The big cover-up: MOB fashion tips

A jacket isn’t just to keep you warm as you wait for the bride to arrive: it’s a fabulous finishing touch for your gorgeous, long-searched for outfit

Words by Gilly Furmage

John Charles dress and jacket, Catwalk. John Charles outfit, from Catherines of Partick
John Charles dress and jacket, Catwalk and John Charles outfit, from Catherines of Partick

Deciding what to wear isn’t just a massive stress for the bride, it can also be a real headache for her mum. After all, it’s no easy matter striking the perfect balance between not upstaging the bride and yet still making a fabulous fashion splash that will let everyone know you’re the MOB. Get it right, though, and you’ll look amazing. No matter what the season, a chic cover-up is a crucial component of a mum’s w-day ensemble. Those in the know tell us how to nail the MOB look…

Girls go together

First and foremost: make sure you don’t clash with the bridesmaids. “I would always begin by asking MOBs and MOGs what the bridesmaids and groomsmen were wearing,” says Christina Sigerson of Mia Bella. “That way, you won’t go for a colour that clashes with the rest of the bridal party, and it means the photographs will show everyone complementing each other.” If a smart dress is not something that you’d normally wear, don’t worry about feeling uncomfortable – there’s a cover-up for every VIP mum. “You’ll find a great variety of options in the shops at the moment, from simple stoles that wrap around your shoulders, right up to tailored coats and three-quarter-length jackets in silk or taffeta,” says Michelle Scott of Kudos Couture.

Having a ball-ero

All of our experts agree that the trusty bolero remains a firm favourite for MOBs.“Boleros are the most popular option – they can give an outfit a younger look,” explains Candice Nicol of Catherines of Partick. “The most popular type of jacket is the short bolero – it’s a style that suits most people, and it can be slipped on and off very easily,” says Michelle Scott. “Bolero jackets are very popular but they have slight differences, such as Mandarin-style collars, which can make such a style difference and change the look of the overall outfit,” adds Christina. Three out of three experts can’t be wrong: if in doubt, consider the bolero!

From left: Cabotine dress and jacket, Kudos Couture. Veromia dress, Catwalk. Ian Stuart outfit, Catherines of Partick. Cabotine dress with chiffon jacket, Kudos Couture

Same set match

Lots of MOB choices out there come in a set (jacket and dress), sometimes even with shoes, a bag and hat that co-ordinate 100% in style and colour. “It’s very hard to get a perfect colour match between two items unless they have been made as a set to begin with,” explains Michelle Scott. “So unless you are planning to wear contrasting colours for the dress and coat, it’s much better to buy them together. And if you can buy your accessories at the same time too, so much the better,” she adds. Candice agrees: “It’s much easier to buy a set. You can just give yourself more hassle if you have to traipse about with your dress looking for things that match it.

The little things

Sometimes, it’s the small touches that can pull an outfit together, so it’s worth paying attention to accessories and colour-matching. “It’s impossible to hold colours accurately in your mind’s eye – there really are fifty shades of every colour, not just grey!” says Michelle. “So take your outfit with you when buying accessories, and ask to try things on together.” “Watch the style of the jacket when it comes to the shape of the skirt on the dress – these small details could make a big difference,” warns Christina. “And if you think you’d like a cape, go for a shift-style dress, as this will show off your waist and bring your shoulders and hips into proportion.”

The perfect fit

“Most specialised boutiques have an in-store service. At Catherines of Partick, we have staff in Monday to Friday who can alter the clothes to fit,” explains Candice. Christina agrees that the fit is crucial: “Always get your outfitaltered if it doesn’t fit right both, when you’re standing and sitting down. It’s one thing to look in the mirror and love what you see, but realistically you’ll be wearing your outfi t for at least 12 hours so make sure you’re completely comfortable and confident.”

Whatever the weather

It’s not just the tone of your dress that you have to worry about, you also have to think about what the day itself will bring: “The venue or setting for the wedding might influence your choice of outfit,” says Michelle. “For example, if you have to climb aboard a small boat, you don’t want to be wearing very high heels, a full-length dress or a short restrictive skirt! And remember that Scottish weather can be unpredictable, so even a summer wedding could turn chilly – it’s best to have something on hand to cover up the goosebumps. Lastly, if the bride and groom have gone for an informal location such as a barn, they probably don’t want their mums to dress as if they’re going to a royal wedding!” Christina seconds this advice: “I think it’s important for mums to gauge how formal (or otherwise) the wedding day is; although you want to look amazing for your child’s big day, you really don’t want to upstage the bride. On the other hand, of course, you don’t
want to look as if you haven’t made an effort.”

Cape of good hope

So, what’s in store for 2015/16 weddings? It looks as if floaty might be the new fitted. “Lightweight fabrics such as chiffon are popular this year, especially for summer weddings, and soft floaty jackets can be kept on all day without you over-heating,” suggests Michelle. “One very elegant option is a dainty chiffon cape, which is so stylish but also comfortable and easy to wear.” Christina agrees: “There are lovely chiffon capes coming through this season – this is a fresh way to cover up.”