The very best shapewear pieces to add to your underwear drawer, if you’re in the shapewear ‘pro’ camp | plmubl.com

The very best shapewear pieces to add to your underwear drawer, if you’re in the shapewear ‘pro’ camp

Even the best shapewear pieces remain a contentious issue, and probably always will, but I’m of the firm opinion that it’s all about choice.

It goes without saying that no one should squeeze themselves into a pair of sculpting shorts or a Lycra bodysuit because of the societal pressures to look a certain way, and I’m the first to agree that shapewear’s nature (i.e. something that alters your natural form) is problematic – but I personally appreciate having the option. Sometimes I just want a smooth surface beneath my form-fitting clothes, and if you do too then you’re in the right place.

SKIP TO: What is the best shapewear that actually works? | Should you size up or down in shapewear? | How to choose the best shapewear | How we tested the best shapewear | Shop and see our full reviews.

What is the best shapewear that really works?

Wedding season – AKA now – is exactly the time of year when I lean on my favourite shapewear: SKIMS’ Seamless Sculpt High-Waisted Above The Knee Shorts. I had several nuptials to attend last year, so, in a variety of different wedding guest dresses (springsummerautumn, and winter), I put the pair to the test.

The verdict? I was blown away. Not only do they iron everything out, but they also lift and shape exactly where you want them to.

Seamless Sculpt High-Waisted Above The Knee Shorts

£38 AT SKIMS

Before.
After.

They were completely invisible under the knitted bodycon and silk slip dresses I wore on two separate occasions, too, and didn’t roll down, dig in or bunch up whatsoever. My favourite feature, albeit an odd one, was what the brand calls an ‘open gusset’ – because after a few drinks, let’s face it, no one has the energy to act like a contortionist each time they go to the toilet.

Which type of shapewear is best? By category:

Miraclesuit Comfort Leg Waistline Briefs

£38 £30.40 AT JOHN LEWIS

Seamless Sculpt Mid Thigh Short

£36 AT SKIMS

Body Define™ Firm Control Wear Your Own Bra Bodysuit

£25 AT MARKS & SPENCER

MAGISCULPT Ella Lace Black Firm Control Multiway Slip

£42 AT SIMPLY BE

Meet the expert: Silvia Azzali, Chief Commercial Officer at Wolford.

“Shaping products should make you feel good from within,” says Silvia. “We believe that its just as important as your outerwear,” which is why the brand has such an esteemed line-up of different styles.

Yep, far from frumpy or old-fashioned, shapewear encompasses everything from cami tops and thongs to full blown playsuit styles and skirts these days, and they’re all designed to flatter every curve, make you feel confident, and follow your natural figure. As for when you should wear it? Silvia says; “In short, shapewear should be used when you want additional support. It’s always best to look for shapewear after you’ve decided on your outfit, rather than the other way round, as the type of underwear you’ll need will depend on the style you plan on wearing. For example, figure hugging dresses will be elevated by shapewear, while a low-cut neckline may require a specific style of shaping bra or body.”

Is it better to size up or down in shapewear?

“When it comes to a general size down/size up rule, it sounds cliché, but everyone is different,” says Silvia. “All of our product has incredible stretch and so many people can naturally feel they need to size down to harness on the toning properties of our shapewear. However, those with the smallest waist size but a long torso may find they need to size up for maximum comfort, and vice versa. A lot of our styles also incorporate bra cups to create the perfect décolleté, so this is important to try too.”

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Shapewear is not meant to restrict your movements or breathing either, by the way, so make sure you can function in it normally before committing to the purchase. According to Silvia, it “should delicately sit and sculpt the curves of the silhouette whilst contouring, but above all, it should fit comfortably. Any item of shapewear should never cut into you, and fitted shapewear should be discreet under slim-fitting clothing and feel secure, not compromising on freedom of movement.”

Wolford‘s tips on how to choose the best shapewear

Be wary of different lighting depending on how sheer your outfit is – some styles work best with nude lingerie and some work best with white or ivory, so test different colourways in different settings. Look for shapewear which offers more than just a contouring bodysuit; those with integrated bras such as the Mat De Luxe silhouette from Wolford nod to this. Lastly, be aware that sizing across shapewear will differ between brands – as will compression. Think about what you want the shaping piece to do and go from there.

How did GLAMOUR test the best shapewear?

What one of us might consider as the best shapewear won’t necessarily be the same for another woman, so alongside my favourite style from SKIMS, the GLAMOUR team (of various heights, shapes and sizes) has made a conscious effort to try out as many of the shapewear styles you’ll see featured in this guide as possible. Combining our own personal reviews with that of other customers – plus pros and cons and other specifications like cost, materials and sustainability – we’ve managed to narrow our selection down and provide you with 21 items we genuinely rate. Read more about how we test things here.

After more lingerie content? Shop the best push-up bras, invisible brasstrapless bras and seamless underwearFor more from GLAMOUR UK’s Senior Commerce Writer Georgia Trodd, follow her on Instagram @georgiatrodd.

Which shapewear brand is best? Keep scrolling for 21 of our favourite styles.

  • What brand of SPANX do the Kardashians wear? SKIMSSeamless Sculpt Mid Thigh Short with Open Gusset
    • Sizes available – XXS/XS, S/M, L/XL, 2X/3X, 4X/5X.
    • Shades available – 9 shades from Sand to Onyx.
    • Fabric – 78% nylon, 22% spandex.
    Why we love them: These shorts are a trending bestseller at SKIMS for a reason. They “accentuate the butt” and the “high waist and inner rubber lining is perfection.” – Sophie Cockett, Senior European Commerce Editor.Pros: Waist grip band prevent rolling and provides an extra cinched look. Great for chafing, too.Cons: You’ll have to pay a shipping fee on returns.£36 AT SKIMS
  • Best size shapewear: Full body shaper shapewearEveryday Sculpt Open Bust Catsuit
    • Sizes available – XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL, 2X, 3X, 4X.
    • Shades available – Sand, Mica, Clay, Ochre, Sienna, Bronze, Jasper, Cocoa, Espresso, Onyx.
    • Fabric – 78% polyamide, 22% elastane.
    Why we love it: “I’ve been looking for something to smooth my entire figure, as opposed to just one area, and SKIMS has really pulled it out the bag with this one. I can still wear low-cut tops as it doesn’t cover my boobs, but it keeps everything else neatly tucked in – and I don’t have to worry about it all rolling down half way through the night.” – Georgia Trodd, Senior Commerce Writer.Pros: It has an open gusset.Cons: It stops mid-calf.£88 AT SKIMS
  • What is the best firm shapewear? SKIMS shaping shortsSeamless Sculpt High-Waisted Above The Knee Shorts
    • Sizes available – XXS – 4X.
    • Shades available – 9 shades from Sand to Onyx.
    • Fabric – 82% nylon, 18% elastane.
    Why we love them: “I can’t believe how much of a difference these shapewear shorts make, especially under wedding guest dresses. They lift my bum and make it look 10x perkier, which is a huge bonus for me, and are slightly longer in design (they reach my knees and I’m 6ft, for reference), which makes everything all the more seamless.” – Georgia Trodd, Senior Commerce Writer.Pros: Open gusset.Cons: The silicone band at the waist does start to wear down after time.£38 AT SKIMS
  • Best shapewear for midsection: Best Bodysuit/BodiesFirm Control Sheer Striped Wear Your Own Bra Body
    • Sizes available – UK 8 – UK 24.
    • Shades available – Black, rose quartz.
    • Fabric – 61% polyamide, 39% elastane with a cotton gusset.
    What customers are saying: “This worked well for me. It flattened and smoothed out the lumps and bumps under a special dress I had bought for a wedding. It was comfortable which I did not expect!”Pros: It’s designed to be used with your own bra which is ideal for buyers with bigger busts.Cons: Gusset poppers can dig into your thighs slightly after extended wear.£25 AT MARKS & SPENCER

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  • Best shaping underwear: Hip control shapewearMiraclesuit Comfort Leg Waistline Briefs
    • Sizes available – Small, medium, large, extra large, extra extra large.
    • Shades available – Black, nude.
    • Fabric – 84% nylon, 16% elastane.
    What customers are saying: These shaping briefs offer extra support around the hip and tummy area, thanks to the spandex-like material. They are “comfortable yet shaping where required.”Pros: Flexible leg openings make these control briefs comfier for all day use, especially when moving.Cons: Hand wash only.Save when you shop for the best shapewear with these John Lewis discount codes at checkout.£38 £30.40 AT JOHN LEWIS
  • Best shapewear: Shapewear tightsTummy Control 20 Denier Tights
    • Sizes available – Small, medium, large.
    • Shades available – Black.
    • Fabric – 78% polyamide, 21% elastane, 1% cotton.
    Why we love them: “They hold their shape after washing, don’t leave you feeling pinched and are certainly worth the higher price.” –Sophie Cockett, Senior European Commerce Editor.Pros: A reinforced toe ensures the tights will last for several wears.Cons: Only 20 denier, so perhaps not warm enough for the winter months.£50 AT WOLFORD
  • Best shapewear from Marks and SpencerLight Control Seamless Waist Cincher
    • Sizes available – Small, medium, large, extra large.
    • Shades available – Black, rose quartz.
    • Fabric – Polyamide, elastane, cotton.
    What customers are saying: The thick material of this piece of shapewear makes it more appropriate for winter, but it means it stays put and does the job of ‘cinching’.Pros: M&S’ Cool Comfort technology ensures that the shapewear remains breathable no matter the weather.Cons: Not enough inclusive shades for darker skin tones.Save when you shop for the best shapewear with these Marks & Spencer discount codes at checkout.£10 AT MARKS & SPENCER
  • Best shapewear for darker skin tonesHeist The Outer Shaping Bodysuit
    • Sizes available – Extra small, small, medium, large, x-large.
    • Shades available – Light brown, black, beige.
    • Fabric – 74% polyamide, 26% elastane with a cotton lining.
    Why we love it: “I love how it basically melts into my skin it’s so seamless, and the fact it covers my hips and smooths any unwanted bulges is one of my favourite features. It’s expensive but worth it.” – Mayola Fernandes, Commerce Writer.Pros: The brand worked with 100k different women to establish a more inclusive shade range for their shapewear.Cons: An extra-large size only extends to a 29.1 inch waist. It’s not a thong bodysuit.Save when you shop for the best shapewear with these Net-A-Porter discount codes at checkout.£95 AT NET-A-PORTER

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  • Best shapewear dress: Plus sizeMagisculpt Ella Lace Black Firm Control Multiway Slip
    • Sizes available – 34D – 46DD.
    • Shades available – Black, white and blush.
    • Fabric – 58% polyamide, 40% elastane, 2% polyester.
    What customers are saying: There are currently no reviews for this item.Pros: It’s targeted to smooth your waist, tummy, bum and hips for an all-round seamless appearance, it’s comfy, and it has adjustable straps or can be worn strapless.Cons: It has underwire cups which might be a no-no for some people.£42 AT SIMPLY BE
  • Shaping underwear: Shapewear thong knickersDorina Evelyn High Leg Contour Shaping Thong
    • Sizes available – UK 8 – UK 26.
    • Shades available – Black, biscuit.
    • Fabric – 83% polyester, 17% elastane.
    What customers are saying: The high-cut leg combined with the thong back means your highly unlikely to get a VPL from your undies/undergarments.Pros: Its currently available in all sizes in both colours – go, go, go!Cons: Only comes in two colours.Save when you shop for the best shapewear with these ASOS discount codes at checkout.£10 AT ASOS
  • Best white shapewear/Bridal shapewear: V-neckline bodysuitModern Lace + Cotton Body
    • Sizes available – 34B – 46D (DD sizes are available in 44, 42, 40, 38, 36 strap sizes).
    • Shades available – White, neutral beige and black.
    • Fabric – 46% polyamide, 22% elastane, 32% cotton.
    What customers are saying: This bodysuit is naturally supportive with an extra high shaping effect courtesy of firm fabric.Pros: Oeko-Tex® certified and the brand doesn’t use a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach with the built-in bra.Cons: Wide shoulder straps mean it’ll likely be visible beneath most strappy tops, dresses etc.£70 AT TRIUMPH
  • Best high-waisted shorts shapewear: The SPANX shortsSPANX Power Shorts
    • Sizes available – Small, medium, large, extra large.
    • Shades available – Black, soft nude, brown, natural.
    • Fabric – 56% nylon, 44% spandex/elastane.
    What customers are saying: People “found this product gave an excellent profile, no bumps to be seen and gave a good appearance under fitted dresses.”Pros: Extra firm, full coverage design means no VPL, plus it provides targeted support for bottom and is a good thigh slimmer.Cons: Shorts may be too long for some mini dresses.£24 AT AMAZON

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  • Shapewear thongMaidenform Cover Your Bases Thong 2-Pack
    • Sizes available – S, M, L, XL, XXL.
    • Shades available – Black, transparent.
    • Fabric – 64% nylon, 21% spandex with a cotton gusset.
    What customers are saying: There are currently no reviews for this item.Pros: Seams have been flattened to ensure that nothing shows through to your outfit. Yep, no panty lines.Cons: Can’t be dried on a radiator.£38 AT WONDERBRA
  • Best shapewear bodysuit: The plunge-neck bodysuit/one pieceSPANX Suit Your Fancy Plunge Low-Back Mid-Thigh Bodysuit
    • Sizes available – Extra small, small, medium, large, x-large.
    • Shades available – Very black, Champagne beige.
    • Fabric – Elastane and nylon.
    Why we love it: “The adjustable and convertible straps offer versatility, while sleek and invisible shaping fabric works to ensure you look and feel your best. That open-bust plunge neckline? Foolproof for low-cut dresses and tops.” – Georgia Trodd, Senior Commerce Writer.Pros: Five-way convertible straps, open gusset and a plunging neckline all work in your favour. It’s especially good under dresses for special occasions (red carpet anyone?).Cons: Needs to be laid flat to dry.£105.50 AT AMAZON
  • Best shapewear for a smoothing effect: The scoop neck slipMedium Control Secret Slimming Full Slip
    • Sizes available – UK 8 – UK 24.
    • Shades available – Black, rose quartz.
    • Fabric – 63% polyamide, 37% elastane, (exclusive of trimmings).
    What customers are saying: This slip was of “good quality and comfortable to wear,” but some people “would’ve preferred the front to have been cut slightly lower.”Pros: It’s non-padded so if you’d rather wear your own bra underneath you can.Cons: Has a relatively high back, so won’t be suitable for low-cut dresses.Save when you shop for the best shapewear with these Marks & Spencer retailer discount codes at checkout.£29.50 AT MARKS & SPENCER
  • Flattening shapewear top: Sculpting bodysuit/cami bodyMat de Luxe Forming Body
    • Sizes available – XSB (equivalent to extra small B cup size) – LD (equivalent to large D cup).
    • Shades available – White, powder, black.
    • Fabric – 80% polyamide, 20% elastane.
    Why we love it: “I hate the look of too many straps personally, so the fact that this shaping body has an integrated bra – which means you don’t have to wear your own – is heaven-sent.” – Georgia Trodd, Senior Commerce Writer.Pros: You could get away with wearing it as a top as well as shapewear. It’s matte so doesn’t have that swimsuit sheen.Cons: Hand wash only.£150 AT WOLFORD

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  • Best stylist shapewear for dresses with thigh splitsSolution Short #2
    • Sizes available – XXS/XS, S/M, L/XL, 2X/3X, 4X/5X.
    • Shades available – 9 shades from Sand to Onyx.
    • Fabric – 78% nylon, 22% spandex.
    Why we love it: “I don’t know what I did before discovering these one-legged shapewear shorts. When you’re wearing a dress with a leg split, you automatically assume you can’t wear anything beneath it or you risk flashing it, but not anymore. And if the split is on the other side? Fear not, auntie Kim has got you covered there too with the Solution Short #1.” – Georgia Trodd, Senior Commerce Writer.Pros: Seamless makeup and a full surround gripped waistband to prevent rolling and cinch the waist.Cons: Free shipping not included with a £42 spend.£42 AT SKIMS
  • Best Spanx control briefs with corset-like waistSpanx Power Series Power Panties
    • Sizes available – S, M, L, XL, 1XL, 2XL.
    • Shades available – Very black.
    • Fabric – 51% nylon, 49% spandex/elastane.
    What customers are saying: A few reviews have deemed these as one of the only pairs that don’t roll down at all; “These are true to size, great quality and stay put!”Pros: Designed to be comfortable enough to wear all day.Cons: Ruching detail over the bottom area may be visible through thin fabrics.£27 AT AMAZON
  • Best high-waist briefs shapewear: Kim Kardashian SKIMSSeamless Sculpt Mid Waist Briefs
    • Sizes available – XXS/XS, S/M, L/XL, 2X/3X, 4X/5X.
    • Shades available – 9 shades from Sand to Onyx.
    • Fabric – 78% nylon, 22% spandex.
    Why we love them: These briefs “hold everything in and are stretchy and comfortable enough for wearing all day at the office. I feel so confident in them, would definitely recommend!” – Lucy Smith, former Commerce Writer.Pros: These have the best size range we’ve come across, and you can buy matching SKIMS brasbralettes and socks.Cons: They’re imported, so aren’t eco-friendly from a travel miles perspective.£32 AT SKIMS
  • Best shapewear for big busts/larger bustsTriumph Women’s Formfit Bs X Bodysuit
    • Sizes available – 36B – 44D (bra size).
    • Shades available – White, Skin.
    • Fabric – 54% polyamide, 27% cotton, 19% elastane.
    What customers are saying: “I was weary at first with the garment not being underwired and me being heavy busted, but I was actually amazed how the suit performed to sculpt my chest and actually even lift it. It’s made with a fabric that pulls your tummy in and smooths any bumps, and it looked perfect even under a chiffon dress for a wedding.”Pros: Hook and eye fastening at the gusset.Cons: It comes down quite low on your hips/thigh area, so can sometimes dig in.£30 AT AMAZON

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  • Best shapewear top/camisoleSKIMS Body Corset
    • Sizes available – XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL, 2X, 3X, 4X.
    • Shades available – 6 shades from Sand to Onyx.
    • Fabric – 61% polyamide, 39% elastane.
    Why we love it: Ever wanted a smidge more shape beneath something like a little black dress? Well this corset/shapewear top just might be the solution. Forget waist trainers, they’re far too invasive and oxygen restricting.Pros: It has adjustable, detachable straps so you can wear it with strapless styles.Cons: It’s insanely popular and sizes sell out regularly.£98 AT SKIMS

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