You’ve found your gown, yay! Congratulations, the hardest part is over! The only thing left is to make sure that it fits like a glove and that everything is where it should be. A great fit starts with a great foundation. Most of us have been buying the same styles of bras and underwear for years, so the thought of going shopping for specialty undergarments can seem daunting–fear not, we’ve got you covered!
The types of undergarments that your gown requires depend on two factors:
- The cut of your gown
- What makes you comfortable
As you will see below, the cut of your gown will dictate the majority of your undergarment decisions. However, you need to make sure that you are comfortable and feel your best.
Kayla Barker Fine Art Photography
1. Get the Right Shade
Most wedding gowns are fairly light in color, which makes choosing the right color undergarments very important. The key is finding undergarments that are as close to your natural skin tone as possible. Most lingerie companies offer only one shade of “nude” that is definitely not one-size-fits-all. Here are some companies that offer a wide range of shades so that you can find the one that is just right for you:
These companies offer bras as well!
KT Merry Photography
2. When to Go Braless
Many gowns have corsetry built into the lining of the bodice. If this is the case on your gown, it means you can go braless; your gown is already equipped with the support you need – woohoo! That being said, not everyone is comfortable going braless. Whether you prefer to wear a bra for added support or for modesty reasons, the decision to ditch the bra is completely up to you.
You may ask, “How do I know if my gown has a corset built in?”. If you look inside the bodice and can see or feel boning (rigid poles that trace the seams), then your gown has a built in corset. Some gowns even have an elastic bra strap inside that is adjustable, so you can make it as tight or as loose as you want.
Photographer: Michelle Beller
If your gown does not have corsetry built in, you have a few options. You can go braless, and let the girls do their thing. Only go braless with a corset-less gown if this is something you are comfortable with and do regularly. If you normally wear a bra, and your gown doesn’t have a corset, we recommend finding a bra that works with your gown. You’ll be more comfortable if you have the coverage and support you need.
There are bra alternatives if you don’t want to wear a full bra but aren’t quite ready to go without.
- Pasties– little, slightly padded, stickers that you put over your nipples. These do not provide any support, but rather add coverage if you want to leave a little to the imagination. These are especially useful in sheer slinky gowns. Here are some great barely there silicone pasties from Bristols Six!
Photographer: Babsie Ly
- Tape Strips- While we don’t recommend using regular tape, it has definitely been done, even by some of your favorite celebrities. Thankfully there is a much better alternative. There are several companies that make tape strips just for this purpose and they’re even shaped like a bra. They’re not cute on, so you may want to remove them before your wedding night, but they do provide coverage and a moderate amount of support. These are great for backless dresses if you still need a little lift. Perky Pear sells cup-shaped tape cut outs and Booby Tape offers a similar product, but on a roll, so you can adjust it to fit the neckline of your gown.
Amanda Nippoldt Photography
- Stick-on Silicone Cups- These cups resemble flesh and are meant to blend in. They don’t provide much support at all and are mostly used for coverage and adding a bit of natural padding. Bergdorf Goodman sells some good adhesive silicone cups made by The Fashion Forms.
Photographer: Weddings By Scott And Dana
- Stick-on Bra- Stick-on bras look like a regular strapless bra without the back closure. They provide more support than the stick-on cups but less than the tape strips. These are mostly used to add coverage and mild padding. All of these can be found at most lingerie or department stores! We recommend the NuBra Seamless model.
Photographer: Esmeralda Franco
3. Straps vs. Strapless
When shopping for undergarments to go with your gown, the most important thing to remember is that they shouldn’t be seen – duh! If your gown has thick straps or covers most of your shoulders, you may be able to wear a normal bra. Gowns that are strapless or have straps less than 1” in width, need to be paired with an undergarment that is strapless.
If the back of your gown comes up to where your bra closure would normally rest on your back, you can probably get away with wearing a normal strapless bra with your wedding gown.
If the back of your gown is lower than where your bra closure would normally rest, you will need to consider some low back alternatives, like these:
- Longline Bra – A longline bra looks like a regular strapless bra, but instead of stopping under the cups, it continues all the way down to the waist. Most longline bras have boning like a corset that helps to hold up the cups allowing them to cut the back lower than a normal bra. They also help to cinch the waist because the closure overlaps the waistline. This is a great style for a strapless gown with a low back that has a natural waistline. The Carnival Longline Plunge Bra is a great option for a supportive undergarment with a low back.
Photographer: Facibeni Fotografia
- Corset- When you think corset, most of us think of the old fashioned, lace-up ones. There are actually many different types of corsets. The style that we recommend is a modern adaptation of an old classic. It is strapless and extends downward from the cups and covers the torso to just below the waist. Most corsets have boning to help support the cups. They also have a closure that you can adjust to make it as tight as you like. Corsets function as a bra and as shapewear creating a beautiful hourglass shape. We recommend wearing a corset with a fitted gown that does not have a seam at the waistline. VaBien makes a great full coverage corset.
Natalie Schutt Photography
When shopping for a bra or bra alternative, purchase an undergarment with the same level of padding that you normally wear.
You’ve invested so much in your wedding look; you don’t want your panty line stealing the spotlight! In addition to finding the right shade of panties, it is important to make sure you have the right cut and fit. Sizing is different for every company so if you aren’t able to try them on, consider buying two different sizes to make sure you get ones that fit. We recommend wearing seamless underwear on your wedding day. They are usually more forgiving and don’t hug your hips as much as ones with elastic waists and side seams. If your wedding gown is very fitted, you may want to wear a seamless thong to be extra sure that no one will catch a glimpse of your panty line. Also, consider high-waisted panties if your gown is fitted and has a natural waistline. This will provide a little extra support in your lower abdomen and create a nice smooth surface. Stay away from panties that have a print or texture; they may show through your gown’s delicate fabric.
Photographer: Sydney Sweat
Undergarments can do so much more than just provide coverage. Shapewear contours and smoothes any bumps so that your gown can drape perfectly on your body. In addition to making you look incredible, shapewear can also add comfort-believe it or not! Gowns are hot…no matter what the weather’s like. Most shapewear incorporates wicking technology to move sweat away from your body and keep you cool.
When shopping for shapewear consider what areas of your body you would like to smooth. Would shaping panties work, or would you prefer shapewear that covers the upper thigh as well? You will also need to consider the cut of your gown and the color of the shapewear when shopping. You don’t want it to show through when you’re wearing your gown or create unwanted lines.
If your gown is not super fitted below the waist, consider skipping the shapewear. While it can work wonders, it’s not worth being squeezed in all day if you’re not going to see the fruits of your labor.
Spanx is the uncontested queen of the shapewear category, and for good reason. They have a cut for every shape and silhouette! While Spanx is the most known brand, other brands and styles can be found at most department stores and other online retailers like Yummie.
Here are some examples of gowns paired with their ideal shapewear match:
Photographer: Ether & Smith
Photographer: Adrian Jon Photography
Photographer: Kristina Adams Photography
Photographer: Sara Weir
If you are getting married in the winter, consider wearing tights for an extra layer for warmth. They can also help prevent chafing and provide shaping and support. Wolford makes a great pair of nude tights!
7. Don’t Wear Your Wedding Night Lingerie
Resist the urge to wear your wedding night lingerie underneath your gown on your wedding day. This may sound like a romantic idea, in theory, but trust us on this! No matter what the weather is like, you will be dancing and sweating, leaving your lingerie less than fresh by the time you make it to your honeymoon suite. Stick to the minimalist nude undies for the day and slip into something a little more “comfortable” when you make it back to the room.
Photographer: Winsome And Wright
It’s super important to purchase your wedding undergarments before your first alterations fitting. Undergarments can drastically change measurements and posture; your tailor will need you to wear them while they are fitting you to ensure that your gown fits just right on your big day.