Shapewear refers to tightly fitted undergarments that can give your body the support it needs, and the shape it craves. It is designed to shape a particular part of the body into the desired shape. Shapewear can make a woman look slimmer or with smooth enhanced curves.They are also known as Compression garments.
When you buy a dress, you may have seen it on a mannequin with a perfect body, but when you wear it on your less than perfect body with small and big bulges here and there, the result is completely different. With shapewear or foundation garments, you can change the look of these unwanted protrusions and give your body a smooth silhouette. They can make you feel and look almost perfect – with the right kind of curves, nothing less, nothing more.
Different types of Shapewear
Shapewear for upper body
Contour Bra / Moulded bra
This is a fitting and shaping bra that gives the breasts a shapely look and gives enough support. The contour bra is usually padded, and underwired. In the molded bra the padding is shaped by a machine to give a perfect seamless shape and curve to the bust.
Bracer /Bust shaper
A bust shaper/bracer is a special style that can lift, and shape a woman’s bust. It is added over the bra to give the breasts a push upwards. It is used by women to support and lift a sagging bust line.
This is a bra style that makes the breasts look smaller and gives ample support.
A corset is a tight-fitting undergarment that combines a bra with a waist-cincher. It fastens with tight lacing at the back or front. It is also boned giving the body a definite smooth shape. The corset tightens and makes the waist look smaller. A corset that extends till the hip is called a torsolette
Learn more about the different types of corsets here.
The bustier is a modern-day corset – which ends by the waist. They fasten around the waist with hooks and eyes.
Long Line Bra / Basque
Both are tight-fitting bras that extend to the waist. A long line bra is a Bra style that extends down to the navel or waist and looks almost like a bodice top. This tight-fitting top style bra fastens at the back with hooks and eyes. The basques are usually boned
Corselette / Shaping Cami
A shaping cami is a tight-fitting undergarment top with thin straps made of very comfortable and lightweight fabric. This undergarment is meant to smooth out any extra lumps on the upper part of your body and give you a sleeker silhouette.
A corselette is a combination of a corset and a brassiere. Both the camisole and the corselette are meant to give shape to the upper part of the body.
Shapewear for stomach
Waist nipper/Tummy tucker/ Waist cincher
This is a shapewear meant to pull in the stomach and make the waist look smaller in size. It is adjustable with lacing or zipper or even hooks and eyes and may have boning to keep the shape. They start just under the bust and may extend to the waist or the hips. You can wear a prettily made waist cincher over the clothing.
These are undergarments meant to support the big belly of a pregnant woman. This can be as a belt worn around the stomach or as a panty with a high waist.
This is a panty meant to tighten the waist – it can make your waist look slimmer, flatten the stomach and give support to the core, shapes the buttocks.
Shapewear for lower body
Body Briefer/ Body shaper
This is a full body shaper that shapes the over all appearance of your body. This one-piece undergarment compresses the waist and lifts the breasts; it can extend till the hip. A body shaper/briefer looks like a one-piece bathing suit. It gives all-over support and shape for the body.
High cut panty
This is the regular French Cut brief that is cut high on the leg over the thigh with a total coverage at the back. It encloses the love handles and muffin tops and reduce the look of bulging without any discomfort.
High Waist shorts Shapewear / Thigh Shaper
High Waist Brief Shapewear is a control panty that looks like a tight shorts and a high waist to give shape and support to the waistline as well as compress the hips and thighs
Low waist shaper
This shaper sits low on the waist, compressing the lower abdomen area, and is good to wear under skirts, low waist jeans, etc.
Hip Shaper / enhancer
This is meant for those who want a smooth curve along the hips. It gives great side shaping for perfect hip curves with the help of pads. This is especially beneficial for those without a hip curve.
How to select the perfect shapewear
You have to try your shapewear before buying. Buy shapewear that is comfortable – do not go for a smaller size thinking you will look that much slimmer in a smaller size. In fact, this may cause bulges on the sides and make you feel uncomfortable. A good tight fit is essential but too much tightness can be counterproductive.
Choose shapewear with boning to keep the waist from rolling.
You have to take into account the kind of dress you are wearing before choosing the shapewear to go under it. If the dress exposes the waist you cannot wear a waist shaper there. Another such difficult situation can be found when you have a backless dress, halter neck top, thigh slit dress, plunge neckline top, etc. You need the shapewear to be invisible from the outside. So choose accordingly.
Another consideration is the color. The color of the undergarment should go along with the color of the outer garment.The color should not be visible under clothing.