Choosing the Right Bridal Underwear

Who knew that shopping for the underwear could be almost as hard as shopping for the wedding dress? We talk about how to avoid underwear lines and share our tips and tricks to help you source the perfect under-the-dress undies. 


So you've searched high and low for your dream wedding dress, and you finally found it. This is a milestone in itself and happens easier for some than it does others. Consider yourself in the 1% if you've tried on dresses one time and ended up finding it, you really do deserve some sort of award. For almost everyone else, finding the dress takes time and patience - there can be tears, frustration, confusion, and what started off as a really fun adventure with your best gal pals, turns into something that has taken months and you just want it to be over already. By the way, if you're having issues deciding on what shape of dress to go for, read my blog post about choosing your ideal wedding dress silhouette.

So say you've found it. Congratulations! But believe it or not, depending on what type of dress you've chosen, sourcing the right underwear can end up being almost as tricky as finding the gown was! During my years of assisting brides-to-be find their wedding dresses, many times once that initial search was over, the hunt for the right undergarments began and I saw a lot of frustration at this because what you would have assumed would be an easy task, ends up being a frustrating run-around. The least I can do is provide you ladies with some helpful advice based on my own experience; things that I've learned along the way throughout my journey in the wedding industry. This post will detail how to avoid underwear lines, and what to go for depending on what shape of dress you've chosen. Hopefully these tips will help you source the perfect undies and minimize your stress on this subject.

So firstly, let's get the "expectation" out of the way. What is the expectation? Well, it's you picturing that under that gorgeous wedding dress you have equally beautiful, sexy underwear on. Can it happen? Sure! Is it likely? Well...it depends on what type of dress you've gone for. For some dresses, depending on how tricky their cut and how the material falls on the body (ie. super low back or a very clingy fabric), you might have to forgo that sexy lingerie until after the photos. I'll break down two main lessons I've learned below.

Lesson #1 - Invest in a good strapless bra if you have a larger chest and your gown is strapless, even if there is boning and cups sewn in.

The A-Line dress shape tends to be the most flexible in terms of what you can wear underneath it. Many times this shape of gown has a structured bodice and even has cups sewn in, but there's a misconception that structured boning and sewn in cups substitute a bra. Sometimes they do, but sometimes they don't.

So why may you still need a bra if your bodice is structured? If your dress is strapless and has structure (ie. boning) and cups built in yes, you MAY still need to wear a bra and this applies to you larger chested ladies out there. I remember a specific event which taught me a huge lesson early on in my bridal consultant days, and I'm just glad that this wasn't my bride. My colleague had assisted a wonderful bride with finding her dream gown, it was a ballgown with a structured bodice, and she decided that (against my colleague and the seamstress's recommendation), that she would not wear a bra although she was quite large chested. She insisted that the cups and the boning would provide enough support, and during her short fittings, it did. Well, after a couple of hours of wearing the gown on her wedding day, the boning began to sag as the bodice expanded with prolonged wear (this generally will happen, and it's why your dress should be just a little too tight when you get it altered). For the rest of the night, she was constantly pulling her dress up to make sure it wouldn't fall down to her waist.

The great benefit of an A-Line dress is that with this shape of gown not hugging your hips, you're basically free to wear what you want on the bottom. Whether it's full bum underwear, a thong, whatever you feel comfortable in, it really doesn't matter because no one will see any lines. Remember that some A-lines don't have a lot of volume though, so underwear lines are something you may need to think about and we discuss this more below.

Lesson #2 - Ditch your preconceived fantasy and find good quality shapewear from a reputable source.

Another major consideration you need to think about is fabric, particularly with column/sheath gowns. Many column dresses are made using gorgeous lightweight fabric that drapes onto the body, and brides fall in love with the gowns but not with how there is zero structure to these types of dresses. Since these babies tend to cling they'll show everything, so naturally a big go-to when it comes to underwear for this style is using shapewear. This here is where that preconceived fantasy of your lacy underwear may have to be re-evaluated, because let's face it - that oh-so-beige shapewear doesn't tend to be the sexiest form of underwear. There's many great options out there though, and I've listed a few favourites at the bottom of this post.

So why is it good to spend money on quality shapewear? Well, that super inexpensive pair off Amazon may feel great when you try them on right out of the package, but chances are they probably won't work for under your dress. They may not be seamless even though the listing said they were, they might roll up, or fall down then cause lines. When choosing shapewear, it's best to order a few different styles and try them on underneath the gown at your first fitting. Move around a bit in them and see how they hold up. If you're at home, try putting them on under a silk nightgown and see if you can notice any lines.

Lesson #3 - What to buy and what to avoid.

Ensure that they are matched close to your skin tone (NOT WHITE) and SEAMLESS, because if they're not, you'll see the lines right through your gown. If you have a dress that is ultra clingy, you'll want shapwear that is smooth, and doesn't have corset boning or fancy stitching because every bump on that shapewear will show through.

Based on my own experience, it's 99% of the time necessary that the shapewear will need to be either a thong, or a longer shorts style that go down the leg. Shapewear that looks like normal full bum underwear will more than likely show lines over your bum cheeks, so it's best to try either shorts or thong style. If they're shorts or a thong, you'll want them to be high waisted and rise up to the smallest part of your stomach where your ribs end, NOT around mid belly button - this will avoid another line/crease across your abdomen).

It can also be tricky to source shapewear that will accommodate the dress's unique neckline, or that low back, etc. I've actually had a couple of brides that found the shapewear that was 99% correct. For instance, it was shorts, was comfortable, but the low back wasn't quite low enough. They themselves or their seamstress then altered the underwear a bit to suit the dress - for instance, by cutting the back lower on the shapewear. I've also had many brides have their shapewear sewn into their gown to avoid the dress moving and showing any of it (a few stitches down the low back onto the shapewear so it doesn't pop out to say hello on the big day/during photos works wonders). These are all things that a good seamstress can help you with, and why it's so important to bring these to your fittings.

Depending on fabric and the way things fall, Mermaid Dresses and non-volumous A-Line dresses may require the same type of underwear as column shape dresses, much like in the top image. The general rule is, to be prepared to spend a good chunk of change on decent bridal underwear. You won't regret it in the long run, and after the wedding you'll probably find yourself wearing it for other occasions anyways. And remember, you can change into that gorgeous set of lingerie later. By wearing underwear that makes you comfortable and gives you peace of mind during the ceremony, you truly will not regret it, I promise.

If you do require shapewear or some special undergarments for your dress, check out my recommendations below!


Products Shown:
1) Fashion Forms from Bloomingdales
2) (And top header image) Spanx
3) David's Bridal 
4) Honeylove
5) Nubra
6) Bare Necessities 

I hope this post helps you find the perfect underwear for underneath that beautiful wedding dress of yours! If you're looking for loungewear or lingerie for before/after the wedding be sure you check out SWF's beautiful robes and lingerie sets!


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