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If you're anything like me, the thought of wearing shapewear probably doesn't bring you much joy. Shapewear usually calls for a lot of squeezing, tugging and struggling, but it doesn't have to be that way. Nowadays, there are tons of modern options on the market that hug in all the right places and make you feel confident in your own skin.
In an effort to help you narrow down your search for the best shapewear that's worth the price tag, Shop TODAY chatted with a handful of style experts to get the scoop on the best options in the industry. Plus, they gave us a little insight into why shapewear is worth investing in!
"The secret to dressing is in the shapewear. Once you achieve the perfect silhouette with shapewear as your foundation, the rest is easy," said celebrity stylist Avo Yermagyan. "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."
So if you're looking to make your favorite pieces look even better, it might be time to upgrade your shapewear.
"I believe that shapewear is an investment because it just makes any piece of clothing that looks good then look great," said celebrity stylist Micah McDonald, who has worked alongside his styling partner Wayman Bannerman since 2013. Their client list includes Regina King, Cindy Crawford and Tessa Thompson.
To shop this article by category, simply click on each link below:
- Best high-waist shorts shapewear
- Best shapewear underwear
- Best shapewear bras
- Best shapewear tank tops
- Best full-bodysuit shapewear
- Best open-bust bodysuit shapewear
- Best shapewear slips
- Best shapewear leggings
- Best shapewear tights
Best high-waist shorts shapewear
“Sometimes shapewear can be so constricting — I’ve worn shapewear that makes me feel like I might pass out because it is so sausage-casing and tight, but (Spanx) really mastered the textile (for these),” said style expert Lindsay Albanese, who was a professional stylist for 18 years. "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, extra tan and dark brown.
Best shapewear underwear
“The Maidenform Shapewear Firm Control High-Waist Briefs are really, really great,” McDonald told 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."
These Maidenform briefs are available in black, white and beige, and come in a variety of sizes.
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 told us.
Best shapewear bras
Albanese called 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 said. “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.”
“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 said. "It shapes really nicely and it's also seamless.”
This product comes in fun colors like lavender and light green, but it's also offered in neutrals like white and black.
Best shapewear tank tops
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 said.
“It's a nice seamless shapewear tank top that just kind of fits and glides under everything,” McDonald said. “(It has a) four-way stretch and has good compression to it that makes you feel like you're not wearing shapewear, but it definitely shapes, conforms and gives hold.”
Best full-bodysuit shapewear
McDonald loves the 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 said. “We find with a lot of other shapewear that it just tends to kind of flatten everything and we're a big component 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.”
For a versatile full bodysuit shapewear option that you can rock on its own, consider this Spanx recommendation from Albanese.
“I love that this full bodysuit is all lace and it’s so beautifully designed. It can be worn under things and can be worn on its own as a ready-to-wear piece," Albanese raved. "It’s probably made not to be seen, but I also think it would be great to worn alone under a jacket or a blazer."
Best open-bust bodysuit shapewear
If you’re in the market for a shapewear bodysuit, consider an open-bust design for more flexibility.
“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 said. “If you buy an open-bust bodysuit, you’re more limited as to the neckline that you choose to wear.”
"The Maidenform Open-Bust Bodysuit 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 said.
It's available in both beige and black — making it easy to pair with any outfit in your wardrobe.
Best shapewear slips
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 said. “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 shapewear leggings
“These leggings are flexible, stretchy and not constricting," Albanese said. "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.
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 said. “They already have some type of shape to them and your body really just cores into that shape.”
Best shapewear tights
Fall is basically here and winter will be here before you know it — and you'll need a good pair of tights for all those cute flowy dresses. If you're looking to find your new go-to pair, Albanese highly recommends the Hanes Girl-Short Tummy-Control Pantyhose.
“I live in these Hanes tights,” Albanese said. “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."
The Spanx Tight-End Tights would also be a great addition to your cold-weather wardrobe.
"Spanx High-Waist Tights are amazing,” McDonald said. “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.”
For more stories like this, check out:
- NYDJ jeans are one of Oprah's Favorite Things — and they just got a slimming upgrade
- The Amoretu Tunic Dress is universally flattering and under $15
- Why Ododos tummy-control leggings are my go-to pants this fall
This article was originally published on August 7, 2020.