Underneath It All

Wedding Day Lingerie

Underneath it all.
Courtesy of Clair Pettibone

The undergarments you wear under your dress are there solely to support you, smooth you and, keep it all in place. Save the naughty numbers for the wedding night and honeymoon—your groom will thank you later!

Every bride dreams of looking her most beautiful and feeling her finest on her wedding day. If you love frilly and sexy underwear, its your choice, but make sure it does the heavy lifting, too. You want the undergarments you wear under your dress to support you, smooth you and keep it all in one place. Make sure you pack some sizzling underwear for your wedding night and honeymoon--your groom will thank you later!

Staying On Top of Your Top

It may be hard to believe, but statistics show that about 75% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. Just to be sure you don't fall into that category, we suggest you get a proper fitting with a bra expert at your local lingerie specialty boutique or department store where they offer this service. This is the perfect time to assess your assets and ensure you're wearing the best undergarments for your gown.

Here are a few important points to remember:

  • In general, the bra band (under your bust) does all the support work. The shoulder straps are secondary, and if the band is too large, chances are your shoulder straps slip off all the time. The band should also fit quite snug and sit low on your back, never up high, which happens when a bra is too big or stretched out.
  • You should never have spillage--out of the cups on top, from underneath the cups or underwire, or on the sides. If you have a full bust or are plus size, it's extremely important to have a bra that gives extra support on the sides. If you are spilling out of your bra, then go up a cup size and try a fuller cup style.
  • If your bra cups wrinkle, go down one cup size. Smaller busts can easily wear demi bras and balconette styles. Push-ups are also an excellent, sexy choice. Bras should never dig into your skin or pinch you (leave that to your groom-to-be).
  • One of the best options for brides are seamless undergarments. We highly recommend them. These pieces are usually made from hi-tech micro-fibers and offer completely seamless coverage and will prevent any VBL (visible bra lines) or VPL (visible panty lines). In addition, they are extremely comfortable and feel weightless on the skin.
  • We also recommend wearing nude lingerie. Try a fleshy color that is one shade darker than your skin tone for the best possible match. Nude lingerie disappears under white and light colors and is preferable to white lingerie under white garments. However, if you are wearing a heavy satin ball gown that is totally opaque, it's fine to go with white. Once you find the right under-pieces, you might want to consider buying two bras and two panties. You can never be too prepared.
  • Whatever your final choices for undergarments may be, don't forget that you'll want to bring all of your lingerie with you to your fittings. This is crucial to getting the best fit, particularly the bodice, on your gown.

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Best Bras for Your Dress

Your choice of bra will be the most important piece of lingerie you wear on your wedding day. There are many options that work for every shape, size and situation.

If you're wearing a strapless dress, wear a strapless bra. Try a few options to make sure your bra doesn't peek out of the top of your dress. Take particular notice if you have a sweetheart neckline because they dip down in front. Make sure the back of your bra fits comfortably below the backline of your gown. The strapless bra is also good for halter, off the shoulder and spaghetti-strap styles.

If you have a very low back dress, try an adhesive bra. These bras offer great support and smoothness in front without a back. The medical-grade adhesives on the sides are miracle-workers, they really stay put. These bras are a celeb red-carpet mainstay. You can also try a convertible bra, if an adhesive one won't work for you. This is a strapless bra with a variety of strap options for necklines. It has multiple hooks so that you can wear it halter, crisscross or one-shoulder style.

Bustiers & corsets are traditional long-line bras that not only give your bust support and shape but also mold your middle with boning and stretch fabric. They give you a great hourglass shape, however, be careful they don't create a muffin-top situation. They should be long enough to smooth you completely out. They also add a vintage feel to your look, which can be quite lovely. Most bustiers and corsets are strapless, but come with detachable shoulder and garter straps.

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The Bottom's Just as Important as The Top

Your bottom half needs careful consideration as well. What you wear can be tricky, but there are many great pieces to try.

For the most part, you'll want to wear a good-fitting panty or thong that feels comfortable and doesn't ride up or roll down. The best undergarments have a thin strip of silicone at the top of the inner waistband that will keep it up and in place.

Seamless panties and thongs work perfectly because they won't create any lines or bulges under your dress and are very lightweight. Depending on the lower half of your gown you can choose something very skimpy like a string thong or if you're wearing a ball gown, you might prefer a cute stretch satin boy short. It's a matter of comfort and visibility.

One of the largest categories in lingerie is shapewear. While saying the names 'Spanx', 'Sassybax' and 'Yummie Tummie' might induce the giggles, these companies have made many women and brides very, very happy. Shapewear bottoms promise everything from boosting your butt, eliminating muffin-top, trimming your thighs and deterring back fat. It sounds impressive, and it actually is because these pieces really work.

We recommend a hi-rise shaping brief or thong that comes up higher than a regular panty. It compresses the tummy and whittles the waist and hips. This miracle garment provides comfort, shaping and smoothing. Most shapewear pieces are seamless and all come in a variety of nude shades and white and ivory as well. If you haven't worn shapewear before your wedding, it's best to try them out for a day to see which type of garment will work best for you.

--Juli Alvarez

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