Building a Solid Foundation: How to Shop for Shapewear

The right shapewear can change your life.  Seriously, it can be life changing.

No matter what your clothing size, weight or level of fitness EVERY WOMAN needs shapewear.  Yes EVERY WOMAN.

Those red carpet perfect celebs you see at award shows,  yep they are wearing shapewear.

Those gorgeous actresses you see in films and on TV, they too are wearing shapewear.

The 14 year old supermodel on the cover of Vogue…..well maybe SHE isn’t wearing shapewear YET but she will be in a few years!

Most women are afraid of or confused by shapewear.  They purchase it but don’t really know how to choose the correct style or when and with what to wear it with. The result is shapewear sitting in a drawer with the tags still on gathering dust or ill fitting shapewear that seems more like a prison sentence than a solution.

I too am guilty, I have made horrible uninformed shapewear purchases in my past.  One situation in particular comes to mind.  I had a dinner event to attend and wanted to keep my wobbly bits at bay so I made a quick run to the store and grabbed what I thought would solve my problem.  I purchased the type of shapewear you were “supposed” to buy (you know- the kind that look like high waisted biker shorts) and yes, sadly, I bought them without trying them on.  It took me a cardio infused hour to shove myself into those ugly things and then off I went like a stuffed sausage to my event.  As the evening progressed I could feel them not only rolling down but also rolling up!  By the 3rd course I was wearing something that looked more like a diaper than shapewear,  pinching and pulling at every part of my nether regions- until I couldn’t stand the pain any longer and I awkwardly excused myself to wiggle off to the restroom and ditch them in the  “feminine hygiene disposal” box! #FAIL

When it comes to shapewear there are three questions that everyone seems to ask me:

1. What exactly is shapewear?

2.  Why do I need it?

3.  How do I wear it?

Well, according to Wikipedia:

Shapewear – (also known as foundation garment or shaping underwear) is an undergarment designed to temporarily alter the wearer’s body shape, to achieve a more fashionable figure. The function of a foundation garment is not to enhance a bodily feature (as would, for example, a padded bra) but to smooth or control the display of one.

As far as why do you need it, here is some free advice from me, a Fashion Stylist: It doesn’t matter what size you are, your clothing should appear smooth.  No lumps, no bumps.  I don’t care if you are a 4 or a 14 the goal is a smooth appearance.

How to Choose the Right Shapewear for you:

1. Purchase the right size.  Buying a smaller size does not make you thinner, it actually will create more problems by pushing things into places they should never be.  You also don’t want it to be too big- if the piece is too big it can’t do it’s job.  The best way to get the correct size is to be measured by a professional.  Every specialty lingerie store (like Victoria’s Secret) or lingerie department in a Department store will do this for free for you and it really is a must to ensure you are wearing the correct size.

2. Focus on the part of the body you want to shape. Do you need tummy control? Would you like more waist definition? How about shaping your torso, rear, or thighs? Or is an overall smoothing effect your goal?  Each piece of shapewear is made to solve specific problem areas- identifying the area you need help in will assist you in choosing the correct shapewear style.


ResultWear Marilyn Slip.  For me this is the ultimate piece of shapewear.  I wear this slip every time I wear a dress! Love that it zips at the back, is easy to get on and off, is sexy and pretty while still doing the job shapewear was created to do and this guy is a triple threat!  Contour bands lift the bum and cinch the waist for that hourglass figure, while a tummy panel flattens and flatters and the built-in push-up bra provides come-hither cleavage, expanding to fit up to a DD cup.


Battle the Bulge- back bulge, with the Jane Soft Cup Plunge Bra from Resultwear. This sporty soft-cup bra provides coverage, lift and back bulge smoothing in a sporty-sexy design. For those seeking the perfect wire-free, push-up-providing under wonder, Jane has been dubbed a “boob job” in a bra.


Maidenform Shapewear Ready to Shape Lace Trimmed Tank– I wear this tank almost EVERDAY!  It slims, smooths, and shapes comfortably. No pinching, rolling, or riding up – and it won’t compress your chest.


Spanx Look at Me Leggings- Moderate control opaque leggings. Stretch nylon. Knit-in support, separates and lifts bottom. Comfortably shapes waist to thighs. High-waisted control flattens torso and tummy. Non-binding legband keeps pants in place



Assets Red Hot Label by SPANX Shaping Tights. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these!  No more muffin top while wearing tights! Shaping design firms your waist, hips, thighs and rear. The waist band will lay perfectly flat against your mid-section, leading to smooth lines underneath all your clothes.

3. Define the purpose.  Is this for a special occasion like a wedding or red carpet event.  If you are going to lets say a cocktail party- or anywhere that involves cocktails certain styles of shapewear can make using the restroom a contortionist nightmare of Cirque Du Soleil proportions.  Also keep in mind that if  you are planning on anyone special “seeing” the shapewear, in other words will your shapewear be spending some sexy bedroom time?  If so, make sure you choose a shapewear style that is  pretty and has a lingerie type allure- the last thing you want to happen is to have to run to the bathroom to change a la Bridget Jones to ditch the ugly undies.


SPANX Boostie-Yay Slimming Bodysuit- Lingerie-like with a luxuriously soft fabric and lightweight boning. Brings modern shaping to a comfortable bodysuit that slims and smoothes the tummy, while an underwire bra lifts and supports.

So sexy he’ll never know its shapewear!

4. Make sure to choose the level of support you need.  Most shapewear comes in a variety of support levels from light control to extra firm.

5. Try it on! Never, Never , Never buy shapewear WITHOUT trying it on!  Stand up in it, sit down in it, make sure it doesn’t roll up or down. Lift your arms, cross your legs, bend over, walk around- basically perform any movements you do regularly to make sure your shapewear is staying in place without cutting into your body or becoming uncomfortable.

6. Put it on correctly. Just like putting on a bra there is a right and wrong way to don your shapewear.

NEVER put it on over your head,  always step into it- even if it’s a camisole or a tank.

Gather the sides of your shapewear in your hands like you would a pair of tights. Then step into it, pull your shapewear up, and then gradually release the fabric until you work all the way up, making sure the panels and seams are straight and in place.

7. We Sweat.  Yes shapewear gets hot.  If you are in a high temp region look for light weight summer style shapers. You can also apply baby powder to your skin before putting on your shapewear to feel cool, clean, and dry.


Spanx Sexy Chic Half Slip has a cool breathable fabric to allow air in!


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  1. OMG, this is the best post!! I know the importance of shapewear, but I’ll be darned if I’ve ever managed to shop for it correctly!! I will be checking out ALL of these links – pretty sure I can find use for nearly every piece! Thanks for the great post!

  2. I need something to control my muffin top. Seriously, it doesn’t matter what jeans I wear I still have an annoying and ugly muffin top. I know I’m a big girl but come on! It’s just ridiculous.

    Will definitely consider looking into this. This year I am determined to look and feel better all over. Thanks for the tips!

  3. Until now I still had shapewear categorized in my brain as something for old people since my Mammaw wore it every day. My one experience with shapewear didn’t end well and I had to do a very uncomfortable change in the back of my car in the middle of a parking lot. I’m bookmarking this so that I know what to do differently next time!

  4. This is awesome. I bought shapewear after I had my daughter and I will admit, I did it in a hurry and just grabbed the first thing that I thought would work. I was uncomfortable, constantly pulling at it to make it work right and it has since sit in the back of my underwear drawer. Time to go get it done properly. Thanks for the kick in the butt to do so.

  5. I never really knew about shapewear. I am particularly love corsets and such but they are dang hard to eat or breathe in. Normally why I lose a few pounds during renaissance faires lol. Think I need to check these out especially if they will fix how I look in dresses and will get rid of the baby weight I have yet to get rid of.

  6. THANK YOU!! After 4 babies my body is just not the same. I can lose weight but still not fit into things the way I used to or the way I would want to. Shapewear has always intimidated me because there are SO many options and the experiences I have had are not very positive. I’ll be checking out your links.

  7. Saving this post! Thanks so much- not sure if I’m buying shapewear yet, but I would have had absolutely no clue without this post.
    xoxo Aimee

  8. It is really really reaaaally important that you choose the proper size of shapewear for you. Having it too small won’t make you look smaller and it would give you other problems on areas that it isn’t covering. Also, having a wrong size would make you really feel uneasy while wearing it thus ruining your whole shapewear experience.

  9. You want to always make sure that you pick the right size when shopping for pregnancy shapewear. I learned the hard way on my first pregnancy but I didn’t make that same mistake when I got pregnant again. I did my research and I found and they have great pregnancy shapewear.

  10. The only shape wear I’ve ever purchased is Spanx and I know there are other options. I SO needed this… thank you!! I’m 5 months pregnant right now, but I’m bookmarking this because after two babies, I can’t even imagine the muffin top I’m going to have. SIgh.

  11. Thanks for posting this! I actually thought shapewear was only for, I don’t know, older women but I’m sick and tired of feeling uncomfortable all day because I feel my clothes don’t fit right, so I’ll give these a try and see what happens.

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