The 'Carole Middleton' effect: Top tips on perfecting mother-of-the-bride style

After what was no doubt months of preparation, Carole Middleton was picture perfect on the day her daughter wed Prince William.

Now, a year on from the royal wedding, research by mature online retailer reveals mother-of-the-brides are going to extreme lengths to look perfect on their offspring’s big day.

Dubbed the ‘Carole Middleton effect’, apparently 1 in 10 wedding mothers would consider cosmetic surgery such as Botox, a tummy tuck or a breast operation.


The pursuit of perfection takes its toll on the purse strings too, as they will spend an average of £278 on their wedding outfit this year – and 14 per cent will even shell out between £500-£1000.

To help avoid outrageous expensive, extreme body changes and even reducing the bride to tears, Julie Donnelly, Head of Buying at isme, urges mothers to emulate Carole’s elegant understated look.

To help you do just that, she has prepared essential tips in advance of the wedding season:

• "It's all about the fit: If you are larger on the top compared to the bottom half or vice versa, go for separates. Fit and flare shape to disguise big hips. When in doubt, remember, the tunic style flatters most body shapes

• The most important rule: buy the right size. Only the bride loses weight for the big day

• Aim to be the second most fabulous lady there — never try to outshine the bride

• It is much more appropriate to strive for elegant and confident rather than sexy

• Three nevers: never too tight, never too short and never, ever, wear jeans — unless it’s a country and western themed wedding

Wear a hat, but if you’re not confident or comfortable with that, a fascinator or a pretty hair slide will suffice

• French women dress from the inside out. What that means is they choose the correct and right size underwear for their outfit. Trust me (as an ex-lingerie buyer) it will take pounds off!

Dress for the venue: if in a fancy hotel or restaurant go for a slightly more tailored dressy look (avoid black or navy, you may look as if you have just popped in from the office). Choose a pastel, or if you have a strong personality go for one of the amazing bright colours that are popular this season

• If you want to go for a safer option choose a neutral colour but accessorise with strong colours for your shoes and bag

• Remember, at weddings a large chunk of time is spent standing around outside waiting for the photos, so make sure you have a Pashmina or wrap with you. Avoid very high heels as you will sink into the grass or sand

Don’t forget your brolly – if it’s in the UK don’t take any chances. No mother of the bride or groom wants their day ruined by going for the ‘drowned’ look thanks to a sudden downpour

• A wedding is not the time to try a new hairstyle, new make up style, a completely new dress style. To be confident you need to be comfortable."

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