By Marcy Montgomery Jones
Congratulations on deciding to buy your first item of shapewear! Young ladies and women buy shapewear for a variety of reasons, but the first garment purchased is always memorable. For some, the initial experience may be prompted by a big event, like a prom or a wedding. Often, dresses for these occasions are very form-fitting and require special lingerie pieces, including shapewear. For others, “dipping their toes into the water” may be inspired by a renewed interest among the general public (encouraged by the media) for wearing shapewear. Whatever your motivation may be, this post will serve as a road map for choosing the right piece.
Before walking into a store, ask yourself the following questions:
1. “Do I plan on wearing the garment every day, or am I buying it for a special occasion?”
Making the distinction between a garment that you’ll wear often, and one that you’ll wear once in your life, can determine the specific piece you buy. On the one hand, if you’re preparing for a special event, you’ll need the proper color, cups, and strapped or strapless styling to coordinate with your cocktail, evening, prom, bridesmaid, or wedding dress. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something to be worn more universally, you’ll want to select something with features that coordinate well with that portion of your wardrobe with which you’ll be comfortable wearing shapewear.
2. “For which areas of my body am I seeking a solution?”
If you plan on wearing your garment every day, identify the area or areas of your body that you’d like to shape, define, or smooth. If your item is to accompany a special-occasion dress or a specific outfit, try on the dress or outfit and identify the problem areas on your body that the ensemble exposes.
3. “Which level of control do I want?”
Shapewear comes in multiple levels of control that typically correlate with different visual outcomes on the body. Check out this post for detailed descriptions of those levels of controls. My recommendation is to start somewhere near the middle, like with the Comfortable Firm® level of control, when purchasing a special-occasion garment. For garments to be worn every day, begin instead with light control to get accustomed to the feeling of compression, and when you’re interested in more powerful garments, step up to the next level.
The concept of shapewear isn’t very complicated. The essence is, if you want to contain it, firm it, or shape it, wrap it up in a Lycra®-infused fabric. Using this rudimentary logic, match the areas of your body that you want to change with those that specific garments cover. Garments are available to address the needs of the upper body (waistline and up), lower body (waistline and down), and a combination of the two.
If you ask yourself these three simple questions, you’ll make your maiden shopping excursion for shapewear much easier. If you’re in doubt, ask the fit specialist in the intimate appeal section of your favorite department store any questions you may have. She can measure you and help determine the proper fit of any piece. Or, feel free to post your questions below. Bon Voyage!