Where Can I Find a Foundation Garment that’s Comfortable AND Sexy?

Two Cents: I'm looking for the unicorn of bras here. Help a girl out?

Where Can I Find A Foundation Garment That's Also Sexy Wedding Lingerie?

Q:Hey APW!

I’m in the process of designing my wedding dress with someone I’m super excited to work with. Since we’re designing the top from scratch, I figured we could benefit from figuring out the lingerie early so I know I have the right piece to go underneath the dress. Could you provide some suggestions on where to get wedding lingerie? Something practical, of course. Pretty, but practical. Especially for someone with a non-traditional “nude” skin tone and tiny breasts, picking out wedding lingerie is fraught. I was surprised how comfortable the shape-wear provided by David’s Bridal at my just-for-fun-right-after-engagement appointment was, but I want to feel not just comfortable, but appealing when my new husband (gasp) peels off my dress at the end of the night. I’ll have a one-shoulder dress so that’s its own problem. I’ve heard strapless longline bras are great, but even apart from my particular needs, is there a good spot or two online (or advice for going shopping in person locally, whether at a chain or small place) that does a particularly good job of walking the line between affordable (that can mean so many things, but how about just not nearly equivalent to the price of the dress), comfortable, pretty, and shape-friendly?

Extra credit: Colors beyond white, black, and white-person nude would be totally rad. I’m wearing a red and gold dress so it would be fun to wear a classy red corset or an actually nude longline. Maybe even blue for the something blue?

Thank you!

OKAY APW, this is a fun one! We’re experts at PRACTICAL YET SEXY right? What did you wear under your wedding dress? Did you find any skivvies that are both pretty to look at and comfortable to hang out in all day? Did you wear anything you definitely don’t recommend? Are there any shape-wear pieces that are also fun looking? Let’s do this!

If you want the APW community’s two cents, send it to QUESTIONS AT APRACTICALWEDDING DOT COM, and we’ll do our best to crowdsource you some answers!

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  • Jules

    Eh, my seamstresses sewed in cups and a bra (kinda like…a giant elastic band) for my strapless dress. Worked great. I saved the fancy stuff for the honeymoon. No regrets. Plus, most of the stuff I would want to wow in the bedroom doesn’t go nicely under a fit-and-flare dress (silk slips, corsets with hooks/bows…) or stuff I wanted to wear in front of my mother/maids while getting dressed.

    You could also change into different lingerie at the very end of the night (before your exit) if your dress is a simple on/off (not a zillion fabric buttons). This way you get the shapewear (sorry, most of it really isn’t sexy) in the pictures, AND the big reveal with the DH with something a little more for, ahem, show than support.

    There are lots of strapless bustier/corset types that could go under a one-shoulder dress. You have a lot of good options as someone who’s smaller on top, I think. Frederick’s of Hollywood, Victoria’s Secret, even adult stores…

    • Lauren from NH

      Yeah part of my plan is to have sex earlier in the day. Partying all afternoon/evening won’t likely leave us with tons of energy for sexytime or nearly as polished and dapper as when the wedding begins.

      • Anon

        Wedding morning sex is the best! Good stress reliever that starts the day off right :)

      • Anony

        Yes! Part of the reason I want to get legally hitched a little before the wedding. We can enjoy newlywed sex without the pressure of trying to do it after enjoying the f*ck out of our reception. We have NEVER had good sex after going out celebrating anything (even if no alcohol was involved!) so we’re not going to set ourselves up for failure here.

        • Sarah

          My fiancee spent so much time winding his mates up about how a wedding can be annuled before the deed is done so they have to perform on the night. That he’s insisted on some alone time after the ceremony to take the presure off. So my wedding day is ceremony, photo’s, sex and then party! I love the idea of having an intermate moment and then being able to look at each other across the party knowing we’ve connected but we’ll see how it works in practice!

          • Love this idea! Things rarely go well under pressure so I think just the idea of connecting sometime during the day sounds great, whether that’s the morning of or stealing a moment away. Just making sure it’s not “scheduled” but it happens when we feel it. The morning does seem like it would be the most relaxed option, but we’ll see what happens.

      • EF

        as dan savage says: fuck first.

        • jubeee

          plan on it when we get up in the morning….

    • Lisa

      This was going to be my suggestion as well. Most dresses–particularly ones for smaller chested ladies–have the cups and bra built into them instead of requiring additional foundation garments. Plus depending on the cut of the dress, many of the pretty sexy-time bras will show through in some way or another. Unless you’re really invested in the idea of having your new husband take off your wedding dress to reveal beautiful lingerie, I’d suggest doing a presto change-o in the bathroom by yourself (or with assistance, if necessary) to get the best of both worlds.

  • raccooncity

    I am interested in the answers to this as well. Also: does anyone have recommendations for foundation garments when your dress has a super low v neck?

    • Christina A.

      My seamstress looked at the garment I brought to the first fitting and sent me back out for a basic strapless bra–even though I was worried it would show with the low back of the dress. Her solution was to sew two loops into the back of the dress for the bra “straps” (ends?) to go through, meaning that the undergarment moved with the dress. Maybe your alterations person can do a similar thing with a low-cut strapless bra?

      As for any kinds of advice for the OP, Nordstrom was the place I ended up being happiest with the service and products I got. They definitely had fun colors, though their nude options probably vary by line.

      • carolynprobably

        Right, or the even lower-tech option of one or two safety pins in the back from the bra to the dress to keep things from riding up and peeking out.

        A godsend of a day-of coordinator once taught me as a clueless bridesmaid that this works great for strapless dresses to keep things from peeking out in the front as well. (Still do this all the time!)

        • Christina A.

          Good trick! That’s much easier to do than add loops to every single strapless thing I own…even if there are only two.

      • Mandi P

        Nordstrom – yes!

    • kate

      mine is also a super low v neck and i was basically between these two options:
      1) bra-less or something like these: http://bristols6.com/nippies-skin-reusable-silicone-nipple-cover-pasties/silicone-nippies-skin-nipple-cover-light.html

      2) extra low cut strapless – victoria’s secret tends to have a decent selection of “plunge” style strapless bras and they have the longline ones that really, really plunge if needed too

      i went with option 2 for a little more shape since i found one that was really comfy and my dress is more drapey than structured (i.e. no built in support), but especially if you’re smaller chested and the structure of your dress is forgiving enough, braless might totally be the way to go.

  • Eve Sturges

    i have the opposite problem: big boobs. my best experience has been with Jenette’s Bras in Los Angeles, BUT what I suggest is: call them. They deal with the bustier population, but they are super friendly, super customer service oriented, and were so excellent in helping me with resources when they didn’t have what I needed. (she actually spent time online doing research for me and called me back with suggestions. it was like Miracle on 34th Street)

    in the end, I had a stick-on bustier thing that was extra supported on me with masking tape. That’s right, masking tape. Probably don’t do that, especially if you want to look sexy.

    Good luck; i’m sure you’ll find what you’re looking for!

  • TeaforTwo

    I wore a corset with garters to hold up the nude fishnets I wore under my dress. Strapless support for my boobs, shaping/smoothing for my waistline, and…super hot when my dress came off.

    Fit is everything with lingerie, so I went to the best bra-fitting boutique in my city and tried on everything they had with a stern older woman hooking me into each one and giving her candid feedback. My corset was white (my dress was white and my skin is…the colour of skim milk, especially in December when I got married) but they are pretty easy to find in not-white, too.

    (I also did a boudoir shoot before the wedding in my corset and veil, with the same hair/make up I had for the wedding, because I combined it with my trial. I worried it would be cheesy, but the photos are great and I love having them now. I can only imagine how much I’ll love having them in thirty years!)

  • carolynprobably

    I am similarly small-chested and had planned to wear a long-line or bustier after trying dresses on with them to look smoother. However(!); I realized that I Could. Not. Stand. feeling really squeezed through the middle and found that none of the long-lines I tried were comfortable when I sat down (the boning had to bend somewhere, it tended to be straight into my body). I think I would have been uncomfortable and self conscious of every tiny movement and every bite of cake…

    I considered wearing nothing (yay small chests!), I considered just having cups sewn in, but ultimately decided on a pretty run of the mill strapless bra to give a little more definition for the girls. I was very happy with the decision plus you should have lots of options for colors and patterns if you’re just looking for a fun or fancy strapless.

  • james jay

    I’ve found ABraThatFits subreddit to be helpful for bra-related info. Here are some resources that might be useful starting places: http://www.reddit.com/r/ABraThatFits/search?q=wedding&restrict_sr=on

  • Sarah

    I went with a normal strapless bra and some good control top pantyhose, rather than any shapewear or difficult lingerie. I got a fully padded wonder bra, as I am also tiny up top and my dress required a little more chest to fill it out. I figured that wearing “normal” undergarments would give me one less thing to fuss about and worry over.

  • Greta

    Wear nothing! Having cups sewn into my dress was amazing. They were so comfortable and I felt supported all night. Though my dress did have a fair amount of structure in the bust and top half areas, that really held me all in. Also, wearing nothing can be totally sexy too!

    • Sarah

      I second this if your dress has a lot of structure. I didn’t even have cups sewn in and I was fine. And my dress was so tight and structured that it was like its own corset (but didn’t at all look like lingerie). If she still wants something sexy underneath, there are always sexy panties that come in all colors and varieties.

  • Katie

    I went with the cups-sewn-in route, but the bodice of my dress already had boning sewn into it. I DID once wear a corset-like item under a bridesmaid dress at a wedding and… it was not everything I’d imagined. If you are a vigorous dancer (ahem.) you will probably sweat through it. If it’s made of a sexier light material like lace, you will still sweat, but then it might really chafe your ribs.

    If you’re NOT a vigorous dancer, or getting married in the heat of July, then I would probably go to Victoria’s Secret. As cliche as they are, I ALWAYS find something there that makes my boobs look AWESOME and makes me feel sexy. You could also see if your seamstress can incorporate the structure a corset would give you into the dress itself, and then buy a super sexy bra/panty combo? Something that’s just for show. Or just a super sexy garter belt/hose/panty combo. If my partner catches a glimpse of my garter belt, he gets all hot and bothered. VERY EFFECTIVE.

  • Amy March

    If you don’t need the support I would go braless. Nothing sexier. Personally I’m a big fan of BareNecessities if you do want to wear something. I typically order 7 or 8 options and return the ones that don’t work.

    • raccooncity

      I shall take this as confirmation of the route I was leaning towards anyway RE: my earlier question about deep V necks.

      Small boobs ftw.

  • Jessica

    I would suggest avoiding a corset for a wedding if you’re not used to wearing them. The ones at Fredericks of Hollywood and the more inexpensive ones don’t actually shape that much, and proper corsets that you can waist train in can get pretty pricey. They can also be intensely uncomfortable for the amount of time you’ll be wearing them, since they are meant for shorter term wear. If you do want to have shapewear under your dress I would suggest looking at Kiss Me Deadly for their roll-on girdles. It’s difficult to find corselets that are strapless, so if you go that route you’d need a different bra.

    I would suggest Little Bra Company (http://www.thelittlebracompany.com/collections/bras), Calvin Klein bras, figleaves.com, herroom.com and Nordstrom for the smaller busted lady. I especially recommend Nordstrom if you are able to go to one and get properly fitted. I also definitely recommend looking into the cups/elastic that others are suggesting in this thread.

    Ultimately, my view is that sexy lingerie has a better home with the honeymoon, and you should go for comfort for the wedding day. Typically brides wear a dress that is much different than street clothes or everyday items, and wearing something that is functional and allows for your mobility is most important. The Lingerie Addict, a woman who has made a career out of reviewing and critiquing lingerie and the lingerie industry, wrote about going braless at her wedding: http://www.thelingerieaddict.com/2014/04/went-braless-wedding-day.html

    Also, never underestimate the power of sheer lace underwear. HankyPanky is worth the price tag, and you can usually find some prints and styles on sale.

  • Another Meg

    I love the idea of wearing super sexy panties (maybe your something blue) and having support sewn into the dress. Way more comfortable plus still a sexy reveal! As my husband once (so tactfully) put it, “lingerie is just one more step between me and the promised land.”

    Just an idea, but if you had built-in support from the dress, you could slip into the bathroom right before leaving and put on a sexy but super NOT supportive strapless that matches the panties. Or pasties, which are cool as hell.

    • I agree with another Meg and think that’s the route I would go, with sewn-in cups, and then focus on finding the just-right look for the bottom half!

      • Sarah

        Definetly a good option and I love the pasties idea!

  • Krista

    If you are looking for ‘non-traditional’ nude tone bras Nubian Skin has gotten a great response. https://www.nubianskin.com/

  • Anne

    CORSET. I seriously cannot say enough good things about the lovely corset I bought to go under my dress. My mom made my dress, so like you I thought about what to wear underneath early on. I loved wearing a corset, and it was super sexy to have on when my husband finally helped me take my dress off later in the evening. Part of what was exciting about it was that it was so unusual–I’d never worn one before–and that made it something kind of special for wedding night lingerie.

  • CommaChick

    You might try Target. Some of its pieces come in some lovely browns, such as the one in the link below.


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  • Michelle

    Not for a wedding, but I promise this is still applicable. I went to a proper, fancy bra-fitting place (Bra*Tenders in New York) as a C figuring I was doing the best I could, and walked out as a DD with properly-fitting, way-more-comfortable, and very sexy bras. Like any specialty store, they know what works better than you do, and they were totally comfortable with having someone bring in a dress and say, ‘find me something that works for this’. Having someone there making recommendations made the whole experience less exhausting, too—if you can find a specialty store, definitely go in for a fitting.

  • april

    I’d second the people suggesting that you just go bra-less (you lucky small-chested lady!). But if you do want to do some lingerie shopping, Nordstrom actually has a great selection and really helpful salespeople. Finally, for online shopping, Titlte Nine’s “Beautility” line has some really pretty bras that are also comfortable and supportive (although maybe not anything strapless …) http://www.titlenine.com/category/sports-bras-and-undies/pretty-and-supportive-bras.do

  • jubeee

    I also need advice but for the opposite reason-I am a 32FF…I need my boobs up and supported and I don’t want things digging into me.

  • PracticalPlanner

    Nordstroms gets my vote (and is where I found mine); suggest getting fitted there and then shopping online as they have a much larger selection. You don’t need an appt – just go to lingerie during a non busy time (weekday evening or over lunch). I also had a very nice fitting at Intimacy (schedule apt online) where they verified the same size as Nordstrom, but they didn’t have strapless long line bras available.

  • Lauren

    Trust me on this. You want to wear the comfortable yet supportive stuff during the wedding and then save the sexy stuff to change into right when you get to your room for the wedding night. At least that’s what I did…I was super sweaty from dancing and enjoying my wedding and anything under my dress for the whole night wasn’t super “wedding night sexy” by that point in the evening haha :)

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  • Jacqui

    if you are ok with ordering from abroad then my absolute top tip would be the UK company What Katie Did http://www.whatkatiedid.com/ (although they do have a store in LA now). Even if you have to buy online they have a live chat feature on the website and are very helpful.

    They do some amazing vintage style shapewear that really does the job but looks absolutely incredible too and is actually really comfortable. I didn’t need any shapewear for my wedding dress but still treated myself to some other underwear from there – love it so much that I bought some more and wear it most days now! Have also gone treated myself to some of shapewear now – their Merry Widow worked wonders at a friend’s wedding last weekend under a 50’s dress – absolutely no bulging even after stuffing my face! They are also corset specialists (although haven’t tried any of these myself!)

    Good luck with it! x

  • Kris

    I’m late to the party, but consider a “going away outfit”. It used to totally be a thing and would give you a good way to wear something totally practical under your dress and then something sexy under your going away outfit. This is what we did (luckily for me, husband loves the sporty look, so sexy = comfortable for a 3hr drive!)

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  • Thanks to everyone for answering my long-winded question! I talked it over with my partner and my dress designer (because I’m an outward processor) and we’re going to build boning and stuff into the top of the dress. Amazing! I had never though of it as an option. Now that I get to pick from the whole wide world of lingerie for night of/ honeymoon, I’m going to have to keep myself from drooling all over the La Perla website.

    It’s nice to take some pressure off the day too. If I need to wear different underwear (hello monthly frenemy) or just something comfortable and familiar for all the dancing and festivities, I won’t feel letdown.

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