As much as I love dresses, they can create tricky dilemmas when it comes to knowing what to wear underneath. Whether light fabric designed to keep us cool that’s inevitably a little sheer, unwanted straps and lines from a body-hugging fit, or cutouts, low backs, and halters that make finding the right bra feel like a puzzle, pretty dresses bring the hurdles when it comes to achieving a “no show” effect.
So, what to wear underneath your dresses? Today I’m sharing an updated list of the “underneath it all” pieces I return to over and over again for creating a smooth, opaque look throughout the year.
Whether you’re just beginning to build out your undergarment drawer or are looking for a refresh, these are the undergarments for dresses I think every woman can benefit from having on hand.
The Best Undergarments for Dresses
From April through September, you’ll find me in nippies 99% of the time. Man, I love these so much. I go through probably one pair annually (they’re washable, but I wear them a lot). They’re breathable and perfect for backless dresses and styles with deep v-neck, halter, and twisted necklines. They have a second skin, gel feel with a sticky adhesive side that’s so easy to pop on. You can stick them low and pull them up for a little extra support. I keep the boxes with the plastic molds to help them last longer.
I wear the same Calvin Klein thongs throughout the year and have them in three colors. The nude pairs are perfect for summertime, especially when wearing white and sheer dresses to prevent see-through issues. What I love about these thongs is that they’re thin but not overly delicate. They stay in place, don’t roll, feel good against your skin, and have a smooth finish, so you can’t see panty lines with fitted dresses.
High Waist Shapewear Shorts
There are so many body shaper shorts that offer different results, depending on your figure and what you’re looking for. I find that some have a slimming effect or suck you in so much that they actually reduce curves whereas others keep your shape but offer a smoothing effect.
My personal favorites are this high waist pair by Commando. You hardly know they’re there and they smooth without offering too much compression. If you prefer more compression, I also have and like the Spanx Oncores for special occasions. They offer more sculpting and tummy control without smashing you down entirely, but they’re not as comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
Slips and Half Slips
For crochet, lace, and generally sheer dresses, sometimes it’s easiest to wear a slip underneath. I love the Commando Mini Cami Slip Dresses because they’re not super tight or built to hold you in—they’re just fitted enough without being uncomfortable. You get all the smoothness and opaqueness you need, but it disappears under dresses.
When I’m not wearing my nippies, my go-to everyday bra is this t-shirt bra by Third Love. They come in full and half cup sizes and over a dozen colors, so you can find something that matches your skin tone. They hold up well in the wash, and I wear them with my casual dresses, including wide strap dresses, rib knit dresses, and t-shirt dresses.
I’ll be honest, I’m still on the search for the perfect strapless bra! It’s why I resort to my nippies so frequently, and to be real, my chest is so small that I don’t need much support. The Wacoal Red Carpet is a favorite I’ve seen recommended over and over, so that’s on my lingerie list to try next.
A J-Hook bra basically allows you to pull the straps of the bra in and wear cutaway dresses. Once again, I don’t wear j-hook bras too often since I prefer the nipple covers mentioned above, but the ‘Halo Lace’ Convertible Bras by Wacoal have great reviews if you’re looking for something more supportive.