Where to buy good quality, beautiful shapewear, plus tips on how to accentuate and flatter your natural body shape
Women's bodies and shapewear have a bit of an odd relationship at the moment. At a time of body positivity and inclusivity, it seems passé to suggest that a woman larger than sample-size skinny should try to squeeze herself into tight undergarments so she looks better in itty-bitty dresses.
It's a tightrope shapewear brands such as Shapermint walk with grace. Take their latest ad, which tries to reframe girdles as confidence boosters. It boldly reminds us that that is what those things are for anyway. The reality is simple: bodies are all different, and they don't always sit just right under clothing that isn't cut to your proportions and dimensions. A little help, therefore, never hurts. Here's an essential guide to shapewear for the newly-initiated.
If you're looking for... various shades of nudes
Kim Kardashian's shapewear brand might have gotten off to a rocky start with its naming brouhaha, but it's mostly come around to become everything she's promised. That means flattering bodywear that comes in a range of shades so there's a nude for most every skin tone.
If you're looking for... an all-rounder
Spanx is the brand that made shapewear the indispensable category it is — beloved by celebrities for photocalls and red carpet events where they have to look perfectly fitted when photographed from all angles. Their bodysuits are still some of the best, hold everything snugly in place, and are built tough enough so the elastic lasts many wears.
If you're looking for... support for the lower half
Sometimes you just need targeted lift, and that's what a comfortable pair of girdles are for. These ones from Wacoal use a thin breathable mesh for optimum breathability, in addition to a medium control strength so you get the flattening you need on the tummy, lift on the bottom, and ease to still move and eat.
If you're looking for... shapewear for your top
In weather like this, it can be a good idea to make your shapewear do double duty as a part of your actual outfit so you can skip a layer. Something like the ballet turtleneck bodysuit from Commando — great because it just looks like a clingy jersey sweater — cuts a clean silhouette and pairs great tucked into a big, poofy skirt.
If you're looking for... fancy feelings on the inside
We highly recommend fancy shapewear — not just for the tactile elevation of fine fabrics, but for the abstract sense of confidence really nice underwear can give you. The Shape Allure range from La Perla combines the romantic Chantilly lace designs of the brand with actual, high-performing sculpting and lifting.
If you're looking for... back support
The tummy, bottom, thighs, and breast are obvious enough areas to pay attention to, but don't neglect the back. It's especially so when you're wearing a fitted dress, or one cut on the bias which clings to and moves closely with the body, because the fabric can easily bunch. Consider a dress shaper that can channel fat from around the armpits to the front — it helps to form a smoother and more flattering silhouette.