The perfect body doesn’t exist, unless you’re counting the digitally manipulated ones you see on Instagram. What is real, though, is the rise of shapewear, the wearable solution that makes you feel confident and comfortable in your own skin.
Today, shapewear comes in all forms, just like our bodies. Beyond the girdles that our mothers wore, you can now choose from seamless shorts and shaping underwear that create a smooth, flattering silhouette — perfect for showing off your favourite outfits. There are also versatile garments like, say, a sculpting bodysuit, which are designed to support your curves, not simply tuck them away.
Shapewear has also evolved with fashion trends. A bestseller from Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS label, for example, are the one-leg Solution Short, which you can wear under a thigh-high slit dress. Want to work a pair of jeans? Try a tummy control thong. And if you’re into backless dresses or cut out clothing or anything else that’s equally revealing, you’ll find an array of body-skimming options that will stay well hidden under your clothes.
Whatever you’re getting dressed up for this holiday, be it a Christmas family gathering, or a fancy dinner date, you can look and feel your best with a little boost from your shapewear staples.
The best shapewear brands to shop now
Kim Kardashian’s underwear and lingerie label, SKIMS, has been instrumental to putting shapewear in the spotlight. It’s not all hype, though; the brand does offer some thoughtful designs that women will appreciate, like the Solution Short. The fabrics are also carefully considered. Think lightweight and breathable neoprene, as seen on its waist trainers, or its bodysuits in stretch-nylon that support your core and perk up your butt. SKIMS’ garments also come in a range of sizes and nude shades that go beyond skinny and beige, so there’s something for everyone.
Forget everything you know about Spanx. The 20-year-old brand has shaken things up to provide more than just pantyhose and girdles. A new favourite is the flattering Undie-tectable Thong, which features a bonded waistband and leaves no VPL. There’s also the Spanx OnCore shorts, which look like biker shorts but are boosted with compression and smoothening features. The bestselling Thinstincts bodysuit, meanwhile, is breathable and blends right under sheer clothing.
Think of Heist as the Nike of shapewear. The London label is heavily invested in research and product innovation, going as far as adapting the pioneering swimwear technology used in the uniforms of Olympic athletes. The result? Flexible and breathable shapewear styles like The Outer bodysuit and The High Waist briefs, both featuring Heist’s HeroPanels that offer comfortable, targetted compression. Meghan Markle is also a fan of their tights, which come in seven key shades that were specially selected to suit a diverse array of skintones.
Commando’s shapewear is designed to “keeps you smoothed, not stuffed”. The magic lies in the technical fabrications. Their Classic Control Thong, for example, uses a raw-cut European microfibre blend that has just the right amount of compression to say bye bye to panty lines. The brand’s signature Butter fabric, found in bodysuits, tanks and bras, is luxuriously soft, sustainably sourced and promises all-day comfort.
There’s a certain elegance to Wolford’s shapewear range, which it dubs “speciality intimates”. The Austrian brand is celebrated for its tights, and its experience shows in its use of tulle to craft bodysuits and briefs that feel like second skin. Construction is key, as well. See its Tulle forming dress, which is lined with a narrow silicon ribbon tape at the hem that promises a firm hold, while gently shaping your waist, stomach, hips and rear.
Header photo credit: Heist