I wear some form of shapewear just about every day. With that being said, I'm kind of a self-proclaimed "Shapewear Expert." I first started wearing shapewear when I lost a significant amount of weight and need to "firm things up" a bit. I've tried just about every style and am here to share with you what has worked and not worked for me. I also want to make the point that not all shapewear works for every outfit. There are certain styles that work best for specific occasions and looks. I usually have the "shapewear talk" with at least one or two customers a day. After having the talk over and over again I decided it was time to put it in writing. But don't worry, if you're in the store I'm still happy to talk all about Spanx if you want!
Let's start with the High Waisted Panty. This style of Spanx is my go-to shapewear. I wear it almost every day. Ignore the picture -- if you get these pull them all the way up and tuck it right under your bra to smooth everything from your bra down. These work great under jeans to help avoid a "muffin top." Spanx makes these in various control levels. For daily wear and all day comfort, purchase the thinner ones. They are more comfortable and won't make you too hot and you won't feel like your suffocating. The undie-tectable high-waisted panties by Spanx are my favorite. They are soft, seamless and have lightweight compression that will smooth your midriff.
Let's talk about Tank Tops next. Wearing a snug slimming tank top is something I do almost every day. I usually just throw a Nikibiki Tank (seamless and slightly smoothing) top over my high-waisted panty and bra; however, I have been known to double it up and wear a shapewear tank top. Shapewear tanks work well for those who want to smooth the top half of their bodies. If you are mostly concerned about your back looking smoother or avoiding love handles, the tank is the way to go. You can tuck it into your pants or pull it over the top of them.
For a long time, I kept buying shapewear camisoles that rolled up my torso throughout the day and drove me crazy. Lately I've had luck with both the Spanx Tank Top and Camisole and the Lysse Tank Top. The Spanx tanks are nice and thin and have a band along the bottom that keeps the tank in place. They are almost sheer, so should be worn with something else on top. The Lysse tank top is thicker and doesn't look like shapewear at all, so could easily be worn by itself.
The trick with tank tops is to buy the correct size. Buying a size smaller might make you think you'll look like you're actually that size; however (take it from me) you will be so uncomfortable and spend most of the time adjusting your tank top and pulling it down that you'll never want to wear it again. The main advantage to wearing the perfect shapewear tank top is that going to the bathroom is much quicker! Think about going to the bathroom in your high-waisted panties vs. a tank top. It's just plain quicker to have regular underwear on.
A High-Waisted Mid Thigh panty is another option for those who want to smooth their midriff and thighs. Once again, fit is most important when wearing mid-thigh shapers. Go too small and the legs will roll up on you. I recommend wearing a mid-thigh shaper with dresses or skirts, especially in the summer. When it's hot out, having the thigh coverage can help reduce chaffing or "chub-rub." I also like wearing these to avoid panty lines.
Spanx makes several options of mid-thigh shapers. The "Trust Your Thin-stincts" are my favorite. They are, as the name suggests, thin. The leg band doesn't roll up or cut into my leg. Just like the high-waisted panty, I wear these pulled all the way up and tucked under my bra. Another option is the "Skinny Britches sheer shaping high-waisted short." These are a light compression option and can be paired with a tank top for extra compression. The Skinny Britches (image to the right) are great for hot days, because they are sheer and lightweight. The fabric is smoother, so your clothes are less likely to cling to it.
For a more serious job, the Spanx "Slim Cognito" are the way to go. This shaping mid-thigh bodysuit is a little thicker and has removable clasps the attach to your bra to keep everything in place. The compression level is higher and they are designed without a leg band to reduce bulge on the thigh.
For all-over shaping and smoothing a body suit or slip work great. Both are great under dresses or tunics. The body-suit (left) has adjustable straps and can be worn with any bra. It also gives the girls a little extra boost. The Slimplicity open-bust body suit is great to slim the back, midriff, rear hips and thighs. However, keep in mind that going to the bathroom can get a little tricky. There is a cotton gusset that you can open up when nature calls so you don't have to take the entire thing off. Personally, I prefer to keep it safe and pull down the body suit to go to the bathroom even if it does take a little longer.
I wear my Spanx lingerie slip under most of my dresses and longer tunics. It fits just like a long tank top without flattening the bust too much. The slip slims the tummy, hips, thighs and rear and has adjustable straps. An added bonus: going to the bathroom is quick and easy in this slip.
Believe it or not, there are also great shapewear options for your bottom half. Spanx and Lysse make AMAZING leggings. They tighten up your rear and legs and smooth in all the right places. Seriously, I feel like a new woman in my Spanx leggings. They are thick, stretchy cotton. It's a bit of a workout to get them on the first time, but once they are on they are comfortable and leave me feeling confident and sexy.
The Lysse leggings are just as amazing as the Spanx leggings for different reasons. They are slightly thicker, so look more like a skinny pant than a legging. There are hidden panels on the inside of these leggings that smooth the tummy and rear. I feel confident wearing these with my shorter tunics or to workout in.
And if you're looking for a great workout pant, Spanx can help you out there as well! Check out the Spanx Power Pant or the On-The-Go Pant. They are both great yoga pants with high waists that smooth and don't roll.