How to Buy the Perfect Wedding Lingerie for Your Dress

There’s always much talk about your Big Day attire. But your undergarments are just as important as your gown or jumpsuit.


Your wedding-day look begins with the lingerie. / Illustrations by Rebecca Smith

Your wedding-day style doesn’t begin with a ball gown; it starts with undergarments that provide the foundation for your look. Here, two local lingerie experts — Shaw Lewis of Expect Lace in Manayunk and Maddie Kulig of Madalynne Intimates in Brewerytown — help you figure it out.

Have a Solid Base

Before you finalize your Big Day look, get your undergarments in order, advises Lewis. It can be difficult to find the right bra or panty for a particular dress, such as strapless. So show up for try-ons prepared. Kulig suggests bringing a seamless thong and bikini, padded and non-padded bras, a long-line bra that’s more fitted, an adhesive bra, pasties — ­all of this: “You might fall in love with a dress, but you want to see how it looks with your undergarments. They could change the way it looks on you.”

Find a Support System

No matter your bust size, you can don that plunging neckline or backless dress. Both Expect Lace and Madalynne Intimates are inclusive and cater to people of all sizes; the former sells bras from 30A to 42J, while the latter carries A to J cups and sizes extra-small to 4X. Lewis has low-back body suits and offers day-of adhesive bra application­ in-store — just like getting your makeup­ done. 

Think About Design

Fabric, structure — it all plays a part. Take the t-shirt bra: Because it has more fabric, it can round you out. An alternative, says Lewis, is a seamless lace-cup bra: “It’s a misconception that lace-cup bras don’t provide as much support. Their construction lifts the breasts up and holds them in place.” If you’re wearing a slip dress à la Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, Kulig suggests avoiding lingerie with texture and opting instead for something made with a smooth fabric, such as microfiber.

Embrace Your Curves

Whatever you wear, it comes down to one thing: “When you feel good, you look good,” says Kulig. If shapewear makes you feel too restricted and like you won’t be able to dance, opt for a bra-and-panty set. But if you think you’ll be able to move around easily in shapewear throughout the night, go for it! And if you’re undecided,­ Expect Lace carries waist-cinchers and everyday shapewear without a lot of compression. 

Know Your “Bottom” Line

That goes for undies, too — unless you want visible lines immortalized in your portraits. Easy remedies: Wear a seamless panty, boy short or thong in a nude shade, says Lewis. And, adds Kulig, sport something pretty but functional that can take you from the ceremony to the after-party. (You don’t want to be suffering from a wedgie midway through your first dance.) Save the more elaborate intimates for your wedding night.

Good to Know

Madalynne Intimates in June released a bra-and-panty set with a wider underwire for trans women. The bra has scalloped lace edges; the panties have a high-waisted silhouette. Find them for $98 and $36, respectively, on the website.

Published as “Perfect Fit” in the summer/fall 2022 issue of Philadelphia Wedding.