what to wear under your wedding dress

What undergarments are needed for a wedding dress?

While we’d all love to take a pair of sewing shears to that girdle-in-disguise they call shapewear, let’s be practical for a moment. Some dresses, and some occasions, call for basic foundations that you shouldn’t avoid. If your ceremony is in a church, you should probably find bridal undergarments with full coverage (you wouldn’t want to shock the nuns). If you chose a form-fitting gown, you might want to invest in tummy-slimming undergarments, so you can indulge in your cake at the reception without popping the buttons off the dress.

What Type Should You Wear Under Your Gown?

You may not know it, but most dresses you see in the catalogues and on the mannequins are being filled out with undergarments as well. If you fall in love with the way a dress is shaped in the picture, it may be impossible to replicate that shape in real life without a little help.

Wearing a slip is one of the most popular ways to achieve smooth definition and support in your dress. But not all slip and dress combinations are created equal. Here we’ve highlighted which slip you should wear based on the style of your dress.

Follow these tips, and you’re sure to love the way you look throughout your special day.

A-Line

One of the most classic styles for wedding dresses; A-line gowns feature full skirts and fitted bodices that create a silhouette in the shape of a capital “A”. The cut looks gorgeous on many different body types and is a popular choice for modern brides, despite its classical look. Since the skirt is designed to fall smoothly away from the bust line to a full hem, slips are often needed to fill out the fabric and achieve the desired look.

Slip Advice

  • A well-worn slip will eliminate those pesky underwear lines and fill out the body of the skirt to give it a more professional look.
  • Medium fullness slips are the most popular choices for these dresses, but you can always go with a little less depending on your body type.
  • If you want a crisp structure, you can opt for a full slip that will add wideness to your A-line look.

Ball Gown

For all the Disney princess fans out there, a ball gown style dress is a dream come true! This dress type resembles the A-line from above with a fitted bodice and full skirt design. However, this dress is much more filled out and goes beyond the A-shaped skirt look.

The fullness in these dresses is usually attributed to the inclusion of additional layers of fabric like tulle, taffeta, or organza and sometimes petticoats. All of these combine to lift the skirt outwards to create a dazzling finish.

Slip Advice: If you’ve gone in for this elegant gown style, you will most likely need some bolstering underneath to keep the skirt looking its best. You might consider having a hoop underneath your slip to give it more structure. With all of that fabric, you will want to choose a light yet sturdy slip that won’t trip you up as you glide along. Having the extra support from a hoop can keep the fabric from bunching between your legs as you dance and greet your guests.

Mermaid & Trumpet

This style of dress is popular for its show-stopping effect and fitted lines. If you want a break from the traditional gown, a fitted and flared mermaid or trumpet style dress is one way to show off your figure. Those snug fabrics can also be a bit of a nightmare when it comes to hiding lines from your undergarments and feeling comfortable enough to dance the night away.

Since these dresses are usually clingy from the chest to the knee, this is the problem area. Without a slip, it’s highly likely the dress will reveal underwear lines and other unwanted shapes.

Slip Advice: Choose a slip that will enhance your silhouette and create a seamless appearance from tip to toe.

Fabric Tip: Supportive fabrics such as spandex and lycra will give you lift and control where you need it most.

Sheath / Column Dresses

You might think that a sheath dress would be the easiest type to style, but for most of us, this isn’t the case. Sure, a sheath (or column) dress is less forgiving for various body types, but it doesn’t require the support that a ball gown style does. There are still some areas where a sheath dress needs a little support.

This style is adored for its flowing lines as it falls straight down from the neckline to the hem, usually floor length. These dresses can show off your curves with a figure-hugging fabric, or they might flow loosely without too much definition. The ideal look is to let the dress fall naturally over the parts of your body you’d like to accentuate. With the help of a slip, you can make sure the dress compliments your body type well without drawing attention to areas you’d rather not show.

Slip Advice: When it comes to sheath/column dresses, it is all about choosing seamless shapewear that will avoid showing any lines.  

Fabric Tips: Flowing and comfortable fabrics like silk can help you achieve a seamless look in this style of dress.

Tea–Length

When opting for a shorter dress, such as the classic tea-length style, a slip can provide both comfort and support to keep you feeling your best. This style of dress will generally have a fitted bodice with a full or flowing skirt that ends in a hem just below the knee. The look is a traditional cut with an air of elegance.

Slip Advice: 

If the skirt on your tea-length dress is full and flouncy, you will want to find a slip that keeps that structure all day long. With the shorter hem, however, you have to be careful that the slip doesn’t hang down below when standing or sitting. It’s a good idea to try on your medium to full slip while doing both to make sure it is felt but not seen.

What to wear under your wedding dress

Most gals rotate between everyday bras and sports bras, and that’s it. But when it comes to formal wear like your wedding gown, normal just doesn’t cut it.

It all comes down to neckline when choosing which bra is right for you and your dress style. We’ve gone through the most popular necklines to help you decide which bra style is correct. Take a look at a few different options to decide what fits your style and desired comfort and support levels.

This should help you when dress shopping if you already know what type of bra will work best with your dream gown.

If your wedding gown has a sexy, open back, opt for a backless bra

When it comes to a backless wedding dress, a strapless, adhesive bra is a must. Silicone cups will provide the most natural look and feel while keeping the attention on your gorgeous, dramatic back. 

For strapless wedding dresses, go for a longline strapless bra

Most strapless bras will do in a pinch. The classic strapless bra is one of the best undergarments for your wedding dress, but we recommend a strapless, longline bra. It’s attached to a corset-like bodice that accentuates your waist and smooths any lines, creating a flawless look for your wedding day. It will also help to keep your dress from slipping down! What bride wouldn’t want that?

Your regular strapless bra with grips on the inside is one possible solution to the elusive slipping strapless bra; another answer is the longline bra. This is a bra that’s attached to a corset-like bodice, which gives it more support against slippage since it wraps around your waist.

​Plunging Neckline

​It’s always fun to go with a plunging neckline on your wedding gown. This daring style is the perfect way to show off your personality while looking absolutely stunning.

When you start looking into this style of dress, choosing the perfect bra has to be at the top of your to-do list.

Luckily, the options are out there. Depending on how deep your neckline is, you may choose to go with a bra that has no connection in the front at all.

However, most brides will find that this low line bra we’ve featured works perfectly with their gown. Don’t be afraid to ask the shopkeepers at your local dress store for a few options to try on. You won’t know how you feel in this style until you give it a try. We love this deep plunge bra because it offers a seamless line with multiple sizes and shades.

If you want to rock that low cut neckline, don’t let the fear of finding the right bra hold you back. It may take a little longer, but you’ll be happy you put in the effort to find the right fit for your body and your style.

Backless / Keyhole / Illusion

Look for a bra that has a special cutout in the front to accommodate this low neckline. This type will usually have extra support on the side to ensure everything stays put, despite the dip in the middle. As an alternative option, see if your bridal salon or tailor can sew the bra into your dress to give you built-in support.

With backless dresses and other unique styles, bras can be a little tricky to fit. You obviously don’t want to have any straps or fabric showing during your ceremony or reception.

Going with a backless bra generally means that you will need an adhesive of some sort. You can always choose a self-adhering bra if you find that to be a comfortable option. You can also use glue, tape, and other methods to keep the bra in place.

This bra we’re recommending is the perfect example of a typical backless bra. It features adhesive lined, foam cups. This is a comfortable option that provides coverage, but not much support.

You don’t necessarily need a bra when wearing a backless dress. If you are small chested or don’t require as much support, no rule says a bra is required. Find what makes you feel the most comfortable and go with it.

There is no right way to have a perfect wedding.

Halter / One Shoulder

Going with a halter or asymmetrical neckline can cause nightmares when trying to find a bra that remains hidden, while still offering support. Luckily, more and more companies are creating these versatile undergarments as dress trends continue to change.

If your dream dress has one shoulder or halter neckline, you’ll want to find a bra (like the one pictured) that follows the lines of the dress perfectly. If you’re not used to wearing bras in this style, it might be a bit of an adjustment.

However, we’ve found that these styles can be even more comfortable than the traditional bra.

If you go dress shopping with this neckline in mind, consider bringing along a bra to match. This will let you see what the dresses look like with a little more support.

Longline Bra Vs. Sewn-In Bra Cups Vs. Sticky Bra

​Longline bras are not the most common type of undergarment, but some brides swear by them. If you’ve never tried one on, you’ve probably seen them in the catalogue.

Generally, they are the same as a typical bra on the top with just a bit of extra fabric around the midsection. This extra fabric works to give you a smoother appearance and trim the lines of your abdomen. If you’re looking for your bra to provide you with a slimming effect, a longline might be the perfect hack.

Sewn-in bra cups are additions that can be easily added to your dress. Some dresses might even come with these already added.

They allow for extra padding that helps fill out the dress for anyone who worries there may not be enough there naturally. This is especially helpful for small chested women who do not want to wear a bra. If you are in this position, sewn-in cups might be enough coverage and support for you.

If you’re looking for extra volume, you might like having them on top of also wearing a bra.

Invisible Strapless

Sticky bras are a fun option that can help keep everything smooth without the need for straps and excess fabric. They are a bit odd to get used to, which means you might want to give them a test run before committing to wearing one for a full day.

If you are fairly small chested and don’t plan on sweating much during the day, then this should be a perfectly acceptable option.

The downsides are that they sometimes do not offer the best support and can lose their sticking power when things heat up.

Shapewear for under your wedding dress

Shapewear is the magic that brings the wedding dress look together into that perfect silhouette and memorable appearance. If you’ve never worn any shapewear before, you will be shocked at the difference it can make on your shape, and the way fabrics fall across it.

Want to slim down your bulky midriff, fill out your bust, or hide that stubborn back fat? Shapewear can help.

Let’s take a look at the most common types and how they can help you achieve your ideal shape and have you ready to walk down the aisle in no time.

Fit-and-flare and mermaid wedding gowns are perfect if you want to flaunt your curves, but they also draw attention to your tummy, hips, and thighs. Target these areas with shapewear that falls just above the knees. It will give your silhouette a smooth finish, which is ideal for a curve-hugging mermaid gown. Trust us! Shapewear will be your partner in crime if you want to flaunt your assets in a mermaid wedding gown.

Target the problem area with bridal underwear that falls above the knees. The key is finding a pair that’s tight enough to firm up any possible wobbly bits and give your silhouette a smooth finish—without giving you a muffin top.

Bodysuit Shapewear

​Choosing to go with the full bodysuit when looking at shapewear will give you the most coverage and a smooth appearance.

While this type of undergarment might not be for everyone, it can certainly boost your confidence and help you fill out your dream dress the way you want.

Full-body shapewear will often help to lift and support your breasts, flatten your stomach, shape your rear, and smooth your thighs beneath the fabric.

Many brides swear by this tactic and have had great success with wearing a full-body piece of shapewear underneath their stunning A-line and sheath gowns.

Spanx

​The classic Spanx can do wonders for your shape.

Stop obsessing over whether your thighs will distract from the rest of your gorgeous dress; with a little bit of Spanx magic, you can help everything look its best.

If you feel like your butt is too flat or not shapely enough, Spanx can help plum you up or slim you down. Whatever your desired look, the form-fitting power of Spanx will help you achieve your ideal look.

Spanx is perfect for helping you fill out your ball gown dress in the best way.

Compression Style / Waist Cincher

Using a compression style waist cincher is one way to make sure your form-fitting dress holds its shape and looks amazing.

Any dress style that’s form-fitting around the waist can benefit from this simple shapewear.

If you’re worried about showing too many curves around your abdomen, this type of compressing material can help create smooth lines that will keep your dress flowing perfectly.

If your dress clings to your tummy area, you’ll need some high-waisted bridal shapewear that can smooth and pull in the lower stomach. Look for one with either boy shorts or a thong bottom to ensure a seamless finish.

Using a compression style waist cincher is one way to make sure your form-fitting dress holds its shape and looks amazing.

Any dress style that’s form-fitting around the waist can benefit from this simple shapewear.

If you’re worried about showing too many curves around your abdomen, this type of compressing material can help create smooth lines that will keep your dress flowing perfectly.

When would a bride need to wear shapewear?

The word “need” here is not a hard rule. Everybody is beautiful and whatever makes you feel the most comfortable is what you should be wearing on your wedding day. That being said, there is no shame in wanting to wear shapewear to help you achieve the look you want.

Some brides might need extra help filling out their dresses. Shapewear can help you fill in as well as tone down the areas you are unsatisfied with. If you’re a bride in the middle of a weight-loss journey or recovering from labour and delivery, then shapewear can help you with the areas of your body that may have changed since your last dress fitting.

There are many reasons you might end up wearing shapewear on your big day, but the most important reason is that it makes you feel your best.

As an extra tip, while purchasing undergarments of any kind for your wedding day, stick to nude palettes that disappear under white and other light colours. And, of course, aim for seamless! Made from hi-tech micro-fibres, nude shapewear smooths your silhouette and eliminates those annoying lines. Plus, seamless undergarments are way more comfortable to wear, allowing you to sit back and enjoy your party. It’s your wedding day, after all!

Scroll to Top