Bras for the Bride
Tips to make buying your wedding-day undergarments an uplifting experience

Alexandrie Regatta bra and panty
Photo Courtesy of Intimacy

When it comes to sexy lingerie for your wedding night and honeymoon, your bachelorette party and bridal shower probably have you covered (figuratively, at least).

But when it comes to what you’ll be wearing under your wedding dress, turn to Susan Nethero—also known as the Bra Whisperer, or, according to Oprah Winfrey, the Cleavage Cop (she’s been on Winfrey’s show several times). Nethero is the founder of Intimacy, a chain of lingerie stores that specialize in custom-fit bras—a critical component of the bridal ensemble that sometimes gets lost in the shadow of the dress.

“Many of us don’t realize that if our bra doesn’t fit right, nothing we wear over it will either,” says Nethero. “Eighty-five percent of women are wearing the wrong bra size, which causes bra straps to fall down, bands to ride up, back fat, gaping cups, and a slew of other issues that could put a real damper on the wedding day.”

gay-bridal-fashion-intimacy-quoteA fitting at an Intimacy store (there are currently nine across the country and several more slated to open this year) provides thorough education in why so many women—and, unfortunately, brides—wear bras that don’t fit. First off, American brides don’t have geography in our favor, since European brands are superior, says Nethero, who has studied under the Queen of England’s Royal Bra Fitter, June Kenton (yes, there is such a gig).

For example, there are 30 to 40 components in European-brand bras, which are designed to fit lower on the torso and have about 90 percent of the weight supported by the band, not the shoulder straps. Their American counterparts, however, have just 14 to 16 components—and are far too dependent on the shoulder straps for support, instead of the band. During a fitting, women are usually shocked to find their band size is smaller but cup size is higher, says Nethero.

If all this sounds confusing, don’t sweat it—the all-female staff at Intimacy is sweet and knowledgeable, with a knack for putting even the most stressed-out bride at ease. Fittings involve private dressing rooms, sizing up by trained stylists and their carefully trained eye, some gentle touches and no measuring tapes. Here, some additional tips on how to properly dress under your dress.

Going strapless? Go long. As in, with a longline: Also called a bustier, this is a garment that wraps around your waist and midriff, giving you instant cleavage like a push-up but also slimming your waistline. Longlines are a bit pricier than regular strapless bras—around $125 and higher—but the support and shaping they provide is worth it. Says Nethero: “Typically constructed with a firm built-in boning, these garments literally hold your tummy exactly where you want it, a highly desired feature for many brides!”

Bring your dress to your fitting. Bringing your dress to your bra fitting will ensure you pick a bra style that works for you and your gown. This is a must-do step for brides, says Nethero. Also, make sure any tailorings or fittings are done with your bra on.

Forget about fashion tape. You can have some on hand for emergencies, but if you’ve taken care of the previous step, you shouldn’t need it. Still, Nethero advises taking your dress out for a test run to move, dance and swing around in it. If you see anything that falls out of place, use the fashion tape on your big day.

Don’t forget about the extras. A garter belt paired with stay-up stockings is an ultra-sexy way to start the honeymoon, Nethero points out. In addition to a staggering array of bras (more than 90 sizes, from 30A to 46K, in styles including La Perla, Chantelle, Prima Donna, La Breeza and Aubade) Intimacy also sells bathing suits, panties and nighties.

Resist the urge to compress. Women aiming for a masculine look should resist the urge to compress their bustline, which can damage breast tissue and reduce firmness, Nethero says.

Visit to schedule a free 30-minute fitting at one of the store’s nine locations nationwide, including Atlanta, Miami, Dallas and Los Angeles.