Wedding season—that annual social calendar window loaded with romance, hors d’oeuvres and superspecific lingerie requirements—is coming back around. We walked down the aisle straight to the source for the best-of-the-best, all-things-bridal recommendations. That’d be Bare Necessities assistant buyer Jackie Garcia, who not only knows the category inside and out professionally, she also happens to be invested in the subject personally: She’s getting married this year.
Bare it All picked Jackie’s brain recently for everything a bride and her tribe could need. From subtly shaping underwear that won’t make you scowl in your photos to your something blue to the best swimsuits to pack for the honeymoon, we’ve put together the ultimate list of Big Day essentials. All you have to remember is to say “I do.”
Q: What wedding day shapewear do you recommend most?
Jackie: First, no matter what color dress you’re wearing, try to match your base layers to your skin tone as closely as possible. When those camera flashes are popping, the bright light can expose what’s going on beneath the fabric, and you don’t want to see stark white come through in any of your pictures. A shade of nude does the trick under a white or ivory gown.
Above all, you want to be as comfortable as possible, or you’re going to be thinking more about how hard it is to breathe, and that’s so not the idea on your wedding day. I love SPANX because while it’s lightweight, it does the job. It’s seamless, invisible and stays right where it belongs while you’re greeting guests or dancing the night away.
The most minimal piece you can wear is the Undie-tectable Lace Hipster if you don’t want a whole other outfit going on underneath your gown. Since you have to wear underwear anyway, you might as well get some benefit out of it.
Bodysuits are great because you can pair them with any bra, and they provide the most shaping coverage. Bear in mind the OnCore Firm Control Open-Bust Bodysuit has straps, so your dress needs to, too. If your dress is fitted, wear a thong bodysuit to smooth over the stomach without any visible leg lines showing through. I love the Va Bien Strapless Low Back Slimming Bodysuit—it’s so hard to find the right shaping, strapless underpinning when your dress dips down in the back.
If your gown is strapless, go for shaping shorts, like the Power Series Medium Control Higher Power Short. Then you can do the right strapless bra for you while smoothing from your stomach to your thighs.
Q: Any special underwear suggestions?
Jackie: The key here, on this day more than any other, is no lines. Hanky Panky is such a great underwear brand not just for everyday but also for your wedding day because it’s pretty, it’s completely flat and it won’t dig into you. I’m partial to the color variety in the Signature Lace Thong and the totally smooth, disappearing Bare Godiva High-Rise Thong.
Q: What are your go-to bras to wear with a strapless gown?
Jackie: When it comes to a strapless bra, I want it to be smoothing, and I want it to stay up. My personal favorite is the Natori Truly Smooth Strapless for its great fit, sleek finish and comfort. The Wacoal Red Carpet Strapless is a classic you can always count on to stay up that comes in a wide size range. Le Mystère Soiree Strapless, another fan favorite, also comes in a low-back bustier so depending on your gown, go for whichever one you feel most comfortable in and supported by.
Q: What to wear when you and your bridesmaids are getting ready?
Jackie: I really like the idea of coordinating. I’ll be wearing this Kate Spade charmeuse “Mrs.” robe and pajama set. I haven’t decided what my bridesmaids will be wearing yet, but I’m thinking I’d like them all to wear something matching for great photos. Everything by Flora Nikrooz is so gorgeous and feminine, especially the watercolor floral print robes with matching romper and pajama sets (at top). These sorts of things could double as bridesmaids gifts they’ll actually love and use. And have you seen these wedding-themed HotSox? Perfection. They make for great little extra shower or bridesmaid gifts, too.
Q: Thoughts on wedding night lingerie?
Jackie: Don’t go over the top. Use your everyday personal style as a guide to feel your most beautiful and confident. Bluebella is sexy and bold, with a range of colors and coverage levels depending on the piece. You can do white lingerie that’s sexy or more subdued.
Q: How about swimsuits to take on your honeymoon?
Jackie: I personally think halters, especially this Freya Remix, are very flattering on every body type. You also can never go wrong with black—the deep plunge of this Kenneth Cole Monokini is very slimming!
ALL ABOUT JACKIE
Happy place: The beach and Bar Method classes.
First love: My Golden Retriever, Maggie. She’s 12 years old.
Wedding plan: I met my fiancé through his cousin, who was dating an old friend at the time. We’ve been together for nine years. He proposed on vacation in London, in front of Big Ben. We’re getting married later this year. We’re not entirely sure where we’re going for our honeymoon yet but are leaning towards Europe.
Personal style: Comfort chic.
Bachelorette party: We rented a house on Long Island and will visit wineries and explore all the cute towns.
Must-have wedding music: We’ll definitely be playing some Frank Sinatra.
Marriage inspiration: My grandparents have been together for 63 years this April.
The meaning of true love: Being with someone who can trust and tell anything to, who supports you no matter what but also isn’t afraid to tell you like it is, and who just so happens to be your best friend.
Brooke is the editor of this here blog. In a previous life, she was an editor at Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine. Brooke has written for Glamour, Travel+Leisure, New York Magazine and more. She’s into concerts, travel and her exceptionally adorable daughter and husband.