I Need Some Shapewear But I've No Idea Where To Start!
When people find out what I do for a job (usually women - men either blush, look at the floor or make an inappropriate joke!), so many of them say "I need some shapewear but I've not got a clue where to start, it is all too confusing".
I do understand why it is so confusing, I really do. There is so much shapewear out there to look at, all claiming to perform miracles. Some of it is dirt cheap and some of it is sooo expensive. And there are so many brands and styles I understand why it could make you go arrrghhh!
Let me help guide you through the shapewear choosing process. Take a deep breath and off we go...
1. Decide On An Outfit
When choosing shapewear, decide what outfit you would really like to wear with it. If you are looking for a general piece of shapewear to go with lots of outfits, look at your most tricky outfit and use that as a guide. If it is for a special occasion, like a wedding or a party that makes it much more straight forward.
If it is low backed, you need to go for waistline shapewear.
If it is super tight and super clingy, you need to go for seamless shapewear, or at least seamless down the front
You also need to consider how you can go to the loo. Odd I know, but if you are tied into a dress whilst wearing shapewear with no "escape hatch" you may find yourself in a bit of a muddle when you need a wee!
If you are choosing shapewear for a special occasion, it is also worth bearing in mind factors such as eating a big meal, hot venues and even the weather. For example, if you are attending a wedding in Barbados where you will be sitting down for a 5 course banquet you need to go for LIGHTWEIGHT and BREATHABLE shapewear. This won't give you the most dramatic effect possible, but it will mean you won't pass out with the heat or get indigestion when you try to eat.
2. Appraise Your Figure (belly and all!)
You need to look at your figure and decide what you would like your shapewear to do for you. I'm not talking about turning your size 16 figure into a size zero as this clearly can't happen without diet, exercise or surgery!!! I'm talking about the bits that you would like some help disguising or emphasizing. For example, my legs are okay but hate the roll of fat that sits around my belly (I often call this my baby belly but as my youngest is now 2, I probably should call it my chocolate and wine belly!). My bum is a bit flat from years of sitting on it and not exercising so I would like this to have a bit more shape. My waistbands after a good weekend away always end up feeling tight and it would be great to have something to make me feel more comfortable. So my ideal shapewear is something high waisted, with a bit of bum shaping and with lots of tummy control.
3. Get The Size Right
If you are between a UK dress size 10 and 20, you will have lots of shapewear to choose from.
If you are under a UK dress size 10, you don't have a huge range to choose from. ESBELT, BRAZA SECRET WEAPONS & SPANX all do shapewear under a size 10. Miraclesuit, Trinny & Susannah and Naomi & Nicole don't go under a size 10.
Please be honest with yourself about your dress size and measurements. Before you buy, always check the shapewear size chart.
Please choose shapewear in the size you are RIGHT NOW, not what you would like to be! If you choose shapewear too small for you, you will be squeezed out of the ends like a tube of toothpaste. This will create bulges and lumpy bits where you never had them before. For all those people who say "my figure looks worse in shapewear", it is because you are wearing shapewear that is TOO SMALL for you. Another thing that happens if you wear shapewear that is too small for you is that the edges roll, especially on high waisted and mid thigh shapewear. The waistbands roll down and the thighs roll up, making it look completely wrong.
4. Do Seams Matter?
In a word, no. When it comes to the shapewear on our website, there is very little difference between the seamless shapewear and the seamed shapewear. This is because the brands we sell make the seams FLAT SEWN. This means that when the shapewear is stretched out on your body, the seams pretty much disappear. And did you know that the seams actually add strength and shaping!
The seams on our shapewear are usually in very discreet places too. If you are wearing something very tight and clingy, avoid seams down the front. Very few pieces of shapewear on our website have front panel seams though. So, unless you are wearing a PVC catsuit which quite frankly sounds scary and inappropriate for public viewing, don't be too worried about whether your shapewear has seams or not.
5. How Much Do I Need To Spend On Shapewear?
I'm going to be quite blunt about one thing here. You don't need to spend a fortune on shapewear but as a rule of thumb, if it is really cheap and being shipped from China it will be disappointing. In order to churn out shapewear at such low prices there is no finesse to the shapewear they are selling. Bits of them will make you look slimmer, but there will be no shaping, they have big lumpy seams, elastic banding on the edges (think VPL) and the fit and shape of them is usually really poor. I'm not saying this to try and persuade you to spend lots of money with us. I'm saying this out of experience of sooo many people complaining about having bought cheap shapewear and basically wasting their money. [Rant/lecture over]
Some Shapewear Rules Of Thumb
Here are a few little rules of thumb that I use when trying to help people choose shapewear.
- If you are looking for DRAMATIC results go for an Esbelt Waist Cincher Corset or an Esbelt Waist Cincher Vest. These are the only things that make a HUGE difference to your figure. They really do take inches off your waistline. You can turn them into a full bodysuit by adding a pair of mid thigh shorts underneath, such as the Spanx Higher Power Mid Thigh Shaper.
- If you are not quite evenly proportioned, especially bust vs waist - i.e. you have either a big bust on a small frame, or a small bust on a big frame, ALWAYS go for an open bust style bodysuit or slip. You won't be able to get a bodysuit that covers your bust to fit you properly AND make a good slimming difference.
- If you are quite short in the body, or generally quite short (below 5ft 3") avoid high waisted shapewear as this will be too long in the body for you. Instead, go for a separate waist cincher and mid thigh shorts or briefs to give the desired slimming effect.
- Don't think you need to go for super strong shapewear all the time. FIRM control shapewear is often the best to choose. It is easy to put on and get off. It is easy to wear for long periods of time without getting uncomfortable or too hot. You can eat a big dinner whilst wearing it and not give yourself indigestion. AND it will still slim and smooth you nicely. Extra Firm and Maximum control shapewear is amazing stuff, but it isn't always right for the occasion.
- Don't think all shapewear is ugly stuff. There is lots of properly pretty shapewear on the market now, such as the Spanx Spotlight On Lace range. It looks like gorgeous, lacy underwear whilst firming up your wobbly bits.
I hope this little essay helps you in your quest for the perfect piece of shapewear. As always, I love to help people choosing shapewear. So if you do need help, contact me with your dress size, waist and hip measurements, height and any details about your outfit (such as strapless, backless etc).
Happy Shapewear Shopping!