How To Choose The Best Shapewear

Several readers have asked me to share my thoughts on foundations and shapewear. Shapers may help you wear a smaller size garment but they’re really intended to smooth and slim us while helping to control our jiggly bits.

Thank goodness girdles are a thing of the past because they look like torture devices. I know my Mom wore them, but not very often. Lucky for us, things have come a long way and the new designs give us lots of options to choose from.

Shapewear needs to be firm enough to get the job done but is also needs to be comfortable enough to wear. The two are not always synonymous.

Here are my tips for choosing your best shapewear.


Most lingerie is available in multiple shades of beige. Choose the tone closest to your own skin tone. Black always works under black garments but so does nude. These things aren’t cheap so if you invest in your nude, it won’t show under any color garment.


Never buy your shapewear based on the size on the label. Brands vary and these don’t fit the same way clothes do. Try on several brands and sizes to determine which one is snug enough to smooth but still allows ease of movement. It’s no fun to have trouble sitting because your shapewear is so tight it makes you miserable.


Shapewear varies based on its control level but also consider your climate. Extra firm control frequently means double layers of fabric which could be torture in hot weather. Choose your shapewear fabric based on your climate as well as your need for control.


Be sure to test drive your shapewear. Does it roll down at the waist? Creep up your legs? Bind under your arms? The only way to know is to bend, sit, reach and stretch while testing it. If it binds a bit in the store, it will feel torturous long term.


It’s not uncommon to layer multiple foundations to achieve a smooth look. It doesn’t make sense to do this on a regular basis but works for special occasions. The secret here is to have no one garment too tight. An open-bust slip worn over a high waist boy short may be the perfect combination for the level of smoothness you need that slim fitting jersey dress.


If wearing a full slip, be sure your bustline isn’t flattened along with your tummy and thighs. Be sure your boy short isn’t flattening your already slim behind. Shapewear is available for every area of concern and specialized to not work where you don’t want it.


Shapers tend to creep and roll so look for ones designed with interior silicon strips that grip your legs, waist or torso to help them stay put. Overly tight leg openings or waistbands can create new areas of concern if their edges are too tight. No one wants a new bulge at the edge of their shapewear so look for intelligent designs that offer seamless edges.


Remember, it’s not just how shapewear works on your problem area, it’s how comfortable it is to wear and if you will reach for it. Who among us doesn’t have a collection of shapewear that lives in our drawer because it feels miserable to wear?

Do you rely on shapewear? What’s your favorite brand?

Thanks for reading and remember to wear what makes you feel confident.


  1. Cristina Hoover says:

    I always thought I got good (meaning, I suppose, actually comfortable — LOL!) results from: when Flexees used to make their light/moderate control 6569 “One Fabulous Body(suit)” shaper in the softest, crumply/silk-type fabric 10-15 years’ ago. IT WOULD WORK PERFECT UNDER JEANS OUTFITS AND OFFICE DRESS SUITS (totally breathable material and, bottom hooks which weren’t a constant hassle torture device….unlike some Bali shapers I’ve tried!). Sadly, Maidenform had to screw things up by replacing the 6569 with something too constrictive and made (now) in itchy fabric. I’m down to my last one I’d bought a clearance “haul” of from when the department store K-Mart had closed and, I try to launder it as gently as possible!

  2. I’m with Joanna… no shape wear for me! I still remember standing in the girls’ change room at school after a gym class and watching classmates struggle into their girdles. That was over 50 years ago, but I determined right then and there that I would never, ever wear one. I haven’t and I won’t. I know that modern shape wear is nowhere near the torture device that the old time girdles were, but I still resist the idea.

    1. Luckily we get to choose now Elaine!! I remember when it was expected:)

  3. Lianne MacGregor says:

    So helpful! I might have been one of your readers who asked for this 🙂 Just wondering what you mean by an “open-bust slip”?

    1. An open bust slip is worn with your bra and only covers to under your bustline. The shoulder straps go on the outside of your bust so they don’t compress your bust. Here is a link to one so you can see. the bra is black the slip is beige. http://rstyle.me/n/cnnjfd39zw

  4. I’m going to pass on Shapewear. Life is too short to be uncomfortable in your clothes.
    Great advice on checking out your other *areas* to see how that particular piece is affecting them. I’ll keep that in mind for when I’m famous, or is that infamous, and the paparazzi is following me.

    1. LOL! Many women agree with you, Joanna! I seldom wear them but there are times I need that extra boost and have found a few that are quite comfy.

      1. Harriet Eberle says:

        I wholeheartedly agree! I’d rather find the right outfit than subject myself to uncomfortable shape wear.

      2. Being uncomfortable stinks, so I agree with you there:)

  5. kathy Meyers says:

    What are the best ones for tummies?

    1. I prefer a long tank with silicone strips so it doesn’t rise up. The bike shorts with extra-high waistband are probably a winner too so long as the have straps to keep it from rolling down. It has to be trial and error for each woman so be sure you try several brands and styles on!

  6. Atonia Walpole says:

    I wear Shapeez long line cami bras. I’ve recently bought a short one to wear with non-form fitting tops for summer. They are so comfortable and have that smooth back, no bra lines.

    1. You are the second person to mention this Shapeez cami bra so I’m going to test one out! Thanks, Atonia. Bra lines are a constant problem for me because my flesh has gotten so soft on my back and sides.

  7. I wear a Shapeez long almost daily. When my husband suffered a heart attack a few months ago, I slept in one for two weeks in the hospital. So comfortable, no shoulder strap slipping or bra band cutting into me. I’ll wear these forever.

    Only available online but free shipping until you get the size that’s perfect.

    1. Thanks for sharing this one, Donella!! I love the idea of no bra band cutting or digging in. I hope your husband is doing well.

  8. Very informative post! Ah yes, girdles…torture chambers…ha! Good point about the weight of the garment…that could turn into a steam bath.

    1. Just the thought of a steam bath in one of those heavy beasts has perspiration running down my back. No fun!! Have a great day Donna!

  9. I love a lightweight nude Wacoal long leg shaper that I was lucky enough to find at Marshall’s. It was so inexpensive I was suspicious it wouldn’t do a thing, but it’s fantastic. On the other hand, I also bought an equally inexpensive nude Spanx camisole there to wear under a sheer top. It’s pretty, but so non-stretchy I can’t even get it on. Useful as a microfiber dust cloth though. 🙂

    1. That’s hilarious, Ann!! Thanks for the chuckle. I needed it this morning:)) xx

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