You've selected your bridal gown, veil, shoes and jewelry with painstaking care. You haven't put this much thought into an outfit since senior prom -- or your first day of work at your first real job.
Those of you who think you've got the whole ensemble covered should think again, though. What goes underneath your gown is important, too. Maybe it's not the prettiest lingerie, but it will be some of the most functional if you want your gown to look its best. Sure, no one will be peeking at your undergarments (except for the garter, if you count that), but since they lay the foundation for your entire look, it's wise to carefully consider your lingerie needs.
Keep reading to learn more about the various underthings that should be on the checklist of every bride who wishes to radiate class and beauty quite literally from the inside out.
You've got approximately 472 bras in your underwear drawer, so surely one of those will suffice on your wedding day, right?
Think again, sister. Unless your gown allows you to go al fresco (don't limbo too low, if that's the case), you'll need to give some deep thought to your bridal bra. For example, if your dress features a low back, yet requires support up front, you'll want to invest in a backless, strapless bra that's both comfortable and undetectable through the fabric. For those well-endowed women who have chosen a plunging neckline, a super-low, yet supportive bra will be in order to stay supported and covered. Women with a smaller bust might be able to get away with a set of sturdy pasties.
Since every gown is about as different as every woman's body, it's essential for brides to consult with a lingerie expert. Often, the bridal shop where you purchase your gown has an in-house specialist, or your consultant can recommend a local lingerie boutique where you can be fitted and measured with the stipulations of your gown in mind. Be sure to take along your bra for any and all fittings, as it can significantly impact necessary alterations. Also, take a few hours to test-drive the garment by wearing it around the house. If it's miserably uncomfortable or difficult to dance in, you'll want to take another shopping trip to find a bra with a better fit. There's just no sense in hiring a DJ if you can't wave your hands in air without worrying you'll expose yourself.
Panty requirements vary based on the fit of your gown and your overall desire for comfort.
Thongs work for any bride wearing a fitted gown, but be sure to shop around to find one that's comfortable, functional and an appropriate color. If you're wearing a thin or slinky gown that's just one layer of fabric, you might risk giving away hot pink or even black undies. A color that's close to your flesh tone is less noticeable than white or ivory.
What about those dreaded panty lines? Mermaid, trumpet, sheath and fit-and-flare brides, we're looking at you again. You've got two areas to eyeball: where the panty meets your thighs/buttocks, and where the panty meets your waist. Too-tight undies cause unsightly lumps and bulges, so choose a seamless panty. There are plenty of materials to choose from, so if prettiness is a factor, go for lace. If you're only concerned about function, choose a breathable, unpatterned panty.
If you're wearing a ball gown, A-line dress or something with an empire waist, you've got a lot more freedom when it comes to picking panties. Nothing's going to show through your skirt, so panty lines, fabric and color shouldn't be causes for concern.
Way back when, women had to rely on torturous corsets for instant slimming. Fortunately for modern brides, compression garments have come an impressively long way since the days of dance cards and parasols.
Currently available on the market are Lycra and spandex slimmers for troublesome areas like the thighs, waist and belly. Early versions of these miracle workers were anything but attractive, but many lingerie manufacturers have begun to produce garments pretty enough for any bride to sport proudly. Depending on your personal needs and the silhouette of your gown, you can choose a slip, shorts or a basic girdle. Some compression garments even have built-in boning and cups to assist your bust.
Whatever option you pick, be sure to hang on to it for future use. You might think you need a little help from Lycra now, but once you pop out a kid or two, you'll definitely appreciate the supernatural capabilities that compression garments possess.
Your mother and grandmother probably wore some kind of hosiery with their wedding gowns, but this undergarment was standard in their days. Ladies wore panty hose, plain and simple.
Flash forward to today. Hosiery provides support (support hose, anyone?) as well as color and texture. You might wear tights in the fall and winter months, but they're not necessary for warm weather.
So, which brides need hosiery? If you're wearing a closed-toe shoe or standard heel with your wedding gown, your feet might be more comfortable with something between skin and shoe. Or, you might just like the look of a silky, stockinged leg under your gown. Prevent the problem of ill-fitting hosiery by trying on panty hose ahead of time with your gown. Be sure to pack an extra pair or two in your emergency kit in case a pesky run, snag or hole develops during the course of the day's events.
Slips and Crinolines
If you've chosen an elegant and understated gown (read: sheath, sundress, anything slinky or cut on the bias), a slip might be necessary to smooth it out. This garment also provides an extra layer of lining to keep your dress from being too transparent, which is certainly a comfort when 200 of your closest family and friends, not to mention your videographer, have their eyes on you.
Brides wearing ball gowns might consider wearing a crinoline to provide that extra-special bounce that the look requires. Try on crinolines of varying fullness with your dress to achieve the perfect volume. If possible, we suggest borrowing one from a friend. Crinolines aren't particularly cheap, and after your wedding day, they outlive their usefulness. Unless, of course, you're a fairy-tale princess and plan on wearing it once a week.
- "Accessories: 10 Tips to Look Your Best." The Knot. (March 6, 2011).http://wedding.theknot.com/bridal-fashion/wedding-accessory-jewelry/articles/top-10-wedding-accessory-tips.aspx
- "Bridal Lingerie: Under-the-Wedding-Dress Essentials." The Knot. (March 6, 2011).http://wedding.theknot.com/bridal-fashion/wedding-accessory-jewelry/articles/under-thewedding-dress-lingerie-essentials.aspx
- Chertoff, Anne. "Choosing the Perfect Wedding Day Bra." Brides. (March 6, 2011).http://www.brides.com/wedding-dresses-style/wedding-accessories/2009/06/choosing-the-perfect-wedding-day-bra
- Wolfert, Cari. "Do the Hanky Panky." April 10, 2008. (March 6, 2011).http://www.brides.com/blogs/aisle-say/2008/04/do-the-hanky-panky.html