How to choose and wear shapewear correctly

Don’t be afraid to use a little extra help. If you’ve got an important event coming up and need a little something extra to help you look and feel your best, shapewear can definitely do the trick

If you’re looking for a fashion quick fix that will leave you looking leaner virtually instantly, shapewear is the ultimate secret weapon.

This compression garment works its magic by “ironing” out all your bumps and curves – it’s like Photoshop for your actual three-dimensional body.

There’s much to be said about shapewear, but many women can’t quite get it right because there are far too many options to choose from. Let us break it down for you here. 


How does shapewear work?

All things being equal, some clothes will look more flattering on us than others because of superior sewing and cutting. This logic applies to shapewear as well.

A good brand would have designed these garments carefully with the female body in mind, using high-tech fabrics and pinpoint accuracy to “catch” all the curves and bumps in the right places. You have the option of playing them up or down, depending on the type of shapewear you choose. 

The extra bumps can “move” into spaces where muscle is compressed. For the extremely well-designed ones, the fat can be “redirected” into more desirable regions like your cleavage and butt. 

While it’s not going to make you drop three sizes, it will definitely keep everything together and enhance your silhouette. 

When should you wear it?

Shapewear isn’t a requirement for dressing well, so you don’t have to wear them every day. I would recommend that you wear them only when you are wearing something skin tight to show off your curves, or when you are feeling bloated and not as firm as you like. Special occasions are a great time to wear them because they will definitely give you extra boost of confidence.

How to choose the correct shapewear?

#1 Know what you want to conceal 
Shapewear comes in a seemingly endless array of styles and fabrics, starting from your chest down. List down one or two particular "problem" body parts (you have to be practical about it!) and work from there. For example, if you want to slim down your waist and place more emphasis on your bust and the bum, you can go for a girdle-style garment.

For example, if you want to slim down your waist and place more emphasis on your bust and the bum, you can go for a girdle-style garment.

Images: Spanx
Haute contour high-waisted mid-thigh short, $178 from Spanx

#2 Decide on how much control you need
Shapewear with the same function comes in varying degrees of control. 

Let’s say that two women are looking to shape their thighs. Lady A wants to make her smoothen her stomach to make waist look more defined, while Lady B has more fat around the area and wants to actually reduce the apparent size of her stomach. The former would only require a waist cincher with light control, whereas the latter should go for a slimming camisole that mimics the effect of sucking in your stomach by physically holding in the tummy area. 

(L-R) Lady A: Waist cincher, $67; Lady B: OnCore cigh-waisted brief, $92; both from Spanx

#3 Find the right size 
You can experiment by trying out sizes that correspond to the size of your regular jeans. I would suggest that you measure your waist and the fullest part of your hips, then go into a store to try them out. This ensures that you will get an exact size. 

Same-sized shapers fit and shape differently, so if you can, take time to try them on even if you are wearing different styles from the same brand. Some women have the misconception that sizing down gives you extra control and firmness. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that only causes unsightly bulges, discomfort and might even make you look bigger! 

Remember: Shapewear should always fit snugly against your body, but should never dig into your skin or hurt when you’re wearing them. Good luck finding the right fit for your body!