Shopping for Shapewear 101

Gone are the days when the term “shapewear” seemed like a code word for an old-school girdle. The world of slimming, smoothing and comfortable shapewear has gone high-tech to the benefit of women and men everywhere. No matter what size you wear, you’ll want to avoid lumps and bumps in your appearance. Here’s a guide to the best classic shapewear items.


What Do You Need?

Will you be shopping for a garment for daily use or a special occasion? If for daily use, you’ll likely want durable items that will be comfortable and supportive all day. If you need a garment for a special occasion, consider whether you will be sitting or standing during the event or whether there will be dancing. Here are some of the basic categories:

  • Full body coverage: Slips and bodysuits are terrific for creating a smooth look over the whole torso and waist.
  • Bras and undies: Bras can provide extra support and back smoothing while also being comfortable enough to wear all day. Undies can flatten stomachs, and some include lifting technology for the derriere.
  • Lingerie: If your shapewear is meant to do double duty both behind the scenes and in full view, be sure to choose garments that are pretty as well.


Support Levels

Depending what you need, you can choose your shapewear support level from light to heavy. Here are some support guidelines:

  • Resist the urge to get a smaller size than what you really need. It will just push your body into uncomfortable positions and shapes that do the exact opposite of what you were trying to achieve.
  • Remember that the heavier the material, the hotter it will be to wear, so try to avoid thick fabrics if you plan to attend an outdoors summer party.
  • If you do choose extra firm support, you may want to use some baby powder in areas that could use extra protection from chafing. Lighter support levels won’t require extra prep.


The Try-On

Do not try to skip this step. It’s crucial – particularly for everyday-wear pieces – that you get a comfortable and smooth fit. Here’s how to go about it.

  • Step into the shapewear, no matter what part of your body it goes on. Over-the-head can be challenging and unnecessarily difficult.
  • Once you get the garment on, move around – a lot. Jump, sit, dance, whatever you will doing at your event. You are looking to make sure the shapewear stays in place and doesn’t roll or slump down.
  • If you can, wear it for a while and make sure you stay comfortable.


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