Dear T30SB: Strapless Gown Slippage Advice
Friday, November 4, 2011 at 8:27AM
Louise in Advice, Alterations, Wedding Gowns

I received the following email recently and thought that the answer might be something all brides could use a little help with:

Found your blog while researching the Wtoo Liane gown used in one of your blog entries.  Any idea of what under garments the bride wore underneath?  My daughter is getting married later this month and is experiencing some anxiety with dress slippage.  She is a size 2.  Thanks in advance for any info! –Merry

Well Merry, you have a very good question here that I’m certain many brides could use some assistance with. You didn’t mention your daughter’s cup size, but since she’s a size 2 I’m going to go ahead and assume her rack is as petite as she is.

The key to avoiding strapless gown slippage is all in the alterations. Your seamstress must know what she’s doing. In order for the gown to fit snuggly in the boobs and to remain in place, the fit around the waist needs to be exact. Particularly with the Liane gown (a ruffled-skirt ball gown shape), the weight of the dress is meant to be carried on the hips. If it’s snug around the waist and your daughter has hips, the dress won’t go anywhere.

That isn’t to say that the bust line doesn’t need altering. That area should fit too, but the top of the bust line should not feel tighter than the waistline. If it does that’s where the overall weight of the dress will fall, causing slippage.

Also note that during the course of the day, the dress will stretch a little – as do all clothes as you wear them about. Plan on this. Make sure the gown fits tight at the final fitting, but not so tight that you seriously can’t breath. Slightly uncomfortable is OK, you’ll be able to breath later, I promise.

Larger busted gals: be wary of having your gown fit too tightly under your boobs versus your waist. Don’t use your gown as a support system for your massive rack. Your strapless bra is your support system. Again, the tightest spot is where the bulk of the weight of the dress will fall and you want that to be primarily at your waist, so the gown doesn’t slip down over your hips.

If your gown laces up the back, make sure those laces are tight. Have your MOH adjust them pre-reception to help keep the dress fitting like  a dream the rest of the night.

Let’s say you have your gown altered and it fits like a dream. Then let’s say you’re like me and without trying, you drop 5 pounds the week of the wedding and now your gown is too big. What’s a bride to do? Bring back up.

By back up, I mean boob inserts. I like to call them chicken cutlets. I wrote about mine here


Photograph by Jonathon Campbell Photography

Guess which size I wore? Yeah, I went for the bigger ones. I needed all the help I could get. My dress also had sewn in bra cups so I could go sans bra. I don’t suggest this on a strapless gown though. There are 800 billion strapless bra options out there. If you’re not sure which bra will work, buy a couple you think work and feel best. Keep the tags on, try it on with your gown at your fitting and return the ones that don’t work. Check with the store’s return policy first, but you really shouldn’t have any trouble with this. Inserts will be much harder to return, usually because they are sold in a way that you have to destroy the packaging to get at them.  They aren’t terribly expensive and will be worth the boob-headaches on your wedding day.

Last but not least, double sided sticky fashion/lingerie tape with help keep the gown from moving around and showing nipple – as a last resort. DO NOT RELY ON THIS TO HOLD YOUR DRESS UP ALL NIGHT. Fashion tape is used mostly to keep fabric in place, not as a support system. If you’ve never used fashion tape before, do a little research. A make-up artist gave me some once to use on a model for a TruLu Couture fashion shoot and that shit was like super-glue. It ruined the piece I used it on because it simply would not come off. Think about how that might feel on your skin all night. Give it a test run first to see how your skin reacts to it (do this in an inconspicuous area on your bod). You don’t want a hideous rash creeping up around the edge of your gown now, do you? No, I think not.

OK, I thought I was done, but I’m not. Another last resort is a sash. If you’re gown was altered incorrectly and it’s not snug enough at your waist and hips, consider a last minute sash. You can buy one from any number of resources (Etsy, Cargoh, your bridal gown shop) or you can make a quick trip to the fabric store and buy yourself some 3-4” wide satin ribbon and DIY that sucker. Having a sash cinched around your waist will help transfer the weight there to keep your gown up. Consider it a fun reception piece since that’s where you’ll be doing most of your moving around.

Whew. OK, Merry? Did I answer your question thoroughly? Here a recap…. First: Alterations. Second: A good, supportive  bra worn during the final fitting. Third: Boob inserts. Fourth: Fashion tape. Fifth: Sash.

Good luck and let me know how it all turns out!

Update on Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 4:30PM by Registered CommenterLouise

If you care to read through the comments below, you'll find that the bride had a corset sewn into her gown. Her mother was sweet enough to send out a few photos from the bride's big day and I just had to share them !

Look at her go!

I spy....Etsy purses? Too cute.

Very cute BM dresses, no?

Handsomes and Pretties!

Thanks for sharing to our Mother of the Bride, Merry!

Article originally appeared on The Thirty-Something Bride Wedding Blog (
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