Lola saw me in my Spanx Higher Power shaper, the one that starts just below the bust and ends mid-thigh. It’s super-glam. This was our conversation:
“Mommy, do you wear that so that you look skinny and everything.”
“Um, well, yes, but mostly it’s just for smoothing.” Ahem.
She wasn’t fooled. Smoothing equals slimming. Even an 8-year-old knows that.
I am not ashamed to say I need a little help in the smoothing department. Even though I am on day 3 of the Ab and Squat Challenge that my lovely friend Mandy is hosting. Well, I haven’t exactly done day 3, but there’s still time! The night is young… Anyhow, we could all use a little help sometimes. And fortunately, shapers and slimmers and repairers are all designed to help you skip a workout and still shimmy into that cocktail dress. Yes, today is all about shapewear. Not glamorous, necessarily, but essential. Pick your gripe, and I’ll show you the best shaper for the job.
But first, some general guidelines when shopping for shapewear:
1. Pick a Fabric: The higher the nylon percentage, the stronger the hold. Extreme shapewear can help transform your body, but unless a red carpet is in your future, stick to medium control for smoothing and shaping. If it’s not labeled, feel the fabric. The thinner and sleeker, the less control. Most are made of synthetics, but some lines have cotton for breathability.
2. Pick a Size: And make it your real one. Going smaller can lead to discomfort, not to mention possible health problems, and may cause the skin to bulge out above and below and the waistband to roll down.
3. Pick a Purpose: Do you want generally slimming shapewear you can wear every day, or something special to wear under a party dress? Specialty shapewear sites, like The Hourglass Angel, offer options you might never have considered, like butt-lifting jeans and cellulite smoothing leggings.
And now, for some of my favorites in 5 categories: Butt Lifting, Thigh Slimming, Tummy Taming, Torso Tamers, and Body Suits/One-Pieces. To see all of these favorites, and many more, in one place, check out my Lingerie Catalog.
Yes, this exists. There are padded panties, briefs with butt lifting circles cut out, and anything else you can imagine. And a lot that you can’t imagine. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Fortunately, there are subtler ways to boost your bottom line.
There are oodles of options for slimmer thighs, from the original Spanx, which was essentially a control tight with the feet cut off, to bike short style shapers, mid-thigh shapers, and leggings and pants with built-in shaping.
Old fashioned “girdles” used to hit you at the belly button, causing the rest of the fat to squeeze out above it. And the waistbands always flipped down. (Don’t ask me how I know this). Fortunately, they’ve come a long way. Look for a style that hits just below the bra for a smooth, flat line, or opt for a lower, sassier version if you need less control. Or go for an ultrafeminine silhouette with a trendy throwback (yes, that’s now a thing), a waist trainer.
There are two types of torso-taming tanks. An open-bust style allows you to wear your own bra and is designed exclusively to be worn under clothing. The other type looks like a conventional tank top or camisole, with shaping properties built in, that can be worn on its own or layered under other clothes.
Bodysuits and One-Pieces
I love the functionality and style of some of these bodysuits, which feature all-over control in a sleek, flattering silhouette. My catalog features several cute black bodysuits, and some are even stylish enough to double as bathing suits. Here, five very different takes on a full-body shaper.
As you can see, these ain’t your mama’s girdles. The shapewear industry has really taken off, with new brands introduced all the time, so this is by no means an exhaustive list. For more options in different price ranges, check out all the shapewear options in my Lingerie Catalog.