Choosing the Right Foundation Garments for Your Wedding Dress

As a bespoke bridal designer, I cannot stress enough the importance of foundation garments in your wedding dress. Not only do they help provide a solid foundation to create a smooth and flawless silhouette, but they can also provide crucial support and enhance the overall look of the dress. When choosing the fitting foundation garments for your wedding dress, it’s essential to consider your individual needs, the style of your clothing, and your comfort level. 

Consider your undergarments before finalising your dress design.

My question is, how do you want to feel during your day?

From wanting to feel comfortable to looking to feel glamorous and cinched, we need to know what you need as it doesn’t just affect your dress silhouette but also what foundation garments you will require to create this. 

Types of Foundation Garments

Creating a smooth silhouette 

Now, say you are looking to create a smooth silhouette and enhance your curves, I know many of us, myself included, tend to automatically reach for those “shapewear” panties that promise to hold us in and smooth out any lines. 

But from my experience, they can be uncomfortable, leave lines where they stop, roll down, or be too low on the thigh. Now, I am not saying not to buy them, but definitely try them out a few times all day and see how you feel. On my wedding day, I wore a smooth shapewear underdress and took it off after the ceremony as I was so uncomfortable. If you are still looking to wear something that has a smoothing effect, consider just wearing tights with belly and bum support that offer a seamless and supportive look. 

 Enhancing curves 

Now, if you are looking for something that cinches you, we are getting into the corsetry territory.

Historical corset designs are made of solid cotton fabric and steel boning, which is tightened by lacing to create a more petite waist silhouette and push the bosoms up. However, they can make you feel poker straight and struggle to bend. Unless you are a corset fan who knows what historical corset designs are like, I would not recommend them for your wedding day. If you decide on them, I recommend wearing them on a few trial runs to see how you feel wearing them for a full day. 

In recent designs that required boned support, I have been creating a corselette-style bodice that is lightly boned to support the bust but is in a nice, breathable, soft cotton bobbinet, which can help smooth those lines. I have also used sturdy cotton material that is shaped to fit your body. Instead of steel boning, I prefer plastic and spiral boning, which allows for more flexibility and less rigidity.

I do have one caveat about built-in bust support: If you have a large bust, I tend to recommend wearing your bra throughout our fittings and seeing how you feel without your bra and with the bra, as we all have different levels of how much support we like. 

A woman is wearing a bespoke wedding dress with 3D flower embellishments and red hair and is staring ahead.
Credit – Sarah Brookes Photography

Bras 

Oh, the brasserie, my friend and enemy. I have a large bust, and in past experience, I have tried many bras for special occasions. 

First of all, if you want to wear a bra, I highly recommend getting a fitting at Bravissimo and getting yourself a decent bra that fits you properly. It can change how you hold yourself and how your clothes fit you.

 Strapless Bras

I have only ever found one good strapless bra (again from Bravissimo, which has little boned pockets on the side that keep my bust pushed in). It can be a good option if you are looking to have a design where you want something off the shoulders.

Backless dress design

If you are looking to have a backless dress, you may need to consider trying out boob tape or stick-on bras and see how that fairs. Try it out for a full day to see how supportive it is and ensure your skin does not react to it.

Alternatively, if you usually do not wear bras, consider having a dress design that allows this. I often feel that if you are not used to wearing something like a bra, then quite honestly, why would you wear it on your wedding day? If you are worried about cold, stiff nip situations, then consider using Daisy nipple covers.

 Bustier 

If you go bespoke, you can normally look at having a built-in boned bustier that provides that bust support. However, depending on how heavy your bust is and how strong the boning is, sometimes you may still need to wear a bra that provides that strength. This is another great thing about having a bespoke designer, as they are there every step of the way to make sure you are happy.

Hoop skirts and petticoats 

Another undergarment to consider if it is separate from your dress is hoop skirts or petticoats that create volume and structure if your design allows for that. For hoop skirts especially, I advise a test run, trying them out for a day to see how comfortable you feel, as they can sometimes be quite cumbersome. If you are looking for something more freeing, then I would advise skipping them and considering a design that does not require them.

 Choosing the Right Foundation Garment for Your Wedding Dress 

Having a bespoke wedding dress can be such a good investment as you can consult with your designer initially on your individual needs and, if they have corsets, etc., try them on to feel how comfortable you are in them. Also, as I mentioned in the beginning, the undergarment is the foundation of your dress design, so you need to consider the style of your dress to see what would work best. Take the opportunity to use that knowledge that your designer has.

My advice is to have trial runs before the wedding day to ensure everything feels right and choose comfortable and practical undergarments that make you feel confident and supported.


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