Shapewear 101: A Guide to Shapewear (and Other Lingerie Solutions.)
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Today’s guest post is by Lauren. Lauren believes all you need in life are three things: great lingerie, good food, and fantastic friends. When she’s not putting pen to paper (or fingertip to keyboard) she enjoys reading, cooking (mainly desserts), and indulging in a little bit of retail therapy.
Remember that moment in Bridget Jones when Renee Zellweger had to make the decision between the scary, huge, pants and the sexy black ones? Those scary pants helped Bridget to bag Daniel Cleaver (against her better judgement, may I add) but nonetheless, she did look amazing in that gold dress.
If you’ve got a big event coming up and you want a little something extra to help you look and feel your best, there’s no harm in using high-tech fabrics and clothing design to give yourself a helping hand and a super sleek silhouette.
Whilst shapewear isn’t a requirement for dressing well, if you’re feeling bloated or not as firm as you’d like, a good bodysuit or pair of control pants can help boost your confidence and make you feel better while wearing your favourite dress. Here’s a quick overview of some various shapewear styles that might make an appearance in your closet:
For a quick lift, bodies and body shapers are the way forward. They may look a little like a swimsuit, but trust me when I say they’re very, very different! Bodies help to smooth out your stomach, lift your bosom, make your bum look perky and create a smooth silhouette — all in one! They are perfect for wearing under almost any outfit from trousers and tops, to shorts and tanks, to dresses and skirts. Many bodies have an integrated underwire bra to offer support, but if you prefer to wear your own, there are cupless styles available that often have matching separates, like this one from Gris Gris:
There are so many gorgeous designs out there, you may find yourself wearing some bodysuits as outerwear!
Body Control Dresses
A good body control dress hugs your curves, making them look smooth and toned. If you want shapely thighs, a defined waist and a lifted bust, a control dress under your party dress is the way to go. If possible, get fitted for your shaping dress professionally, and be realistic about what it can do for you. A good shapewear dress, like the ones shown above, will give you a sleek, smooth silhouette, but it won’t make you a full dress size smaller. Trying to squeeze into a shaping dress that’s too small will have the opposite effect, in fact — giving you bulges in places you shouldn’t have them.
Corselettes, or garter dresses, are an essential piece of shapewear I believe every woman should have in her wardrobe. They help create a smooth silhouette when worn under dresses and skirts. Most corselettes come with stocking clips to help keep them in place, and many styles are pretty enough to wear on their own in the bedroom or as part of a super-sultry boudoir photo shoot.
Camisoles help smooth your upper body, flatten your tummy, and hide any “love handles.” They’re more comfortable to wear than a full body control dress and are a good choice if you’re wearing a dress that’s fitted at the top and flared at the bottom. They also work well for pairing with a show-stopping top with a pair of trousers, jeans, or a skirt.
Nipped-in waists and hourglass figures are still highly desirable for many women. If you want to add a little extra definition to your waist, a waist cincher or “waspie” will be your new best friend. A waist cincher is a bit like a wide belt that’s worn around the waist to helps smooth out the tummy and support your back whilst helping create a more defined hourglass shape. They are available in a wide range of styles that include front fastening, hook-and-eye closures as well as pull-on styles, and they range from more plain, everyday wear to lacy pieces (such as Chantelle’s), which you’ll have a hard time keeping under your clothes!
Sometimes a bit of bra bulge can ruin the lines of an otherwise great outfit. Longline bras, like the beautiful Freya style pictured above, offer support for your chest and smooth your back so you don’t end up with a visible bra line. Longline bras are structured to extend a few inches lower than the band of normal bras and can also do double duty as a shaping bustier. Longline bras help give you a gorgeous silhouette and are frequently more comfortable to wear than normal, thinner bra bands because the wider band area offers more support across a larger space.
If you want a smooth line under a slim-fitting skirt or some skinny jeans, shaping shorts and mid-thigh shapers are a good option. They help lift your bum and smooth out your thighs at the same time. You can even get shaping pants that help keep your skin cool, so you don’t get all hot and bothered on the dance floor. Because who doesn’t want to look confident and comfortable in their party clothes?
Whether you’re slipping on your favourite pair of jeans or getting ready to paint the town red with your friends, you want to look gorgeous from all angles. Control briefs and boy shorts are perfect for lifting and rounding your bum to create a shapely derriere. Control briefs offer everything from light to firm support, and are perfect for those venturing into shapewear for the first time as they are much less intimidating than their full-body counterparts. Many control briefs also offer light stomach support and even a bit of thigh slimming too, making them an excellent all-arounder to wear under almost anything.
Shapewear isn’t just designed to slim tums and lift bums; there are even pieces to help out with your arms. If you’re wearing a tight top or a dress with long sleeves, you may want to invest in a back and arm shaper. These can even help with poor posture, a common complaint amongst office workers and those who spend a lot of time at a desk. Arm shapers that stretch across the back help to pull your shoulders into a more natural position can help unfurl you if you feel hunched over. With all this, what’s not to love?
Note: Shapers and support clothing can help you to feel more confident in your favourite outfits, but you must choose your support clothing carefully. If it is difficult to put on, restricts your movement, or causes discomfort, don’t wear it. Overly tight clothing can impair your circulation, which can be dangerous. The romantic Hollywood image of women fainting because they wore a corset that was laced too tightly has some grounding in truth. Don’t revive that image by wearing Spanx that are two sizes too small!
What is your favorite type of shapewear? Any brands you’d like to recommend?