Style tips for the mother-of-the-bride

The word on the street is that all is not well in the Middleton household. Tempers are frayed, nerves are shredded and the cupboards are bare. Carole Middleton is well on track to be one of the best looking, chic and most photographed mother-of-the-brides this century – but with the dieting, the shopping and the planning, is it all getting too much for her?

So Carole I’ve put together a little guide for you and all those mothers out there who will soon be playing the best supporting actress role at their daughter’s wedding. Follow these style tips, forget the stress and enjoy the run up to one of life’s best milestones.

But first…

Before you step out of the door ask yourself;

1.      Do I want to wear my outfit again?

2.      Will it need to suit church, meal and then party or is there an opportunity to change midway?

3.      Is it a formal or informal do? – Whatever your natural inclination, it’s better to go with the flow on this one!

Go shop!

1. Trust the professionals – this may well be one of the most important outfits you ever wear, and it is certainly one of the few occasions when you get to buy everything all at once. Invest in a personal shopper (like me or one of my consultants!) – alternatively, mainstream stores like John Lewis and Debenhams offer them and they have almost certainly dressed the mother-of-the-bride more often than you have!

2. Shop for now – you might be embarking on the mother of all diets but choose something that makes you look great today and prepare to get it altered if necessary. You really don’t want gaping buttons, tight waistbands and a sense of diet failure following you around on the day – and if you are really desperate there’s a wealth of new, comfortable and very slimming shape wear around for emergencies!

3. Act your age – we know you don’t want to dress  like Raquel Welch but at the same time don’t dress like Miss Marple either. Too sexy or too frumpy won’t do – but don’t be afraid to be yourself, and don’t be afraid to follow your own personal style. If you adore trousers or can’t be seen in anything else but black then go for it – your daughter won’t want a stranger standing next to her.

3. Ditch the suit – as mother-of-the-bride you haven’t joined a club with a strict uniform policy. Remember the style tips you generally follow and dress for your body shape and in colours that suit you. Don’t automatically ditch trusted brands for those islands of colour in the department stores. I personally believe that dresses are great for all types of wedding – choose a colour, style and fabric you know looks and feels good on you.

4. Cover up – you should aim for your dress or top to stand alone without the need to cover scary bits – you don’t want to spend the evening sweaty and uncomfortable because you’re scared to take your cardigan off. However most wedding outfits have to be flexible and what is comfortable whizzing round the dance floor isn’t always perfect for those chilly rose garden photographs. For a really stylish look, pair your outfit with a long lightweight coat in a beautiful fabric (you know the ones – you’ve seen and loved them in the shops but never had an occasion to wear them!) Alternatively if you’re worried about your arms and you can’t find anything with a decent sleeve, there’s a world of shrugs, shawls, scarves and pashminas out there.

5. Be comfortable – you can do it, honest. Make sure your outfit hides the bits you don’t like and reveals the bits you do. Then make sure your straps, belts and buttons behave themselves. Don’t get hung up on hair and makeup – if you have the chance to take advantage of a make up artist or hairdresser try to arrange a practice. Don’t be afraid to bring your own makeup and be very clear about what you know suits you.  Shoes can be a terror so choose leather if possible, and wear them around the house beforehand. If you love heels – great, but remember to hide a spare pair somewhere just in case. You might want to try the new towering heels by M&S I’ve just heard about – they have fantastic   new technology and supposedly feel like flats.

6. Be careful with colour – you do need to be careful that you don’t wear the same colour as the bridesmaids (or the bride) and also that your outfit doesn’t clash with the colour scheme – that lovely rust coloured outfit won’t look so great photographed against the pink flowers and you can’t claim to be colour blocking! Saying that, don’t be afraid to wear cream if it suits you, add colour in your accessories to ensure you don’t look like a mini me to the bride!

7. Love those accessories – don’t go all matchy matchy – choose your handbag as if it were jewellery (clutch bag please) and don’t be afraid to buy a few on trend pieces of jewellery for a touch of style. If you don’t want to wear a hat then no-one can make you, but if you do want to wear one then get the best advice you can afford and take your outfit with you. Avoid a down-turned brim as you won’t be seen in the photos and it will be difficult to kiss the guests! Sometimes hats look better when they are a totally different colour to your outfit so be brave and have fun.

8. The best tip ever – for instant weight loss, glowing perfect skin and longer legs – invest in a salon all-over fake tan. However you must practice first! Stay sun-kissed not orange, and ask them to exfoliate before application – you’ll be amazed how good you look and how many years it takes off you.

So Carole – it’s your day too, take a deep breathe and enjoy!

Carole Middleton – it’s your big day too!