The right underpinnings can whittle your figure, lift your bust and enhance the line and fit of your wedding dress. But many brides don’t know what pieces work best for their figure. We’ll help you select the bridal lingerie that makes the most of your figure — and your dress.

Match Your Lingerie To Your Dress

Strapless dresses: The bustier, often called a merry widow or a long-line bra, is the most popular choice for strapless dresses. While some brides think that strapless dresses call for strapless bras, the boning and construction of bustiers provide better support. Even brides with larger cup sizes can trust bustiers to keep them properly in place. And the snug fit of a bustier around your stomach and waist ensures that you’ll have a smooth line under your gown. Full-figured brides or brides with large cup sizes should look for bustiers with extra boning in the bodice and in the cup. Strapless bras can be an option as well, but are only recommended for brides who don’t need as much support and who have dresses with high backs.

Sheaths: While many types of lingerie will work with a standard sheath, brides who choose simple sheaths in delicate fabrics such as organdy, chiffon or silk must be careful. The beautiful boning, lace and ribbon found on many bustiers and bras can poke through, creating ugly bumps under the dress. Look for a seamless bodysuit, preferably in a thong style. Make sure to select a microfibre for the smoothest possible silhouette.

Sleeveless dresses: Provided the straps are wide enough and back is high enough, almost any kind of lingerie can be worn with a sleeveless dress. Choose the body-slimming feel of a boned bustier, or the support of a traditional bra. The only thing you must consider is the weight of your gown’s fabric. Lace or appliqué detail on your bustier may show through thinner fabrics, so if your gown is made of organdy or silk chiffon, look for a seamless style in microfibre.

Backless dresses: The drama of backless dresses is unparalleled, but so are the problems they cause in finding the right lingerie. The best answer is often an adhesive bra. Look for one built with underwire for extra support, and make sure you choose a style with large adhesive tapes. With good tapes, adhesive bras should hold for up to 12 hours, even for brides with larger cup sizes or brides who plan to spend their wedding nights out on the dance floor. Remember to apply your adhesive strips to clean, dry skin, preferably swabbed with rubbing alcohol to remove any body oils or residual lotion. Brides should tape a U shape around their breasts, and make sure the tapes cover the entire bottom half of the cup. Brides with larger cup sizes should consider using two tapes per breast. Adhesive bras made entirely of tape are an alternative for brides in search of barely there support.

Lingerie Shopping Tips

Once you’ve decided what type of lingerie works for your dress, it’s time to think through your shopping strategies. Remember to always have a photo of your gown handy when shopping online or browsing the shops. You should know how low the gown hits your back, and the silhouette you’re looking for. Do you want maximum lift, or do you want to minimize your cleavage? Also make sure you shop with your gown’s fabric in mind, and choose seamless lingerie for dresses in delicate cloths.

Fit. No matter how clever the design or sumptuous the material, lingerie that doesn’t fit is never attractive. We recommend having a professional fitting. However, lingerie sizing differs greatly depending on the designer, so your best bet is to use your common sense. When trying on an item, stand straight in front of the mirror and examine the fit. Does the underwire of your bra fully cup your breast? Do your breasts spill over the top or sides of the cups? Do the straps sit squarely on your shoulders? Does the piece ride up or cut into your skin? How comfortable you feel is one of the best indicators of whether the fit is right.

Control. The best way to get the control you want on your wedding day is to wear a bustier to slim your torso. It holds your stomach in and creates a smooth line under your dress, while providing the lift and support you want. Wearing a girdle is uncomfortable and unattractive, so if you crave extra support, simply pair control top pantyhose with your bustier.

Quality. You found it, you love it, you’re sold. Not so fast. Before you whip out that credit card, take a second to think about quality. Test the elastic first. Does it feel flimsy, or is it firm and resilient? Examine the underwire, checking that each piece is kept in place with two lines of stitching. Anything less, and the wires will wiggle and might poke out later. Most upscale retailers — whether online or in-store — only carry reputable designers, but it’s important to ask. Remember that bridal lingerie doesn’t have to be used only once. If the quality and fit are right, you’ll enjoy wearing it again and again.

Once you’ve found the perfect ensemble, make sure you take care of it. Lingerie should be hand-washed after every use. If not, oil and dirt will accumulate on the fabric and the piece will loose its shape. Trust us, once you’ve found undergarments that you love, you’re going to want them to last a lifetime.