The best women’s shapewear
When wearing a bodycon dress or a slim-fitting pencil skirt, no one ever wants to feel self-conscious about any bulges or lumps that might ruin the line of the clothing -- especially for special events like weddings, parties, or a date you've been looking forward to. With the right women's shapewear, though, you can wear any outfit in your closet without worrying about how you look. That's because the stretchy tight material that shapewear is made of helps smooth any areas of your body you may not be comfortable with, giving you a sleek trim silhouette in your favorite clothing.
Shapewear can also help improve your posture and offer back support to make you more comfortable throughout the day. Give our buying guide a read to learn how to find the best women's shapewear for your wardrobe. We've even included some specific product recommendations like our top pick, the Flexees Maidenform Women's Shapewear Hi-Waist Brief Firm Control, which features a silicone elastic waistband that won't roll down during the day.
Considerations when choosing women's shapewear
Women's shapewear is available in several different types; the type determines what areas of the body the shapewear targets:
Shaping bodysuits help lift the breasts and butt as well as smooth the stomach.
Shaping slips and dresses help lift the breasts, slim thighs, and smooth hips and stomach.
Shaping tanks and camis help smooth the stomach and lift the breasts.
Shaping underwear help smooth the stomach and hips as well as lift the butt.
Shaping shorts and leggings help slim the thighs and calves and smooth the stomach.
Waist cinchers help trim the waist to provide an hourglass figure.
Properly sizing a piece of women's shapewear is crucial if you want the most flattering look. You may think decreasing by a size is a good idea because the shapewear will be tighter and better able to give you a trim look. However, wearing shapewear that's too tight can actually create bulges that ruin the look of your clothing -- and be incredibly uncomfortable.
Fortunately, shapewear brands provide sizing charts with the proper measurements for each size to make sizing as easy as can be. Be sure to measure all key body parts for the shapewear you're considering to pinpoint the correct size.
Depending on how much smoothing or slimming you want from your shapewear, you can choose from several different control levels:
Light control works well for everyday use because it smooths slight bulges but isn't too tight.
Firm control is the ideal option if you want to smooth a particular area of the body or achieve an overall trimmer look for your entire body.
Extra-firm control offers the most dramatic slimming and smoothing action, but it's also extremely tight. It's usually better for a special event than daily wear.
Women's shapewear is usually made from a combination of nylon and spandex. Nylon is what gives the shapewear its control, so the more nylon a piece contains, the more slimming and smoothing it will be. The problem with shapewear with a nylon-spandex blend is that it's not breathable, which can make it uncomfortable in warm weather. Cotton and microfiber options are often a better bet for the heat because cotton is moisture-wicking, and microfiber can help limit any odors from sweat.
Most women's shapewear is nude, white, or black in color. Nude shapewear can work under any color clothing. It's recommended to be worn under light clothing because white shapewear may still show under a white dress. White shapewear is suitable for wear under light-colored clothing, while black is ideal for dark clothing. You can also find some shapewear in other colors, like red or pink, so you can match it to the exact color of your outfit if you prefer.
Women's shapewear prices
Women's shapewear can cost anywhere from $6 to more than $100. It usually depends on the type of shapewear and the quality of the material, but most women can find a high-quality piece of shapewear within the $20 to $60 range.
Q. Should I size down if I'm between women's shapewear sizes?
A. You should never size down when you're buying shapewear. Not only will the shapewear be too tight and uncomfortable to wear, but it can create the kind of lumps and bumps that you're trying to avoid. Opt for the larger of the two sizes for the most comfortable, flattering fit.
Q. How should I wash women's shapewear?
A. The best method for washing shapewear varies from piece to piece depending on the materials that it's made of. Some pieces are extremely delicate, so they require hand washing and air drying. Others can be machine washed on the gentle cycle and tumble dried on low.
Women's shapewear we recommend
Best of the best: Flexees Maidenform Women's Shapewear Hi-Waist Brief Firm Control
Our take: A comfortable supportive piece of shapewear that's made by a well-known brand and still manages to come in at an attractive price point.
What we like: Features a two-ply nylon-Elastane mesh liner for support and smoothness. Has a 100% cotton crotch for breathability. Comfortable enough to be worn all day. Silicon elastic waistband can help keep the briefs from rolling down.
What we dislike: A small number of users find that the waistband does roll down.
Best bang for your buck: 90º by Reflex High-Waist Tummy Control Shapewear -- Power Flex Capri
Our take: A comfortable stylish pair of capris that offer support and compression in a variety of colors without breaking the bank.
What we like: Capris can be worn for workouts. Features a four-way stretch and moisture-wicking material that helps with support and compression. Wide high waistband helps smooth the stomach and features a concealed pocket. Interlock seams reduce the chance of chafing. Comes in more than 30 colors.
What we dislike: Depending on the color chosen, some buyers find the capris to be too see-through.
Our take: Braless shaper design means you can wear your favorite bra with it for a custom-slimming and lifting effect. Available in beige or black.
What we like: Helps lift the butt and smooth the hips, while also trimming the waist and thighs. Made with Powernet, which is a long-lasting weave. Features no-show lining and seams as well as a flat zipper, so it's not visible under clothing. Available in a wide range of sizes. Can be worn every day or for postpartum, C-section recovery, post-liposuction, and formal events.
What we dislike: Some users have issues finding the right size because the product can run small. More expensive than other shapewear we tested.
Jennifer Blair 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. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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