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Which shapewear for women is best?

Shapewear is used for a variety of reasons — for control after surgery or C-section, for a smoother shape under fitted dresses or for those who like a little more support. There is a type of shapewear available for almost every part of your body, including an exceptional full-body shaper from Spanx

What to know before you buy shapewear for women


There are many varieties of shapewear available to cover just about any area you aren’t confident about, including arms, legs, butt, thighs and shoulders. If you’re buying shapewear for a special event, consider what outfit you’ll be wearing and select the one most suited to that outfit, like a waist trainer or bodysuit for a form-fitted dress. If you’re buying shapewear for general everyday use, pick the one you feel you’ll use most often.


Shapewear is generally made from a blend of nylon and spandex. It is generally machine-washable with cold water, but be sure to avoid the dryer as heat will damage the fabric and cause it to deteriorate. Shapewear made from latex is hand-wash only. Be sure to regularly launder your shapewear to avoid bacteria and odors.

Types of shapewear

Body shaper

Otherwise known as Fajas, full-body shapewear starts at the arms or shoulders and extends to just above the knee. It generally does not include coverage for the breasts. There is much less chance of your shapewear rolling up or down in full-body shapewear, and it produces a streamlined look from top to bottom.


Stomach shapewear is good for smoothing the tummy and the lower back. A shapewear piece that includes shoulder straps will also smooth out the upper back area and the bra line. The pieces stop at the waist or continue into a bodysuit or leotard with snaps in the center of the pubic area. 

Waist trainers, otherwise known as corsets, are designed to train the waist to follow the shape of the trainer. These girdles provide extra support, often with boning. Even if you don’t follow the waist-training regimen, you can still use them as shapewear.

Butt lifting

This type of shapewear enhances the curve of your bottom and aims to lift the buttock area. The butt-lifting design can be found in many of the varieties of shapewear, including full bodysuits, underwear and some stomach shapewear. Some shapewear even includes padding to accentuate the rear.


Shapewear shorts not only smooth your thighs and butt, they also prevent thigh chafing. There is nothing worse than a rash from your thighs rubbing together all day under a dress or skirt. Shorts are also great for skirts that have see-through material.


Shapewear designed for the arms can help with extra compression on the upper arms and can improve your posture. Arm shapewear that covers the arms, shoulders and upper back can range from a piece that fastens directly below the center of your bust, to crop tops, three-quarter- length shirts, or long-sleeve shirts.

Tights and leggings

If you’d prefer to have leg coverage to the ankle or toe, consider shapewear tights or leggings. Shapewear leggings remove the need to wear two layers, as long as they aren’t see-through.

How much you can expect to spend on shapewear for women 

Shapewear isn’t cheap, especially quality shapewear that will withstand the test of time and your washer. Expect to spend at least $30-$50 per item, a little less for briefs or shorts, and a little more if you go with a name brand like Spanx.

Shapewear for women FAQ

How do you stop shapewear from rolling up or down?

A.  First, find out if you are wearing the correct size of shapewear. If the shapewear doesn’t fit properly, it won’t remain in place and it might create bulges. Measure your figure with measuring tape or a string and consult the size chart. Some shapewear brands also include rubber or silicone “grippers” that ensure the ends stay in place.

How do you use the bathroom in shapewear?

A.  For shorts or underwear you’d simply remove the garments. For a full body suit there is either an opening at the center of the pubic area or snaps you can undo.

What’s the best shapewear for women to buy?

Top shapewear for women

SPANX Shapewear for Women Thinstincts 1.0 Open-Bust Mid-Thigh Bodysuit

SPANX Shapewear for Women Thinstincts 1.0 Open-Bust Mid-Thigh Bodysuit

What you need to know: This is full-body shapewear that smooths the back, tummy and thighs.

What you’ll love: This light-weight body shaper features an open bust that lets you wear the bra of your choice. Despite being snug, the stretchy microfiber, nylon and spandex material is breathable and comfortable. A double gusset lets you use the restroom without removing the garment.

What you should consider: Some shorter users felt the bodysuit was too long.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top shapewear for women for the money

Nebility Women Waist Trainer

Nebility Women Waist Trainer

What you need to know: This waist trainer is ideal for cinching the stomach and providing lower back support.

What you’ll love: Three rows of hook-and-eye closures guarantee a comfortable, adjustable fit. The trainer is supported by flexible steel boning and comes in sizes extra-small to 3XL. You won’t have to worry about the trainer showing under your clothing as you have a choice between beige or black.

What you should consider: Some reviewers felt it was smaller than expected.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Spanx Shapewear for Women Thinstincts 1.0 High-Waisted Mid-Thigh Shaping Short

Spanx Shapewear for Women Thinstincts 1.0 High-Waisted Mid-Thigh Shaping Short

What you need to know: These shapewear shorts have a high waist and special tummy shaping panel.

What you’ll love: These comfortable yet sturdy shorts are made with microfiber, cotton, nylon and spandex in size extra- small through 3X. They are invisible under clothing and also smooth your thighs and rear.

What you should consider: A few users had issues with the legs rolling up.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Stefanie Hammond writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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