The secret is out, built-in shapewear is in. While experts say dresses with built-in shapewear won't completely replace shapewear separates, they take a few steps — and layers — off your outfit. Retailers are raving about this new trend that combines clothes and convenience, because let's be honest, who wouldn't love a more low-maintenance routine with the same results?
Whether you’re headed to the bar, the beach or running errands this summer, there's a dress for you. We rounded up the best dresses with built-in shapewear for each occasion and season. To find out which shaping dress is the right fit for you, keep scrolling or use the links below.
What to look for | Best under $50 | Best swim | Best active | Best LBDs | Best maxi | Best long sleeve | Best plus-size | Best petite | Can I wear these dresses while pregnant? | FAQs | How we chose | Meet our experts
What should I look for in dresses with built-in shapewear?
Trial and error is what it's all about — and a little bit of research too. Bare Necessities bra fit expert Kristyn Polin says there's no specific formula when it comes to looking for clothing with built-in shapewear.
"Get a sense of the brand itself. Take the time to look at reviews," Polin recommends. "A lot of websites now are posting reviews with women's height or weight, so trying to check that information before selecting your size is definitely helpful."
Polin says all shapewear will — and should — have a bit of stretch. She and our other experts say the most common shapewear materials include the following:
- Nylon and microfiber blends
Polin says that compression should all be based on your comfort level and how you feel in the garment that has shapewear built in. Retailers usually divide compression levels into three categories: light, medium and high compression.
Polin says the fabric for light-compression shapewear is not as thick and will lay on the body, focusing more on smoothing. Medium compression is thicker and brings your body in a bit more. High compression should be just a step up from medium, but should still allow you to move around comfortably.
Whether you have a pear shape, square shape or something in between, our experts say shapewear should fit any body type.
"I haven't seen any specific article of shapewear geared more towards a certain body type, and I haven't seen [shapewear] not work for certain body types," fitting expert Polin says. "It's pretty universal."
"Thankfully, shapewear has come a long way with the materials that are used," a representative for Bare Necessities explains. "Most shapewear pieces are constructed with stretch materials and made specifically to hug all the right curves on the body, no matter what your exact measurements are."
The representative adds that depending on the specific shapewear piece, when they fit a petite customer, there may be suggestions they can make to get a better fit.
"For example, if she’s looking at a bodysuit that is [based on] bra size, sometimes suggesting a sister size can help with the length of the suit," the Bare Necessities rep says.
Something to note: Some product specifications we list here, such as length, compression type and care instructions, were obtained from the retailers themselves.
Best smoothing and built-in shapewear dresses under $50
Length: 33 in. | Type of compression: Full-body | Compression level: Level 1 smoothing | Size range: S - XL | Care: Machine-wash cold, gentle cycle; tumble-dry low
Reviews say this Yummie tank dress is perfect for someone looking to smooth all their curves. The bodycon dress is made with soft, breathable fabric that's a mix of nylon and spandex. The high neck and racerback design makes it perfect to dress up or down, and reviewers add that this dress is great for layering too.
Length: 38.5 in. | Type of compression: Full-body | Compression level: Level 1 Smoothing | Size range: S — XL | Care: Machine-wash cold with like colors on a gentle cycle. Tumble dry on low heat. Only use non-chlorine bleach and iron on low heat when needed. Do not dry clean.
This Yummie bodycon mock neck is the perfect smoothing closet staple. This dress is made of breathable fabric that is soft to the touch. One verified reviewer said, "I have ordered quite a few things from Yummie and they never disappoint…this dress is no exception. It gives the perfect amount of smoothing but doesn’t feel uncomfortable or ‘sucked in’, the way other brands can. It’s great on its own, or throw any jacket or cardigan with it. This will definitely be a staple in my closet!!"
The downside to this dress is that there is a limited size range.
Length: 38.5 in. | Type of compression: Full-body | Compression level: Level 1 Smoothing | Size range: XS — 3XL | Care: Machine-wash cold with like colors on a gentle cycle. Tumble dry on low heat. Only use non-chlorine bleach and iron on low heat when needed. Do not dry clean.
This dress will make you feel good while being kind to the planet. Parade's perfect rib dress is made of renewable materials sourced from beech forests. One reviewer said, "I have two of these dresses and on my goodness.....they’re perfect. So comfy and flattering. They fit completely true to my regular size. I was worried about getting a “body con” type of dress with my shape and size, but it doesn’t make me feel self conscious at all. I really recommend this dress."
Length: 50 in. | Type of compression: Full-body | Compression level: Smoothing | Size range: 16 — 26 | Care: Machine-wash.
Go out on the town with this Lane Bryant mock neck dress. The brand advertises this dress as "curve-loving" because its made from ponte fabric, a smoothing but stretchy knit. This bodycon dress has an off-the-shoulder cutout and cross-over detail on the neckline. The side slit allows for a pop of skin and the hidden back zipper with hook and eye closure will strap you in all night long.
Length: 32 in. | Type of compression: Full-body | Compression level: Moderate smoothing | Size range: 10 — 30 | Care: Machine-wash cold, dry flat.
This Torrid smoothing dress has a ribbed hem to make sure it doesn't ride up when you're out and about. This can be worn as a slip under clothes or as a statement dress. It has a scoop neck and back and adjustable straps to customize it for your body.
Length: 25-29 in. | Type of compression: Full-body | Compression level: Low-impact, smoothing | Size range: S - 3XL | Care: Machine-wash cold, tumble-dry low
This smoothing, seamless dress from Bare Necessities is perfect for a modern and sleek outfit. Wear this smoothing dress as outerwear when running everyday errands or as a slip under your clothes. The fabric is made of nylon and elastane that smooths and stretches around your curves.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Bare Necessities' Polin did not influence our editorial decision to include this product.
Best swim dresses with built-in shapewear
Length: Not provided | Type of compression: Tummy | Compression level: Medium | Size range: S - 4XL | Care: Not provided (here's our recommendation)
The Shapermint swim dress has an empire waist designed to minimize your waist and thighs. The knot front enhances your bust, while the added compression supports your chest. It also features an Inner Power mesh panel for tummy smoothing.
One reviewer said, "I was super nervous about ordering a one piece swimsuit because they don’t tend to fit correctly. This one fits perfectly and it doesn’t slip or ride. The tummy control is super effective and it’s comfortable."
Length: Not provided | Type of compression: Full-body | Compression level: Light | Size range: XXS — 4X | Care: Hand wash cold, hang to dry
This Skims one-piece has thick non-adjustable strap and a deep scoop back. The underbust style lines highlights your chest, while the side-ruching details have a slimming effect. This swimsuit is full-coverage, comes in six colors and is on sale for 50% off right now.
The brand says this swim dress runs true to size, but reviews say it fits better on a smaller chest. One reviewer said, “I LOVED this suit and wanted it so badly to fit. Unfortunately the breast area is too small. Adorable otherwise. I’m 5’3” and 140 lbs. and about a 36C cup. I purchased a medium. I might try a large for the bigger chest area. For smaller-chested girls I would highly recommend this flattering suit.”
Length: 30 in. | Type of compression: Upper and mid-section of body | Compression level: High | Size range: 8 — 26 | Care: Hand wash cold, line dry
This L.L. Bean shaping swim dress is made of quick-drying and chlorine-resistant Italian fabric. This swimsuit is made of a one-piece suit underneath for coverage with a lightweight swim dress on top. This swim dress has a fully adjustable halter strap and is rated UPF 50+, blocking 10 times more of the sun’s UV rays than a white cotton tee. This form-fitting swim dress is available in regular, plus and long sizes.
Best active dresses with built-in shapewear
Length: Not provided | Type of compression: Torso and upper thighs | Compression level: Light, Smoothing | Size range: XS — XXL | Care: Not provided (here’s our recommendation)
This workout dress is made of moisture-wicking fabric with 4four-way-stretch technology that is designed to smooth. The removeable bra and built-in shorts offer ease of movement while holding you in. Keep your essentials close in the two side pockets added into your shorts. This dress is a flattering A-line shape and adjustable straps with X-design on the back of the dress. This dress is a No. 1 bestseller for women’s tennis dresses with over 4,000 verified ratings.
One reviewer said, "Fabric is amazing, the fit is amazing, I’m beyond impressed. I also rarely leave reviews but because I was so on the fence about this I feel compelled to help the next debating shopper out. Biggest take away for you, if you’re not sure whether to size up or not…don’t! I’m 5’7 127lbs and I ordered a small in the black & white—perfect fit."
Length: Not provided | Type of compression: Torso | Compression level: Low | Size range: XS — XL | Care: Machine-wash cold, tumble-dry low. Do not bleach, iron or dry clean.
For when you’d just rather get to the courts. This active dress is made of a high-sweat and high-impact fabric with built-in UPF 50 protection. This quick-drying dress has a built-in shelf bra and removable padding. The bold color blocking and smoothing capabilities makes this work out dress unique in every way.
Length: 31 in. | Type of compression: Full-body | Compression level: Light | Size range: XXS — XXXL | Care: Machine-wash cold, tumble-dry low
This Outdoor Voices active dress can walk right off the court and into your everyday wardrobe. The Volley dress has a fit-and-flare style and a built-in shorts liner with pockets designed to hold you in. This dress is made of the brand’s SuperForm fabric for high-sweat, high-impact movement with built-in UPF 50 protection. This dress comes in seven colors and has a racerback design.
Shop TODAY senior social media editor Kate McCarthy is a superfan of this dress: “I’ve worn it walking around for hours, and the built-in shorts makes it super comfortable to move around in, highly recommend.”
Best little black dresses with built-in shapewear
Length: 32.5 in. | Type of compression: Full-body | Compression level: Light | Size range: XS — 3X | Care: Machine wash cold with like colors on a gentle cycle and line dry. Do not use fabric softener. Only use non-chlorine bleach and a low heat iron when needed. Only dry clean when needed.
If you know shapewear, you know Spanx, a brand that has been leading the shapewear game for over 20 years — and their built-in shapewear is no exception.
This dress design has a patent-pending built-in smoothing bodysuit with pockets. The pleated design emphasizes the movement of the dress and adds a flare to an otherwise simple LBD. The fabric is sweat-wicking and quick-drying and has a UPF of 50+. This dress is easy to step in and out of and comes in sizes from XS to 3X. It’s also on sale now during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.
One reviewer said, “This is the first item I’ve bought from Spanx and it didn’t disappoint! I wanted a dress that I could wear to work and on weekends and this dress does just that! I wear it with a jacket & wedges for work then throw on sneakers or flip flops after work. The shorts underneath are genius especially for the hot summers in Texas! I’ll definitely buy another black one and any other color they come out with!”
Length: 31.89 in. | Type of compression: Tummy | Compression level: Mid-support | Size range: S - 3X | Care: Hand wash, do not tumble-dry
Add a bit of edge into your simple outfit with Shapellx's see-through mesh-back bodycon dress. This dress is designed to define your arms and visibly tighten your abdomen and waistline. It also features elastic support in the bra cup.
Length: 42 in. | Type of compression: Tummy and hip | Compression level: Moderate | Size range: XS - 3X | Care: Machine wash cold, gentle cycle; line dry
This LBD has built-in shaping panels that give hidden tummy, back and hip shaping without the extra layer of shapewear. The hidden zipper in the side seam make it easy to slip this dress on and off. The crepe fabric and asymmetrical shirring make this dress a perfect closet staple for any season.
Best built-in shapewear maxi dress
Length: 51.30 in. | Type of compression: Full-body | Compression level: Light | Size range: XS - 4XL | Care: Hand wash only
Popilush is the trending shapewear brand on Amazon right now. This dress, made of biodegradable soft modal fabric, has adjustable straps and a mesh lining around the butt area that's designed to sculpt the body's thigh contour.
The shaping bodysuit underneath will smooth your tummy with its double-layer shapewear design and stretchy, sweat-absorbent material. The dress also features a built-in bra with removable pads, adjustable straps, butt-lifting technology and an open gusset that makes bathroom breaks easy.
If your waist and hip measurements fall within different sizes, the brand recommends sizing up when buying this dress.
Best long-sleeve built-in shapewear dress
Length: Not provided | Type of compression: Tummy | Compression level: Mid-compression | Size range: S - 3X | Care: Hand wash, do not tumble-dry
Shapellx’s simple yet elegant Built-In 360° Slim Fit Shaping Maxi Dress is the perfect closet staple. The modal fabric keeps you soft and cool while stretching around your curves. This dress features a built-in power-net lining that smooths your tummy and shapes your waist.
Best plus-size built-in shapewear dress
Length: 49 in. | Type of compression: Tummy | Compression level: Light | Size range: XS - 6X | Care: Machine-wash cold, like colors; tumble-dry low
Yitty's Smooth As Hell lounge dress is made of breathable and structured fabric that will hug your figure without wrinkling. The stretchy fabric and variety of sizes, from XS to 6X, makes this the perfect everyday dress. This dress has adjustable straps and targeted zoning that smooths the tummy and lifts the chest. One reviewer said they loved this dress so much, they bought it five times.
Best petite built-in shapewear dresses
Length: 31-33 in. | Type of compression: Full-body | Compression level: Medium | Size range: XXS - 6XL | Care: Machine-wash cold, like colors; hang dry
Girlfriend Collective's Riley Sweetheart Dress is good for you and the planet. The exercise dress is made of the brand's FLOAT recycled material that is 90% recycled plastic bottles (RPET) and 10% spandex. The compressive bodysuit liner with pockets provides extra smoothing, support and storage under the draped skirt.
This active dress is designed to be fitted in your waist and upper body, with the built-in bra and sweetheart neckline highlighting your chest. The dress' wide straps also provide support with their crossover detail and has an inclusive size range from an XXS to a 6XL.
The brand recommends washing in a filtering wash bag or using a microfiber filter.
Length: 26.75 in. | Type of compression: Full-body | Compression level: Low | Size range: XS - 6XL | Care: Machine-wash cold, like colors, hang dry
This Girlfriend Collective dress is inspired by their bestselling workout bra. The open neckline and thin adjustable straps that go straight down the back make it easier for you to get in and out of this dress. This Juliet dress has an inner compressive bodysuit for light support, with two mesh side pockets. The fabric is designed to be sweat-wicking, quick-dry, ultra-lightweight and breathable, so you to be comfortable anywhere you decide to wear it.
Shop TODAY production associate Audrey Ekman says she's obsessed with this dress. “It’s so flattering and just launched in this fun, bright orange. All of the little thought-out details, from the built-in shorts to the hidden pocket design, make it my favorite exercise dress ever.” This dress is also made of sun-protective fabric; it has an Ultraviolet Protection Factor of 50+. This dress comes in two colors and is available in sizes XXS to 6XL.
Are dresses with built-in shapewear safe while pregnant?
Our experts say shapewear can be used safely during pregnancy if it does not overly compress your ribs, abdominal muscles or internal organs.
“The uterus is a pretty tough cookie! But excess amounts of pressure on the uterus can cause not only discomfort, but in some cases light contractions,” says board-certified OB/GYN and Evernow advisor Dr. Taniqua Miller. “Maternity shapewear options can include light support around the growing belly with support, or full bodysuits that provide firm support, similar to a maternity belt.”
Dr. Amanda Black, president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, says your shapewear shouldn’t fit too tight because it may reduce circulation or cause pain.
“Provided that a pregnant person is comfortable wearing it and is able to move breathe and sleep without restriction or pain, then there should be no problems with its use,” Black says.
Our experts say that in some cases, healthcare providers may recommend compression stockings to help with leg swelling and the prevention of varicose veins during pregnancy.
“There may be some trial and error in choosing the right support, but luckily, there are many maternity options at different price points for parents-to-be,” Miller explains.
Questions about shapewear, answered by experts
How do I know my shapewear size? Should I buy shapewear a size bigger?
Bare Necessities' Polin says you should definitely still stick with your normal size. You want your shapewear to be form-fitting and hug your curves — but not too tightly.
Can shapewear reduce my dress size?
Our experts say wearing shapewear won't reduce your dress size, but it may give you the appearance that you're another size.
Polin says if you are in between sizes, putting on a piece of shapewear might help you fit into the smaller size better — but it will not reduce your dress size overall.
What color of shapewear should I wear under a white dress or wedding dress?
Experts say the style of shapewear you decide on depends on what style of dress you wear. For color, our experts suggest you wear nude or ivory shapewear when wearing a white dress.
“White can actually cause some contrast. Something that’s a little bit more beigey will definitely work best,” Polin says.
How do I hide a belly in a tight dress?
Miller recommends looking for full bodysuits or control-top briefs focusing on the midsection. These sculpt the body and can provide support in a bodycon dress.
“I would also encourage you to choose the appropriate dress size. Sometimes we think ordering a smaller size may give a better fit in a dress intended to be tight,” Miller says. “However, ordering your size may allow the fabric to lay better over those areas of concern instead of accentuating them. It is worthwhile to try different sizes and silhouettes.”
How can I hide my belly without shapewear?
Our experts say one of the best ways to minimize belly problem areas without shapewear is to choose outfits that play up other areas of your body, ones that make you feel confident.
Miller also suggests you consult the experts: “A stylist is a great option for you to play up those areas. Think a stylist is out of reach? Not necessarily. Several department stores offer complimentary styling services to pick styles that look great on your body.”
How we chose the best built-in shapewear dresses
We reviewed pages of customer feedback and consulted various experts to find you the best dresses on the market that have built-in shapewear. The dresses that made the cut provide excellent support and shape, ensuring a comfortable and flattering fit. While long-lasting shapewear is on the pricier side, we’ve considered a range of price points to make sure there’s something for almost everyone.
Shop TODAY is a team of shopping experts with years of deal-finding experience. As one of them, I used my skills in discovering long-lasting, high-quality items at the best possible prices. I asked my colleagues for their all-time favorite recs, too.
Meet our experts
- Kristyn Polin is a bra fit expert at Bare Necessities. She has conducted more than 500 bra fittings in her nearly eight years with the retailer. Her favorite part of the job is helping her clients feel empowered and confident by embracing their body and trying new styles. She previously talked to Shop TODAY about how to shop for a plus-size bra.
- Dr. Taniqua Miller, MD, is a board-certified OB/GYN and advisor at Evernow. Dr. Miller is also a midlife/menopause health expert who trained in psychology at Yale University and earned her medical degree from Harvard Medical school.
- Dr. Amanda Black, MD, MPH, FRCSC, is the president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Ottawa.