Beyond the Dress

Investing in the right intimates will make you feel good from the engagement party to the honeymoon.

While most of the wardrobe talk for your wedding will revolve around the perfect white dress, it’s also important to think about what you’ll be wearing underneath it. New Orleans and its surrounding areas are lucky to have plenty of stores that specialize in lingerie for brides and their wedding parties. Whether you’re looking for sexy lingerie for the wedding night, or a great-fitting bra to wear at your wedding shower, you can find what you need at a store near you.

The fit of a bra is crucial, so the staff at Bra La Vie! (221 W. Thomas St., Hammond, (985) 662-5065, bralavie.com) helps women, including brides, find the perfect size. The Hammond boutique carries band sizes from 28 to 44 and cup sizes A to K. The selection is much more extensive than what is available at a chain or a department store, where only the most commonly purchased sizes are sold, says Bra La Vie! Owner Andrea Kopfler. The employees at Bra La Vie! are trained to make sure each customer comes out with the correct fit. There is no industry standard, so it is important to make sure a bra is right for you. “Bras are like jeans,” Kopfler says. “Each brand fits differently. If you went to the department store because you’re a 34D and you get what you thought was your size, you might not be getting the fit you need.”

For brides looking for more than just the perfect bra, Bra La Vie! also offers lingerie, and can play host to a bridal lingerie shower. The bride is invited to come in before the party and find what she likes, and a store staffer will create a rack for her. On the day of the party, guests will know what the bride wants and make sure they have the correct size. Bra La Vie! also carries gifts for bridesmaids and other wedding accessories.

Another store helping women find the perfect bra is The Voluptuous Vixen (818 Chartres St., 529-3588, thevoluptuousvixen.com). The boutique carries all types of clothing, including dresses, denim and swimwear, for women sizes 12 and up. The shop also offers intimates in band sizes 34 to 48 and cup sizes C to JJ. “We specialize in the hard-to-find sizes,” says Owner Jaclyn McCabe.

To make sure shoppers at The Voluptuous Vixen find the best intimates, McCabe does a bra fitting class for employees once a year, even if they have already been trained. “Eight out of 10 women are not wearing the right size bra,” she says. “It’s very important to be bra-fitted by an expert.”

When you know what size you are, the fun part is deciding on the color. McCabe suggests finding a nude, a black and a nice lacy bra, but also recommends finding bras in fun colors. “Reds and blues and pinks are hot colors in lingerie right now,” McCabe adds.

McCabe and her staff at The Voluptuous Vixen pride themselves on having a large selection for women that might think their options are limited. “A lot of my customers can only find bras in nude and black,” McCabe says. “We try to offer some fun colors for them.”

A third go-to bra shop for local brides and women is Bra Genie (2881 Highway 190, Mandeville, (985) 951-8638, thebragenie.com). Opened in 2005, Bra Genie offers band sizes 28 to 48 and cup sizes AA to K, so you and your whole bridal party are sure to find your new favorite bra. The location is 3,500 square feet, which allows for a stock of more than 9,000 bras, making the store’s inventory the largest in the South, says Bra Genie Owner Jeanne Emory.

While the focus of the store is bras, Bra Genie also sells shapewear, which is a popular choice for brides to wear under their wedding gowns. Stop in Bra Genie and you’ll be put with a fitter who can help you find the right size. Even if you buy a sexy bra and thong for the wedding night, shapewear can be your little secret for other wedding festivities. “You might be wearing shapewear underneath the bridal dress, but [the groom] doesn’t need to know this,” Emory says. “Shapewear is going to make photos and walking down the aisle look really smooth and fabulous.”

Once you have your everyday bras and great shapewear to last you through pre-wedding events and the big day, it’s time to think about what to wear on your wedding night and honeymoon. At Old.New.Blue (6117 Magazine St., 655-0863, oldnewblueshop.com), the shop has a lot to offer a Southern bride, from wedding consultation to bridesmaid gifts, but it also specializes in high-end custom lingerie. One of the store’s most popular lingerie lines is Jane Woolrich. Based in the United Kingdom, Woolrich offers a variety of pieces, including negligees, corsets and underwear. “It’s very, very sexy and very feminine,” says Old.New.Blue Owner Janie Glade. Brides are asked to come into Old.New.Blue for a fitting; the lingerie is shipped back in about three weeks.

Another best-selling lingerie line at Old.New.Blue is Flora Nikrooz. The pieces are “very feminine and very girly,” Glade says, and every item is made in the United States.

Glade adds that it is important for all brides to think about what they’re going to wear on their wedding night because it is a special moment as husband and wife. “A lot of girls think their husbands won’t like them in beautiful feminine lingerie, but that’s just not the case,” she says. “Your husband gets to see you as his wife for the first time only once, so it needs to be memorable.”

Another shop for intimates is Tie the Knot (5101 W. Esplanade Ave., Suite 17, Metairie, 301-9101, tietheknotnola.com). Owner Brittany Claverie started the shop with her mother after she had trouble finding wedding accessories in the area. Tie the Knot now offers lots of gifts for the bridal party and wedding guests from flip flops to champagne flutes, but also features cute underwear for the bride.

Claverie says two popular items are the thong and lacy boy shorts, which can be a a tasteful and fun addition to the big day. “I have thongs with a little blue bow on it,” she says. “A lot of people buy them for their something blue.”

Tie the Knot also has tank tops, robes, towel wraps and more, for just the bride or her whole bridal party. If you want to personalize a piece, Tie The Knot also offers monogramming.

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