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? 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 choose 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 structured 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 may end up feeling a little unsupported due to the lack of structure. 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 are 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 and 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 an ultra clingy smooth fabric, you'll want shapewear 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 the underwear 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 if you want to feel supported. 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!

What Wedding Dress Shape Should You Choose?

We destroy the age old myths of who 
can wear what on their wedding day.

What if I told you that you could wear whatever shape you wanted? That there were no rules?

Before starting She Wore Flowers I was in the bridal industry for many years, and most of this time was spent managing bridal boutiques in the UK and helping hundreds of brides find their dream gowns as a bridal consultant. When I first entered the industry, there were these 'rules' people talked about that at first as a young 20-something, I didn't question. "Plus size girls can't wear mermaids." "Skinny girls should only wear column dresses because they're the only ones that can pull that shape off." Alright, I thought. I guess that's the way it is. Well, this was nearly ten years ago now, and the world was just starting to enter this screw-your-ridiculous-beauty-standards attitude and eventually I realized that those so-called "rules" were put in place by society's distorted views of beauty and, well, ahem..they were complete BS.

Selene Wedding Dress by She Wore Flowers

So what shape is best for you?

Now, listen here darling. There is a perfect shape for you. Some shapes will be better for you than others. But not for the reasons you may think or that you've been told. You see, you've maybe been told that you can't wear a mermaid because your hips are too big. Well, maybe a mermaid dress isn't for you. But not because of your awesome hips (screw the haters). A mermaid dress isn't for you if you just don't feel like showcasing them. See? There's the difference. If you love your hips, then a mermaid silhouette is absolutely a contender.
The best way to choose your ideal dress silhouette, is knowing what you love about your body/want to showcase, and what you don't love so much/don't want to showcase. In an ideal fantasy world we all love every single aspect of ourselves, but unfortunately we've been told that we should all look a certain way for so long, so everyone has their own inner judgements and is their own worst critic. No matter how irrational our friends/significant others tell us these insecurities are, they exist. For me, it's my legs. Hate em! Others tell me I'm crazy but they've always been my thing. It's an unfortunate reality but these insecurities exist, for everyone (you're not alone).

It's my goal that by the end of this post you'll have a better idea as to the shape that may work best for you, or at least you'll have a better understanding of what each silhouette inherently showcases/highlights.

Think about the part of your body that you love and want to show off. Maybe its your waist, maybe it's your boobs, your bum, etc. Then, think about that part of your body that you're not a fan of showing off. And look, although I agree with your friends and family that you're being silly and every inch of you is perfect, your wedding is NOT the day that you should start conquering that fear. You should feel 100% comfortable inside and out on your big day, so choose a dress that's going to highlight what you want it to. For instance, I would probably want to roll up and die if I decided to conquer my "I hate my legs" fear on my wedding day and wear a short tea-length dress. I'd be constantly thinking about it and that's not what this day is about. You need to be comfortable in what you're wearing.
So what shapes accentuate what parts? I've broken down the list below of the main wedding dress shapes and from there you'll be well on your way to choosing the perfect gown for you. You can also click each one to shop that shape on our new collection! 
Midnight Primrose - An A-Line shaped gown from She Wore Flowers

 - This style is widely called the "universal match". A-line dresses typically consist of a fitted bodice that stops at the natural waist (typically the smallest part of your torso), and then flare out from there. They flatter most people, it's just whether or not you like this style. The shape is perfect if you're wanting to showcase your narrowest point, and want to avoid anything clinging to your bum/hips. You don't need to love ballgowns to choose an A-Line either, as they really vary in volume. Some are still very lightweight and free-flowing (like our Midnight Primrose gown shown above). They're pretty easy to move around in as your legs can move unhindered and aren't constricted by a dress that's fitted to your hips. Of course ballgowns (still part of the A-Line silhouette family) consist of a huge skirt, which makes mobility more difficult so keep that in mind.
Solstice - A fit and flare wedding dress from She Wore Flowers 
Mermaid/Trumpet/Fit & Flare - This shape is perfect for you brides out there who want to either showcase your curves, or create an illusion of having bigger curves. They hug the torso all the way down to your legs and then flare out at various levels, ranging from mid thigh (like our Solstice Wedding Dress) down to the knee (like our Aurelia Wedding Dress). The flare can also vary in volume and be less, or more dramatic - just depends on your preference. The lower the flare and more volumous the dress, typically the less mobile you'll feel. The higher the flare (say around mid thigh), your knees are still free to bend and move so you'll have an easier time dancing your beautifully accentuated bum off all night! This goes without saying that if your bum/curves are not what you want to showcase, then this shape may not feel the most comfortable for you. 
Artemis - A soft column shape from She Wore Flowers

 - The column silhouette is basically exactly what it says. The dress falls to the floor in a column shape whilst hugging your body naturally, and depending on its material (ie. lace, silk, etc) will show off your body in a more subtle way (there's no dramatic flares or anything). Our Artemis gown is a good example, (although it could also be classified as an extremely gentle fit and flare). Although Artemis has built in cups and some structure to the bodice, many column or sheath dresses do not have any structure or boning at all. These gowns are notoriously non-fussy can be very understated, allowing them to be accompanied by a wide variety of accessories due to their versatility. They're super manageable and are the most destination-wedding friendly due to their light weight nature and suitcase-packability (is that a word?). When I was a bridal consultant, I had many a bride fall in love with a column or sheath dress but worry about the dress showing their "imperfections", because many of these dress types will cling if they are more of a silk based slip dress style. Well, as I said, you're being silly, but if you really love the gown, there's plenty of shapewear options out there specifically dedicated to the bridal industry to wear under dresses like this. Just make sure the shapewear lays smooth on the skin and preferably is a little high waisted, this will avoid lines under the gown. You can read this post I wrote about choosing the right underwear for your wedding dress.
One more thing I MUST tell you, is that I cannot count how many times a bride I was helping tried on a dress of a particular style (ie. a mermaid dress) and hated it. Before suggesting she rule out the style completely, I would get her to try on one more that was slightly different (ie. flared out either higher or lower than the previous one), and she would end up falling head over heels in love with it. So keep that in mind! Just because you may hate one dress of a certain style, try on at least one more that's slightly different and see if it's still the case. Still hate it? Then rule out that silhouette.
Within each of these shapes/silhouettes there is of course further variation of necklines, back detailing, sleeves, etc. I do think it's important for a bride-to-be to go try on gowns in a variety of shapes to really get an idea as to what she loves. Don't stress about finding the one. Once you nail down your silhouette, I promise you that it gets easier from there.
So remember, don't let someone tell you what you should and shouldn't wear purely based on your beautiful body shape. Think about what you want to show off, and then choose the silhouette accordingly!

xx Ashley