I wore a girdle in junior high school. I felt like a woman. Thirteen years old and I was officially entering the world of adulthood with my Bas Mitzvah celebration. I wore nylons for the first time and a girdle was the only way to hold them up! I loved my girdle so much I continued to wear it underneath all my skirts and dresses. My girdle was a right of passage…

While I have only worn shapewear one or two times, I appreciate the smoothing out effect of shapewear. It reduces or eliminates the lumps and bumps across the midsection, upper torso, bottom and thighs. There are different weights and thicknesses for those who want absolute control to just a little smoothing out. You may not want to wear shapewear because it just looks so darn uncomfortable. Try to keep an open mind because they’ve really come a long way — some styles are lightweight and quite comfortable. Or, instead of shapewear, you can always try a slip or camisole underneath your clothes to give you a smoother look.

There are so many brands to choose from, besides the well-known Spanx, that I thought I’d review some choices and give you some tips to navigate the world of shapewear:

5 Tips For Wearing Shapewear:

Tip #1:

Shapewear is NOT a requirement. No one is forcing you to wear shapewear. If you enjoy your curves and don’t mind a few natural bulges, then just wear a slip or regular underwear and leave it at that. If you have a special outfit that will look a lot better with shapewear, then go for it a couple times a year.

Tip #2:

Shapewear comes in various performance control levels. You don’t have to wear the high power firm control that cuts off your breathing. The gentle, light control shapewear can do the trick and smooth out the bulges and it’s a lot more comfortable. Wear what is comfortable.

Tip #3:

There are many brands out there now, so shop around and find what is comfortable for you. Give yourself enough time to try on several brands before your special event. I’ll list a few options below.

Tip #4:

Sometimes your Spanx or other brands are fitting you too tight so they may roll up or create muffin top. I know! You can go up a size so that the hems create a snug, but relaxed, fit on the skin. The higher the nylon content, the more the shapewear will alter your shape. If it feels lightweight it’s designed simply to smooth out your figure. Heavier shapewear will compress and tuck your body into shape. Look for cotton-blend shapewear to keep you cooler. Fortunately, several brands, such as Wacoal, sell summer shapewear, lighter versions designed to breathe.

Tip #5:

Match the shapewear style to your outfit. You might need briefs for a skirt, thigh boxers for pants, a slip for a dress, and a camisole or bust cincher for a top. The bodysuit is popular because it creates a head-to-toe streamlined shape, but it may minimize your chest while you’re at it. That may or may not be what you want! Take your clothing with you to the store to try on different styles.

Here are some shapewear products to get you started (I’m not getting payment from these companies, just so you know). If you are interested in one of these products simply Google the name of the product and it will bring up sources:

From The Waist Down:

Yummie Briefs

Yummie By Heather Thomson – The Nici Shaping Briefie offers shaping control around your tummy. These classic nylon briefies are seamless to minimize panty lines. Wear with shorts, skirts, pants, even jeans.

TC Shaping High Waist Thigh Slimmer (Small to Plus Size) – Shapes from under the bust to the bottom of the thigh. Firm control for transforming results. Sculpts the waist, tummy, hips, thighs and rear. This is the type of product I’ve worn with tight-fitting dresses to smooth out my body line.

Spanx ‘Shape My Day’ Girl Shorts – Soft and gentle control shorts to wear under pants, jeans, and dresses. Not suitable for extremely curvey thighs because the length rolls up the legs. Choose a longer style for extra curvy thighs to prevent roll-up.

From The Waist Up:

TC Camisole Shaper – Firm control for transforming results. Sculpts the waist, tummy and back. Exceptionally smooth, stretchy fabric ensures this camisole shaper sculpts curves and smoothes trouble spots invisibly, while wide adjustable straps offer supportive comfort.

Wacoal ‘Try A Little Slenderness’ Bodysuit – Transform your figure in a seamless bodysuit cut from a lightweight performance fabric and designed with a built-in bra that supports the bust while an internal panel helps smooth the waist, tummy and hips. I can see wearing this every day in the winter to provide more warmth and smooth the upper torso. This product gets an A+ for the cute name!

Carnival Front Closure Long Line Bra – A long line bra for the woman who wants shape and support from bustline to waistline. Front adjusting straps. Molded, wireless cups support and shape the breasts into a youthful appearance.

As you can see, there is shapewear for just about every body area, size, and control preference. Making your flowy dress fit more smoothly over your body or your tight pants free of bulges is something that could add to your confidence level as you walk into a room — and that’s always a good thing.

Are you wearing shapewear? If so, what’s your go-to brand and type of shapewear? If not, why not?