Ah the wedding dress, the single garment tasked to make us look perfect and bestow on us all the confidence in the world!
Indeed, modern wedding dresses are made in most flattering styles. They emphasize the length and hourglass shape, they project luxury and innocence, they show just enough skin – so that any groom will long for a minute alone with his bride… to take a closer look. A well-chosen wedding dress will show off your precious curves and forms of femininity.
Let’s not talk about the perfect body shape. I love the dignity with which many of the so-called plus size girls carry themselves. I wish we all did that. And although this post talks about shapewear, it doesn’t mean that we cannot start with the mindset of kindness to our own bodies… Even if being kind to ourselves means we have to ditch the shapewear and just be ourselves.
But we don’t have to go to extremes. Ditching the shapewear should not be the inevitable conclusion of self-kindness. Conversely, the reason to wear shapewear should not be to hide or change your natural anatomy.
Let me ask you this… do you wear a bra? …If so, do you wear it because you hate your bosom? I hope not. You should be proud of it. Feminine and soft and vulnerable – yet it’s the ultimate life-affirming and life-giving essence! It is something to cradle and protect… and yes, subtly, present to the world.
Same should go for your whole body. As a woman, you’re not defined by your weight, your shape, or your imperfections. We have a great post about loving ourselves that we keep coming back to again and again for inspiration.
Shapewear will not change your body type – and that’s a great thing! All body types deserve to be flattered and toned by their clothes.
So, start by looking for a dress that flatters you. Rely on your dress to counter-balance your features to achieve the most proportionate, symmetrical look. Next, reach for shapewear to make sure that the dress fits and flows perfectly and help you keep straight posture. Yes, forget discomfort – shapewear can help you with sore back at the end of the day!
This is a key distinction – don’t look to shapewear to change your body so you can look good in a particular dress. Don’t think to yourself, “this dress will be prefect if I wear shapewear“. Think “this dress is flattering my face and my figure, but I need to make sure it flows smoothly”.
Why you may – but shouldn’t – be reluctant to try shapewear.
Shapewear has gotten a bit of a bad rap. Some women think that it’s an invitation for them to suffer and sacrifice. That if only they can endure enough pressure, it could change their anatomy. Others know from unfortunate experience that ill-chosen shapewear these can be sweaty, restrictive and a struggle to get in. It could be something that you put on – and start counting moments until you can peel it off.
With more realistic expectations, it doesn’t have to come with so much hardship. Start by embracing who you are. Then – once you learn about the advantages of shapewear – you may find that you wholeheartedly embrace it.
Selecting your bridal shapewear.
Shapewear uses technologically advanced fabrics to give you great hold and maximum comfort. Quality of the fabric determines how well, and how long, shapewear will work for you – and the best quality fabric can be pricey.
It makes sense to pay for good quality. Higher-end models are made with more durable fabrics, better stretch, and more comfort. They won’t ride up your legs, shift along your body, or overheat you. Lightweight and beautiful, it’s an investment that will recoup itself. Just like your bridal jewelry, you will keep using it on special occasions (or even everyday wear!) long after the wedding.
Luckily, you can narrow down your choices to one piece only, and splurge on it.
That one piece should disappear completely under the dress and cover all the body parts that you want supported. No more than that – even with the best shapewear, you don’t want too much compression all over you. At the same time, you also want to choose something that works with your existing wardrobe so that you’re likely to use again.
- For a sleek dress, such as a sheath, full-body shapers or control full slips are the closest you will get to a one-stop solution. They do have strapless or convertible varieties to accommodate various necklines, and even open-bust types to wear with a plunging neckline.
- For back and posture support, consider a body briefer (something that looks like a one-piece swimsuit) or an upper arm shaper that stretches across the back.
- Worried about an overly revealing illusion dress? Consider nude bodysuit shapewear underneath.
- Running out of time to tone up your arms the old-fashioned way? Upper arm shapers to the rescue!
Choose the hold level carefully. Firmer control level will give you more hold. Extra-firm hold is sometimes recommended for special occasions, but it is more likely to cost you some comfort. For more comfort, select moderate control garments.
Practice putting it on and taking bathroom breaks while wearing it. Shapewear is not something you put on in a hurry, frantically stretching the fabric in all directions for the least lopsided look. Every time it stretches, it loses some of its hold. So, the more control the undergarment offers, the more patience it will require. There generally is a proper sequence of steps for easiest use and greatest durability of the fabric, and you will want to respect it. For example, always step into shapewear, rather than pulling it over your head (unless it’s a control tank).
While we’re on the topic, let’s touch on our bra. Often brides find themselves in the market for a new bra for their wedding. And now that we talked about the importance of shapewear for your overall look, let’s remember that a bra is the ultimate shapewear. A good bra will enhance your posture and smooth appearance. A good bra will separate your ladies while containing them, feel smooth on your shoulders, and stay put below.
A good convertible or strapless bra for special-occasion wear is a precious commodity. You certainly don’t want to compromise on fit, look and versatility, Before you invest in one, consider the following options:
- strapless corset is a perfect combination of bra and shapewear that will elevate your body with grace while providing all the support even most full-bosomed ladies need.
- as a variation on the above, long-line bra provides smoothing below the bosom and keeps you comfortable with its wide band that engenders support across a larger space.
- if your dress allows it, consider a seamed bra. It’s not as smooth as the seamless bra, but the seams add lift and structure.
- minimizer bras reduce the ladies’ forward projection by shifting volume toward the underarm, reducing your bra size by a cup or so.
- if it’s a strapless or backless dress and a bra may not be on the cards, ask your seamstress to look into sewing cups right into your dress. She may even be able to take your favorite bra and repurpose its cups for utmost comfort.
On your wedding day, you certainly want to strike the right balance between picture-perfect looks and comfort – so that you can fully savour the day and the attention you will get. Being kind to yourself and taking good care of your body – in your outfit selection and in other aspects of your life – will help you strike that balance.
Wishing you all the happiness!