Shapewear 101: Everything You Need To Know About Shapewear

Shapewear can be a woman's best friend if purchased and worn correctly.  Imagine walking around looking like the real-life version of your photoshopped self; a snatched waist, smooth lines, and a lift in the derriere. I'm not sure if any woman would be opposed to this.  While we have all hear women sing high praises to shapewear like Spanx, I have also heard countless women say that shapewear doesn't really work like they thought it would.  They say it rolls down and doesn't stay up, or some other complaint.  I firmly believe in these cases that women aren't properly told of the different types of shapewear and how to buy shapewear.  But not to worry ladies, because this is shapewear 101.  I'm going to tell you everything you need to know about shapewear.

Before I spill the tea on shapewear, this is the last post for the Tackle Your Underwear Drawer theme of The Revamp.  If you haven't signed up yet and you want to join in on the fun of revamping your wardrobe in 12 easy steps, be sure to sign up here!  You can join at any time and will still start at step 1.

Shapewear 101: Everything You Need To Know About Shapewear

1.  Buy the right size.  Don’t try to get a smaller size thinking this will hold you in better.  This will only create unwanted bulges and discomfort. We all know what a can of biscuits looks like once the seal is broken, right?  Yeah, that's the look we don't want. Wearing the wrong size can also cause the rolling effect.

2.  There are levels to this.  There are different levels of shapewear and they are not created with the same intensity.  For example, Spanx has 3 levels: Level 1 Smooth, Level 2 Shape, and Level 3 Sculpt.  If the fabric is lightweight, it is mostly just to smooth your figure.  The heavier fabrics usually have compression areas that will hold your body into shape.  I have a friend that was disappointed that her Spanx "wasn't working".  She said it only "smoothed her out, but didn't hold her in".  She most likely purchased level 1 but was hoping for results that level 3 would have given her.  If you're unsure or can't find the level on the packaging, be sure to ask a store associate for help.

3.  Choosing colors.  The color of your shapewear will depend on two things: the color of your outfit and your complexion. If you have darker skin and are wearing light colored fabric, look for shapewear in cocoa. Lighter skin tones should also wear a color similar to their skin tone underneath thin garments. The black option works well on all complexions with darker outerwear.

4.  Different types of shapewear.  There are many types of shapewear to help with your areas of concern.  There is shapewear with sheer tights that shape the tummy, rear, and thighs while giving you sheer legs.  There is high waist shapewear for smooth lines throughout the torso; they even have an option to hook onto your bra if you're worried about it staying up.  There are even full bodysuits for all over coverage.  You can choose between body suits that cover your chest or that cut out around the chest area.  Be careful because the body suits that cover your chest do have a chest-flattening effect somewhat similar to a sports bra.

5.  Butt lift anyone?  The "Booty Bra" lifts and shapes your derriere without hiding it; it also flattens your tummy and smooths out your sides.

6.  How to put on shapewear. Bunch up the shaper like pantyhose and pull it on while gradually releasing the fabric. Leave any crotches hooked or snapped; it can be a little difficult to get them fastened once the shaper is on.  Although you may want to pull some shapers over your head (like the camisole shaper), always step into shapewear and pull the garment up over the hips.  You don't want your head and arms to get stuck!

7.  Don’t sweat it.  Typically, shapewear is made of spandex and nylon, fabrics that don't breathe. While this may be great in colder months when you're trying to keep warm, it's not ideal for the warmer months; especially because it makes you prone to sweat. Not to worry though because several brands sell summer shapewear.  Summer shapewear is lighter and some are even designed with moisture absorption and odor control.

8. Cleaning shapewear. Most body shapers are made to be worn as underwear so you'll need to wash them after each use. Gently hand wash your shapewear opposed to putting them in the washer and dryer. Lay them flat to dry. Be sure you're not twisting or wringing them out too much because this will cause them to lose their shape.

9.  Building your shapewear wardrobe.  Just like with any wardrobe, you want to start with the basics, like a mid-thigh shaper, a slip dress, and sheer tights.  You can add specialty items like the "booty bra" later. 

I hope you found this post helpful.  If you did, be sure to share it with a friend.  Want to save it for later?  Pin the image below to one of your Pinterest boards.  And don't forget to sign up for my newsletter for more style tips.

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