two plus-size women in shapewear are hugging each other
Photo: Laura Tancredi

Sometimes we all have a love-hate relationship with our favorite outfit. One day it sits on the figure just right, beautifully emphasizing all the right places. On the other day, something was just not right, the jeans were too saggy, and the bodycon dress was too tight! Thankfully, for moments like that, there is the magic of a foundation garment aka the shapewear!

Wearing shapewear is, of course, a personal choice, but its magic can elevate your casual look to new levels of class. Some people love rocking shapewear casually, while others reach for it to wear with plus-size clothing and plus-size lingerie mostly on special occasions. Whether you choose to wear it or not, you'll need to pick the most fitting and most comfortable undergarment that fully satisfies the needs of your figure and your wardrobe. With this fashion guide, you'll be able to find the best shaping underwear for you.

What Type of Shapewear to Choose?

The best shapewear for women must be as lightweight as a feather and made of breathable material. Typically, shapewear is made of synthetic materials like nylon and spandex. Depending on the manufacturer, the shapewear piece may be completed with cotton or silk inserts. When buying your best-shaping underwear, it is also important to consider the fabric of the clothing you will wear with it. Cotton and linen fabric may cling to synthetic material.

The shapewear is like a secret agent that serves a very special mission – it must stay seamless under the clothes. That is why it is important to pick the right shapewear color. Most shapewear comes in three basic colors: black, white, and nude. If with black and white colors everything seems more or less simple, finding the right nude may be challenging. Your perfect nude color must be as close to the color of your skin as it is possible, varying from light porcelain and beige to the deepest shades of chocolate.

two plus size women in bodysuit shapewear are posing to the camera in the studio

How to Choose the Right Shapewear Size?

This is probably the most common question everyone asks about shapewear. There are tons of myths connected with this type of undergarment. Among them, there is a myth about sizing down. Some claim that when you wear a size smaller, the shapewear can sculpt the figure even better. But this is not always true. Smaller shapewear will sit tighter on your body, but it may create an unnecessary volume around the hem. Plus, it will also compress your body stronger, making you feel less comfortable.

When shopping for your best shapewear go for your regular size. Measure your waist, hips, and your chest. If you aren't sure how and where to measure, you can ask a consultant in the store to help you with this task or email customer service, if you shop for your shapewear online. The shapewear before and after results are always the best when you pick the right size.

  • What Type of Shapewear Do You Need? 

Before settling on a specific type of shaping underwear, it is best to understand your fashion needs and your body type. Do you pretend to use shapewear under casual looks daily, or want to wear them only for evening occasions? And what about your body type? Do you need some compression on the top, or want to slim down your waist and core? There are so many important things to consider when choosing your perfect piece. Here are a few comfortable shapewear types that will serve the purpose.

plus-size model in a shapewear bodysuit

Camisoles and boleros: if you want to tone your arms and the upper part of your body, boleros (also known as arm shapers) and slimming camisoles will help you with this task. Wear them underneath blouses and long-sleeve tops.

Bodysuits: for the moments when you need full-body support. Shaping bodysuits will support your breast, stomach, and your thighs. Moreover, they look super attractive!

• Waist trainer for women and corsets: these are one of the oldest and the most classic shapewear pieces. They work on your waist and can be used underneath or on top of your clothes.

Briefs and shorts: controlling briefs and shorts are ideal for the waistline and tummy area. They are the most seamless and comfortable shapewear pieces, essential for every wardrobe.

Tights and leggings: for all of your 'bottom' needs. Shaping tights and leggings effortlessly sculpt your legs and buttocks, which makes them super-comfortable for working out.

Dress and half slips: the least popular, but not the least shapewear pieces. They are used under tight dresses and pencil skirts. 

But, don't stop your choice of only one particular shapewear type. With so many options on the market, it is best to try as many pieces as it is possible. In the end, a single piece of sculpting briefs or bra may not be enough to cover all of your wardrobe needs. Try different levels of compression to find the one you require for everyday and special occasions.

  • What is Considered to Be a Comfortable Shapewear?

Certainly, shapewear may feel tight and compress on your skin. It is made to 'hold in' the tissues, slimming and defying the silhouette. Most shapewear manufacturers offer five different levels of compressions, where level 1 is non-shaping underwear that creates a smooth base for the clothing, and level 5 has a high-compressing undergarment. 

Consequently, the first two levels of compression are the most comfortable and ideal for everyday usage, while the highest levels of compression provide the most control.

Final Thoughts...

Shapewear may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is surely a magical undergarment. It helps to smooth the lines of your underwear, and the skin rolls, creating the most beautiful, defined silhouette. Understanding the style of your wardrobe and your body shape are the two first steps in finding the right fitting shapewear that will feel both comfortable and compliment your figure. 

Lots of love,