If you're anything like us, the thought of wearing shapewear probably calls to mind a lot of squeezing and tugging. But not anymore, thanks to the dozens of newer options available on the market (like Skims, Kim Kardashian's brand that's toe to toe with Spanx).
Still, you may run into pieces that are too long or restrictive, prone to rolling, or not size-inclusive. You'll encounter pieces designed to fit better under skirts or shorts, ones that are moisture-wicking, options with different compression levels — and so many other features.
It's a lot to sift through. To help you find the best shapewear that's actually worth the price tag, Shop TODAY asked style and fashion experts for their advice and favorite sculpting pieces — no matter your body type, occasion or budget.
Keep scrolling or use the links below:
What does shapewear do? | High-waist shorts | High-waist underwear | Mid-rise sculpting shorts | Mid-rise budget shorts | Tummy-control shapewear | Shaping bras | Shaping camis | Full bodysuits | Open-bust bodysuits | Sculpting leggings | Sculpting tights | Meet our experts
What does shapewear do?
First, we asked style and fashion experts what shapewear actually does — and if we actually need it.
Good shapewear, first and foremost, hugs your body comfortably (almost like a second skin) while still smoothing certain areas to help you achieve the perfect silhouette, according to stylist Avo Yermagyan. This sense of support and security can help you go about your day more comfortably and worry-free, whether you're wearing a summer dress or a tunic.
"There is something special about feeling secure in your undergarments and knowing that it is there working for you to smooth out any trouble areas," Yermagyan explains.
"It just makes any piece of clothing that looks good then look great," echoes fashion stylist Micah McDonald, who has worked alongside his styling partner Wayman Bannerman for almost a decade.
What shapewear shouldn't do, says style and wardrobe expert Lindsay Albanese, is make you feel super constrained and uncomfortable. "I’ve worn shapewear that makes me feel like I might pass out because it is so sausage-casing and tight," she says.
Best high-waist shapewear: Shorts
Spanx Thinstincts 2.0 High-Waisted Short
“Sometimes shapewear can be so constricting ... but [Spanx] really mastered the textile [for these],” says Albanese, who was a professional celebrity stylist for nearly two decades. "These truly feel like a second skin while also giving you that smoothing support that you need."
The Spanx Thinstincts 2.0 High-Waisted Shorts come in four different shades, including beige, tan, brown and black.
Best high-waist shapewear: Underwear
Honeylove SuperPower Brief
Searches for shapewear brand Honeylove are still trending, and this high-waist brief is a great example why. The mesh brief, available in eight sizes (up to 3X), is thoughtfully designed: Its high compression is targeted at the waist, and the boning gives enough contour and hold but is flexible enough not to be restrictive.
Shop TODAY associate editor Kamari Stewart, a Shapermint fan, wore her first pair of high-waisted Honeylove shapewear while traveling. "It has a decent amount of compression, which meant it was a bit of a fight to get on without breaking my nails, but I didn’t find that it rolled at the top or anything like that. ... It was comfortable enough to wear for the roughly six to eight hours I had it on," she reports.
WOMAN'S HISTORY MONTH SALE: Through the end of March, this woman-founded brand is offering a "Give 15%, Get 15%" promo: You'll save 15% when you buy Honeylove's Give Back Bundle — and an additional 15% will be donated to the Kind Campaign.
Maidenform Shapewear Firm Control High-Waist Brief
“The Maidenform Shapewear Firm Control High-Waist Briefs are really, really great,” McDonald tells us. “What I love about it is it scoops out a little to glide along the natural lines of a woman's ribcage and goes right under the bust. It has a front panel that [has] extra technology to hold the front down and contours the sides for that smooth hourglass figure," he adds.
These Maidenform briefs are available in black, white and beige, and come in a variety of sizes.
Best mid-rise shapewear: Shorts
Spanx OnCore Mid-Thigh Short
To avoid panty lines altogether, Albanese recommends going for these Spanx OnCore Mid-Thigh Shorts instead of traditional shapewear briefs.
“Biker shorts will add additional smoothing, so you don’t have those lumps and lines that are caused by your underwear,” she tells us.
The OnCore shorts are a standby for Shop TODAY editorial director Adrianna Brach for days she knows she’ll be on air (she usually wears Spanx’s OnCore bodysuit).
Best mid-rise shapewear: Budget reader favorite
ATTLADY Tummy Control Shapewear Shorts
For an under-$20 mid-waist pick that doesn't skimp on smoothing and tummy control, Shop TODAY readers are digging this pair from Amazon, which is also available in Nude.
These shorts offer medium compression — via an ultra-soft moisture-wicking fabric — for your middle and lower tummy. The mid-rise waistband is also double-layered and made of anti-slip silicone for extra comfort.
Reviewers who love this pair, however, also warn future shoppers to size up. One reports, "This shapewear is definitely great at controlling the tummy pooch and smoothing out curves! However, it is much tighter than expected; I normally wear a medium and wish I had gone with the large for more comfort."
Best shapewear for tummy control
Yitty Nearly Naked Shaping Thong Bodysuit
If you're a fan of Skims or Spanx, you'll probably also love the elasticity of this Yitty piece (from Lizzo's shapewear collection), which happens to be a favorite of Stewart. The slimming bodysuit will snatch in at your waist and enhance your hourglass figure.
"I first bought it in black and then wore it so much, I needed it in brown," Stewart confesses. "I love it because it's comfortable and you can wear it with any bottoms you like, because it just looks like a plain tank top bodysuit," she adds.
Yitty Nearly Naked Shaping Mid-Thigh Bodysuit
For those that need extra support, sculpt your body with this mid-thigh bodysuit. Many customers, including Shop TODAY's Stewart, rave about the ultimate comfort and support it gives — several say it's great if you have large breasts.
As for Stewart, she says, "It's super comfy and really makes a difference when you put it on (even my mom was shocked when I tried it on)."
Shapermint Essentials High-Waisted Shaper Shorts
Stewart also really ("really, really") loves this shapewear, which offers the perfect balance of fit and comfort thanks to the soft nylon fabric. The piece delivers high compression to enhance any outfit while holding your tummy in place.
"They don't feel super compressive to the point of pain, but just kind of hold everything in place. It achieves the smoothing look that I want when I wear dresses," she raves, adding, "Surprisingly, the top band doesn't roll down for me in the front, which never happens."
PROMO: Through March 30, you'll get 70% off the Essentials High-Waisted Active Leggings as part of Shapermint’s Spring Sale.
Best shapewear bras
Spanx Bra-Llelujah! Full-Coverage Bra
Albanese calls the Spanx Bra-Llelujah Bra “the sweatpants of bras.”
“It’s the most comfortable bra that I’ve ever worn that isn’t a sports bra!” Albanese says. “The reason being that the band that goes around your bust is made out of hosiery material, so you’re getting that really comfortable fit that molds to your figure without digging into it.”
Skims Sculpting Bralette
“The Skims Cotton Bra is extremely comfortable, and I love the fact that the armhole is cut higher. So if you ever feel like a bra cuts you to where you have some spillage in the back or right under the arm because the armhole is cut so high, it smooths, controls and holds all that in," McDonald says. "It shapes really nicely and it's also seamless.”
While the exact version recommended by McDonald is still unavailable, this sculpting bralette is lightweight and shapes well without adding extra bulk.
Shapermint Truekind Seamless Racerback Sports Bra
For a plus-size-friendly sculpting sports bra that's both seamless and wallet-friendly, we like this new launch by Shapermint.
Available in sizes Small through 3XL, this bra is both smoothing and stretchy, thanks to a lightweight blend of nylon and spandex. It offers light-to-medium impact support, and the wide waistband, secure racerback straps and seven available colors are a bonus.
NOTE: Through March 30, you'll get 40% off the Truekind bra as part of Shapermint’s Spring Sale.
Best shaping camisole
Ruby Ribbon Lace Full Support Cami
This shapewear tank top is great for layering, and it comes with a built-in bra.
“It’s a snug, smooth fit in a very satiny material, so when you layer it under a tank or shirt, it doesn’t cling to anything," Albanese says.
Best shaping bodysuit: Full coverage
Skims Sculpting Bodysuit
McDonald loves Skims' Sculpting Bodysuit because it promotes women's natural shape instead of flattening it.
“It really focuses on that hip-to-waist ratio and really achieving the thinnest waist,” McDonald says. “We find with a lot of other shapewear that it just tends to kind of flatten everything, and we're a big [proponent] of embracing your curves and molding and shaping your natural figure. We just believe that the Skims cut of the actual garments allows for that.”
Best shaping bodysuits: Open-bust
Maidenform Open-Bust Bodysuit
If you’re in the market for a sculpting bodysuit, consider an open-bust design for more flexibility.
The Maidenform Open-Bust Bodysuit stands out because it "gives full-back technology that really conforms and holds the back in so there's no bra indents and no spillage, which is really nice,” McDonald says.
It's available in both beige and black, making it easy to pair with any outfit in your wardrobe.
Spanx OnCore Open-Bust Mid-Thigh Bodysuit
“I always prefer an open-bust bodysuit over a bodysuit that has the bust built-in because I feel like it’s more versatile and allows you to customize,” Albanese says. “If you buy an [full] bodysuit, you’re more limited as to the neckline that you choose to wear.”
Shop TODAY's Brach wears this offering from Spanx "religiously" on days when she has to go live on TV. "No shame!" she raves, highlighting the brand's heavy-duty compression.
Yummie 3-in-1 Shaping Slip
Shapewear slips are a great way to add more dimension to a dress or tunic. This one from Yummie includes adjustable inner panels that can be worn three ways — at the front, back or all around. They give varying compression depending on where the panels are placed.
“This is an open-bust slip, so it’s great for versatility,” Albanese says. “It’s also form-fitting so it gives you that shapewear functionality, and it’s also great for summer dresses that can be a little sheer.”
Best shaping leggings
Everlane The Perform Legging
“These leggings are flexible, stretchy and not constricting," Albanese says. "Sometimes leggings can be so athletic that they can feel too tight. These feel athletic but are still comfortable."
While black leggings are always a good classic to have on hand, these Everlane leggings also come in green, gray, burnt orange and more.
Skims Sculpting Legging
The Skims Sculpting Legging are another good option if you're looking for something with a high-rise waistband.
“The top of the waist is cut slimmer to indent at the top of a woman's waist — the smallest part of a woman's high-waist body,” McDonald says. “They already have some type of shape to them and your body really just cores into that shape.”
NOTE: This particular shapewear legging is sold out, but you can sign up for the waitlist on its product page. For a similar pick, try Skims' Barely There Cropped Legging.
Best shaping tights
Hanes Girl-Short Tummy-Control Pantyhose
If you're looking to find your new go-to tights to wear underneath flow dresses on chillier days, Albanese highly recommends the Hanes Girl-Short Tummy-Control Pantyhose.
“I live in these Hanes tights,” Albanese says. “I love these because not only do they have a tummy-control feature, but they’re also run-resistant. The three most annoying things about tights are that they dig in at the waist, sag at the crotch or they run easily, so it’s great that these are run-resistant, and you also get the benefits of that tummy-control as well."
Spanx Tight-End Tights
The Spanx Tight-End Tights would also be a great addition to your transitional wardrobe for days that are colder than normal.
"Spanx High-Waist Tights are amazing,” McDonald says. “They’re a compression tight with stockings underneath and they're so smooth and comfortable. You feel like [you're] just wearing a regular pair of tights, but [they] have really great hold.”
Meet our experts
- Lindsay Albanese is a style and wardrobe expert with 17 years of celebrity styling experience. She currently runs the curated marketplace the Fileist.
- Micah McDonald is a fashion stylist based in Los Angeles who's been working with styling partner Wayman Bannerman to style celebrity clients since 2013.
- Avo Yermagyan is a Los Angeles-based celebrity stylist.