Shapewear is underwear that smoothes out the contour of your body. It reduces or eliminates the lumps and bumps across the midsection, upper torso, bottom and thighs. You usually wear shapewear over a regular bra and panties. It’s made of stretchy manmade fibres, is fairly pricey, and lasts a good long while.
I shop for shapewear fairly frequently with clients. The items have come a long way over the years. Gone are the days when there was only one option that cut off your circulation. These days there are many different brands, each with a variety of options to suit all sorts of body shaping requirements.
First, five tips to help you navigate the world of shapewear:
- Shapewear is NOT essential. It’s a lot more comfortable to find clothing that’s in line with your figure flattering properties so that you can wear regular underwear and leave it at that. That said, you might wear shapewear a few times a year with a specific outfit for a special occasion.
- Shapewear varies in performance control: You don’t need to wear high power “firm control” shapewear. Gentle and medium control shapewear can do the trick and is more comfortable. Some of my clients wear gentle control shapewear daily, and feel uncomfortable without it!
- Spanx is not your only option: Brands like TC, Commando, DKNY and Yummie can be better suited to your needs, so make sure that you fit a variety of brands before you commit to the final item.
- Size Up: The last thing you want is shapewear that, quite ironically, creates muffin top under the bust, on the waist, or on the thighs, because the hem openings are overly tight, or when the waist of the shapewear rolls down the body. Size up so that the hems create a snug but relaxed fit on the skin.
- Match the shapewear to the item: You’ll need different styles of shapewear for different items in your wardrobe. You might need briefs for a skirt, thigh boxers for trousers, shape shorts for jeans, a slip or bodysuit for a dress, and a camisole or waist cincher for a top. If you’re shopping for shapewear in brick-and-mortar stores, take the clothing with you and pop them straight over the shapewear in the dressing room to assess how things feel, fit and look.
Here’s a selection of winning shapewear to get you started if you’re in the market for the items. Read their rave reviews. Most of the styles are available in a selection of nudes and black. You can see the items alongside my descriptions on the collection page.
- Yummie By Heather Thomson 'Cameo' High Waist Smoother Briefs: Offers medium control over the tummy, bottom and waist. Good for those NOT looking for extra contouring on the thighs.
- TC Shaping High Waist Thigh Slimmer (Plus Size) (Online Only): Very effective shaping from under the bust to the bottom of the thigh. And on sale.
- Spanx 'Oncore' High Waist Mid Thigh Shaper: A shaper for firm control over a larger part of the body. Constricting yet very effective for shorter periods of time. Harder to pull on and off, so stick to a few wearings a year with this one.
- Spanx 'Oncore' Mid Thigh Shaper: Firm yet gentle control because it stops at the waist. This shaper is suited to tummy and thigh contouring and is less shaping over the waist and torso area.
- Yummie By Heather Thomson 'Cleo' High Waist Shaping Shorts (Regular & Plus Size): Very effective shaping from under the bust to the bottom of the thigh. Medium control for more frequent use.
- Spanx 'Shape My Day' Girl Shorts: Soft and gentle control shorts to wear under pants, jeans and dresses. Not suitable for extremely curvy thighs because the length rolls up the legs. Choose a longer style for extra curvy thighs.
- Spanx 'Shape My Day' Open Bust Mid Thigh Bodysuit Shaper: This style of shapewear is a larger commitment, but is quite comfortable nonetheless because it offers medium control. It does a great job of smoothing out the area under the arms and under the bra band, as well as the area from torso to thigh.
- Commando Two-Faced Tech Control Mini Slip: A good shaping slip to wear under a fitted dress. Available in longer lengths.
- TC Waist Cincher: A shaper for the waist, tummy and lower torso. Does not shape the bottom, hip or thigh area. Good to wear under fitted tops and skirts.
- TC High Waist Shaping Briefs (Plus Size) (Online Only): An excellent shaper for the waist and tummy area. Does not shape thighs. Comfortable with relatively high control.
- DKNY Under Bust Lace Inset Bodysuit: An extremely pretty shaper with lace trim. Gentle, yet quite effective. Many, many rave reviews. Unfortunately the size assortment is narrow.
- Shaping High Waist Boy Shorts: Medium control for a larger area of the body. Soft and easier to pull on and off than Spanx. Can be worn more frequently. Might be a little short on the legs for very curvy thighs.
Do you wear shapewear? If so, would you like to share your experience?