The "We'll just sew cups in for you" Mistake: Foundation Garment 411

The trap

We've heard it all too often over the years. "We'll just sew in some bra cups during alterations."

In truth, if your gown is too big through the bust, it needs to be altered to fit to you because, well, it does not actually fit. Sewing in cups does not change the sizing of a dress. And, while excellent alterations professionals know this and it may seem intuitive, not all sales consultants realize this. 

Some well-meaning consultants advise brides they can just sew in some bra cups to the gown during alterations. But, while it's true that can technically be done, this decision is nearly always a mistake. Adding a cup might prevent your gown from caving in, but it's a band aide solution.

Foundation garment basics

What you want is a garment whose very existence is to give you lift, smooth out bumps, and provide additional structure. 

To achieve that, structure is your friend. Sewing in cups doesn't really add structure, unfortunately. Because structure is the real problem we're looking to solve, the better suggestion for most bridal and eveningwear is a longline bra or bustier.

Pro tip

If your gown is quite thin, take care to ensure you select a seamless variety so that the boning of your undergarment won't show through. (Most bridal gowns have enough structure to minimize that concern.)

If you are rocking an open back gown that doesn't dip scandalously low, you can still rock a bustier. Ask for a plunge back. They'll generally have 3 hooks rather than the 10 or so on the regular styles. Larger cupped ladies: note that you will lose some of that support.

You say you did go with a wildly adventurous open back? Hot! So you should sew cups in, right? Sorry, still wrong. Again, the best solution is to get your body in place how you want before the gown is on. You, my dear, need what we lovingly call "chicken cutlets."  Those are silicon self-adhesive cups.

Pro tip

Note that Frederick's and other such sites sell bridal "corsets." These are honeymoon lingerie, not bridal foundation solutions. Because they come up as far as they do in the back, they show out the top of strapless gowns. 


Our advice 

We advise our brides that a great boned, longline bustier is a fantastic investment for the wedding itself and well after. It's a foundation piece you'll find yourself using all the time once you own it and appreciate the magic. Even summer brides will want to wear Spanx (or the like) for smoothing out your silhouette so that gowns drape beautifully and for moisture wicking. Believe it or not, more layers actually means more comfort in this situation.

For our Custom Design brides, we often design gown sizing specific to the client. This means instead of a size 8, we order the gown in her exact measurements. This minimizes alterations needs, a typical savings of $200-500. It also means we are talking through the ways she can expect certain silhouettes and styles to fit. 

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