What to Wear When You Try on Wedding Dresses

Here's what to bring—and what to leave at home—when you go wedding dress shopping.
Sarah Title - Bridal Fashion & Shopping Expert.
by Sarah Title
Sarah Title - Bridal Fashion & Shopping Expert.
Sarah Title
Bridal Fashion & Shopping Expert
  • Sarah writes a variety of content for The Knot and WeddingWire, including bridal fashion advice and product recommendations.
  • Sarah’s work has also been featured in Brides, Nicki Swift, Betches and Style Me Pretty.
  • Sarah lives in Alexandria, VA with her (new) husband and golden retriever named Brady.
Updated Nov 15, 2021

The idea of walking into a bridal salon and trying on tons of styles can either be exciting or downright overwhelming. Whether you've been dreaming of picking out the perfect wedding dress since you were a kid, or this is the first time you've ever thought about it, there are a few things you need to know about what to bring with you (and what not to). First off, bring an open mind and be ready to try on lots of different styles, including some dresses you'll love—and some you might not love as much. Next, there are a few items that will make the wedding dress shopping process smoother. From the right undergarments to the proper shoes, showing up to your appointment prepared can help simplify the search for your dream dress. Below, we reached out to bridal shop owners to get the scoop on what to bring wedding dress shopping.

1. Bring Your Favorite Shapewear or Neutral Undies

When you're heading out to bridal shops to find a gown for your big day, you'll want to make sure you bring your own undergarments with you. "It is best to wear what you think you may wear under your wedding gown to try on wedding gowns. For example, if you usually prefer Spanx when wearing dresses, but sure to bring your favorite pair," recommends Beth Chapman, founder and stylist of Beth Chapman Styling and Consulting and owner of The White Dress by The Shore in Clinton, Connecticut. Whether or not you prefer shapewear, the undergarments you bring should be a neutral color and free of any bulky embellishments that could show through the dresses you try on. "We recommend if any, very thin shapewear. Or, if you do not want to wear shapewear, nude underwear," advises Amy Hidaldgo, manager and stylist at Bridal Boutique in Lewisville, Texas.

2. Leave Your Lingerie at Home

This brings us to our next point. Dress shopping is not the time to don your sexiest set of lingerie, so save the corset and garters for your honeymoon (wink). You'll probably try on tons of different wedding dress styles—from ball gowns to A-lines to more curve-skimming sheaths—and you don't want to be distracted by a colorful thong or panty lines. Wearing your most basic underwear will help you and your crew stay focused on in simple undies. Changing into dresses can feel like a workout, so you'll be glad you left the fancy undergarments at home.

3. Leave the Bra at Home, Especially if You're Small-Chested

You might think you need to bring a strapless bra wedding dress shopping, but this is a misconception. Bridal gowns aren't constructed like off the rack dresses you might find at your local department store. "Bras do not work with most gowns. The modern bridal gown has cups already sewn in it for your convenience and fit," says Hidalgo. Not only do bras not work with most wedding gowns, but most brides actually don't even want to wear them. "I find that many brides are opposed to wearing a bra under the gown," says Chapman. However, everyone's body type is different, and brides with larger chests may not feel comfortable without the support of a bra. "If you are a D cup or larger, a bra is something to consider," says Chapman. "Sewn-in cups do not provide support and tape can only do so much. I highly recommended consulting with an undergarment specialist if you are a fuller chested to understand what the best options are to provide support under your gown."

4. Bring Your Wedding Shoes

It might seem strange to bring a pair of fancy wedding shoes wedding dress shopping, but it it can give you an even better visual of your head-to-toe wedding day look—beyond the dressing room. "If you are going to wear heels at your wedding, bring a comfortable pair to your appointment. It will help you see how the gown will fit on your day," says Hidalgo. If you're not sure what you're going to wear on your feet, consider bringing a few different styles along (think: heels, flats, strappy sandals) to get an idea of what you think could work on your day.

5. Bring a Hair-tie and Hair Clips

Since you'll be trying on many different dresses, you'll want to have a hair-tie or clip handy so you can throw up your hair while you're getting in and out of different wedding gowns. Dress shopping is also a great opportunity to test out different hairstyles with a variety of dress styles. For instance, if you try on a gown with an elaborate high neckline, you may want to pull your hair back to see how an updo works with it IRL. While this isn't required by any means, it will help you get a better visual of how you'll look on your wedding day.

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