(click on the silhouette to see each style)
All About Control Pants
Firstly, let me clear up any confusion about the name control pants. Control pants are basically KNICKERS or BRIEFS. If you are looking for the mid thigh style shapewear, have a look here instead. Control Pants have a knicker leg and are also called control briefs, control panties or slimming knickers.
Control pants are possibly the most useful style of shapewear out there. They are big enough to envelope quite a lot of bulging, but small enough to sit neatly under most outfits. If you are wearing very short skirts and dresses these are a much better alternative to magic knickers (body shaper shorts). No one, except certain celebrities, wants to be seen flashing their shapewear!
Control pants come in either a high waisted style or a waistline style
The high waisted style of control pants is my personal favourite. If you (like me) carry weight around your middle, anything with a waistband will make you overflow, creating what is known as the MUFFIN TOP. This is not a good look. High waisted control pants combat this by covering the waist and midriff and ending up just under your bra.
High Waisted Shapewear Tip
High waisted shapewear CAN roll down if it isn't a perfect fit. If it is too big or too small you will inevitably get a bit of rolling down. To prevent this from happening, simply tuck the top of your shapewear under your bra. This works for most people, but if you are very tall (like most of the Spanx models who are 5ft 10"), it may not reach high enough.
Try to choose high waisted shapewear with a grip strip at the top. This helps it to stick to your skin and again help stop it from rolling down.
Low waisted control pants are basically like a pair of normal knickers. But with lots and lots of slimming support. They are excellent if you just want to firm up your tummy bulges and make your bum look a bit smoother. They also work well with low backed dresses and tops, as they won't show above the dress. They are one of the most comfy types of shapewear as you just pop them on (and off!) like normal knickers.
Get In Control
Control pants come in 3 different slimming levels: medium, firm and extra firm control.
Extra Firm Control Pants
These bad boys are tough cookies. They are super strong and will take a bit of effort to get on. But they really are the ones to choose if you are wanting to make a big difference to your figure and firm your wobbly bits like nothing else will!
My Favourite Extra Firm Control Pants
Firm Control Pants
These ones are the most popular level of slimming control pants. They are easier to wear (and get on and off) than the extra firm ones. But they still do an excellent job of slimming and smoothing. You won't get the dramatic results, but you will create and much slimmer, sleek line under your clothes.
Medium Control Pants
These may not look like much, but they still provide a lovely amount of slimming on your tummy. They don't actually look like shapewear, but they still have good tummy control where it matters (ie your tummy!). They are super easy to wear and really well priced too at only £24!
Some Things To Consider When Choosing Control Pants...
Some control pants can sort of squash your bum, giving it an odd, globular shape. To sort this out, lots of brands now make their control pants with added bottom shaping. I really do like this in shapewear as it gives your bum a much more defined, perky look. The really good bottom shapers do tend to be a bit more expensive, but if you can afford it I would go for a bit of bum shaping any day!
Sorry to say the G word, but we do have to discuss it. You MUST choose shapewear whenever possible with a cotton gusset. This means you can wear them in place of your own knickers, reducing the likelyhood of VPL (visible panty lines) showing through.
Most gussets on control pants are CLOSED. This means you do need to pull them down to use the loo. Not a problem really, but if you are in a tricky outfit, it might be a bit of a fight to get your shapewear off in the loo.
VPL and Knicker Leg Edges
Ok, this are my main bug bear with control pants. You put them on, your tummy looks great but uh-oh, what is THAT on your legs? The dreaded VPL. If something is really tight fitting, the chances are it will create VPL.
There are several ways that the shapewear manufacturers have tried to prevent VPL.
Miraclesuit's Wonderful Edge
The Miraclesuit control pants (in the main - so check the product details carefully) have laser cut leg backs lined with a silicone grip strip called "Wonderful Edge". This helps the legs to stick to your legs and lay as flat as possible.
Spanx Laser Cut Edges
Spanx have started using a laser to cut the edges on their shapewear. Again, they don't do it on all of the control pants, but where possible they are laser finished. This means they don't have any banding that can dig in.
Spanx have several control pants that have elasticky lace legs, rather than fabric. This really does help to combat VPL. However, if you are wearing really unforgiving clothes, the lace pattern can show through.
I personally struggle with control pants and VPL. I think I have play doh for thighs and I do find they give me a bit of VPL. This is not a problem if I'm wearing something with thickish fabric, or patterned. But anything super slinky, I have to go for a pair of slimming shorts or magic knickers. I know my limitations!