By Mike L.
Shopping for shapewear can be a daunting task. Have you ever entered the Lingerie Department of your favorite store and felt immediately overwhelmed by the sea of confusion it presented? Most stores have fixture after fixture laid out in ever-imaginative geometric patterns. Their merchandise hangs faced-out and side-by-side, sometimes packed together so tightly it’s hard to get a good look at individual pieces. Bras are often tangled together on their hangers. Watch out below or you’ll trip on those that have fallen and are lying on the floor!
After settling in for your search, it becomes clear that you have to assume the role of detective when trying to locate the shapewear area. Bra departments are much larger than those for shapewear, and the numbers of bra and panty brands far exceed those for shapewear, because approximately 65% of women don’t wear shapewear at all but nearly 100% wear bras and panties. In addition, another 23% are only occasional, or very occasional, shapewear wearers. They may buy pieces for special occasions such as weddings, but generally don’t wear shapewear on a regular basis. This means that only 12% of women buy 70% of the shapewear displayed on selling floors.
But while the total size of shapewear areas is much smaller than that devoted to bras or panties, the task of finding the right piece of shapewear is still a complicated one. Even though there are fewer shapewear brands, there are still many, many different shapewear SKUS (stock keeping units) resulting from the complex combinations of levels of control, colors, sizes, and silhouettes.
So, what to do to simplify the shapewear shopping safari? I’ve found it’s best to ask yourself two questions:
Which part of your life are you shopping for? The answer will guide you to the proper level of control.
- Special Occasions – These range from nights-on-the-town to weddings. For these less frequent, shorter situations, garments with more support and control should be considered. They’re marketed using phrases like “extra firm control” and features that signal serious body shaping abilities. However, some people may only want garments that provide firm control because their figure type, or need for comfort, may not be compatible with extra firm control. Firm control garments still perform a function and shape the body under special occasion outfits. You may not lose the inches to the same degree as you would when wearing extra firm control, but firm control will still visually improve your body shape under clothes.
- Work – Though you want your figure to look neat and shapely under your clothes, wearing shapewear for nine or more hours requires garments that are more comfortable than those worn for shorter, special occasions. To compliment your business attire, try garments delivering comfortable firm control.
- Casual – Do you want to be comfortable all day, yet attractive in your casual clothing? Then smoothing, rather than shaping, ability is what you should be looking for from your shapewear. Garments providing light control will give you both the comfort and smoothing you desire. You may sacrifice some visual tummy shaping, but these garments will be comfortable all day long.
And, which parts of your body would you like the piece of shapewear to improve? The answer will guide you to the proper silhouette.
- The tummy? Waistline briefs and long legs could be just the ticket if you have the number one concern of women today. However, a waistline design can cause a “Muffin Top” problem when excess flesh is moved above the waistband.
- The tummy and the waist? Hi-waist briefs and hi-waist long legs, designed to give shaping for, and coverage of, the entire midriff up to just underneath the bra solve this “Muffin Top” problem. They evenly distribute flesh throughout the tummy and waist areas. Wearing these garments, rather than bodybriefers, allows you to continue to wear your favorite bra.
- The tummy, waist, and back? All-in-one bodybriefers solve the “Muffin Top” and tummy control problems, plus help smooth back fat. However, bodybriefers don’t fit as well as other items of shapewear since your bra size often won’t match the bra size of the bodybriefer you’ll need to accommodate your waist and hip sizes.
Torsettes are an alternative. They look like camisoles without bra cups. These wonderful garments enable you to wear your favorite bra and panty while gaining tummy, waist, and back-fat shaping. The use of new, stretchy, spacer fabrics in the strap areas makes newly-designed torsettes much easier to put on and more comfortable to wear. Some torsettes feature silicone edges that prevent the bottom from riding up.
Camisoles range from no control daywear styles to those that deliver extra firm control. The latter ones serve as second alternatives to bodybriefers. Some of these even have welded panels in the back and front to focus on problem areas. These panels give a smooth seamless appearance, and allow for adjustability on the body. Like torsettes, many camisoles also have lines of silicone at the bottom to prevent riding up.
These tips should help simplify your shapewear shopping experience. Of course, you’ll still have to choose a color and find the right size. Don’t forget your tape measure!