As the mother of the bride, you can expect the wedding to be a day of high emotions!
There’s probably going to be a lot of stress and panic, followed by the joy of the wedding, and perhaps even a little sadness as you watch your daughter grow up.
You need a dress that reflects the importance of the occasion, and is comfortable to celebrate in!
Vintage dresses are often the perfect choice for the mother of the bride, combining feminine elegance and timeless styles. Discover the best vintage mother of the bride dresses here.
The 14 Best Vintage Mother Of The Bride Dresses
OUR TOP PICK
Everyone loves the swing dress! The swing dress rose to prominence in the 1940s and 50s, because the rippling skirt looked amazing on the dance floor.
It swings as you move, which is how the dress got its name!
With a fitted waist and a flaring skirt, the swing dress is a universally flattering shape. There’s movement for dancing, but the refined top makes it wedding appropriate.
Designer fashion was all about elegant luxury in the 1950s, and this style remains a classic.
Adding feminine beauty without the sparkle and glam of the 1920s means designers turned to new shapes and styles for dresses.
Emphasized collars, swinging skirts, and big bows were all popular choices.
The bow belt is a lovely touch, adding femininity without girlishness — ideal for the mother of the bride.
A little more formal than many flowing dresses, the structured silhouette of the pencil dress is perfect for courthouse weddings, or quieter occasions.
The vintage pencil dress typically has a high neckline and a longer skirt, but the tight fit keeps it from becoming matronly.
Prominent buttons give visual interest to the design, and recall the trends of the 1960s.
While the skirt might be form-fitting, there’s still plenty of room for movement, so you can take the pencil dress to the dance floor!
The cloak is a timeless item of clothing, and it can transform even a bland dress into something with a touch of elegance.
Cropped cloaks were popular in vintage fashions, and in light materials such as chiffon and silk, they added modesty without heaviness.
For the mother of the bride, a cloak over a swing dress allows you to take the look from day to night!
It can also cover up any areas that you might feel less confident about, such as the upper arms, and the décolletage.
A full-length dress isn’t always the right choice for a wedding, but sometimes brides like everyone to go all out!
The empire waist is a truly vintage choice, as the style first came into fashion in the late 18th century. But it’s had many revivals since then, including in the 1960s.
The empire waist tucks beneath the bust, and skims down across the stomach. It’s less confining than other full-length styles, so you can move comfortably throughout the day.
A touch of embroidery makes this dress just right for a special occasion.
Attending a wedding that goes from ceremony straight to the party? No one understood how to celebrate like the flappers, and a 1920s style vintage dress will have you ready to dance the night away.
Flappers used beads, fringe, and sequins to create dresses that shone under the lights.
As the mother of the bride, look for delicate champagne sparkles over glitter explosions.You’ll still shimmer on the dance floor!
The tight busts and pinched waists of the 1950s were transformed by the swinging 60s, when loose silhouettes threw away the confinement of the predecessor.
The shift dress came roaring into popularity when Audrey Hepburn wore a Givenchy designed shift in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and is there any better style icon?
The shift dress is comfortable to spend a day in, and as the mother of the bride, you can expect the wedding to be a busy day!
The A-line silhouette was created by Christian Dior in the 1950s, bringing the tighter line of the dress to just below the bust, and flaring the fabric out towards the base.
It’s a widely flattering design, giving the illusion of a smaller waist, and brushing over the lumps and bumps!
The A-line silhouette is also quite a reserved silhouette, without the flash of the swing skirt or the drama of the pencil. For that reason, it’s an excellent choice for a daytime wedding.
Tea dresses were popularized as dresses that were comfortable for hosting tea in.
They often used lightweight fabrics, and removed heavily structured lines. Tea dresses were also known for their bright and cheerful patterns.
The tea dress is a classic choice for the mother of the bride, as the modest shape combined with feminine patterns are adaptable for weddings. These are also great dresses for showing off your shoes!
A touch of beading can give a simple shape some vintage flare, and art deco is one of the most adaptable styles you can find.
The subtle lines and curves won’t draw focus from the bride, but they will add glitz to your look.
Art deco is timeless, and the structured shapes of a classic art deco design suit all ages.
Full-length gowns can be tricky to get right, but with the flattering 1920s design, you can find a style that works for you.
The 1920s was perhaps one of the most stylish decades of all time, as women moved away from the confinement of the previous centuries, and towards styles they could have some fun in!
A 1920s tea party gown has the looser shape of a classic flapper look, but without the beading and sparkle we tend to associate with the decade.
You’ll still want to get on the dance floor, but you won’t stand out during the ceremony (or draw the eye in the group photos).
Simple silhouettes have their place, but sometimes we need a little something extra to brighten up the basics!
In the 1960s, many women chose to pair their pencil dresses with sleeves, collars, and belts, to bring something new to the classic.
A ruffle sleeve doesn’t fight for attention, but accentuates the smooth lines of a tight-fitting dress.
Combined with a high neck, this is a great style for showing off your favorite pendant, or your best necklace.
Talented tailors know the importance of draping, and how it can be used to create new silhouettes.
In the 1930s, draping was all about the bias cut, when clothes were given a loose stretch thanks to cutting diagonally against the grain.
The beauty of a bias cut dress (and similar styles) is that they hug in the right places and skim everywhere else, without the need for complex tailoring.
You’ll find a bias cut highlights your best bits, and hides the parts you aren’t so keen on.
In the 1940s and 50s, everyone was still dealing with the effects of rationing — and that includes the fashion world.
The glitz and glamour of previous decades had given way to a slightly muted style.
But nothing can really put fashion on hold, and designers found new ways to bring visual interest to their dresses.
One method was the button! Buttons went from hidden fasteners to style statements, and this look is still popular today!
For the mother of the bride, button decorations draw interest without looking OTT, so eyes stay on the bride.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Vintage Styles Good For Weddings?
Vintage style clothing is excellent for a wedding, because it has a timeless elegance.
Vintage styles were popular decades ago, and have remained popular because they’re just so good!
Many vintage dresses were also designed for dancing, so they’re perfect when day turns to night.
How Do You Choose The Right Vintage Mother Of The Bride Dress?
When choosing a vintage look for a wedding, it’s important to find the line between homage and costume.
No one wants to look like they’re playing dress up (unless, of course, that’s what the bride asked for).
Look at decades such as the 20s, 50s, and 60s for vintage dresses that still look stylish.
What Should The Mother Of The Bride Wear?
The most important thing for the mother of the bride to consider is what the bride wants!
Think about the venue, as well. In a church, plan for modesty. An evening wedding might need a little more glitz.
Then, look for a dress you’ll feel comfortable in — you might be wearing it for a long time, and as you avert some minor disasters!
A vintage dress is a fabulous choice for the mother of the bride, as these designs typically combine elegance, modesty, and comfort!
Swing skirts and a-line dresses are always flattering, while 20s style designs are perfect for dancing.
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