Formalwear designer Kay Unger answers our 7 most pressing questions about Mother-of-the-Bride style.
Meet Kay Unger: In addition to being an FOF and mother-of-the-groom herself (she planned both of her sons’ weddings last year) Kay Unger is one of the leading formalwear designers in the country, with dresses sold in more that 24 countries and worn by notable names such as Oprah Winfrey, Salma Hayek and Vanessa Williams. Kay is former president of The Fashion Group and was inducted as a Leading Woman Entrepreneur of the World™ in 1999.
FOF: Should a M-O-B coordinate with and/or consult the Mother-of-the-Groom before choosing her dress?
Kay: Don’t ask to “approve” what the M-O-G wears unless she wants you to. You can give her some subtle guidance. “This is what we are wearing, these are the colors, why don’t you pick what makes you feel comfortable?”
FOF: What do you do if you have serious concerns that the mother-of-the-groom will wear something too racy or over-the-top?
Kay: If you are worried about her taste, go online and send her some links and say, “Anything in this range might be fabulous.” Make sure it’s not too expensive. Her happiness is so much more important than what she’s wearing.
FOF: Who picks her dress first?
Kay: The mother-of-the-bride traditionally picks first but you may not care.
FOF: Should a M-O-B choose a dress in the color scheme of the wedding or one that compliments it?
Kay: I think it could be either. Any shade of green is always safe because no matter what kind of flowers you have they always have green stems or green leaves. You won’t clash. M-O-Bs don’t have to wear neutrals anymore. I wore a print to one of my son’s weddings!
FOF: Are there any absolute taboos for a M-O-B dress?
Kay: Never take away from the bride. Your garment shouldn’t be so overwhelmingly intense in color or patterns or jeweling that the bride is overshadowed in any way. She also shouldn’t be revealing.
FOF: What common style mistake do M-O-Bs make?
Kay: Overshowing her dress. Do not show your dress to your husband, friends and daughter a million times before the wedding. Try it on once or twice when you buy it and then again a few weeks before the big day.
FOF: Any style trick every M-O-B should know?
Kay: When you buy shoes, try them on the same hour of day as the wedding because feet swell at different times of day.