Building a foundation.

(This post is about underwear, so these photos may be NSFW. You’ve been warned.)

Shapewear is a beautiful thing. Not because it’s beautiful to look at, obviously. But it works miracles.

As a plus sized person who wears clothes (as opposed to a plus sized nudist, I guess), I’m intimately acquainted with what foundation garments and shapewear can and cannot do. I don’t NEED to wear them; nobody does. But I choose to wear them because I like what they do for my figure. I’m never going to fool anyone into thinking my size 16 ass is a size 2. But I can create a nice, clean line under my clothes. I can give myself better posture. I can define my waist, lift my bust, and/or smooth my hips and thighs. And all of that? Is pretty good for my confidence.

So naturally, after I found the perfect dress, the next step was to consider what I’d be wearing underneath it. My thought process was as follows:

  • What is appropriate for my dress? I’m wearing an A-line dress, which is fitted in the bodice but flows over my hips. So I really only need to worry about my waist and bust. If you’re wearing a sheath or mermaid style, you may want to consider your hips and butt. Think about where your dress is fitted, and go from there.
  • What is my dress made of? Crepe and silk charmeuse, for instance, will show every bump, curve, and panty line. Fabrics such as organza, satin, and lace are much more forgiving. In addition, you’ll want to consider how structured your dress is – if you’ve already got a lot of boning (especially common in a corset backed dress), you may get your desired effect without additional shapewear.
  • What areas need help? I’m pretty busty, so I need a lot of support in that area. Sewed-in cups won’t do the trick for me. In addition, I’m pretty straight up and down, so I’d like to create as much of an hourglass shape as possible.

Something else to consider: shapewear, no matter how miraculous it may be, is still another layer of clothing. You may end up adding more bulk to your figure with that layer than you take away through shaping. Use a critical eye when assessing the effect of any shapewear – maybe you’re better off without it!

After all that, I came to the conclusion that a longline bra or bustier was the best solution for me. These bras go from your bust to your waistline. They are really supportive, and they give a nice waist-cinching effect. Perfect for my A-line dress!

Initially, I figured I’d get the Goddess Marilyn bustier. I’d heard nothing but rave reviews about it.


(via Her Room)

Problem? I’m on the taller side (5’10”) and I’ve got a long torso, so it was too short for me – the bustier actually ended before my natural waist. Thankfully, is good about giving measurements, so I was able to find a few bustier options that were a little bit longer. I ultimately settled on Dominique 8949.


(via Her Room)

While it’s not quite as long on me as it is on the model, it ends about an inch or so past my belly button, which is good enough for me. It’s insanely supportive – I did the “jump test”, and NOTHING moved – and it gives me this ridiculous hourglass figure. Like, Jessica Rabbit-esque. Totally makes up for my wedding non-diet, which mostly consisted of me proclaiming, “The wedding diet starts tomorrow!” before diving headfirst into Chinese food or a burger or a margarita.

So that’s my top half sorted out. Originally, I didn’t have any big plans for my lower half beyond something cute, but then I remembered my worst enemy: chub rub. (For those of you not in the know, a) I’m jealous, and b) it’s the godawful chafing/rash/irritation caused by one’s thighs rubbing together.) If I’ve tried one preventative measure against chub rub, I’ve tried them all – baby powder, deodorant, anti-chafing gel, all that good stuff. Since it can get pretty hot inside a wedding dress, I’m not taking any chances. My thighs will be covered.


(via Zappos)

I’ll be sporting Spanx In-Line Super Power Panties, mostly because I already own them and they work like a charm in potential chub rub situations. I don’t really need any shaping from them, just inner thigh protection. Don’t already own a thigh shaper and don’t want to drop a ton of money on Spanx? Bike shorts will do the trick just fine. Nobody will know. I promise.

So that’s what’s going on under my dress. It may not be the most attractive getup – let’s be real, it’s definitely not the most attractive getup – but it’s functional, comfortable, and makes me look pretty damn good. Frankly, it makes me look so good that I don’t care what it looks like, which leads me to my last shapewear lesson for you all: when it comes to foundation garments, if you can, go for function over form. Who cares how it looks as long as it gets the job done? You can always change into something cute later on, and that’s all I’m going to say on that subject.

What foundation garments will you be wearing under your wedding dress? Did you go for form or function?


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