How Not To Feel Frumpy At A Wedding

I’ve been calming a wild-eyed groom’s mother over what to wear to her son’s wedding. Even bigger panic as her Ex will be there with his latest ten-years-younger squeeze.

Panicky Groom’s Mum has already bought THREE outfits, all along the fitted floral dress, bright jacket and flouncy fascinator route in a variety of colours. She’s not happy with any of them though she feels it’s what she’s expected to wear.

I got her to try them all on and tell me how she felt. It was an interesting list: ‘Trussed up. Frumpy. Like the flower stall in Asda. And my feet hurt.’

Oh boy. I hope she kept the receipts.

So how did she want to feel? ‘Elegant, confident, expensive. Comfortable in my own skin,’ she told me. ‘Without showing my arms or veiny legs,’ she added for good measure.

Wear what you love, not what you think you should wear

I am not eschewing the floral dress get-up. Or bright colours. It’s what many guests reach for and is lovely for a summer wedding. If it feels right, wear it. But if it doesn’t, there are options.

So I gave PGM a few pointers before we set out shopping:

  1. Break the rules. Wear what you love, not what you think you ‘should’ wear.
  2. To look confident you have to feel comfortable, so avoid clothes that hurt
  3. If you want to look upscale and expensive, plain, pale colours, preferably head-to-toe, always look elegant. Less is more.
  4. For understated glamour add the most expensive accessories you can afford, with subtle sheen. (As my Aunty Betty used to say, you can get away with a cheap dress if your shoes are good.)
  5. It’s not all about the clothes. Splash out on a blow-dry and professional makeup. It will elevate any outfit.

Panicky Groom’s Mum is 5’6”, with soft colouring, bigger on her top half, with a slight tum and great shape legs. Though a few prominent veins meant she was feeling self-conscious in all the dresses she bought.

In the trying-on stage, I visited her at home, a place of pale elegance and simple styling. No wonder those bright dresses felt wrong – they simply weren’t ‘her’.

You are not The Queen. Only wear ‘stand out’ colours if it feels right

I suggest trousers. About a thousand years of worry disappeared from her face.

So we found some pale blue-grey jacquard cigarette pants that showed off her great legs, with a soft chiffon hip-length top of the same colour that covered her arms and drifted over her middle. Then added a muted silver clutch bag and a pair of pearl-encrusted sling-backs she already had and knew were comfortable. She didn’t want to wear anything on her head so arranged to have her hair put up in a loose but elegant French Pleat. A pair of chandelier earrings and a rose pink lippy brought her face alive.

We also tried on the Phase Eight dress pictured above, which looked amazing but required dark hosiery for PGM to feel comfortable. We decided to stick with an all over lighter palette for a summery look.

Finally, I got her to practise her ‘photo pose’ in the mirror, complete with bright smile.

How did she feel now? ‘Modern, sophisticated, confident. And my feet are comfortable so I can still dance and have fun.

‘I can face the world in this,’ she concluded.

I understood the sub-text.

‘Til next time,


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Want some help shopping? I am based near Norwich – contact me at Sarah Morgan Personal Stylist



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