Occasionwear retailers choose their hottest looks this season

We chat to four mother of the bride boutiques who share their pick of the season, and give Nicole Conner an overview of their stores


Read on to find out about the favourite looks of four boutiques this season…

Step out in style in a Veni Infantino dress from Bentleys

You’ll turn heads in this jaw-dropping fitted dress by Veni Infantino with its sheer beaded cape and neckline (below). It’s certainly one that’s caught the eye of the staff at Bentleys lately. “It’s a stunning dress that looks magical in the sunlight, thanks to its ‘dripping in jewels’ illusion,” says boutique owner Irene Mackie.

Bentleys, in the Aberdeenshire town of Banchory, has been selling ladieswear for more than 35 years. A relocation during lockdown saw it become one of the largest independent boutiques in Scotland. “We moved in 2020 to beautiful new premises just a few doors away from our original shop, almost doubling our size in the process. It was a challenge, leaving behind our old store after trading there for three decades, but the upheaval was worth it. It has given us space to showcase our wonderful ranges in a bright and modern shop.”

Thanks to all their years in the business, and having dressed so many women, the staff know there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all. “Our stylists are experts at helping you decide on the best outfit for you, whether the venue is a candlelit castle in Scotland or a beautiful beach in Bali,” Irene tells us. “With outfits and accessories sourced from around the world, we are sure we have something gorgeous to offer all mothers of the bride and groom and special guests. Let us help you look fabulous.”

Although appointments are advisable, they’re not compulsory. If you do book an appointment, however, there will be a changing room and trained member of staff booked specifically to help you. “The boutique has eight changing rooms, but the special occasion department has four specially designed changing rooms in a private area, which gives you more freedom to browse through our huge range of outfits.”

Outfits from Bentleys and Bombshell
Left: Magenta sheer beaded cape dress (style 992130) by Veni Infantino, £729, Bentleys; right: Invitation sarong navy dress with white collar, £289, Bombshell London

Ooze sophistication in this killer silhouette from Bombshell LondonWhen former costumier Katya Wildman couldn’t find the right dress for her curves, she went ahead and designed one herself! From there, there was no stopping her, and she founded the Bombshell label in 2008.

The brand, which unashamedly celebrates women’s bodies, is very pleased with its new navy sarong dress with a chic white collar (above). The gown has been engineered with a luxurious stretch fabric to flatter your curves, while the soft drapes across the tummy make it very flattering. The three-quarter-length sleeves, small V-neckline and past-the-knee length keep things modest, but the overall shape of the gown is distinctly feminine.

“This dress is elegant and timeless. I love the contrast of the soft-white satin collar against the navy fabric: it highlights the décolletage and draws the eye to create the illusion of curves,” says Katya.

“It is possible to fashion the desirable hourglass shape across all body types by creating balance within a dress,” continues Katya. “I wanted to design a dress that would become a woman’s ultimate secret weapon. We are a size-inclusive online fashion retailer offering high-quality, luxury designer occasionwear proudly made in the UK, for sizes 8 to 22. Bombshell is leading the charge in delivering confidence while dispelling the myths around chic fashion for those of an ‘unconventional’ size/shape.”

This flattering blue dress and coat duo from Joyce Young Design Studios has gone down a storm

Can special occasionwear be classic and up-to-date at the same time? Yes – but you’ll need a skilful designer like Joyce Young to bring the combination to life. “You get timeless elegance with our trendy silk dress and coat outfit in blue (below),” says the designer.

“This look is a sophisticated and fashionable choice for a mother of the bride or groom, as it combines luxurious fabric, a feminine silhouette and high-quality craftsmanship. This modern dress and coat look is for mothers who want to take a step away from the traditional and expected outfit, and choose one that is contemporary and stylish while being slimming and flattering.”

This outfit will be made uniquely to your measurements at Joyce Young’s stores in Glasgow or London.

Since 1993, Joyce Young has been a trusted name in the bridal industry. The designer herself has created an impressive legacy of elegance and sophistication, crafting everything from petite mother-of-the-bride outfits to tartan wedding dresses. She and her team have dressed thousands of women worldwide in her timeless couture, helping them feel beautiful and confident on their most special occasions.

“We give you a uniquely tailored experience through expert styling, professional advice and award-winning customer service,” notes Joyce, who received an OBE in 2014 for her services to textiles. “With complete control of production, Joyce Young Collections is able to offer a truly personalised and made-to-measure service, giving flexibility in both style and fabric choice.”

Outfits from Catwalk and Joyce Young Design Studios
Left: Rose-and-ivory gown with Bardot neckline by John Charles, £679, Catwalk; right: Trendy silk dress and coat outfit in blue, made to order, Joyce Young Design Studios

The team at Catwalk in Falkirk have been tickled pink by this summery number by John Charles

“We have been specialising in occasionwear for the mother of the bride and groom, as well as guest wear, for almost 20 years now,” says Catwalk’s Louise Brown. “We’re stockists of the most sought-after designer occasionwear brands, including Veni Infantino, John Charles, Condici, Ispirato, Veromia and Lizabella, to name just a few.”

Each label is chosen for its beautiful cut, exceptional finishing and use of quality fabrics. One dress that has been a firm fave at Catwalk of late is this stunner in soft rose and ivory by John Charles (above) – and no wonder: “The beautiful Bardot neckline is combined with a fluted skirt, creating a feminine and elegant silhouette,” explains Louise.

“The striking appliqué across the body adds a touch of glamour and sophistication, while the two-tone design creates a bold and beautiful statement. Expertly crafted with high-quality fabrics and a lot of attention to detail, this dress is designed to flatter your figure and enhance your natural curves.”

Catwalk stocks occasionwear in UK sizes 6 to 26, and has an in-house alterations service so you get the perfect fit. Even better, every outfit at the Falkirk boutique can be complemented by the store’s extensive range of headpieces, shoes and bags.

“Our spacious, modern boutique is renowned for excellent customer service with a friendly, personal touch. Catwalk is the proud winner of many industry awards, including Best Retailer for mums in 2022,” adds Louise.