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Shapewear Fitting

Almost every look has, at one time or another, been in fashion, with the exception of bulges. So when designers get together and declare body-conscious fashions the look of the season, we women need to make sure our silhouettes are sleek and smooth. The good news is that achieving such a look no longer requires a girdle of whalebone and canvas. Sheer power fabrics have made possible a whole new line of undergarments that minimize and enhance your figure while providing comfortable support. Shapewear is the answer for any woman who wants to be in control of her shape -- no matter what curve ball the fashion world throws you.

Finding Your Personal Shapewear Size

Shapewear comes in a variety of styles- from all-in-ones to tummy-controlling panties. The many options let you decide where you want that extra support. Shapewear also comes with different control levels -- light control to extra-firm control. These control levels let you choose how much support you want.

Shapewear Styles


This style (also called an all-in-one) gives full coverage of the body and includes a built-in bra. For this reason, body shapewear comes in bra sizes. If you wear a 36C bra, you would buy a 36C body shapewear.


Shapewear that enhances your bust is known as a bust style. This shapewear style comes in bra sizes as well.

25-26" 35-36" 5 Small
27-28" 37-38" 6 Medium
29-30" 39-40" 7 Large
31-32" 41-42" 8 X-Large
33-34" 43-44" 9 XX-Large
35-36" 45-46" 10 3X-Large
37-38" 47-48" 11 4X-Large
39-40" 49-50" 12 5X-Large
41-42" 51-52" 13 6X-Large
43-44" 53-54" 14 7X-Large
45-46" 55-56" 15 8X-Large


If hip and tummy support is what you're after, the hips style shapewear is right for you. The size you need is based on the same waist and hip measurements used to determine your panty size. (See Chart ).


A long leg control brief is the thigh style. Generally the bottom of the leg will have a special band to grip the leg and keep the brief from rolling up. Many times this style also has a tummy control panel. Size is again determined by your panty measurements. (See Chart ).


The most popular shapewear style is the tummy brief. It looks almost identical to a brief style panty and has an extra support panel in front to smooth over the tummy. Its sizing follows the small, medium, large format (See Chart ).


As its name indicates, this shapewear style creates a smooth contour to your waist. It generally is made up of a brief with an elongated waistband that comes up to the bottom of your bra. Its sizing comes in small, medium, large etc. (See Chart ).

Shapewear Support

Shapewear comes in a variety of control levels- from light to very firm. These levels allow you to choose the amount of support that's right for you.

Light Control

This control is light enough to give you smoothness and shaping without binding. Control top pantyhose provide about the same support as light control shapewear.

Moderate Control

For extra smoothness, moderate control shapewear is the answer. Generally, this control will have more spandex and possibly light control panels built in. This control can be worn up to eight hours without discomfort.

Firm Control

The most popular support level, firm control can really make a difference if you have a problem area you want to minimize. Though comfortable, this level of support is difficult to wear the entire day.

Extra Firm Control

This is the highest level of support available in shapewear. At this level, you will find reinforced panels and possibly boning.

Fitting Comments

• It is important to put your shapewear on correctly. If you don't, you will have a binding uncomfortable feeling all day. Similar to pantyhose, gather up the sides so the shapewear is only an inch or two tall. Step into the legs and pull up until you reach the point where you would like the shaper to begin. Now, gradually un-gather the shapewear as you pull it up over your torso. This technique ensures your shapewear will be in the right place and seams and panels will be straight.

• Once you have your shapewear on, sit down. If you have a binding feeling around your legs or torso, you need to readjust your shaper. A proper fit means the shapewear is as comfortable sitting as standing.

• Are you a classic pear shape? Women with fuller hips and bottom should choose shapewear with side panels and extra support in the rear.

• Some women make the mistake of buying shapewear one size smaller than their size to achieve additional support. This is wrong. A smaller garment will not fit correctly. Instead, choose shapewear with a higher level of support. For example, if your shapewear is of moderate support, consider buying a garment with firm support.

• If you want to wear shapewear but tend to get hot, consider shapewear made of cotton. There are several manufacturers who make shapewear with cotton.

Perfect Fit Checklist

If your shapewear doesn't fit correctly, you could be in for a day of binding and irritating discomfort. Make sure your shapewear fits by going through this quick checklist.

Waist stays in place

Move around in your shapewear after you put it on. Sit down, bend over, raise your arms. If the waist of your shapewear does not stay in place, you need another size.

Legs are not binding

Sit down, cross your legs, and see if the edge of your shapewear binds or cuts into your leg. If so, you may want to consider a shaper with a longer leg length.

Comfortable crotch

Check and see where your crotch is positioned. If it is low, you will have problems walking. If it is too high, your shaper will feel uncomfortable all day. Adjust the sides of your shapewear until the crotch lands in the right location.

Smooth torso

There should be no bulges or wrinkles visible on your shaper. If there are, you may need a shorter length or smaller size shapewear. If the bulges are coming out over top of the shapewear, you may need a taller shapewear style.

No rolling

If the waist or legs of your shapewear are rolling, your shapewear may have broken down and needs to be replaced.

Total smoothness

If the shapewear is not laying completely smooth in any size, consider alterations.

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