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Shapewear doesn’t always have to call for squeezing and struggling. Sometimes, the right piece — a smoothing, high-waisted slip or seamless underwear that disappears under every dress — can give you a jolt of confidence without too much hassle.
"I'd love women to rethink the word 'shapewear' altogether," TODAY style editor Bobbie Thomas said. "It offers so many benefits beyond shaping! Foundation pieces are practical and comfortable and can be really pretty, too."
Indeed, these pieces provide a great foundation to help clothing drape properly and allow you to be creative with your outfits. So, the best shapewear for every woman depends on her wardrobe. Certain outfits demand specific kinds of slips, shorts, camisoles, tights or bras.
We’ve paired a few common outfits with our suggestions for the best shapewear to wear under them. We also asked Thomas to share her thoughts on the foundation pieces she relies on most.
The best shapewear for jeans and your favorite top
A relaxed, casual outfit shouldn't demand uncomfortable undergarments. A seamless camisole can let your top drape easily on your frame while giving you a little extra coverage around your waist (for sitting or bending) and your chest.
"A camisole like this helps to smooth my bra straps and works great under a semi-sheer or lightweight, whisper-thin cotton top," Thomas said. "Nude bras, even when they match your skin tone, can leave you feeling a bit overexposed. These tops provide a great canvas to wear under something thin and breezy."
A pair of smoothing, seamless, high-waisted underwear gives you light shaping and breathable comfort. Goodbye VPL (visible panty line)!
"They help prevent those annoying (and sometimes painful!) lines and dents you get from the seams and buttons on denim shorts and jeans, which makes them way more comfortable," said Thomas. "They're honestly more practical than anything else."
The best shapewear for strapless dress
With this strapless shaper, you'll get both support and smoothing under a strapless dress. It can be worn under both short and long styles, giving you a versatile foundation for different dressy occasions.
"A strapless bodysuit like this works great under a thin sundress," Thomas added. "We can get overheated during the warmer months — whether you're dancing at a summer wedding or sitting under the 5 p.m. sun at happy hour — so it's just really nice to have the security of an extra layer."
The best shapewear for plunge neckline dress or top
If you want a bit of light smoothing under a backless dress, a bodysuit like this can provide some support while also disappearing under whatever you’re wearing.
The best shapewear for backless dress
This multipurpose shaping jumpsuit can be worn with the straps in four different ways, making it the ultimate secret weapon. It provides smoothing and slimming effects from your waist down through the thighs, while also adding support in the bust.
The best shapewear for everyday dresses
This shaping slip from Maidenform is sized like your regular bra, which allows for a more accurate fit. Wear it under just about any dress for a sleeker, smoother look.
If you don’t need much support up top, or want to layer a fitted slip with your own bra, this affordable mini from Free People is a great option that's available in 14 colors.
The best shapewear for skirts (warm weather)
A great pair of shaping girl shorts can smooth and shape under skirts when you want to show your bare legs.
"I'm such a huge fan of these little shorts because they're so practical," said Thomas. "I wear something like this anytime I want a little extra coverage. They're great for, you know, when you're just out living your life — riding a bike, sitting on the beach or a bench and want to comfortable and covered."
The best shapewear for skirts (cold weather)
Tights can be necessary to keep warm in dresses and skirts during the winter. We love this budget-friendly collection from Spanx that offers the great smoothing and shaping benefits in a classic look.
Looking for more wardrobe staples? Check out:
- The best underwear for women
- 17 of the best maxi dresses for spring and summer
- This T-shirt dress is perfect for spring