Does shapewear work? And if so, what can it do for you? In this article, we explain the different types of shapewear you can buy, what shapewear does, and give my own opinion on whether or not shapewear is worth it. So, let’s get started!
by CHLOE ALEXANDER on
August 23, 2022
From Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS to the classic SPANX, shapewear seems to have made a comeback in 2022. While we might have once associated shapewear with Bridget Jones’ infamous faux-pas, shapewear has now become another “must-have” fashion accessory, inspired in part by Tiktok, celebrities, and online influencers.
What is shapewear?
Shapewear is a type of smoothing underwear, typically worn under form-fitting dresses or outfits. Shapewear aims to smooth down any visible lumps or bumps and create a fluid, smooth silhouette under your clothes.
Using either boning features, panelling, compression, as well as tight spandex fabric, shapewear is able to hold in your body and give you an altered – and more sculpted – figure.
Different types of shapewear
There are many different types of shapewear, and each tackles a different body “concern” or body part:
Tummy-flattening pants – these are typically just like regular pants, but high waisted with extra control over the tummy area.
Tummy control tights – this type of shapewear might offer less control, but as it’s in the form of a pair of tights, it’s typically easier to wear and more affordable.
Thigh and hip control shapewear – Thigh and hip shapewear aims to smooth out any “love handles” or hip dips, creating a fluid, hourglass silhouette.
Corsets – corsets are usually more expensive, and aim to cinch in the waist. These are usually worn under tight dresses.
Waist trainers – waist trainers are similar to corsets, but some brands imply that regular wear can actually shrink the size of the waist permanently. This is yet to be officially verified, and it isn’t considered safe to spend long periods of time wearing a waist trainer.
Shaping bodysuits – Shaping bodysuits typically resemble a swimsuit, and is worn under a dress or outfit to smooth out any lumps and bumps. Some bodysuits extend to the knees to offer hip and thigh control.
Seamless shapewear – If you’re wearing a thin material and you want to hide any visible cellulite or pant-lines, seamless shapewear offers both a smoothing effect and hides any visible skin imperfections that might be visible through the material.
Does shapewear work?
The short answer? Yes, shapewear does work. If you’re going to be wearing a form-fitting dress or tight clothes (or even simply thin materials), shapewear can help you feel more secure in your own skin.
Benefits of shapewear:
Hides cellulite. As the fabric used by shapewear tends to be nylon and spandex, you can expect to conceal any visible cellulite or other skin or body imperfections when wearing shapewear.
Flattens the stomach. If you’re genetically more prone to putting on weight in the stomach area, shapewear can instantly conceal it and help your clothes fit normally.
Creates a sculpted, hourglass physique. If you love the pin-up, hourglass figure, the right shapewear can help you achieve it. The spandex material will cinch in your body in all the right places, giving your body a perfect hourglass shape.
Helps you be more confident when wearing tight or form-fitting clothing. It’s normal to feel self-conscious when wearing tight, revealing, or form-fitting clothing. With shapewear, you don’t need to worry about any wobbly bits being on show.
Great for postpartum bodies. For women who just gave birth and want to conceal their post-pregnancy pouch, shapewear is great.
Can improve your posture with regular wear. As shapewear can be quite rigid, it can even help improve your daily posture, as it forces you to stand up straight to keep the shapewear in place.
Can make your bum appear fuller (as your waist appears more cinched). Shapewear can also be great for your bum – if you use a tummy cincher or waist-control shapewear, your waist will appear smaller, and your bum will appear larger by comparison.
Smooths out any rolls if you’re plus-sized. If you’re overweight and the fear of having visible “rolls” is preventing you from wearing the clothes you want and love, shapewear can help smooth out your body and create a roll-free, fluid silhouette.
Can conceal the appearance of loose skin if you’ve recently lost weight. If you’ve lost weight and still have some lingering loose skin, shapewear can conceal its appearance when wearing certain types of clothing.
Can effectively “de-age” your body. As you get older, shapewear can be used effectively to conceal signs of body ageing when wearing clothes. Shapewear can keep your tummy looking toned and your bum looking lifted.
Shapewear Safety: Tips and tricks
While shapewear can be great for cinching in the body and creating a lovely silhouette, it isn’t recommended for you to wear shapewear underwear every day. Here are some tips (alongside some safety advice) so you can get the most out of your shapewear without any adverse side-effects:
Don’t sleep in your shapewear. Spandex materials don’t let your skin breathe, so it’s a bad idea to try and sleep in your shapewear. There is also absolutely zero evidence that sleeping in your shapewear will result in long-term fat loss or body sculpting. Sleeping in shapewear will simply irritate your skin, give you a sore body, and potentially trap sweat under your skin, leading to body acne.
Stick to your size. While it might be tempting to size down and get the ultimate cinch from our shapewear, it’s a bad idea. Most likely, the material will simply bunch up or slide down. Pick your usual size for best results.
Avoid indents and skin marks. If you develop marks on your skin after wearing shapewear, you’re probably leaving your shapewear on for too long. Marks on the skin are common if you’re wearing a piece of shapewear with “boning” features, as these can dig into the skin and cause red marks. To avoid this, we’d recommend never wearing your shapewear for longer than 7-8 hours. Ideally, reserve your special shapewear for nights out or your favourite form-fitting outfits.
I’m Chloe – a body confidence writer here at House of Peach! I help women to feel fabulous in the body they’re in and feel amazing in gym wear – regardless of their body shape and type. Unleash Your Peach.