The best Spanx

Megan Oster

Before you begin shopping, think about which parts of your body you consider problem areas.

Spanx founder, Sara Blakely, was driven to create the company’s first product by her dissatisfaction with pantyhose. Unhappy with the visibility of the toe seam in the feet of pantyhose, she cut off the feet of a pair. This would become Sara’s inspiration for the first prototype of Spanx’s footless shaping hosiery. 

Spanx has come a long way since the creation of the company in 2000. The SPANX Women's OnCore Mid-Thigh Shorts are a perfect example of this progress. A bonded front panel and side panels nip in and flatten your waistline and stomach to create a streamlined silhouette. 

What to know before you buy Spanx

The areas you want to perfect

Before you begin shopping, think about which parts of your body you consider problem areas. Are you proud of your bust, but insecure about your waist? Do your thighs trouble you? By coming to this realization in the beginning, you can focus your search on the right types of pieces. 

Which shapewear pieces you need

There’s a large variety of Spanx shapewear available on the market. The types of pieces that you can choose from include:

  • Bodysuit
  • Shorts
  • Leggings
  • Slip
  • Corset
  • Tanktop
  • Camisole top

Underwear vs. clothing 

In its early years of existence, Spanx shapewear was intended solely to layer under clothes. To this end, the pieces had a minimal design and looked like traditional foundational garments. Recently, Spanx started designing pieces that are meant to wear as clothing, like slimming leggings. And some pieces can double as underwear and clothing, like camisoles. 

Regardless of how you plan to wear your Spanx pieces, you should tend carefully to your skin. Shapewear is more fitted than other types of garments, making healthy skin underneath a priority. Take care of yours by regularly applying a body lotion, like one of these products, featured in a BestReviews buying guide. 

Spanx features

Compression level

Spanx shapewear isn’t one-compression-level-fits-all. The company understands that not everyone wants the same level of support. The universal levels of compression, across all shapewear brands, are:

  • Light compression: slight smoothing
  • Medium compression: mid-level support and subtle lifting power for areas like the butt 
  • Firm compression: significant level of support that noticeably sculpts and slims 
  • High compression: heavy-duty sculpting, boosting, slimming and smoothing 

Color Choices

Since Spanx now makes pieces meant to wear as clothing, in addition to foundational garments, you have more options when it comes to color. If you plan to wear your Spanx pieces solely as undergarments, choosing neutral colors is smart – they’re much less visible under clothes. However, if the intended purpose of your Spanx items is clothing, you have a greater degree of freedom when it comes to color choices. 

Lightweight vs. heavyweight material 

The original Spanx pieces were pretty heavy and warm, due to the material’s spandex and/or elastane and nylon blend. This made some people hesitant to wear them in hot weather. Fortunately, Spanx has evolved its designs and now creates some of its pieces with more lightweight, cooler versions of this fabric. 

Spanx cost 

Since Spanx is a premium shapewear brand, you can expect to pay a bit more for the company’s products than you would for other brands. In general, Spanx pieces will cost around $42-$125. 

Spanx FAQ

What is Spanx? 

A. One of the pioneering brands in the shapewear industry, Spanx has become a favorite of celebrities and the average person alike. The pieces designed by Spanx incorporate materials like spandex and elastane to slim, sculpt and smooth imperfections. The company’s original offerings included basics, like shaping pantyhose. Since then, Spanx’s product line has grown and evolved to include pieces like bodysuits, slips, shorts and waist-cinchers. 

How do you wear Spanx?

A. Most Spanx is made to wear under clothing, but the company is starting to create regular clothing, as well. If you’re buying it for the former purpose, you should layer the pieces under your outfits. 

Which Spanx should you get?

Best of the best Spanx

SPANX Women's OnCore Mid-Thigh Shorts: available at Macy’s

Our take: These highly rated shorts tackle your butt, stomach and upper thighs with features like side panels and a bonded front panel. 

What we like: You’ll feel confident in these mid-thigh shorts, which sculpt your lower body, accentuating your womanly curves and minimizing imperfections. The bonded front panel creates the effect of a flatter stomach. Side panels trim your midsection without digging into it. Shaping pockets in the back lift and refine your butt. The hemline of the legs hits at mid-thigh, extending the support to your upper thighs, while the design of the leg openings provides a smooth transition to your bare skin. The presence of both spandex and elastane in the nylon fabric blend delivers a significant level of compression. These mid-thigh shorts are available in soft nude or very black shades that disappear under most clothing colors. 

What we dislike: The most consistently cited issue was the waistband of the shorts, which a small number of unhappy buyers reported kept rolling down. 

Best bang for your buck Spanx

SPANX Women's Hollywood Socialight Slip: available at Macy’s

Our take: If you want a full slip that works hard for your figure, this one fits the bill; it’s lightweight, yet provides firm control. 

What we like: Rather than settling for a slip that merely acts as a passive layering piece, choose this smoothing slip from Spanx. The full slip delivers support from the scoop neck to the mid-thigh-length hemline, creating a streamlined silhouette, making it the perfect piece to wear under dresses. Design details like the soft, brushed elastic cami straps give this slip the ability to double as shapewear and outerwear. The cami straps are adjustable, allowing you to get the perfect fit. In addition to making you look good, this slip is comfortable, thanks to the ultra-soft, brushed, single-layer microfiber fabric blended with spandex and elastane. 

What we dislike: Functionality was the main point of contention for a handful of buyers, with issues ranging from clothing clinging to the fabric, to the skirt riding up when buyers walked. 

Honorable mention Spanx

SPANX Women's OnCore High-Waisted Brief: available at Macy’s

Our take: These high-waisted briefs are designed with fully bonded front panels that flatten your stomach and edge-bonded side panels that cinch in your waistline without constricting it. 

What we like: Attain the look of a flatter stomach and a trimmer waistline with these sculpting briefs. The fully bonded panel at the front slims your stomach, while side panels refine your waistline. The high waist is both on-trend and universally flattering, as it helps conceal imperfections at the midsection. Constructed of elastic, the leg openings stay in place while allowing you to move freely. The dye seal straps are removable, giving you the option to wear the bra of your choice with these briefs. 

What we dislike: Some buyers reported the top of the briefs constantly rolled down, while others said the leg openings pinched their skin.  

Megan Oster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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