Tips on Buying Shapewear


Shapewear has evolved from boned corsets to technologically advanced garments that appear to shave off extra pounds. Since shaping garments are available in a wide range of brands, sizes and colors, it's useful to know what to look for before scouring the lingerie racks. A proper shaper has a snug fit, is comfortable to wear and doesn't cause bulging at the top or bottom. Ask a salesperson for assistance before making a purchase.

Proper Sizing

  • Shapewear must be the correct size in order to look good underneath clothing. The wrong size can mean the difference between comfortable wear and a fidget-filled day. Shaping foundations that are too large can bunch and twist; under-sized pieces may pinch and cause unsightly bulges. To make sure the sizing is correct, measure your waist and hips. A good lingerie retailer will be able to translate these measurements into shapewear that fits correctly. To fit a bra, it's best to ask for assistance; correct bra fitting involves a special formula and precise tape measure placement to get a trustworthy size.

Get To Know the Lines

  • Sizing varies from one brand name to the next. Some makers will run more true to industry workroom sizing, while other designers will engineer their sizing a little larger for vanity purposes. Certain designers also may specialize in shapewear for specific builds like queen or petite sizes. Try on shapewear pieces to make sure the fit is correct.

Selecting a Good Color

  • Shapewear is manufactured in a smaller range of colors than conventional lingerie. Usually, a store stocks nude, black and white. For all-purpose wear, beige will suffice for most skin tones. White wedding gowns do best with white, or use black for dark-skinned brides. Always try the shapewear under the gown or outer garment to see if any parts will be visible. It may be necessary to pin the shapewear to the gown to prevent shifting during wear.

Caring About Control

  • Purchase a garment that offers the desired level of control. Shapewear commonly comes in light, medium or firm control levels; buying a smaller size will not effect or replicate a higher control level. According to lingerie and foundation garment website Fresh Pair, light control offers smoothing with no shaping, medium adds tone without rearranging, firm flattens and "can actually take centimeters off your size." Buy only the level that you need, since too much control can feel restrictive, and try on the garment to effectively gauge freedom of movement and comfort.


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