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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.
Jeans and Your Favorite Top
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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. Amazon's best-selling shapewear cami is on sale for $22.
"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," said Thomas, "which just makes them way more comfortable! They're honestly more practical than anything else."
Amazon reviewers love this pair by Maidenform for $17.
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."
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.
This multipurpose shaping jumpsuit can be worn with the straps in four different ways, making it the ultimate dress-up secret weapon. It provides smoothing and slimming effects from your waist down through the thighs, while also adding support in the bust.
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. It comes in 14 colors.
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."
Spanks also has a pair for $38 that takes the coverage up a notch with additional tummy control.
Skirts (Cold Weather)
Tights can be necessary to keep warm in dresses during the winter. We love this budget-friendly collection from Spanx that offers the great smoothing and shaping benefits in a classic look.