Guide To Shapewear Selection: Choosing The Right Style For Your Trouble Spots

Oprah, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jessica Alba are just a few of the celebrities who know the secret to looking fashionably flawless comes down to what you’re wearing underneath your clothes... Not only are today’s shape enhancing undergarments comfortable thanks to innovations in sheer fabrics that provide outstanding support, but they’re also a versatile and stylish way to get a sleek and sexy figure. The following tips can help you choose the right style shapewear so you can wear that gorgeous form-fitting dress you love with confidence anytime.

Identify Your Trouble Spots

The first step to choosing shapewear is identifying your trouble spots. Do you need tummy control? Would you like more waist definition? How about shaping your torso, rear, or thighs? Maybe you’d like to smooth all of these trouble spots. Since today’s shapewear targets specific areas of the body, once you know what you want to improve, choosing the right shapewear for your silhouette is simple.

Styles Of Shapewear

Here are the most common styles of shapewear to help introduce you to the possibilities.

1. Body Shapewear

Also called all-in-ones, body briefers, and body-shapers, body shapewear smoothes your entire midsection, providing full body coverage and shaping from the bust down to the tummy and hips. Since body shapewear may featured built-in bra, they’re often sized according to bra size, which makes finding the right fit easy. For example, if you wear a size 38C bra, you wear size 38C body shapewear.

2. Bust Shapewear

Instead of just pushing up your bust like the average push-up bra, bust shapewear enhances your shape by giving your bust a boost while providing maximum support that looks completely natural. Just as with body shapewear, you should purchase bust shapewear based on your bra size.

3.  Shaping Panties

Flatten your tummy and hips while lifting and supporting your rear for sleek, natural shaping without pinching or binding. Choose shaping panty size based on your waist, hip, and panty size as shown in the chart below.

4. Thigh Shapewear

Leg and mid thigh control briefs extend down the thighs. Thigh shapewear provides the same tummy, hip, and rear benefits of shaping panties while also helping to shape and support the thighs. The best thigh shapewear includes a special grip or band at the bottom of the leg that prevents rolling and shifting.

5. Tummy Control Shapewear

Tummy control shapewear resembles shaping panties except that it typically only offers tummy control. With a support panel that extends over the front of the brief, hipster or thong, tummy control shapewear flattens your tummy to give you a smooth silhouette.

6. Waist Shapewear

Sometimes you just need a little waist definition, and that’s where waist shapewear excels. There are many different styles of waist nipping shapewear with the most common being a shaping brief with an elongated waistband that shapes your torso and extends to just below your bra line. Waist shapewear will give your waist a smooth contour, and your waist, hip, and panty measurements determine the correct size for you.

Shapewear Support Levels

In addition to coming in a variety of shapes and colors, today’s shapewear also offers a number of different support levels that allow you to choose the amount of control, smoothness and support best for your figure.

Light Control – Offers as much support as control top pantyhose and provides gentle, minimal control  shaping without panels or binding

Moderate Control – Offers additional smoothness with a moderate amount of control from light spandex and control panels

Firm Control – Offers excellent correction and support for problem areas with solid control from firm panels and spandex

Extra Firm Control – Offers the highest level of shapewear support available, and typically includes reinforced panels and sometimes even boning for maximum, extra firm control.

Shapewear Sizing Tips

The key to getting the best fit with shapewear is wearing the right size. If you’ve never been professionally measured for a bra or other undergarments, it’s well worth the time and effort. Sizing is critically important to getting a flawless look from your bras, panties, and shapewear. You’ll also enjoy greater comfort by wearing the correct size.

Never buy shapewear a size smaller than you actually need. It won’t provide extra support because it won’t fit correctly. If you’re considering a smaller size because you desire additional support, a better way to get that support is to just move to shapewear with a higher support level.

Shapewear Fitting Tips

Putting on your shapewear correctly will ensure a perfect fit that is also comfortable. To avoid binding, gather the sides of your shapewear in your hands similar to putting on pantyhose. Then step into the legs, pull your shapewear up to position the crotch, and then gradually release the fabric until you work all the way up, making sure the panels and seams are straight and in place.

After putting on your shapewear, sit down to check for binding and rolling. Before getting dressed, you should also cross your legs, bend over, kneel down, lift your arms, walk around, and perform any other movements you regularly do during the day to make sure your shapewear stays in place without binding or cutting into your body. Taking this simple step can mean a proper fit that stays comfortable all day instead of having to readjust constantly.

If your shapewear gets too hot during the day, look for much lighter weight shapers. If sweating or itching is a problem, consider applying baby powder to your skin before putting on your shapewear to feel cool, clean, and dry.

Choosing The Right Style

By identifying your trouble spots, evaluating the different shapewear options, choosing the right control level, sizing correctly, and wearing your shapewear properly, you’ll look as flawless as Oprah, Gwyneth, and Jessica while feeling stylish, confident, sexy, and comfortable all day long.

More Good-Fit Shapewear Resources

Shapewear Do's and Don'ts

5 Top Secret Shapewear Problem Solvers

The Five Point Checklist For Great Fitting Shapewear

Six Shapewear Tips For Getting A Slim Look While Staying Healthy


About the Author:

Cindy Prosser is a former underwear model turned freelance writer and mom. She's a recent "convert" to good-fitting shapewear, which helped her renew her feeling of beauty. She works to spread the "good-fit = happiness gospel" for Bare Necessities shapewear.