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Mother of the Bride Tea-Length Dresses

by Christina Gregoire

If you've just been told by your lovely daughter that, as mother of the bride, you must wear a tea-length dress, your first impulse might be to say that you absolutely refuse to wear anything frumpy and old-fashioned like a tea dress because you’re a hip Baby Boomer not an elderly English dowager.

But, don’t worry, there are lots of chic tea-length dresses that won’t make you look like your grandmother…unless your grandmother was extremely chic.

What is a Tea-Length Dress?

wedding dressesTea length simply refers to the hemline of a dress. A tea-length dress is (almost) any frock that comes down below your knees but isn't long enough to cover your ankles. A 70s-style bow dress is tea length. A midi skirt or midi dress is tea length. A ballet skirt is tea length. However, a full on, take-me-to-the-Oscars, long formal evening gown is not tea length.

Okay. Now that we’ve gotten that straight, we can work on making you look fabulous…without upstaging the bride, of course. And, one way to look better than (or just as good as) the mother of the groom or your ex-husband’s new wife is to wear a designer dress, because expensive clothes are made of better fabric and they have tonier details.

Yoo x.com: Discount Designer Clothes

Right. I know midi dressesyou don’t want to spend a fortune, so I challenged myself to find some size XXL dresses at Yoo x.com, a website known for its cut-rate designer duds. Now, don’t get too excited, but Yoo x has more “large” sizes than they used to have, however a European designer’s version of a size 14 or size 16 is a lot smaller than what we're used to. And, since Yoo x is a discount store, not every dress comes in every size. However, merchandise sometimes changes quickly, so check the site from time to time.

The main photo (above) shows several tea-length dresses (sizes 12 or 14) from today’s selection at Yoo x.com.

  • The purple floral dress is 10wedding dress for mother of the groom0% silk shantung and it would be perfectly beautiful for a casual, garden, or daytime wedding. I would love to see it worn with a spunky fascinator, and high-heeled sandals would make it great for an informal evening wedding.
  • The blue dress is Georgio Grati and it’s 100% silk. It looks like the kind of silk that drapes and flows just the way it should. But, even with the discount, that dress is in the high $700s, however I’ve seen similar garments on rich old ladies and…baby…I would love to wear that dress.
  • The jewel-green Amaya Arzuaga has a fabulous drape. I chose that dress so you could see that tea-length frocks can be hot and sexy, as well as, classic and demure. Of course, you will need to match the feel and the formality of your daughter’s wedding, but you don’t have to look like a wallflower just because you’re not the bride.
  • The blue floral dress by D.Exterior has a wonderful, drapey, asymmetrical neckline. You can see details of dresses on Yoo x.com by clicking and scrolling. I think these colors are flattering and the print is fresh and luscious.

Of comother of the bride dressesurse, these four frocks are not the only tea-length dresses in "larger" sizes at Yoo x.com. And, Yoo x.com is not the only store with European-designer dresses that will look wonderful on you.

The Rules for Tea-Length Dresses

Yes, there are “wedding rules” about tea-length dresses. However, I don't care if you follow them to the letter or not. I come from the laid-back Pacific Northwest, where people don’t care if you’re skinny or fat…or if you have the perfect manicure or the latest “it” bag. So, consider the following “rules” to be “guidelines," unless you want to "help" someone who doesn't have the refined taste that you have:

  • * The bridal family's taste trumps the groom's family's taste. You may make the groom's mother wear a feather duster on her head if you want.
  • * If you’re wearing a hat or a fascinator, the mother of the groom should wear a hat or some similar type of embellishment. If you choose to wear gloves, the mother of the groom should wear gloves. However, you must avoid looking like the Doublemint twins.
  • * Wedding party photos come out better if the mothers wear dresses with similar hemlines. If the mother of the bride chooses a tea-length dress, the mother of the groom should wear a tea-length dress (or suit).
  • * If the bride is wearing a tea-length dress, the mothers should wear tea-length dresses of a similar length.mother of groom or bride dress

Older People Need Better Clothing

In general, when you’re old enough to be a Baby Boomer, you need to wear better quality clothing. And, if you’re going to be seen or be photographed during daylight hours, it’s even more important for you to find an outfit designed in a cut that is flattering to your body and made of a gorgeous fabric that complements your coloring.

You can get away with less perfect clothing in the nighttime, but if your daughter has chosen a daytime wedding, there is no candlelight or soft Manhattan-restaurant lighting to “hide behind.” So, consider shopping for a “real” designer dress if you can fit it into the wedding budget.

More Articles for Baby Boomer Women:

Burgundy Color for Fall & Winter: The New Black

How to Wear a Peplum If You Have Curves

Rules for Mother of the Bride Short Dresses


Photo and info are from Boomerina.Polyvore.com.

What did/will you wear?  Leave a comment at the bottom of the page. We never publish your email address. We just need to know you're human.

Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

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  1. Teresa Kennedy

    Where cdress on this page?an I find the black lace, 3/4 sleeve, empire waist mother of the bride tea length

  2. Tina-Boomerina


    The dress is from M&Co in the UK.

    Tina Boomerina

  3. Brenda

    Where can u find the blue dress that is recommended for mother of the bride but there isn't any info in? Its the one with the hem slightly longer on one side blue tea length.

  4. Michele

    Is the black, tea length, 3/4 sleeve dress still available - anywhere ? I can't find it on the M & CO web site. Hoping you can tell me where I can find it.
    Thank you !