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Wednesday 7 June 2023

Try on: Marks and Spencer Dresses

 & #WowOnWednesday

Dear friends.  Today I'm sharing a mini haul of M&S dresses, plus a wild card. I'm looking for a dress to wear to a wedding in Devon next month. I've also got a few tips on choosing a "Mother of the bride or groom" outfit. 

Regular readers will know I have a peculiar relationship with dresses.  I have hardly any. I typically wear a dress once or twice in its season. For the upcoming wedding, I thought seriously about getting a trouser suit. But it might be very hot in July, so I decided to find a dress instead.

What I'm looking for in a dress:

  • Solid colour/colour block OR a dot print. I mostly avoid other patterns and in particular, ditsy florals (these are very "old hat" I'm afraid, according to the FROW and John Lewis!);
  • A dress with a waist:  anything big, floaty or buffet sized makes me look huge; 
  • A fabric that's ideally sustainable, and no linen. Although I do iron things, I can't stand wearing something that creases after you've been sitting down

Finery London Collared Midi Waisted Dress, £89 (M&S)

I liked the colour when I saw it online, although in real life it was a less attractive purple. It was very creased when it arrived, unlike the other two, and I never iron things I haven't decided to keep. The material is 100% viscose, which needs professional dry cleaning. It looked OK at the back and was true to size. But it's a No from me. If you've taken a shine to it you must act fast because it was selling very fast online. 

An ideal dress for a wedding guest over 50: Gail Hanlon in satin polka dot tie dress from Marks and Spencer

Printed Midaxi V-Neck Waisted Dress, £69

This one is described as "white mix" but I saw it more as a citrus mix, which attracted me. The fit was a bit off, particularly from the back. If I had decided to keep it, I would have returned this one and sized up. The reviews now say it comes up small. 

Over 60s blogger Gail Hanlon in Finery London purple dress

Satin Polka Dot Tie Midaxi Column Dress, £49.50

As seen in the top pic.  This is a lovely dress, it doesn't crease and it looks fresh and contemporary. I thought it a little bit too long, and below I'm holding the hem up to see what it looked like a little shorter.  I have since had it taken up by 4cms. The sandals are a few years old but have a 40s vibe. 

The last dress is not from M&S but I'm including it as a wild card. It was bought over a year ago with the intention of wearing it to the wedding. It's from the Pretty Dress Company. This colour is no longer in stock. It's been in a storage box so is a bit creased (but not too bad, considering!). 

Hot pink fitted dress worn by Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon

I'm undecided about it. It's quite formal looking, so the type of dress I'm not likely to wear again. I tried selling it a few weeks ago but no takers. It still has its tags, so I wasn't prepared to drop the price below £50. It looks a bit staid to me.  What do you think? 

Tips for MOB/MOG Outfit

I have been a step MOB and MOG, and these are my learnings and recommendations.

  • Your steer should be the bride or bridegroom themselves in terms of how they dress, and what their other guests are likely to wear. If they're a trendy couple with cool friends, I would avoid the type of dress that is sold at specialist bridal shops. They're usually a bit dated. You know the ones I mean. Pastel colours and lacy shrugs hiding the arms. 
    • Instead consider a trouser suit or jump suit. Bright colours are IN for both. No fascinator required! (Also very dated)
  • If you're sure you want a dress, have a look at shops you wouldn't normally consider. I bought my step MOB dress from Lavish Alice. They have lots of different shapes and colours. You'll stand out far more in a solid colour than in any sort of floral print, and as the MOB, this is a good thing. Other places to consider:  Rixo  (the price is worth it if you're MOB), Phase 8, who are less staid than they used to be, and Monsoon, although you still have to wade through a lot of boho there.
  • If you'd rather look a bit more traditional, a tailored dress in a solid colour will make you stand out, in a positive way. Bombshell HQ have some stunning dresses, as do The Pretty Dress Company and Diva Catwalk. You may need to consider Spanx or something similar because this type of dress can accentuate any unwary back fat.  If you do, make sure you look for a hook and eye or press stud gusset, not the ones with the dreadful open gusset
  • If you want something very distinctive and beautifully cut, with no risk of another guest wearing it, consider renting your dress, particularly if you know you will wear it once.
  • When it comes to a bag, those very cute pearled or 3D floral evening bags are very tempting but will it carry what you need?  Invariably your Plus One will want you to carry his glasses / wallet / inhaler / protein bar.
  • If the bride is stipulating head wear, it doesn't have to be a fuddy duddy old fascinator or hat. Head bands are very "in." 
If any of you are limbering up for this assignment - Mother of the bride or groom - do share in the comments and let us know what you're wearing. And let's have your tips too.

Disclosure: Nothing was gifted for this post.  Links are to help you with your shopping, they are not affiliate links. Is This Mutton is not monetized to give the best reading experience. 

Sharing this post with: Weekday Wear at Away from the Blue, #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Rena at Fine WhateverTurning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish,  Confident Twosday at I Do Declaire, Style with a Smile at StylesplashTalent Sharing Tuesdays at Scribbling BoomerCurated by Jennifer (Wednesdays), Chic & Stylish at MummabstylishThursday Fashion Files at Doused in Pink, #Neverendingstyle at The Grey BrunetteFancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style,  Traffic Jam Weekend at Marsha in the Middle Senior Salon Pitstop at Esme Salon

You May Also Enjoy

Whitstable Wedding (including my dress as stepmother of the bride)

A Tale of Two Wedding Dresses

Carol Middleton Wows in Pale Pink  (including my dress as stepmother of the groom - lacy shrug alert!) 

Bloggers / Vloggers: How Curious Are You?

The next Tell Us About challenge is all about CURIOSITY.  If you're a blogger or vlogger and you'd like to join in, use the prompt any way you choose and join the link-up, which will be live on this blog on Thursday 15 June, 7am BST. 

It's time for the #WowOnWednesday link-up, where readers can find new blogs to read and bloggers/vloggers can find new followers!  I feature the 3 favourites each Wednesday on Instagram, and my five or six top picks at the weekend on Twitter and Facebook.

Last Week's Favourites - Most Clicked

Be Brave, Lose the Beige from Sue at Women Living Well After 50

Martha's Vineyard Trip Part 2 from Jess at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish

Half Marathon Recap and Training by Mireille of Chez Mireille 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


  1. I think you kept the perfect dress. Although I liked the purple one too. Had a wedding yesterday! A lot of women were so underdressed, such a pity. I think the pink dress is beautiful but a bit too solid. And I don't mean one colour, but a bit too closed. Don't know how to explain it, lol, too little movement.

  2. Great dresses and you’ve made a good choice Gail. Thanks for hosting too xx Jacqui x


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