Bridal Underwear and Lingerie


When a woman (or man for that matter) gets married it is the most important day of their life . A great deal of time, effort and money is spent on making it the most perfect and memorable day so naturally everyone wants to look their best. Women hope to be at the peak of their looks and fitness. In biological terms it is a message to say a woman is in perfect condition to bear beautiful, healthy children for her mate. Most women go to extraordinary lengths to be the best they can be. Some lose pounds in weight; others spend lots of pounds on hair do’s and facials, not to mention the financial outlay on the dress. Just as important is the lingerie as this usually plays the supporting role. Much more attention is now given to the wedding lingerie for this important day. No self respecting woman would go to her wedding without having made the greatest effort to look her best from top to toe and that includes the underwear for the day.

Choosing the Perfect Bridal Lingerie

What to wear under your wedding dress? Whatever dress design you have chosen for your big day, having gorgeous bridal lingerie with the right balance between comfort, control, and sexiness is vitally important. Although it may not be much talked about it is essential to ensure the underwear is selected to provide the best possible outline and support to enhance your wedding dress. One person I know had the most beautiful slim line dress however because she was so slim she did not have enough bosom to fill the boned top. Altering the dress would have spoiled the line and proportion so she chose to wear a liquid filled bra which filled it out nicely and made all the difference. Ensuring the bride wears the correct undergarments will enhance the outline of that perfect wedding dress

Lingerie for the Wedding Night

As well as the undergarments for the wedding day, there is the consideration of the wedding night apparel. A special wedding night only happens once, so no matter what your body shape and size, choosing sexy lingerie can really make your honeymoon sizzle.

There is no one right answer to what you choose for your wedding night. You may feel self conscious about a certain part of your body and prefer to cover up. Lingerie is often a long term investment, so a selection of colours may appeal, but for the actual wedding night, white, ivory, or a soft light pink is a nice touch. If you have bought a special piece of lingerie for your wedding night you might want to let him use the bathroom first, or take a moment for yourself after returning to the hotel, so that you can take your time to put on your new sexy lingerie. You can then make your grand entrance and appreciate the look on your husband’s face. Of course you might decide not to bother at all and to simply peel off your dress in front of your new husband to reveal a garter belt. The main thing is that you feel good in whatever you wear, or are not, wearing.

What about Plus Size Lingerie?

Most lingerie shops and online suppliers stock a broad range of regular and plus sizes which are very flattering. Oprah’s comment on plus sizes was ‘don’t worry, your new husband already loves your body and will certainly enjoy it accented by sexy silk and lace’. Some men prefer girly lace and pink panties while others get aroused at the thought of black leather or a naughty red lacy number. You should be comfortable in whatever you choose, but also go for a style that your husband can really enjoy.

Whatever your choice of wedding dress there is certainly ideal bridal underwear to go with which will get the most from your physique.

History of Bridal Lingerie

Years ago young women would start putting away items in their bottom drawer in readiness for the day they got married. Once there was a prospective husband in sight they would spend the evenings sewing their trousseau in preparation for their wedding day and life as a new wife. Rich families would have the trousseau made for them with going away outfits and underwear and nightwear to last for many years. That way the new husband did not have to lay out money for his wife’s clothes for some time. Less well off families made these garments themselves and would make petticoats, bloomers and bust supports all sewn by hand. I remember my grandmother using a stitch known as shell stitch to hem petticoats giving them an attractive scalloped edge.

The word trousseau suggests mostly underwear and nightwear for the bride although outer wear was also part of the itinerary. An article from the New York Times 1912 outlines a guide to ‘The Lingerie for the Summer Bride’. It states that ‘no wardrobe is so fascinating to gather and plan for as the trousseau’ It suggests that a dozen of all undergarments are required but if necessary 8 pairs of drawers (knickers to you and me) were sufficient, except for petticoats where six would be enough. It advises not to have too many clothes because the fashions might alter in six months and your garments would be outmoded. It says it is better to have a few good quality gowns rather than many cheaper ones. Although cheaper underwear would be acceptable as the cut would be just as good as for the more expensive items. To complete the bridal trousseau it was essential to have a negligee for the wedding night and the article advises two for the honeymoon.

For the respectable woman it was important to wear the right clothes for different occasions. It seemed you were what you wore and your status in society was judged by your clothes. The richer you were the more elaborate and expensive the costumes. Naturally to be correctly dressed you would also have the appropriate lingerie to wear underneath. However the regular lingerie women wore on a daily basis would be the same on their wedding day, except that it would usually be new. No self respecting woman would go out without wearing the correct clothing, and even when I was young my mother would never go out without wearing her smart clothes.

Even today there are some women who put on clean underwear to go out because of the traditions and how were raised. People would wear their old underwear around the house because it usually had holes in. The basis for putting on their best underwear was, that if they had an accident they would not be shamed if they were seen wearing old underwear. Obviously this is a very outmoded idea now because clothes are so much cheaper and readily available than they used to be with the result that very few people need to ever wear worn out underwear.

Do you know that old saying: – Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue? It is interesting how these old sayings are handed down and we still pay homage to them when the time comes. When I got married I was well supplied with the borrowed as I had borrowed both the dress and the veil from different people. My satin shoes were old having been worn for formal dances and I had a blue bow on my underskirt. My main problem was having anything new so in the end I bought some lingerie to wear on the day.

Years ago a negligee was regarded as an indispensable item of bridal lingerie and was given almost as much thought as the wedding dress.

The Bridal Shower

The Bridal Showers is a relatively new idea in Britain although it is common in the States. It is believed to have begun in Holland when a young couple who did not have a dowry were given gifts from the people of the town instead. This also suggests the beginning of the custom of giving presents when people get married, as dowries are not common place in our western culture.

The bridal shower term may have arisen from a particular party where one of the guests opened an umbrella full of gifts over the head of the bride to be. Hence the term ‘Shower’. Bridal showers have different themes and one is the lingerie bridal shower which is traditionally an all female event. A lingerie party involves more romantic gifts than the usual bridal shower. These parties are a great way to give personal gifts that are just for the bride herself or to share with her soon to be husband. The chief bridesmaid or matron, of honour is generally the initiator and hostess of the lingerie bridal shower. It is her job to invite the female friends and any family of the bride that would delight in the party and then each guest brings a gift of lingerie.

Lingerie for Men

So far our focus has been on women’s Lingerie but in today’s more affluent society, even though there is a credit crunch, men are increasingly conscious of their underwear and how their bodies look in it. In the past men mostly did physical work so without any thought on their part, they developed strong muscular bodies when they were in their prime of life, particularly in the farming community where there was plenty to eat. However today men mostly have deskbound jobs and need to go to the gym and exercise etc to develop the muscle they desire. To go with their awareness of developing their physique men are now more concerned with the style of their underwear.

It is interesting how fashions seem to go full circle. Many years ago men wore Long-Johns in the wintry weather especially when they were working out of doors, now they have become stylish thermal underwear for sports activities. Also when I was young I remember my father wearing boxer type underwear. Then 20 years later Y fronts were the rage and there were the jokes about John Major wearing his Y fronts on the outside. In fact there was a serialised cartoon in the Guardian featuring John Major with his underpants on the outside. Then 20 years on again boxer shorts are back in vogue with a designer label. Even the latest brief boxer shorts do not look much different from the original version of the Y fronts, but they still call them boxers. And I won’t go into thongs and other specialist items of male underwear!

So be assured that lingerie is not just a subject for women, men also make it, design it, and buy it. Women aren’t the only ones who can wear something sexy on their wedding night so having bought all your own new underwear for your special day, how about kitting out your fiancee with some exotic new men’s underwear as well? Men like designer underwear too and may also enjoy some silky new boxers or a robe to wear around the hotel room.

The production of designer boxer shorts has revitalised a diminishing male underwear marketplace just like that Spanx did for women’s lingerie.

Evolution of Lingerie

At one time the wearing of underwear was exclusively a masculine prerogative. Between 1830 and 1914 women relied on several layers of fabric under the dress and long skirts to cover themselves. The corset from earliest times was planned to create a body shape that disguised the natural form but over time it evolved to accentuate the bust and reduce the size of the waist.

Lingerie originally came into being for the purpose of covering the body for modesty and for personal hygiene. initially these undergarments were designed all in one piece and were not exactly what we would consider sexy. But, with a little help from the French, the revolution in women’s underwear evolved as a sexy and deadly weapon when the revealing two pieces lingerie was introduced. From 1914 the Taly bodice came into being which consisted of silk fabric that surrounded the breasts for support, and we know it today as the bra. During this period women were socially empowered in conjunction with their release from the corset.

Between 1910 and 1919 Isadora Duncan the dancer deeply influenced lingerie fashion, by leaving off corsets to free the body for full movement of the dance. During the period between the 30’s and 50’s there was little sensual interest for underclothes; they were conservative and practical. This was probably because this period was just after the depression and then during, and just after the Second World War. It was a time of hardship and there were shortages of fabric, food and money, to such an extent that rationing was introduced in the early forties.

During the 60’s the “hippie movement” generated a breakthrough attitude towards lingerie. Women were encouraged to burn their bra’s and allow their bodies to be free of restriction of any kind. However since the 80’s, lingerie has become a desired fashion statement helped by the sexual icons of the time such as Madonna. Ann Summers lingerie with her sales parties became the designer underwear to have. At the present time women choose with equal attention their undergarments and sometimes with more emphasis than the outer clothes.

The evolution of lingerie follows or maybe leads the changes in the status of woman. From being the victims of attacks and violations with no rights of their own (and no underwear), women have developed into what we know today. The modern woman is confident and strong and comfortable with her own power. Lingerie has become a sociological phenomenon demonstrating the authentic self of a woman and with that women have multiplied their spending on sexy lingerie and undergarments. The social development of women had progressed in step with each stage of the evolution in the underwear and lingerie worn at the time.


So whatever your preferences, a woman likes to spend time getting her bridal lingerie right. It has always been a time of female sharing and intimacy of what to wear and how to be on the wedding night. These days of course couples often live together before marriage sometimes for many years, so the old mixture of secrecy and excitement and even fear have all but disappeared. However the wedding day and wedding night are still unique times and undressing to reveal your underwear has its place. Choosing something different, more exotic or titillating will help make the event memorable and something special to be treasured in the years to come.

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This post was written by Noel D'Costa on July 1, 2010

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