Silhouette, shape and style are three key elements for garment design. However, most designers and apparel manufacturers strive for proper fit as the end result. Certain styles that cater to form-fitting silhouettes define specific areas of the body. Undergarment manufacturers and textile mills have capitalized on this issue creating textiles with zone-compression technology. This fabric type is used in different body shaping undergarment silhouettes that contour and redefine your existing shape. Textile mills have also developed apparel textiles using the same technology. Though most underwear manufacturers offer several body contouring styles, companies implementing advanced textile technology for guaranteed shaping have fabric construction patents.

Body Shapers

Special occasions such as weddings or reunions generally warrant a new dress. For women who have added on a few pounds in unwanted areas or have had changes to their figure, contouring body shapers save the dress style shape and silhouette. Though each undergarment style differs — shape-slips, shape-suit or shaping bodysuits — body shapers contour waistlines, hips and thighs. Contouring textiles use graduating zoned-compression panels for designated areas. For example, certain body slips only compress the tummy and back. Read packaging labels prior to your purchase to ensure the body shaper contours your desired areas.

Redefining Chest Shape

Most stylists use undergarments to make clients look their best for any event, which often includes well-fitting bras that shape and contour the chest area. Though most bra manufacturers include wireless, under-wire, strapless and racer-back silhouettes, contouring bras, most often available in nude and black, offer shaping for specific areas. For instance, these bras slim the side and back areas, as well as minimize or lift the chest.

Redefining the Bottom Half

Tummy-taming, thigh-trimming and buttock enhancers describe undergarments that redefine and contour your bottom half. Although garments are sold individually, certain styles offer dual performance. For instance, high-waist mid-thigh shorts and bodysuits shape both the tummy and thighs. Certain manufacturers also include buttock-lift options in these garments. Using the same zone-compression panel technology, certain styles offer maximum contour support. Again, read the packaging to ensure you are purchasing the proper garment. Also, be mindful that maximum support can become uncomfortable after several hours worn throughout the day.

Compression Apparel

Women who want the same undergarment contour result can replace these pieces with compression garments. Since apparel manufacturers have also capitalized on shaping garments, compression apparel includes tops, bottoms and tights. Although most compression apparel is generally related to athletic wear, the same zone-panel technology is used for specific apparel pieces. Styles include slimming tanks and T-shirts, quarter-length sleeve slimming shirts as well as high-waist leggings. Although most silhouettes do not have design details, certain garments include styling features such as gathered fronts and zippered leggings.