The world of shapewear is full of odd words and terms that not everybody understands. There are many words all describing the same thing, and others that are similar but describing completely different things!

Here is my attempt to help everyone understand shapewear terms, in simple language!


All In One

A full on bodysuit that slims most of your body.

Ann Chery

A brand of waist cinchers and waist trainers.




A fitted vest or wide, lace-up girdle worn by women over a dress or blouse, especially a cross-laced, sleeveless outer garment covering the waist and bust, common in peasant dress.


A close-fitting, one-piece covering the torso.


A close-fitting bodice, sometimes having an extension that covers the hips.


Close fitting legless underpants. Can be high waisted or low waisted in style.


Loose fitting under shorts, usually for men.


A wide band that wraps around the waist.

Bum Booster

A pair of knickers or shorts that have padding or fabric designed to give extra shape and definition to your bottom.

Bottom Shaping

Gives your bottom shape, lift and definition without padding.


Steel or plastic rods that are sewn into the garment to make it really strong.


Braza is a brand of shapewear, based in the US. They make products that help women dress "smarter" and more confidently.

Body Briefer

A bodysuit with knicker legs.

Back Magic

A term used by Miraclesuit to describe their range of shapewear that has hidden boning in the back. This helps the shapewear to give lots of slimming definition, and to hold the high waisted styles in place without straps.

Bridal Shapewear

Bridal shapewear is shapewear that works well under wedding or bridesmaid dresses. Lots of it comes in off white and ivory and so also looks very pretty too.


Cami / Camisole

A vest style slimming top.


A garment that covers the midsection of your body, focusing on your waist and tummy. It is usually boned to add strength and is often made from rubber/latex.

Corselet / Corselette

A woman's lightweight foundation garment combining a brassiere and girdle in one piece.

Compression Garment

A general term that just means shapewear.

Compression Fabric

Engineered fabric designed to give lots of slimming control. This is strong feeling fabric that won't easily ladder (unlike hosiery type fabric).


This is another word for slimming when used in conjunction with shapewear.

Control Level

These are the different levels of support our shapewear gives. There is light control, medium control, firm control, extra firm control and maximum control.



A shapewear dress is another term for shapewear slip. It looks like a tight fitting short dress.



Esbelt is a brand of shapewear. They are based in Brazil and specialize in maximum control shapewear. They are best known for their waist cinchers.

Extra Firm Control

Extra firm control shapewear makes a BIG difference to your figure. It is usually made from very strong compression fabric and sometimes has hidden boning. It is harder to get on and off as it fits the body very tightly. It is also not as comfortable to wear for long periods of time. However, it does give you good slimming results!


Foundation Garment

Another general term for shapewear. See also compression garment.

Flat Sewn

Flat sewn in the world of shapewear refers to the seams. These are sewn in a way that allows them to stretch flat against your body once you have put the garment on.

Firm Control

Firm control shapewear is the most popular shapewear strength. It combines good slimming control with comfort. You will find these garments do a great job of slimming your wobbly bits, whilst being pretty comfortable to wear for long periods of time. They are also fairly easy to get on and off.




A garment that slims the lower torso, especially the tummy, hips and bottom.

G String

A tiny piece of underwear with the thinnest thong straps between your buttocks.



High Waisted

Shorts or knickers with an extended waistband that covers the waist and rib cage. They usually end just under your bust, but this does depend on how tall you are.


The projecting part of each side of the body formed by the side of the pelvis and the upper part of the femur and the flesh covering them


Across between briefs and shorts. These are very low legged knickers that give good coverage at the sides.



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Short legged underpants, usually worn by women. Also see briefs and panties.

Knicker Leg

Refers to the style of leg on a bodysuit where the bottom section looks like a pair of normal knickers.



Any undergarment worn by women. Lingerie usually refers to quite pretty underwear.

Long Leg

Long leg is any shapewear that comes lower than your mid thighs.

Low Waisted

Low waisted shapewear is shapewear that stops at the waist.


Latex is a form of rubber used to make very strong shapewear. All of the shapewear we sell with latex in them are also lined inside, so the latex doesn't lie against your skin.

Light Control

Light control shapewear is shapewear that really only forms a good underpinning, rather than slimming and shaping.



Magic Knickers / Magic Pants

Magic knickers or magic pants are any shorts or knickers that have slimming control built into them.

Midriff / Mid section

Your midriff or mid section is the area above your belly button but below your bust. Mainly your rib cage.

Mid Thigh

Most shapewear shorts are mid thigh in length. This means they come down to half way between your knees and hips, covering most of your thighs.


Miraclesuit is a brand of shapewear based in the US. They only make extra firm control shapewear and their claim is "look ten pounds lighter in ten seconds".

Medium Control

Medium control shapewear is shapewear that will smooth you. It forms a great layer under your clothes, giving you a smooth silhouette.

Maximum Control

Maximum control shapewear is tough stuff. Usually made from latex with boning, this stuff really pulls you in, making a huge difference to your figure.

Maternity Shapewear

Contrary to the media hype, maternity shapewear does not slim your baby bump. It is shapewear to support your growing belly whilst giving a nice bit of slimming to your hips, thighs and bottom.

Mama Spanx

Mama Spanx is one of the best brands of maternity shapewear. They make a high waisted mid thigh shaper and a high waisted pair of tights. I wore both of them during my pregnancies and I can tell you they are very comfy and supporting!


Naomi & Nicole

Naomi & Nicole are a young brand of shapewear, aimed at the younger market. They make lightweight, sleek shapewear that is great at slimming without being too constricting.



Open Bust

Open bust is used alongside bodysuits, slips and dresses. It means there is a scooped out section at the front for your bust to sit in. You wear your own bra with it, so you get a really good fit. Open busted shapewear is especially good if your bust is out of proportion with the rest of your body (ie a big bust on a tiny frame, or a small bust on a big frame).

Open Gusset

Open gusset shapewear means you don't have to pull your shapewear all the way down to use the loo. This is especially useful on high waisted shapewear and bodysuits, where it may be a bit tricky to get everything down without taking off your clothes!




Any shapewear that is worn in place of your own knickers but that doesn't have straps. These can be shorts or briefs, high waisted or low waisted.


Short legged undergarments worn by women. See knickers and briefs.

Panty Girdle

Panty girdle is a weird American term that is used in some very odd places. The dictionary definition is "a foundation garment with a crotch, often of lighter material than a girdle"

Padded Pants

Knickers or shorts that have padding in the bottom. They are made to increase the size of your bottom.



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Usually called latex, rubber is often used in maximum control shapewear as it makes it super strong.




Often used in place of the word slimming or control. It just means the level of slimming power the shapewear has.

Seamless | Seam Free

Fabric that doesn't have any seams.


The best known brand of shapewear. It is an American brand and they make some superb shapewear.


Squeem is the American version of Esbelt. They are based in Brazil and make amazing maximum control waist cinchers.


Shapewear is a generic term for any undergarments that are designed to slim or shape your figure.


Shaper is a bit of a cover-all term for any shaping underwear. However, it usually refers to mid thigh shorts.


Sculpt is the term used by Spanx to describe their extra firm control shapewear.


Sheers are very fine tights.


Shapewear slips are undergarments that look like little dresses or skirts. You usually wear them with your own knickers, but some have built in knickers too.




A brief garment for the lower body that exposes the buttocks, consisting of a strip of fabric passing between the thighs and attached to a band around the waist.These can be high waisted or low waisted.

Thong Back

This usually refers to the style of a bodysuit. Instead of the traditional knicker leg, or shorts, the bodysuit has a thong back.

Trinny and Susannah

Trinny and Susannah really started the shapewear craze in the early 2000s with their hit TV series What Not To Wear. They went on to develop their own shapewear range which is very popular.


See also Maximum control shapewear. Transforming shapewear is the strongest stuff you can buy. It is usually made with latex and boning, and will really pull you in making a big difference to your figure.


The part of the leg between the hip and the knee.

Thigh Slimmer / Thigh Shaper / Thigh Trimmer / Thigh Reducer

These all refer to mid thigh shapewear that is designed to firm and slim the thigh area (as well as other bits too).

Tank Top

A vest style top that slims the tummy, midriff, back and bust.



Underwear / Undergarments

Any garment worn under clothes.


Wires that are sewn into the bra area of the shapewear to replicate the effect of wearing an underwired bra.




A piece of shapewear that slims the top half of the body and that has shoulder straps or sleeves.




The part of the body between the ribs and the hips, usually the narrowest part of the torso.


The top section of shapewear knickers or shorts.

Waist Cincher

A wide belt that wraps around your waist, covering your stomach, waist and midriff. It usually comes up to just under your bust. These are usually very strong in slimming control and make a big difference to your figure.

Waist Clincher / Waist Shaper

See waist cincher

Waist Trainer

Waist trainers are used to literally train your waist, making it naturally smaller. These are very strong waist cinchers that have more than one column of hooks and eyes. You start wearing it on the biggest setting and gradually work your way smaller. You need to wear a waist trainer daily for long periods of time for this to work.

Wonderful Edge

A term used by Miraclesuit to describe the inner lining used to hold their shapewear in place on your skin. It is a fine layer of silicone.



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