Dress trends and lingerie styles come and go – but one thing will always stay constant: how much you need shapewear in your wardrobe. It might not be the trendiest, funnest items in your closet, but those high-waisted control undies and flesh-coloured slip dress that just sucks everything in are key when it comes to feeling confident and looking great.
Celebs have known about this wardrobe superpower for ages – do you think Scarlett Johansson steps foot on a red carpet without a pair of supertight Spanx on to ensure her dress looks flawless? Kim Kardashian loves shapewear so much she launched her own line. Shapewear gives you that secret oomph to look your best, with high-tech fabrics and design cinching you in where need and holding everything together for a sleek silhouette. Feeling a bit bloated? Step into high-waisted control briefs. Not keen on showing underwear lines? Shaping shorts will give you the security and confidence you need.
A word of caution, though: while shapewear is supposed to give you a sleeker silhouette, it should never be too tight or uncomfortable, or too difficult to put on. Too tight shapewear can impair circulation, which is a health hazard.
With so many options out there, which pieces do you need, and how do you wear it? Read on for your ultimate guide, and our shapewear picks to shop now.
A bodysuit will help smooth your stomach, lift your bosom and perk up your bottom. Some have built-in bras, but you can also look for a bodysuit without a built-in bra, so you can wear your own.
Problem areas: Tummy, waist, bottom
Wear with: Almost anything – trousers and tops, shorts, dresses, skirts
M&S Collection Secret Slimming light control shaping body
M&S Collection Medium Control lace wear your own bra shaping body
Spanx Thinstincts open-bust mid-thigh bodysuit
Dorina Air Sculpt shaping body
Wolford Jamaika sleeveless bodysuit
Wolford Mat de Luxe shaping bodysuit
THE BODY CONTROL DRESS
Also known as a shaping slip, a body control dress helps give you a defined waist, lifted bust and shapely thighs. While a good body control dress will smooth your silhouette – and is easier to go to the bathroom in than a bodysuit! – it won’t make you magically look a size smaller.
Problem areas: Tummy, waist, thighs
Wear with: Party dresses
M&S Collection Secret Slimming medium control full slip
M&S Collection seamfree shaping medium control full slip
Wolford forming mini shapewear dress
Asos Design Marcia underwire shaping slip dress
SHAPING CAMISOLE OR TANK TOP
If you want to smooth your tummy without the possible discomfort of shaping panties, try a shaping camisole. It’s also great if you’re wearing a slightly sheer top or just want some added layering and shape on top.
Problem areas: Tummy, waist, bust
Wear with: Flared dresses; fitted tops
Hanro seamless black cotton tank
Chantelle soft stretch almond seamless cami
If you want to lift your bum and smooth your thighs, without a tell-tale panty line, shaping shorts are for you! You can also get longer length leggings to help shape your legs.
Problem areas: Bum, tummy, waist, thighs
Wear with: Slim-fitting skirts; skinny jeans
M&S Collection firm control waist & thigh sculpt no VPL cincher
Max Fashion thigh shaping briefs
Spanx Thinstincts girl shorts
M&S Collection Magicwear sheer shaper shorts
TC Fine Intimates Middle Manager high-waist thigh slimmer shorts
Spanx Suit Your Fancy high-waist butt-enhancer shorts
Looking for an hourglass figure? Slip into a waist cincher, which will help nip in your waist. It’s a bit like a wide belt and helps smooth our your stomach area
Problem areas: Waist, tummy
Wear with: Figure-hugging dresses and tops
Splash lace shaping belt with hook and eye closure Use code SP370 for upto 10% off
Spanx waist cincher
Pour Moi Definitions hook and eye waist cincher
If you’re just dipping your toe into shapewear, start with a pair of control briefs. By lifting and rounding the bum, they help give you a shapely behind, with many pairs also featuring tummy control panels for added confidence.
Problem areas: Tummy, bum
Wear with: Jeans, dresses, skirts
M&S Collection medium control waist cincher knickers
Max Fashions set of 2 seamless shaping briefs
Spanx OnCore high-waisted briefs
Did you know shapewear is not only for bums and tums, but can also help you feel more confident about your arms? Arm shapers can also help with your posture, as they can help pull your shoulders into a more back-friendly position – perfect if you’re perched in front of a computer the whole day!
Problem areas: Arms
Wear with: Tight long sleeves, jackets, blazers
Spanx arm solid shapewear pullover
Slagon women arm shapewar upper compression vest
Wolford Buenos Aires bodysuit
Wolford Colorado turtleneck bodysuit