What to Wear Wedding Dress Shopping — And What to Leave at Home

Here's what to bring—and what to leave at home—when you go wedding dress shopping.
lauren whalley headshot
Lauren Whalley
lauren whalley headshot
Lauren Whalley
Fashion Editor, Beauty & Inclusivity
  • Lauren writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a specialty in fashion, beauty and size inclusivity.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Lauren worked in wedding editorial for Brides, Style Me Pretty and Enaura Bridal.
  • Lauren studied public relations and advertising at the University of Central Florida.
Updated Jan 07, 2024

If you're anything like me, the moment your fiance put a ring on it, you were ready to make your first bridal appointment and have an early 2000s rom-com movie-style try-on montage. But as you are preparing for your oh-so-exciting bridal salon visit, you might be wondering what to wear wedding dress shopping, like undergarments and shoes, and what you should leave at home.

This is your golden opportunity to try on all types of dress styles from classic A-lines to fitted mermaids and everything in between. And what you choose to wear while wedding dress shopping can actually help make the process a breeze and simplify the search for your dream dress (music to my own ears as anxious bride!) To simplify matters, I've reached out to a few of our expert bridal shop besties to get their advice on the do's and don'ts of what to wear to a wedding dress appointment. If you're ready to start booking appointments, check out The Knot Vendor Marketplace to research and book bridal salons near you.

DO wear your favorite shapewear or neutral underwear

When you're trying on dress after dress, you want to feel comfortable and confident in your underwear of choice. "When trying on wedding gowns, it's best to wear what you think you'd wear under your wedding dress on the big day. For example, if you usually prefer Spanx when wearing dresses, be 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.

Dress shopping is not the time to don your sexy bridal 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 a colorful thong or panty lines to distract from the dress itself. So, just opt for your basic nude underwear. Plus, changing in and out of dresses can feel like a workout, so you'll be glad you left the fancy undergarments at home.

DON'T worry about what bra to bring

Don't stress over finding the perfect bra before your shopping appointment. The best thing you can do is simply bring a comfortable nude bra that you already own and can try on with different dresses as needed. Based on the dress you pick, your bridal consultant will advise you on the best kind of undergarments for each dress you try on. Many wedding dresses contain structural elements, such as boning, padding, corsetry, linings, and interlinings, that make wearing a bra unnecessary.

Bride wearing wedding dress with long cathdral veil
Photo: Nicole Astin Photography

DO bring your wedding shoes

While you don't have to bring the wedding shoes when you go wedding dress shopping, bringing a pair can make a world of difference in visualizing your bridal 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. Try to bring weddig shoes that have a similar height to what you think you'll want to wear on your wedding day (like heels, flats, strappy sandals) so you get an idea of how they will look with your wedding dress.

DON'T forget a hair tie or clip

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.

DO wear light makeup (if it makes you feel good)

As a bridal beauty editor, I am a huge advocate for wearing as little or as much makeup as will make you feel good. There is no right or wrong answer to how much makeup you should wear when trying on wedding dresses. When I went shopping for my own dress, I chose to wear makeup that enhanced my complexion and I knew would make me feel good when I looked in the mirror. Plus, I knew my mom would want to take some pictures! A little bit of makeup can boost your confidence and make you shine under the bright salon lights, but this looks different for everyone. While one person might feel best trying on wedding dresses with makeup on, others may prefer to stick to their skincare.

DON'T wear a bunch of jewelry

While chunky jewelry is the moment right now, it's best to leave it at home when bridal dress shopping. A simple pair of studs or small hoops and your engagement ring are all you need to complete your OOTD for appointment day. Excessive jewelry can be distracting and take away from the neckline and details of the dress while you're trying to make the big decision.

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