Kimmay explains Bridal Bras: Longline style on the Hurray Kimmay Blog

Style notes: Above, I’m in a super chic apartment in the heart of Paris, wearing a strapless longline bra from Jezebel in size 32DD, thigh high Stockings from Falke, the Blue Lagoon shorty from Addiction, and a ruffle robe from Fleur’t With MePhoto by Becky Yee Photo during the Hurray Vacay in Paris. Apartment provided by Cobblestone Paris Rentals. As always, zero airbrushing to my body.

Brides, it’s time to talk bras.

I have fit thousands of women for bras. And many of those women were shopping for their undergarments for their wedding day. Hurray! Many women had a really specific idea of what they were looking for. Some had already found their dress and were now looking for the bras and undergarments to wear underneath. A few were just shopping for a bra or two to bring to their dress appointment.

I highly suggest giving your undergarments some thought before saying yes to the dress. Whether you want to stick with a basic bra or go with a stick-on bra, it matters what you wear that day! Believe me, as a married lady and as a bra fitter, you will have a lot happening on your wedding day. You want to be able to give your full attention to your loved ones and “the one”, not to your bra. So, let’s get to know one of the most popular styles: the longline bra!

What is a longline bra? 

A longline bra is a bra that has a band – the part that wraps around your torso – that extends longer down your body, than a typical bra. Longline bras can have a shorter length, that extends just past the typical band length, perhaps with a decorative trim. Or, they can extend all the way to the hips, like a bustier. And they can be pretty much every length in between. In addition, they can have straps or be strapless. And they can be made of lace, or smooth polyester. They can be made with boning, which can create a cinched waist shape, or they can be designed with a stretchy material. They can hook up the back, zip up the front, and so on.

When it comes to a bridal longline bra, the most common type is strapless (or has removable and convertible straps), extends to the waist or hips, clasps in the back with a line of hooks and eyes, and has a slight dip in the back. Most often they also have molded cups and boning in the torso to create an hour glass shape. The most commonly worn styles are white or a light neutral color, and made of smooth material with a slight stretch. Some have decorative lace for more of a “bridal look”.

A note on the name: Sometimes a longline bra like you’re seeing here can be called a “bustier” or a “corset”. While the one I am wearing here is, indeed, a bustier, it’s not a corset. There are some technical differences. And since there are many different kinds of longline bras and not all are “bustiers”, I wanted to use longline to explain this undergarment.

What is the purpose of a longline bra? 

If we’re talking about a longline bra with the decorative trim, it’s often a stylistic choice. A longline bra can be fun to show off under a low arm hole top, for example. So in that case, the purpose is to be stylish!

But for many bras, the longline shape is actually designed with function in mind. The biggest purpose of a longline bra is to support! A longline bra can support both your breasts and your gown. That’s right! Not only is it designed to lift and shape your bust, it’s also designed to create a sturdy silhouette for your wedding gown. Remember when women wore corsets as their almost-everyday-undergarment? In those days, they also typically wore layers and layers of clothing and an intricate gown. In order to support that amount of material, and to create the desired look of the time, undergarments played a vital role. Today, our daily clothing choices are far less heavy and ornate, and typically require much fewer or less sturdy undergarments to create a fashionable look. But when it comes to a usual wedding gown, we may need more than a basic bra and panty!

Wedding gowns styles for longline bras on Hurray Kimmay Blog

So yes, the long portion of the bra – especially if it has boning in it – provides a sturdy, supportive base for the garments. Plus, it can shape your body into the silhouette to suit the gown. Typically, that shape is an hourglass shape. (That’s something that hasn’t changed much overtime.) Additionally, that long portion of the bra can really wrap your torso and body, and firmly stay in place. It’s a really firm foundation for even the heaviest and most ornate gown (think of those beaded gowns with layers and layers of silk or tulle!). So, it’s “not going anywhere”. Which, is pretty important on such an important day.

Another purpose is to allow for a slight dip in the back of the gown. Have you noticed that some wedding gowns are not straight across in the back? Whether it’s a true strapless gown, or it has some kind of strap or sleeve, the back tends to have a teeny tiny itty bitty dip. If you were to wear a regular strapless bra, your bra band may peek out of the top of your dress in the back. With a longline bra, because of the longer front, the back can be lower without skimping on support. In essence, it anchors it in place.

Or, as my friend Liz says (also, recent More Than My Numbers participant), it’s “business in the front to allow a party in the back.” I wouldn’t say a longline bra is the mullet hairstyle of bras, but this actually makes so much sense, and I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Pros (hurrays) & Cons (what-the-hays) of longline bras

Pros:

  • Sleek look and hourglass shape
  • Strapless or convertible {can be worn with straps for a halter or racerback gown, too}
  • Often are sold with removable garter strings to attach to thigh high stockings
  • Very sturdy and supportive
  • Can offer a slightly lower back than a traditional strapless bra
  • Can encourage good posture and a tall look
  • Offers a traditional “bridal” look

Cons:

  • Boning or hooks and eyes can show through a thin or sheer gown
  • Where the bottom ends, it can dig into your belly or hips and cause a “muffin” shape {one reason why a lot of brides pair a longline bra with firm shapewear underneath, for a very seamless, sleek look}
  • Not ideal for a backless or super low back dress {longline bras have at least some kind of back band}
  • Can be stiff or uncomfortable {many are designed with flexible boning, but they’re still firmer than what we wear on a regular basis}
  • May limit range of motion or your ability to limbo {I was a dance machine at my wedding, so this was important for me to consider}

Kimmay wearing longline bra with thigh highs in Paris on Hurray Kimmay Blog

Which wedding gowns work with a longline bra? 

A longline bra can be a GREAT option for underneath your wedding gown. And, it is not meant to work with every kind of dress. In fact, my gown I wore on my wedding day was not suited for this kind of bra. It was far too sheer, and the silhouette did not match up with most longline bras.

So let’s see! The gowns that are best suited for a longline bra:

  • Is structured or made from thick material
  • Does not have a built-in longline bra or corset top {if it already has one built-in, you’ll basically be wearing two bras on top of each other.}
  • Is heavier or very ornate {you’ll need the support and shaping}
  • Hourglass or A-line shaped dress
  • Slight dip in the back

Also, keep in mind that many bridal longline bras are made in white, because white is the traditional bridal gown color. But, not every bride wears white. And, white is certainly not a neutral skin tone for any bride. But unlike with a t-shirt or sheer blouse, you may not have to wear a skin tone bra under your white gown. If you’re wearing a gown made of several layers of thicker material, it won’t show through. And if the gown is white, and a bit of the bra peeks out or can be seen at a certain angle, it can blend in with the gown. Keep this in mind when altering your gown or adjusting the neckline or armholes.

Should you wear a longline bra? 

One thing I noticed when I was fitting brides for bras: many brides-to-be thought there was a one-style-for-all-brides kind of bra. And the typical style that they have in mind is a bridal longline bra like the one I’m wearing above. I remember when I was younger and my older cousin got married, I saw a photo of her in her bridal undergarments. I saw her wearing a white bustier. That, to me, was a “real bridal bra”. That is what I thought every bride should wear on their wedding day. Along with the thought that every bride should wear a white gown, with a sweetheart neckline, and a slight dip in the back.

But the thing is, today’s brides – and gowns – often mix the traditional and the modern. So if the dress you choose is not the traditional full skirt, bustier top, or hourglass shape, a longline bra may not be the bra for you. It wasn’t for me! My dress was super sheer, and totally unstructured. So I ended up wearing a stick on bra, a blue thong, and a neutral, seamless slip. Nothing traditional or structured about it!

There is no one bra for every bride. There are so many options and ways to feel supported and comfortable in your wedding undergarments. The longline bra is just one of those options. As always: go with what fits well, looks great, and makes YOU say hurray.

From a reader!

Jessica Bishop, a Hurray Kimmay reader and the creator of The Budget Savvy Bride wore a longline bra with her wedding gown. Doesn’t she look fantastic!? She said that this bra felt secure and supportive, and her dress fit to it perfectly. Jessica's longline bra and sweetheart wedding gown

She also shared what a lot of brides have told me – that she was fit into the bra by the dress shop, and then the dress was created or altered around the bra. While using the bra they have at the shop can be convenient, it can also we a little risky. First, a dress shop is unlikely to have as many sizes or the necessary experience with bras as a bra boutique or lingerie department. And skimping on a good fit is a big no no.

Second, it’s also unlikely that a dress shop will have as many style options, which may cause you to feel like you can’t say yes to the dress you really want, simply because the undergarments don’t work. Or, you’re left trying on a dress without a bra and wishing and hoping you can find something after you’ve already said yes. Tricky. That is tricky, ladies.

Third, Jessica mentioned that she paid far more for the bra at the shop and could have found it online for a lower price. Weddings are expensive! And while I think it’s important to invest in good undergarments, I also say save your pennies where you can.

I highly suggest getting fit for a few typical bridal undergarments, including of course, a longline bra, with a bra fitter or at a lingerie boutique. I suggest trying a longline, a basic strapless, a simple basic, and perhaps a stick on or other backless bra. That way, when you’re trying on dresses for your big day (either at a shop or in your own home), you’ll have the bras and know your options!

Want to see some options? Check out my article with lots of bridal longline bras in many cup and band sizes, lengths, and styles!

***

Your turn: Have you ever worn a longline bra or bustier? What did you like about it? What did you wish you knew before wearing it? Are you getting married? Have you gone to get a fitting to try on a few bra styles for your dress appointment? What questions do you have about wedding undergarments? Leave your note here and share with us!

xoxo kimmay

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