The panty purpose: an epic post on wedding underwear

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Wifey boyshorts.
Wifey boyshorts.
I need some advice. About underwear. I did a few internet searches for things like “wedding underwear” but I can't discern fiction from reality. What do I really need?

Can you do an advice column that is a rundown of all the undergarments people tell you to wear (like “shapers” or spanx), when to wear a slip, what kind of bras work well for busty women, what kind of underwear has no panty line, etc?

I can't ask my mom for advice, and none of my friends have any ideas because they're all dirty punks like me. Any help would be appreciated!

Wedding undergarments — what a challenging task. You need something that's comfortable, while serving its purpose: shaping, supporting, concealing, whatever. When thinking of undergarments, it's important to consider first the purpose, not the fashion or any “shoulds.” Do you want something just to hide your bits under a short dress? Something that's going to shape and support? Or just something to wear that won't show panty lines? As for bras that work well for busty women, check out Andrea D's experience with long line bras or for those who are smaller, here are some “minus-size” suggestions.

As for underwear, the first option I have is this: don't wear anything. Free-ball it! That's right, I said it. It's your wedding day. The most important thing is for you to feel comfortable and confident. You're gonna be stuck in whatever contraption you choose for hours (and I mean HOURS), and you don't want to feel trapped.

However, in the case that not wearing undies just isn't your cup of tea (or if you're wearing a short dress), here are a few options for panties, shapers, slips, etc. Disclaimer: We're talking about undergarments here, this might not be safe for work (NSFW)!

an epic post on wedding day underwear on offbeat bride

PURPOSE: CONCEAL

Personal favorite: Hanky Panky. They are these little lacey stretch thongs that are INCREDIBLE. They don't show any panty line… that's right, NO panty line. And they are incredibly comfortable, almost to a point where you don't feel like you're wearing anything. Plus, they come in every color you could imagine. They even have a few different styles: low rise, high rise and boy shorts. These could work under ANY dress: pencil skirt, a-line, floor length, cocktail, tight, flowy, silk, cotton, anything!

Megan wore the ones pictured above in beige on my wedding day, under my fairly tight dress, and they were perfect.]

an epic post on wedding day underwear on offbeat bride

PURPOSE: SUPPORT + STYLE!

Why not try something that can serve dual functions? A corset would be a fun choice because it works as both outerwear and underwear. Starkers makes custom bridal corsets. They offer a variety of different fabrics as well as historical and modern designs. Starker's corsets can go over a skirt to create a dress or under a dress to help shape and support. Plus they are guaranteed to make you feel oh so sexy.

Ariel wore a custom corset over a skirt on my wedding day and it was awesome beyond awesome. A really good custom corset is oddly comfortable — like a hug.]

an epic post on wedding day underwear on offbeat bride

PURPOSE: SHAPE

If you want some sucking in action, smoothing, or what-not: Spanx is the answer. Yes, the SPANX In-Power Line Super Power Panties these babies really work wonders if your goal is control. Spanx are great for an uber tight dress, or something where you want smooth lines. This style works for a tea-length dress or longer … otherwise, the shorts might make a surprise appearance.

Not going to lie: these aren't the most comfortable thing, but they get the job done. Not to mention, they don't move. Assets' Perfect High Waist Panty Hose are less pricey. However, you have to constantly pull them up, (oh the dreaded drop crotch) which is not only annoying, but embarrassing. Spanx will stay where you put them, which is important if you plan on dancing.

They also have opaque tights, fun patterned and textured tights for a retro, rockabilly or goth wedding, and control top briefs. Don't forget, they come in plus sizes!

PURPOSE: CONCEAL

Now, if your dress is a little sheer, and you don't want it to be, then you may want a slip to conceal. A nude or skin tone is always a safe choice. Again, if you are looking for something that helps shape, go with the Body Wrap's Lites Bra Slip with Underwire. This has a built in bra and it's strapless, which would work with most dresses.

extra long tank top

One of my tricks for the sheer dress problem: wear an extra long tank top. If you don't care about shaping but still need a little something, an extra long tank top can take you there.

PURPOSE: CONCEAL + STYLE!

If you want to add some oomph to your gown, slip on a crinoline. They come in all kinds of fun colors, which can really brighten up your dress. Unique Vintage has a ton of colored crinolines. They come in three different lengths: cocktail, tea-length and floor length.

Crinolines have a multitude of purposes. They can add an extra layer of warmth (good for cold climates/outdoor weddings), a touch of color, length to a short gown, and they make you look like a delicious cupcake! YUMMY! A crinoline works best under a full skirt. Crinolines can suit all types of themes: gothic, vintage, whatever.

So, in review: when considering what to wear, remember to focus on the purpose of the undergarment. Are you covering muff, supporting your 36DDD lady friends, smoothing your back fat, or concealing nipples through your sheer dress? Your answers will determine what undergarments you may want to try, keeping in mind that the underwear police will not pull you over if you opt out completely.

Oh and common sense alert: if you do decide to go for fancy undergarments, if possible try on the undergarments with your dress before purchasing. I know some places won't let you, but try your best! Definitely check each store's return policy before making a pricey purchase, as most places will not return opened intimates.

What are we missing from this epic post? What will you be wearing on YOUR wedding day?

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Comments on The panty purpose: an epic post on wedding underwear

  1. As an older bride and also a plus-size one, wearing “nothing” would not work for me. Things on my body that need to be “up” no longer do that on their own, and so I have had to figure out something that is comfy but still gives me lots of support. I won’t be comfortable or feel beautiful if I have to keep hiking the girls up all day!

  2. Love the panties! I have similar ones from Fredericks of Hollywood and they really are uber comfortable.

    Another tip is to wear whatever you buy before the wedding! Wear it around the house, out to work, however you can, but give it a test. Just like shoes. You want to make sure 1) it does what it’s supposed to, 2) it stays where it’s supposed to and 3) that you’re comfortable. I have a corset (although non-wedding) and I need to practice wearing it because it doesn’t bend. I’m used to being able to bend in the middle, so it would take some practice to be comfortable in it. Strapless bras, if you’ve never worn one, take practice to trust it to stay put and not hike it up. The upper level version of drop crotch is no fun either.

    • Yes, that’s definitely good advice. I think you should always practice wearing something you don’t normally wear (tights, corset, even heels).

      When testing something out, I like to try and wear them while doing household chores. Cleaning requires lots of motion, so you can practice for all kinds of potential movements!

      • I agree. I wore my open toed pep to eggplant colored retro heel outside in the grass for a while just to make sure they would not sink in the grass. I’m sure I looked ridiculous, but it worked!

        • Yeah, I’d rather look ridiculous around my apartment then realize I can barely walk two feet when the day comes.

          Megan always laughs at me because I’ll be gallivanting around our apartment building in sweats and my stripper heels. But you gotta break them in sometime!

  3. I hope this isn’t t.m.i. but I wanted to chime in on the duct tape front as I have taped my (DD) boobs up for formal events.
    I’d personally recommend using coaches tape, rather then duct tape. Go into the drugstore, tell the pharmacist you want to buy tape to tape up your knee and ask them what comes off easiest, get the widest roll. Think about how those stick on bra’s are shaped, and try to tape in a similar way. I did a u shape from under one armpit across the bottom of my boobs and up to the other arm pit, then kind of filled in across the u with overlapping lines of tape.
    If you put it one just once, it will hold fine and come off okay. If you reapply the same day, the tape will hurt when you take it off the second time. (I put band-aids over my nipples, before the tape.) I keep meaning to buy a good strapless bra, but until then the $2 tape works well for me.
    Oh and last time I bought a fancy, slinky dress the shop keeper said to me: “No panties, just control top hose.” I followed her advice, but bought one size up in the hose, so I wouldn’t feel too squeezed.

    • A good strapless bra is hard to find for a busty girl. Make sure you buy one that is specifically made for a DD and not just a bigger version of a regular strapless or it will never fit correctly!

      • Yeah. I used Yelp and local LJ communities (I’m in a major city) to find out good lingerie shops, then picked one, went in, and said, “I need a strapless bra. Not black. Must be wearable for 12 hours. Can’t come up higher than *gesture to where dress neckline rides*.” Then I had them do the fitting and just plain bought the one they recommended.

        On the one hand I nearly had a heart attack spending that amount of money on a single bra, but on the other hand, it WORKS. And barring *massive* weight gain or loss, I will not need another one for at least 10 years (given how rarely I go strapless).

        If you’re big-chested, it’s often worth the investment to do it right. Cheap out elsewhere.

        • Google “Linda’s bras” for a really, really good site for us large-busted ladies. You’re so right that a good bra is worth the money you’ll spend on it, every cent.

          • For bras for busty girls, I have to point out Bravissimo. They *start* at D-cup and go up to KK.

            For strapless, I’ll admit, I’ve never trusted a strapless bra – I opt for corsets, instead. I know they seem a bit intimidating, but a well-made custom corset is a joy. And I was shocked the first time I wore one and discovered how much better my neck and shoulders felt! My corsetier of choice is Meschantes, they do some excellent sales on ebay and are willing to work with customer-supplied fabric.

          • Lindas helped me out also – I found it after reading the OBB posting on bras for plus size girls. I chose the Goddess Marilyn Underwire Strapless Bra.

            To smooth out my middle I found the “Squeem Firm Compression” Cotton & Rubber Waist
            Cincher(goes up to 3XL) on Lindas. I was able to wear this all day long and didn’t have to mess with it when I went to the toilet unlike spanx or other pants that smoothed the waist.

      • I did a tape bra on my wedding day and it worked like a charm! I had heard that this is what they do for runway shows, etc. My dress was backless and a little plungey, so there was no way to wear a strap that went around my ribcage and I had to be aware of the front, too. I had my tailor cut apart a pushup bra and sew it into my dress and then I watched some tutorials online about taping (the best ones are posted by drag queens). The combination was fantastic–I am a mid- to minus-sized girl and it actually gave me cleavage! One caveat, though–be careful about the tape. I used medical tape and the adhesive gave me a rash. Maybe test it ahead of time. 😉

    • It always amazes me how the human being is able to improvise. Who would have thought of the athletic type tape rather than duct tape?

  4. Haha. This post is totally safe for my work since I do casting and at least one in three women send in a panty shot. Haha. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

    When I used to work lingerie, we would sell more Spanx than anything. They’re like a packaged miracle.

    The biggest thing to consider when buying a thong is to make sure it fits properly. Even a tad big or small & you’ll find yourself with wedding wedgie!

    Another warning is, while Unique Vintage has amazing dresses & products, there are bad reviews on their crinolines. Make sure to e-mail them before buying.

    LaurieBeth, try a shaper that’ll give uplift. Look for the ones that look like a tanktop with the breast section cut out. Maidenform has the best one. They lift everything up up up w/o being uncomfortable. Pair with your favorite bra & tada! perfection.

    Just thought I’d add some input since undies are my passion & specialty 😉 Great post Coco! It made my day.

    • Thank you!!! Your comment totally made my day.

      I agree, Spanx are the best invention ever!! I’m always reluctant to believe hype, but in this case it was totally right.

  5. Be sure to have a recent bra fitting. I went in to have one done about a year ago (the first since in 10 years) and realized I was wearing two band sizes and two cup sizes off. Putting the right bra on really helped the girls out. I had it done at Nordstrum and found them really knowledgeable and professional. I have seen one done at Victoria’s Secret before and I didn’t think they were as thorough. The fittings are free both of those places.

    On my wedding day, I wore a dress that I had commissioned for me on Etsy (it fit like a glove) without a bra (although I am only a 32B) and a pair of Hanky Panky’s. They are my go-to pantyline free undies and the only thong’s I find comfortable. They are kind of pricey, so try either Loehmann’s or Nordstrum Rack for last seasons colors (assuming you don’t need a flesh tone to go under a shear dress–My dress was fuschia so I wore a great red pair).

    Happy hunting!

    • I agree, VS sucks at bra fittings. I worked there for a few months as a “holdover” job while I was waiting to get into somewhere else and thank um, whoever, I had been trained on bra fittings at both Dillards and Fredericks! They don’t teach the Victoria girls anything and their “bra specialists” are only trained to fit for their brands.

    • I was at Nordstrom’s yesterday doing for some bra fitting. I was only one band size off, but two or three on the cup. I got the impression that the staff there spend their days saving women from ill-fitting bras. I am feeling grateful and evangelical, so ladies! Go get a bra fitting. Seriously. It helps so much!

      • Does anyone have a suggestion for a good bra fitter in Sydney Australia? Last time I had my girls done at what I think is Australia’s largest lingerie chain the “fitters” were so unchariable about my A Cups that I have never been fitted again 🙁

  6. For me – sometimes I’m commando – sometimes I’m not – whatever really. So the purpose of underwear with me is to fit in with the theme of the wedding sort of Celtic Rockabilly with some Hippie thrown in for fun LOL.
    So I want vintage looking undergarments – but were fun and colorful. I found some that are purple and teal with zebra stripes and a matching purple vintage looking girdle with garter belts. So adorable!

  7. For the bra-less hippies out there: I wear pasties almost any time I leave the house. They’re nude, washable, silicone, and come from the lingerie dept at Target & Walmart. I wear the firm silicone kind, not the wrinkly band-aid flower petals, fyi. I used to wear band-aids but those would chafe if I wore them too often. The pasties never chafe. I suggest wearing them with a camisole or tube top, as the pasties themselves can leave a noticeable bump. I usually wear pasties+camisole under my work clothes, that way I’m nipple-free & don’t have the discomfort of a bra band wrapping around my ribs. Granted this advice is mostly for smaller gals. I’m an A-B, and my job doesn’t involve much jumping, so I don’t really need bra support. Anyhoo, that’s my two cents!

      • i think i got mine at target or walmart. i don’t know the brand, but they look like this: http://thumbs4.ebaystatic.com/pict/2605255929834040.jpg i replace them every 6-months or so because they do wear out after tons of uses & washings. you’ll notice that after a while even washing them won’t help them stick on better. i don’t wash mine every time, maybe once a week or 2. mine came with a little plastic case & plastic paper, which is nice to have for travel. remember, under most clothing you will still need an undershirt to avoid large bumps on your boobs. also, i believe you can get them in darker & lighter skintones. also, these are firm silicone, not flimsy bandaid-like petals that wrinkle. oh, and if you need something more bra-like i hightly recommend the Nu-Bra, both normal(it’s thicker, like a padded bra), and the “Light” (just a thinner cup). however, the nubra will un-stick a little & feel gross if you sweat a lot, fyi. it’s still better than a bra, for me. and last, i still recommend at least a light sports bra or tank w/ built-in bra for any exercise. pasties & stick-on bras are really only good for leisurely activity. even my small girls need support at the gym or dancing. hope that helps! ^_^

  8. I’ve been surpised by how many strappless bras are still visible under my dress. I guess my dress is more low cut than I thought. Last night I bought some of the stick-on bra thingies, but had a heck of a time applying them symmetrically. Maybe athletic tape is the answer! A custom, one-time use stick-on bra!

    • Did you try the NuBra?

      If this is the bra you’re talking about, did you try unhooking the cups before applying? I have found that if you unclip the cups, stick them on and then hook the cups together, it’s A LOT easier to get it straighter!

      Also, if your comfortable with this, maybe have a friend or sibling help. An outsiders perspective can help you get it on more symmetrically.

  9. Sarah B, I may need to try the athletic tape you suggested! My goal was to find a dress that wouldn’t require a strapless bra, since they don’t seem to actually exist in my size (finding a regular bra with straps in my size is difficult enough as it is). So far, though, I can’t seem to find a dress that will allow me to wear a regular bra while still fitting the relaxed summer wedding aesthetic I’m going for. Athletic tape may be the answer.

    • Yeah, I’m a 32dd, and just finding bra’s in my size (in the $30-50 range) was nearly impossible. Recently I found a dowdy but awesome bra store in NYC (Orchard St. Corset) that had multiple bra’s in my size, in stock. Next time I need a strapless I might go check there…. but I still don’t really know if I believe a strapless could be comfortable. And the tape really did hold up through a big boozy dancing night of fun. (But it might not be the sexy ideal for post wedding coitus, ooo baby, rip off my tape, try not to take my nipple with it)

      • I love Orchard Corset! I’m also a 32DD (or 32E) and I recently bought a longline backless strapless bra there. Much more comfortable than a standard strapless, since it’s secured around your waist and doesn’t creep down.

        • Good to know. I once had two employees at a lingerie boutique tell me that strapless bras just “aren’t available” in my size, “not even in Europe.” (I need a quite-small band size, but a larger-than-average cup size. Apparently American designers think you’re never supposed to be narrower than a 32…) I’ve tried the up-a-band, down-a-cup thing, but it just…didn’t work. Tape may be the thing.

          • Someone else mentioned it up-thread, but for smaller-band, larger-cup sizes check out Bravissimo. (www.bravissimo.com) They’re UK-based, but they’ll even do phone-based fitting consults. Shipping to the US is relatively quick and inexpensive.

          • It’s possible to take in bra bands — I do it when my spanx bras are stretched out. If you can fit the cups well, see if a seamstress will dart the band under your arms (IME).

        • 32DD in da house!! I’ve never met any of my people before!

          I’m having a lingerie bridal shower, which I’m super stoked for, but which we planned before I thought about the reality of my guests trying to find anything in my size! 🙂

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