How to Shop for the Right Bridal Undergarments

Everything you need to know, down to the basics.

Model Catie Li

PHOTO BY HALEY RYNN RINGO PHOTO

Scary but true, the wrong undergarments and shapewear can totally ruin the look of your gorgeous wedding gown. We understand that shopping for bras and undergarments might not be as exciting as finding your dream dress, but don't overlook the importance of these foundational pieces. After all, the stakes are high when it comes to bridal fashion, and the last thing you want is any visible straps, lumps, or panty lines.

So, to help you find the perfect pieces, we tapped Journelle, a multi-brand retailer and leading online destination of luxury lingerie, on when and how to buy the right wedding dress undergarments for your big day.

When and How to Shop

To start, you should have your wedding dress locked in and confirmed before beginning to shop for any type of undergarments, lingerie, and shapewear. "Use your first dress fitting as a chance to learn about what kind of lingerie works best," says Journelle. "Resist the urge to buy before that point. You'll learn a lot more about what type of foundational garments you need once you see the dress on your body and know what alterations need to be made."

After that, the fun part begins. For those searching for lingerie to wear on the big day, Journelle advises booking an appointment at a store for a curated experience. "Most stores will be happy to set aside time to devote to you, and can be better prepared (and stocked) if they know in advance that you're coming," notes Journelle. Once an appointment has been set, you should remember to bring images of your dress to show your retail expert what you plan on wearing.

Ahead, the brand further breaks down a few additional tips if you're specifically shopping for bras, underwear, or shapewear. Keep reading below.

Shopping for Bras

First, check whether you actually need a bra. "Gowns that are particularly structured up top may give enough support and shaping that you can skip one altogether," Journelle says. "But if you want more support, ask your tailor whether a bra or corset can be successfully sewn into your gown. This can help with tricky necklines and strapless silhouettes."

For brides who do need to purchase a bra, work with a specialist who can help you find the best piece for your body. "Options are really endless these days," Journelle shares. "You can easily find a bra that works for any silhouette, from halter to one-shoulder to racerback."

However, one thing to note is that last-minute weight changes can really affect the fit of your bra. "Pay attention if you find yourself losing weight before the big day, and get refitted if necessary," Journelle advises. "Your lingerie store may also be able to make some alterations to your bra, but don't leave it to the last minute."

Shopping for Underwear

The type of underwear you buy should always depend on the style of dress you plan on wearing. What's more, think of your options in two categories: Classic and seamless.

Classic: Dresses that are voluminous or made of thicker fabrics allow brides to have fun with their wedding lingerie. "When a bride has room beneath the dress, we encourage her to express her personality and choose something that makes her feel amazing," Journelle says. In short, if your dress has room underneath the skirt, wear whatever your want (in the proper shade, of course).

Seamless: "Slim-fitting dresses, or those made of a single layer of material, often require underwear that lies flat and smooth," Journelle explains. "A nude-colored thong will always work, but brides also shouldn't feel limited to just that one option. In 90 percent of cases, a bride could wear a smooth lace thong with no problems. Just make sure to look for one made from high-tech, seamless flat lace."

Shopping for Shapewear

Dresses that highlight the curve of your body sometimes call for strategic shapewear. "Luckily, there are increasingly beautiful options for shapewear, so don't feel like you're stuck with nude-colored bike shorts," Journelle says.

While undergarments are designated to fit and flatter in all the right places, it's always a good idea to do a test run ahead of time. Try on your shapewear for a few hours to ensure you can still breathe and bust a move on the dance floor.

The one thing to keep in mind when shopping for shapewear? It absolutely has to fit correctly, or you risk being "cut off" in weird places. "We usually recommend a high-waisted thong, which gives a smooth, seamless fit through the bodice," notes Journelle. "But if you're really nervous about lines, go with a full slip."

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A Guide to Bridal Shapewear and Undergarments

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