BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.
For the past two years, donning formal attire has meant putting on a fresh pair of sweats. Now, as people are venturing out to more and more social events, confidence might not be as high as it was pre-pandemic. Even the best of us could benefit from a little contouring help.
Shapewear is an appealing option that draws attention to your natural curves while smoothing out trouble spots. The right undergarment makes you feel more attractive and boosts your confidence while still being comfortable. These desirable factors have put shapewear on track to be one of the biggest fashion trends in 2022.
What is shapewear?
Shapewear is a foundation garment that is made of spandex and nylon. The two materials work together to create an undergarment that gives you a balance of compression and comfort.
Shapewear can touch up trouble spots while accentuating your curves. Additionally, the combination of spandex and nylon produces a smoothing effect on your overall body that gives you a flawless silhouette. Shapewear lets you confidently make bold fashion choices that flatter and bring attention to your natural contour.
Shapewear is available in different levels of compression
Depending on the brand of shapewear you get, you will find different levels of compression. The higher the level of compression, the more shaping the undergarment can do. Some manufacturers only offer one level, while others have as many as five. The three basic options for compression are:
- Low compression: This level of compression doesn’t offer much shaping. It is best for creating a smooth silhouette. Low compression shapewear is desirable because it will be comfortable to wear for extended periods.
- Medium compression: If you want to accentuate your shape by adding subtle contours, medium compression is a good choice. At this level, the shapewear can touch up trouble spots to emphasize the natural curves of your body.
- High compression: For individuals who will be wearing structured clothing, such as a wedding dress, a gown or a cocktail dress, for a limited amount of time, high-compression shapewear is a desirable option. High-compression shapewear provides firm control and has a noticeable sculpting effect. This level of compression isn’t meant for all-day use, so it may be uncomfortable if worn for more than several hours at a time.
How should shapewear fit?
It’s easy to think that you should downsize shapewear, so it fits tighter, but this is a big mistake. Shapewear that is too tight will cause bulges instead of smoothing your contour. It is also not safe to wear shapewear that is too tight because it can create many medical issues.
The key to achieving a good fit is matching the size of clothing you wear. Shapewear should feel tight, but not uncomfortable or restrictive. You should not have any problems moving or trouble breathing when you are wearing your undergarment.
Do not wear shapewear every day
You should limit your shapewear to moderate use. According to the Mayo Clinic, even if your undergarment fits properly, wearing it too long may cause discomfort, a rash, numbness, bloating, gas, acid reflux, infection and varicose veins. These symptoms will be more prevalent in garments that are too small.
Ideally, you should save your shapewear for special occasions. If you are not comfortable, remove the clothing as soon as possible to relieve discomfort.
Shapewear is not just for women
Women’s shapewear is not the only shapewear that exists. Men can also wear foundation garments to achieve desirable results. Shapewear for men can contour bulges and hide love handles to give the body a smooth silhouette. It makes formalwear fit and look better. And it can even help bolster confidence and correct poor posture.
Best shapewear undergarments
This shapewear from a trusted brand is an open-bust mid-thigh bodysuit. It is breathable and features an adjustable strap for stay-put support. The design is elastic-free so there is no pinching, and the double gusset means you can use the restroom with ease.
Sold by Amazon
Naomi & Nicole Shapewear Women’s Luxe High Waist Brief
Naomi & Nicole’s shapewear is a high-waisted brief with firm control that targets the waist, back and hips. The silicone gripper keeps the legs from riding up, while the double front flattens the stomach.
Sold by Kohl’s
This ultra-firm shapewear has a built-in bra that provides impressive support as it sculpts your body. It features a feminine lace design, which lets you wear the garment beneath sheer or revealing tops if desired.
SPANX for Men Zoned Performance Tank
This shirt for men improves physique with a seamless design and compression zones that target the abs and torso. The material is breathable, moisture-wicking and offers maximum mobility.
Sold by Amazon
Miraclesuit Women’s Extra Firm Tummy-Control Shape
The Miraclesuit is a high-waist, mid-thigh option that contours your waist and buttocks. The triple-layer construction provides increased sculpting control to produce a slim silhouette.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.