In the past, women have traditionally reserved shapewear for special occasions. However, that trend has since changed. Shapewear is becoming an increasingly popular option for everyday wear as well as formal wear.
More and more women are donning shapewear on a regular basis to achieve a slimmer, sleeker silhouette under casual and dressy clothes alike. With so many innovative styles, designs, brands, colors, and high-performance materials to choose from, some women are even replacing their traditional bras and panties for shapewear alternatives.
If you’re considering adding shapewear to your wardrobe, that’s great! But there are some basics about shapewear you should know before you start shopping. Here are my answers to the most frequently asked questions about shapewear for newbies and occasional wearers.
What is shapewear?
Shapewear, or shaping underwear, is an undergarment designed to temporarily change the appearance of the body shape to create a sleeker and more attractive figure.
The most common reason women wear shapewear is to create a slimmer appearance under their clothing. Shapewear is designed to help minimize or even eliminate unwanted bulges or lumps of fat in problem areas. When there’s no time to diet or exercise to lose weight, shapewear is a great quick fix to get a slim, smooth silhouette.
How do I choose the right shapewear?
To choose the right shapewear for you and your needs, follow these tips:
1. Stick to your size.
Women sometimes make the mistake of going down a size when they want more slimming control from their shapewear. However, wearing a size too small can give you an unflattering or unnatural shape, create bulges, and cause discomfort. If you want more control, go up a control level – but always stick to your size.
2. Choose your control level.
Shapewear is available in different control levels based on how drastic of a change you want. It can vary from light control, moderate control, firm control, and extra firm control. Keep in mind that light control is much more comfortable than extra firm control, which means you can wear it for longer stretches of time.
3. Consider problem areas.
We all have different problem areas that the right shapewear can help us smooth out and minimize. Common problem areas include the tummy, waist, rear, hips, and thighs.
Is it OK to wear shapewear every day?
The right fitting shapewear can be a comfortable undergarment to wear daily and for long periods of time without discomfort. While older fashioned corsets and girdles were binding and constricting, many of today’s modern shapewear designs are actually made to promote better circulation, flexibility and breathability while being worn.
While shapewear can be worn safely regularly, it’s important to consider the control level. Extra firm control shapewear will be less comfortable to wear for extended periods of time (8-12 hours) than light or moderate control shapewear. If something is binding, creating lines, bulges, discomfort or causing pain, you shouldn’t wear it for long stretches of time.
Which shapewear works best?
The short answer: It depends.
I’d love to be able to tell you to buy this one piece of shapewear and bam – you’ll get the perfect shape under everything and won’t need to go shopping ever again. However, while one piece of shapewear may be perfect for some, it’s not right for others. To find the shapewear that works best for you, you need to consider your individual problem areas.
Women come in all shapes and sizes, which means shapewear options have to follow suit. Some women are hourglass shaped, while others have thicker waists. Some women have small tops and large thighs. Some have larger hips and derrieres.
Different types of shapewear offer targeted control to minimize the bulge in the right places. So before you start shopping, take your outfit, body type and problem areas into account first. Then, choose shapewear style geared toward targeting the right places. Once you’ve done that, decide how much control you want (in other words, how drastic do you want the change to your silhouette to be?).
Want to learn more about shapewear? Check out these blog posts!
Stay tuned for Part II of this series (coming in a couple weeks): Shapewear Q&A Part II: Style Tips
Find a better fit,