Shopping
Advertiser Disclosure

The Best Shapewear, According to a Fashion and Film Industry Tailor

Best Shapewear for Women
iStock

Our evaluations and opinions are not influenced by our advertising relationships, but we may earn a commission from our partners’ links. This content is created independently from TIME’s editorial staff. Learn more about it.

updated: June 3, 2024

Shapewear has a long history. In the 1300s, it’s believed people wore leather belts to cinch in their waists. Corsets came later, made from stiff paste, metal, then linen and whale bones. The desire to smooth out lumps and bumps while adding contour to our silhouettes has existed for—almost as long as we’ve been getting dressed.

Shapewear today is less constrictive and painful than the shapewear of yore and is now available in breathable, soft fabrics that feel more like a hug than a vice grip. (It’s the more practical cousin of lingerie and the more productive cousin of underwear.) If you’re in the market for some shapewear for yourself, here are some things to consider.

Our top picks for the best shapewear for women

Best tummy control shapewear: Invisible High-Waisted Mid-Thigh Short

Best tummy control shapewear
Invisible High-Waisted Mid-Thigh Short

Invisible High-Waisted Mid-Thigh Short

Spanx continues to be a leader in women’s shapewear offering a wide range of undergarments in varying weights. The brand’s Thinstincts collection is made from a lightweight, single-layer fabric that’s both breathable and supportive. The high-waisted shorts extend up to under the bust for a smooth, comfortable fit, with no panty lines anywhere, and tummy control

Specifications:

  • Sizes: XS–3X
  • Colors: Café au lait, black, champagne beige, chestnut brown
  • Material: Lycra

Pros:

  • Ultra-thin fabric
  • Minimal seams
  • No visible panty lines

Cons:

  • Difficult to remove for bathroom needs

Get it here: Invisible High-Waisted Mid-Thigh Short


Best shapewear top: Maidenform Comfort Devotion Shapewear Cami

The Maidenform Cami features a two-ply panel at the stomach area as well as back control for a smooth, sleek shape. The fabric has wicking technology to keep moisture away from your skin. And, it's stylish enough to wear on its own. This is not just another white tank.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: S–2XL
  • Colors: Black, latte, white
  • Material: Nylon and elastane

Pros:

  • Enough support that you may not need a bra
  • Good range of sizes

Cons:

  • Not as many color choices as some others
  • Limited color choices

Get it here: Maidenform Comfort Devotion Shapewear Cami


Best shaping tank top: Shapermint Scoop Neck Compression Cami

Best shaping tank top
Shapermint Essentials All Day Every Day Scoop Neck Cami

Shapermint Essentials All Day Every Day Scoop Neck Cami

This compression camisole from Shapermint takes care of the dreaded muffin top while also providing compression in the tummy area and support in the bust. It’s made from an opaque, supportive fabric that doesn’t roll and it comes in a range of fun colors, and can be worn with or without a bra. While shapewear in general may not be as comfortable as your favorite pair of pajamas, reviewers have praised the lightweight fabric for all-day wear. Tip: Choose beige for an option that won’t show through under white t-shirts and other light-colored tops.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: S–4XL
  • Colors: Black, beige, white, chocolate, pink, green, red, lilac
  • Material: Nylon, spandex

Pros:

  • Holds up well to washings
  • Stays in place
  • Comfortable for all-day wear
  • Good range of sizes

Cons:

  • Flattens the chest a bit

Get it here: Shapermint Scoop Neck Compression Cami


Best shapewear bodysuit: Skims Sculpting Bodysuit

Best shapewear bodysuit
Skims Sculpting Bodysuit

Skims Sculpting Bodysuit

This bodysuit has everything: A scoop neck, low back, adjustable straps, snap closure in the crotch, strong compression in the tummy area, and butt lifting and enhancing features. As one reviewer commented, “it does look totally snatched.” Which, if you’re not familiar, is something you do want.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: XXS–4XL
  • Colors: 10—wide range in variety of skin tones
  • Material: nylon, elastine

Pros:

  • Extremely inclusive size and color range
  • Cut of the bodysuit makes it work with a wide variety of outfits

Cons:

  • Brief rides up occasionally
  • Options can sell out quickly

Get it here: Skims Sculpting Bodysuit


Best plus-size shapewear: Lane Bryant Shape by Cacique Open Bust Thigh Shaper

Best plus-size shapewear
Lane Bryant Shape by Cacique Open Bust Thigh Shaper

Lane Bryant Shape by Cacique Open Bust Thigh Shaper

This open bust shaper bodysuit from Lane Bryant contours your curves from midsection to thigh. It’s seamless in the thigh area with a split gusset design. It’s also lightweight and comfortable, though, if you have thinner thighs, the fit can be tricky.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 14/16–34/36
  • Colors: Café, black
  • Material: nylon, spandex

Pros:

  • Supportive
  • Good plus-size size range

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to get on
  • Limited colors

Get it here: Lane Bryant Shape by Cacique Open Bust Thigh Shaper


Best shapewear for dresses: Spanx On Core High Waisted Mid-Thigh Short

Best shapewear for dresses
Spanx Women's OnCore Sculpting High-Waisted Mid-Thigh Shorts

Spanx Women's OnCore Sculpting High-Waisted Mid-Thigh Shorts

The most powerful sculpting Spanx makes, we love this short for underneath any kind of dress. Pull them all the way up and under your bust, then put your bra on over for a smooth, sexy, curvy shape. It features booty-enhancing pockets, so you don’t end up with a uni-butt, as well as a bonded tummy panel for a flat stomach.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: XS–3X
  • Colors: Black, soft nude, cafe au lait, chestnut brown, naked 3.0
  • Material: Nylon, elastane

Pros:

  • Offers super compression for maximum shaping
  • Double crotch gusset for easier bathroom visits

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to take off

Get it here: Spanx On Core High Waisted Mid-Thigh Short


Best shapewear for lower belly pooch: Maidenform Tame Your Tummy Shaping Briefs

Maidenform Tame Your Tummy briefs provide control for your stomach, waist, and rear with its smooth, “Cool Comfort” moisture-wicking fabric. The bottom of the panty is made from lace for extra ventilation—great for warm summer days. The waistband stays in place without rolling or digging in.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: S–2XL
  • Colors: 15 options
  • Material: Polyester, spandex

Pros:

  • Lots of colors
  • Lace on bottom offers a nice detail and ventilation

Cons:

  • Lace portion doesn’t really have any support
  • Seams can be visible through thinner fabrics
  • Some report that the briefs run small

Get it here: Maidenform Tame Your Tummy Shaping Briefs


Best butt-lifting shapewear: Nebility Butt Lifter Shapewear

Best butt-lifting shapewear
Nebility Butt Lifter Shapewear Panties Tummy Control Underwear High Waist Trainer Lifting Girdle for Women Body Shaper (Black,X-Large)

Nebility Butt Lifter Shapewear Panties Tummy Control Underwear High Waist Trainer Lifting Girdle for Women Body Shaper (Black,X-Large)

This high-waisted, tummy-control shaper brief features full butt shape stitching which tightens and lifts, giving you an hourglass shape. The midsection is equipped with four spiral steel bones for optimal control, while preventing the brief from rolling down, for a corset-like fit.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: S–3XL
  • Colors: beige, black
  • Material: polyester, spandex

Pros:

  • Breathable fabric
  • Maximum shaping
  • Affordable price

Cons:

  • Not exactly the most comfortable option on the list
  • Can take longer to put on due to hook and eye closures
  • Closures and seams may be visible under thin or clingy fabrics
  • Have to take off the entire shaper to use the bathroom

Get it here: Nebility Butt Lifter Shapewear


Best shapewear leggings: Wolford Aurora Light Shape Leggings

Best shapewear leggings
Wolford Aurora Light Shape Leggings

Wolford Aurora Light Shape Leggings

The price may seem a bit high for these light-shaping leggings, but Wolford products do last much longer than other brands. Their tights, hose, and leggings for women are made from some of the strongest fibers available and rarely run, snag, or tear. I only wear Wolford when it comes to legwear and these leggings are a favorite that I go back to year after year. They have a wide panel at the waist that lightly shapes and contours and, like many Wolford products, they are circular knitted, which means minimal seams.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: XS-L
  • Colors: 8 options including red, black, and gray
  • Material: Polyamide, elastane
  • Price range: $159.00 - $265.00

Pros:

  • Great color options
  • Durable
  • Minimal seams
  • Can be worn as pants

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Not the widest range of sizes

Get it here: Wolford Aurora Light Shape Leggings


Best strapless shapewear bodysuit: Wacoal Red Carpet Strapless Shaping Bodysuit

Best strapless shapewear bodysuit
Wacoal Red Carpet Strapless Shaping Bodysuit in Natural Nude at Nordstrom, Size 40D

Wacoal Red Carpet Strapless Shaping Bodysuit in Natural Nude at Nordstrom, Size 40D

For this shapewear bodysuit, Wacoal combined its Red Carpet bra and high-waist briefs to create a smoothing, supportive garment to wear under strapless, show-stopping garments. There’s a hook-and-eye closure between the legs for convenience and a power mesh front lining for added support.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 34B–40DDD
  • Colors: black, white
  • Material: nylon, spandex

Pros:

  • Includes removable straps
  • Excellent support in bust

Cons:

  • Fit can be difficult in the torso area, make sure to double-check size chart
  • On the expensive side

Get it here: Wacoal Red Carpet Strapless Shaping Bodysuit


Best shapewear thong: Skims Seamless Sculpt Mid-Waist Thong

Best shapewear thong
Skims Seamless Sculpt Mid-Waist Thong

Skims Seamless Sculpt Mid-Waist Thong

These thong panties sit at the natural waist and feature an inner silicone underband to prevent rolling. Seamless with strong compression, these mid-waist thongs help to smooth and sculpt. That they’re available in 10 shades to mimic any skin tone means everyone can find the best shade for them—even under white jeans

Specifications:

  • Sizes: XXS–4XL
  • Colors: 10 different colors for a wide range of skin tones
  • Material: Nylon, spandex

Pros:

  • Wide size range
  • Many colors to choose from

Cons:

  • Some reviewers report they roll down at the waist
  • Skims products tend to sell out quickly

Get it here: Skims Seamless Sculpt Mid-Waist Thong


Best butt-shaping shapewear: Skims Butt-Enhancing Shaper Shorts

Best butt-shaping shapewear
Skims Butt-Enhancing Shaper Shorts

Skims Butt-Enhancing Shaper Shorts

If you’re in the market for butt-enhancing jeggings and leggings, wearing these Skims Shaper shorts will make any garment you own butt-enhancing. They feature firm compression in the thigh area and a ruched seam in the back.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: XXS–4XL
  • Colors: Cocoa, onyx, sienna, clay
  • Material: Nylon, spandex

Pros:

  • Excellent size range
  • Comfortable to wear

Cons:

  • No compression in the tummy area
  • Skims products tend to sell out quickly

Get it here: Skims Butt-Enhancing Shaper Shorts


What to consider when buying shapewear

What do you plan to wear your shapewear under?

Shapewear comes in many styles and iterations. If you’re looking for something to go under a specific dress, take that dress with you to try on options. If you’re interested in more everyday type items that can be worn with a variety of garments, look for shapewear camisoles and briefs.

What areas of your body do you want to target?

Many shapewear options are designed to target a specific area of your body, such as your tummy or butt. There are options with mid-thigh length shorts that also contour the upper legs, as well as brief styles that focus on the midsection.

How much compression are you comfortable with?

Most brands sell items with varying levels of compression from light to very firm. To figure out what’s best for you, you’ll need to try on your shapewear. Make sure to move around, sit down, and bend to ensure a proper fit.

How to choose the best shapewear for you

Remember that different outfits can require different shaping garments and it’s important to try on your shapewear with the clothing that you intend to wear with it. You also want to consider how much compression you want. The stretchier the fabric, the more give it will have. If you’re going for a sculpted, smooth look, choose something without a great deal of stretch. Lycra and nylon blends work well, as the Lycra provides the compression and the nylon gives the fabric a soft feel.

How we selected the best shapewear

In addition to my work as a writer, my other career is working as a tailor and pattern maker for film, television, bridal, and fashion for the past 33 years. I have helped countless actresses, brides, and celebrities look and feel their best. In my decades on film sets and in dressing rooms, I’ve had actresses try on pretty much every shapewear garment there is and have received enough feedback on fit, comfort, and style to write a textbook—or two.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How do I find the best shapewear fit?

To find the best shapewear fit, you’re going to have to try on a range of options. You don’t want your shapewear to be so tight it causes stomach issues or pain—there’s a reason corsets fell out of fashion. Also, be aware of any places where rubbing or chafing may occur when trying things on.

Should you size down or size up when buying shapewear?

You should buy your size when purchasing shapewear. Consult the sizing charts for different brands as, like most everything else in fashion, they can differ wildly from label to label.

What does shapewear do?

Shapewear smooths out bumps and adds contour to the body. Many people use shapewear to hold in a tummy bulge. It also prevents rolling (if you’ve selected the correct size).

How do you keep shapewear from rolling down?

To prevent shapewear from rolling down, make sure to purchase the correct size. Also, ensure it has a silicone non-slip underband at the openings. This will grip your skin and help the shapewear stay in place.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

1.1481.0+1.69.4