Aim for a glammed-up version of your everyday self. You want youthful but sophisticated. I spoke to my friend Mark Ingram, who owns Mark Ingram Atelier 2, in New York, which caters to mothers of the bride. "No one has to wear mauve taffeta anymore!" he says. Here's my advice:
1. Work with the wedding's mood and color scheme—and consult the groom's mom so you don't clash.
2. Break in new shoes at home a few days before the event.
3. Beware of bare or ultrashort (a little dignity, please), but avoid head-to-toe coverage—the goal is to play up your best feature.
Shine, but don't outshine the bride:
Separates are equal to the occasion if they're cream and silver brocade (left, Calvin Klein jacket, top, and skirt, $128 each; brooch, Alexis Bittar). This jersey gown isn't overly revealing and has lavish, shape-creating beading at the waist (right, David Meister, $428).