Expert Advice from Lingerie Specialist Susan Nethero

Martha Stewart Weddings, Fall 2011

In 1992, when Nethero founded Intimacy, her first lingerie boutique, her goal was to help every woman find the perfect bra. Today, her 16 stores and website carry a dizzying selection of -- yes -- bras, plus shapewear and sexy little somethings (myintimacy.com). Over the years, she's fitted hundreds of brides. Read on for her sage advice.

Let's start with the bra. How should it fit?
"If you don't look perky and proportionate, you're not wearing the right size. The best way to guarantee a proper fit is to get sized by a professional. Then think of a bra as a seesaw: the lower it sits on your back, the more lift you'll have in front. If you need a lot of support, adjust the straps so it rides low, and vice versa. Also, a brand-new bra will relax with wear, so it should be taut when you clasp it in the loosest position. Remember that bras are a lot like shoes -- they're not comfortable until they're broken in."

Any suggestions for finding a style that works with your body type and your dress?
"For strapless silhouettes, be sure your bra is really snug; women often buy them too big around. You don't want to be hiking it up all night! Look for designs that have silicone grips along the sides, which hug the body. If your gown has one shoulder or a deep V, you can wear a convertible strapless bra or adhesive backless version, which sticks to your skin. Or, ask your bridal store to sew in cups so you don't have to worry about fit issues."

What's your advice for curvy women?
"'Overflowing,' which is when the skin spills over the front of the bra, is one of the biggest problems I see. This can be prevented by wearing the proper cup size. The trick is to find a shape that's deep but not necessarily wide. Many women don't know that specialty stores stock bras up to a size K."

And for those who'd like to add curves?
"To help fill out a dress that's a little too big, buy a bra with larger cups and add silicone-gel pads. If you're full on top and smaller below, you can get padded panties to make you look more shapely, which is nice if you're wearing a very fitted gown. A line called Bump-a-Booty -- what a hilarious name! -- makes a great pair. They're so subtle, no one will ever know."

What about finding something special for the honeymoon?
If you're going to splurge, choose Aubade or Chantelle, two of my go-to lines. The quality is exceptional, and the details are always exquisite. Plus, they're made to last for years."

How about buying a bikini -- is it different from shopping for lingerie?
"Not really. The one thing to remember is that two-thirds of women are a different size on the top than they are on the bottom. So when you're shopping, look for styles that allow you to mix and match, and test out a lot of different combinations. I like the Panache line, which has great-fitting suits. Just like lingerie, the right suit with make you look -- and feel -- incredible."

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