By Eva Ceinture
What follows is the first in a series of blog posts in which I’ll be reviewing shapewear I’ve worn. I’ll be conveying how different control levels feel, and how various shapewear features work, with the goal of empowering you when you shop for shapewear on your own. I’ll make sure to tell you which types of outfits I wore with which shapewear pieces. This should help you select the best types of shapewear to address your various fashion needs.
In writing this series, I’ve developed more respect for food critics. They have to describe items that everyone evaluates differently, and that’s challenging. As you read about my experiences, try to keep in mind that it’s difficult to describe the way something feels, and your impressions of similar garments may vary considerably from mine. All I can do is provide some tips and tools; the rest will be up to you. However, there are some universal standards upon which you should always insist: a piece of shapewear should last for many years, it should fit properly, and it should never hurt. If you don’t compromise on these points, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy wearing some.
What is shapewear? Shapewear is a category of undergarments made to mold the body. They’re available in a variety of silhouettes, and styles vary based on features, levels of control, and price. Shapewear is often popularly referred to by names such as “slimmers”,” gut suckers”, “shapers,” “smoothers”, and “toners”. Despite popular myths to the contrary, shapewear doesn’t require weird care procedures, like being stored in a freezer, to function properly. Well-made shapewear is easy to care for through machine washing and, often, drying.
As we go through the series, I hope that you’ll learn a little about the results to expect from different pieces and they way they should fit. If there’s a specific shapewear silhouette, or feature about which you’re interested in learning more, please let me know and I’ll try to include its review in a future diary entry.
Underwire Bodybriefer with Molded Fabric Cups / Firm Control
Dear Shapewear Diary,
Today, I chose to wear a bodybriefer because I wanted to have a smooth appearance under a lightweight, knit shirt and khaki pants. These pants are the kind of pants that love to show VPLs; therefore, I chose a bodybriefer with a silicone finish around its leg openings so that I wouldn’t have to worry about them. I also made sure to select a garment with underwires to ensure I got the bust support I need. This particular garment had molded fabric cups with underwires. This combination proved to be both smooth and supportive. It also had adjustable straps, which I like.
This bodybriefer smoothed my tummy and torso. I’d place its control level at somewhat more than light, but less then extra firm. This comfortably-firm garment felt snug, but not like it was too small. There were no extra layers of fabric so the garment was very lightweight. It provided a very comfortable level of control for all-day wear. I wore this bodybriefer all day long – about thirteen hours in total.
I would only recommend choosing a garment like this that was made with a hook-and-eye crotch closure – assuming the wearer would be able to maneuver sufficiently in her outfit to use it. If maneuverability were in short supply (e.g., she was wearing a ball gown), I’d suggest a camisole-and-brief combination as a better option. I’d also suggest separates be worn by anyone taller than 5’7”, as bodybriefers are usually too short to accommodate the torsos of taller women. To get the best fit, a woman should make sure to try on at least one crossover-sized sample to see if it works better than the sample reflecting her natural size. In other words, if a customer was a 36D and she had a longer torso, I’d suggest she also try on a 38C to improve her fit. This crossover-size issue certainly applied to me. I found that the numerically-greater crossover size was more comfortable because I’m tall and need the extra body length.
I found a great benefit of wearing a bodybriefer to be not having to feel the snug band of a bra pressing across my back. Since bra bands must be snug to give proper support, the bodybriefer’s built-in combination of support and freedom was a nice change. This lack of a separate bra band was so comfortable that it may have converted me into a “sometimes-bodybriefer wearer.”
Next, I think I’ll try wearing a cami incorporating a molded cup with underwire support. This will make a great comparison to wearing a bodybriefer. I’ll let you know how it all turns out.