom options in rich shades of burgundy and navy. These feel like these could be perfect for almost any wedding venue, a garden party OR a loft wedding. (And if it's a winter wedding? They've got vintage-styled coats to match!) They have plus sizes, with inclusive sizing going up to size 20.

Mother of the bride dresses that are not frumpy option 2: go for SEQUINS and sparkle

Some of these dresses are meant for bridesmaids but who cares. We're here for these perfect dresses for making plenty of guests look, without stealing too much attention from the bride.

sequin mother of the bride dress not frumpy alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
We love all the sparkles on this gold mother-of-the-bride dress — ZERO FRUMP IN THIS ATTIRE.
sequin mother of the bride dress not frumpy leg slit alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Cuz sometimes you have a glamour mama who wants to show a little LEG! Love all the sequin floral print embellishments on this mob dress.

Mother of the bride dresses that are not frumpy, option 3: GO RETRO

retro mob dress not frumpy alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
How freaking CUTE is this knee-length retro mother of the bride dress?
Unique Vintage Plus Size 1950s S alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
We love these swing dresses!

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Comments on Mother of the bride dresses that are not frumpy

  1. Oh my goodness… That first dress is just stunning. It would look completely gorgeous on my mother (or I’d like it for myself, even), but I’m not even engaged yet!

  2. Thanks for this!

    My mother hated the idea of having to find an appropriate ‘mother of the bride’ outfit because she doesn’t like clothes shopping at the best of times and the typical outfits are not remotely what she’d normally wear.

    I’ve tried telling her when the bride is in dark blue it throws all the rules on what you ‘have’ to wear out the window and she can wear what she wants but that didn’t seem to click. Maybe showing her this post will.

  3. wow! Thank you SO MUCH for this. Me & my mom are both stumped as to what she wants to wear! This may just give her a bit of inspiration! I too LOVE the first dress and this it would look fabulous on my mom. I also love the 7th dress! thanks thanks thanks.

  4. I’ve been eyeballing and just ordered my first dress from them. They have a lot of different styles, and they can all be ordered in custom sizes, made to your measurements, with sleeve length, skirt length, collar, all also customizable, for an extra $7.50. There are a lot of dresses that I think could work for MoB options.

  5. You could also think about an ao dai – not your typical MoB outfit, but still obviously ‘special’.

    • I’m desperately searching for an ao dai type out fit for MoG..any suggestions of where to look? Have yet to find any that look suitable online (I’m UK based).

  6. I’m the girl who wrote in, initially, and I am LOVING these. So inspiring! Mission: get my mother into that red and blue sequined outfit from Whirling Turban begins NOW.

    • OMG, That one was one of my favorites!!! If I could pull something like that off I’d be getting it for myself RIGHT NOW!

  7. Those are great suggestions…I have a groovy offbeat mama too, who I could see digging some of these options. Also, I’ve been checking out the designer Nataya at, a lot of brides go to her stuff for dresses, but she has great guest, MOB, and wedding posse items too.

  8. My mom is cute and was worried she’d look like a frumpy old thing at the wedding. Luckily, she found a lightweight, fuchsia jacket (blazer? I think it was organza?) and a cute knee length black skirt at Von Maur. She looked adorable.

    and then she freaked out for two weeks because she was worried about wearing black to my wedding. (sigh) It was the perfect outfit for her. 🙂

  9. Thanks for this post! I ADORE that first dress. (Heck, I want to wear it, forget my mom.)

  10. Yes! My mom does not wear dresses and/or skirts full stop!! She is always wearing black v-neck shirts. She found flowy black pants (very full looking) and a black/gold jacket top thing. She looked fantastic and more importantly, she looked like herself! I was all about people coming “as they are” to our wedding and we totally got that.

  11. I used to work at a store specializing in clothing for the “mother of the bride” age group, and I can say that for weddings, its was always Linda Lundstrom.

    This look is typical of the funkier styles that are age appropriate. And if it wasn’t Lundstrom, it was Joseph Ribkoff. Just a heads up for people who don’t know where to start with the 40-65 year old woman fashion bracket.

    • For my cousin’s wedding the bridesmaids wore black, so my aunt (the MOG) found a classy A-line black dress (clearance after prom!) that looked demure yet young. So if she wants to go formal, post-prom shopping is a viable option!

  12. I totally love the Peggy Would dress and it’d look fantastic on my mum – but we are in the UK and because my mum is an interesting size and shape buying stuff off the web w/o trying it on first is usually a disaster. Any British OBBs got any ideas for dresses of a similar shape?

    • I’m a British OBB and my mum is tall, plus sized and hates dresses. She wore black trousers and a stunning teal tunic top from monsoon. Monsoon seem to do more sizes (size 22) in their store than they appeared to online. But if Mum hadn’t found that, I think we would have struggled to find something the right size, appropriateness and offbeat!

    • Hi, I’m also British. My mum has never gone in for formal clothes, and had also never bought a whole outfit at once, or found something for a specific event.
      She went out for the day to Ascot with a friend and found a wonderful outfit, all from one shop.I know it sounds a funny place to go, but if you have any smart towns near you, a trip to one of their women’s clothes shops might do the trick – her outfit was not traditional MOB, but very classy (a fitted orange dress) and age appropriate (good quality material, not too low cut etc) without being at all frumpy. The staff in the shop were helpful and friendly too: they thought about her style and what would suit her, took into account that she was the MOB, made recommendations for accessories etc. The dress was about £150.
      Good luck, but whatever happens, like the bride she’ll look awesome as a wedding is a happy day and it shows!

  13. Where was this post last week??? My mom finally found an MOB dress that she’s happy with, but that Whirling Turban dress really would have been perfect.

  14. My Mom was 49 years old when I got married this summer and she also struggled as MOB clothes are often old-ladyish and frumpy- which she is not. She wore a black knee-length dress with a sparkly purple and yellow Joseph Ribkoff jacket. and his mom hates skirts/dresses and really wanted to be ‘comfortable’ so she wore black cigarette pants and a pink jacket that really brought colour to her face (it’s also her favorite colour) both looked great and like themselves 🙂

  15. My mom got this cool Jones New York dress for my wedding next year. Its knee length, v-neck and royal blue. Its more like a cocktail dress than a MOB dress. As a bonus, it was on clearance at J.C. Penny’s for $40. MOB dresses are so frumpy and conservative and BORING.

  16. Ha! My mom is planning on wearing something very much like the Fall Holiday Suit by Donna Vinci! Same colour too! Hers doesn’t have the sparkly bits, but then, she’s 76, and that’s so not her style. I love all these ideas though! Those horrible MOB dresses I’ve seen in bridal shops are so not all that’s out there for MOBs! or Mother’s of the Groom either, they want to look nice too!

  17. A friend saw this post and sent it to me even before I got it through my feed. What a great idea for a post. I’m really tickled that ‘Isolde’ was listed among all the dresses. You know, I’d actually never thought of Isolde as an MOB dress before; it pretty much looks good on anyone. But it would totally work as an MOB dress. And yeah, Isolde is completely eco-friendly, right down to the organic cotton thread.

    Thanks for including it in your list!

    (Hrm. Maybe I should start designing MOB dresses…)

    ::off to make more gowns::

  18. ah, wish this post had gone up a few weeks ago! My mum was agonising over what to wear. She ended up finding a great dress that totally co-ordinated with mine and looked lovely on her, but I would have loved to have been able to give her some other options. Sadly I was a bit too busy to do much searching on my own.

  19. My mom wore a dress with a long flowy jacket that came from Larue’s in Mineapolis 10ish years ago. I don’t know what sort of things they have now, but that store is where my dad has done some of his best shopping.

  20. I agree with the fact that “regular” MOB/MOG dresses are just so atrociously ugly. Why do makers of these dresses think that our moms don’t want to look great too? My mother is wearing a tan wool suit with a silk blouse (very not “traditional” MOB) and FMIL is wearing a loose, georgette, knee-length dress with a nice jacket over it. Its color (very light/pinky beige) and subtle rhinestone detailing make it very not MOG as well. I think the key for shopping for offbeat MOB/MOG dresses is to NOT search for dresses under than nomiker. Search for suits, sleeved cocktail dresses, or just general styles your moms like, instead.

  21. For my sister’s wedding, our mom had a beautiful royal blue dress, long and spaghetti strapped, in a nice material.

    The suggestion about Jones New York is a good one–I have a nice dress by them that I got at Ross for a great discount!

  22. The description of Megan’s mother’s style gave me the best brain-bolt of all time: jeans-jacket bolero! Why isn’t this a fashion staple? 🙂

  23. I must say, my mom wore a smoking hot red little number to my sister’s wedding and she looked fabulous! I expect nothing less for my wedding too! 😉 It fit her personality so well, but wasn’t like a micro or anything, just above the knee but tight fitting and strapless.

  24. I stumbled upon your great site as an offbeat bridesmaid.
    Those are some fun suggestions, but what would you recommend for the MOB who looks more like she’s borne three children and less like a supermodel? Plus-sized mammas want awesome duds too.

  25. I think this would make a great pinterest drive! My mom wants something dressy, but she doesn’t want to “outshine” (her words) the bride, which I think she finds difficult since I’m wearing a plain tea-length blue dress. I’d love to see what other MOBs are wearing.

  26. I would really love to know where I can purchase the second last dress it is gorgeous, I clicked the link & it took me to but it said the page was not available, would you know the designer/shop etc? plllleeeassse 🙂

  27. My mother, my sister, and I will all be wearing bridesmaid dresses to my wedding. My sister and I went with Bill Levkoff Chiffon dresses (mine’s white and strapless, hers is wine colored and has straps, but they have a matching twist on the front.) My mother found an Alfred Angelo hi-lo with an illusion neckline that she loved – and the “mahogany” Alfred Angelo matches the “wine” Bill Levkoff so closely you wouldn’t know they were from different designers. The shop where I bought my dress gave them discounts as well, I just had to list mom as one of my ‘maids. Close enough ^_^

  28. I expect my mum and dad to trun up on there motorbike…..wich means jeans and shirts and bike jackets it wouldn’t be them if they didn’t do that ?

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