By Marcy Montgomery Jones
If you’ve gone browsing through the shapewear section of your department store, you may have found yourself doing a double take when looking at the size of the garments on the hangers. You may even have been shocked enough to hold one up to your body and think to yourself, “Is this the wrong tag” or “This has got to be a mistake – isn’t that a child’s medium?” A common mistake made by shapewear shoppers is upsizing a garment because it looks too small or fits too snugly. This is unfortunate, for wearing the wrong size will prevent you from getting the true functional benefits of the piece you’ve selected. What follows is a set of steps to help you find shapewear that will fit you properly.
The first step in your journey is determining your true size. I’m not talking about the size you were when you were in high school, or the size that you’d like to see on the tags you bring home. Size denial is a topic worthy of a posting all its own. To get your true size, ask a sales associate to measure the length around your hips and waist, and confirm that those measurements are the right match for the garments you’ve chosen (size charts displayed on hang tags can be helpful here). Resist the temptation to look at the physical size of the garment and judge it as being either too big or too small. Remember that designers fit garments on models over and over and over again to make sure that they’ll fit the women for which they’re intended. Also keep in mind that, by definition, shapewear shapes by using stretchable fabrics, so all pieces will look too small when simply resting on hangers, and feel a bit snug when first tried on. The combination of the fabrics and patterns used will result in specified amounts of compression that will allow the pieces of shapewear to do their jobs. Since those itty-bitty garments will have a huge amount of stretch in them, garments that look too small “at rest” on the hangers, will likely fit perfectly once on your body.
After you’ve found your true size, the next step is to try on a garment of that size. If it’s too loose, DO NOT substitute a smaller-sized piece. Instead, find one with a higher level of firmness. Similarly, if the garment is too tight, try moving to one with a lower level of firmness. Typically, a single size will be available in three degrees of firmness or levels of control. However, brands that make light control garments, for example, may not make extra-firm control garments too, so look at all brands of shapewear to find the control levels available in your size, in the silhouette you’ve chosen.
Shapewear isn’t a like a blouse; you don’t have to settle for a take-it-or-leave-it kind of fit. This advice will help you find the best-performing shapewear that will fit you most comfortably. Please, leave all attempts at upsizing to those working behind fast-food counters.CC Image courtesy of Joe Shlabotnik on Flickrhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/joeshlabotnik/ / CC BY 2.0 CC Image courtesy of NightFall404 on Flickrhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/nightfall404/ / CC BY 2.0