A young woman zipping up her dress
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Shapewear can be a lifesaver under clingy cocktail dresses and form-fitting knit tops. The right shapewear can smooth your silhouette and minimize trouble spots while helping clothes hang better. To keep your figure looking tiptop, find shapewear that properly fits your form and avoid the hassle of adjusting and tugging at ill-fitting undergarments.

Understand that shapewear comes in different control levels. Extra-firm control shapewear offers dramatic slimming results, using up to three plies of fabric with high amounts of visible stitching. Firm control uses two plies of fabric with large amounts of stitching and often combines rigid and stretchy fabrics to control and tighten. Firm-control garments may also contain boning. Light-control garments typically consist of one ply of soft, knit fabric with very little stitching and offer the most comfort and least dramatic results. Because of their highly constructed nature, extra-firm and firm-control shapewear pieces are less likely to move around or roll down than are softer, more comfortable light-control garments.

Buy the correct size. Squeezing into shapewear that is too small will likely result in lumpiness, bunching, rolling or riding up. If you're between sizes, go up rather than down a size. Try several control levels of garments in your size. A garment that feels too loose in a light-control level might feel just right in a higher level of control.

Find styles that flatter your figure. If you carry your weight around the middle, shapewear that sits at the waist might cause a muffin top or roll down. Look for high-waist versions of your desired shaper that come up to the bra line or try an all-in-one style like a bodysuit that combines a bra with a lower-torso shaper.

Don't skip the trip to the dressing room. Because shapewear comes many styles, shapes and support levels, it's important to try your shapewear on to get the desired fit and level of comfort. You should be able to breathe, sit, and move around comfortably in whatever garment you choose. For the best results, try on a variety of styles that target your figure problem in different sizes and support levels.


Choose shapewear with a shiny finish over those with matte finish to ensure that clothes glide smoothly and easily over top and avoid catching.