SOMETIMES we need an extra hand to feel our best selves. The best shapewear enhances your figure, making you feel confident, sexy and ready to take on anything, without being too restrictive or uncomfortable.
We're not just talking high-waisted Spandex pants – there is shapewear for all kinds of needs. Whether that's lifting your butt, pulling in your waist or simply smoothing your tummy rolls.
Don't worry, shapewear has come a long way since its inception. It's now all about being really comfortable and feeling as though you aren't actually wearing any at all.
Thanks to names like Kim Kardashian's label Skims and Lizzo's brand Yitty being widely available in the UK, you can now get shapewear that actually looks pretty good too. You might even want to wear some pieces as actual evening attire (we're looking at you, Skims Soft Lounge Ribbed Slip Dress)
To help you navigate this now-wonderful, empowering space, we've found the best shapewear to shop online now. From Spanx to Skims and Heist, we've got it all.
What is shapewear?
Shapewear is literally what it says in the name: garments that you wear underneath your clothes to shape and flatter your body.
Senior stylist at Thread, Millie Rich describes shapewear as "an undergarment that helps smooth and sculpt your figure to accentuate your natural curves."
Best shapewear at a glance
- Best control pants for tummy: Yitty Nearly Naked Shaping High Waist Thong
- Best control pants for thighs: Everybody Shape Enhancing Seamless Mid Thigh Short
- Best shapewear for tummy and waist: Everybody Shape Enhancing Seamless Short Mid Thigh Bodysuit
- Best shapewear slip: Marks and Spencer Light Control Bandeau Seamless Slip
- Best shapewear vest: Chantelle Seamless Camisole Top
- Best shapewear shorts: Yitty Nearly Naked Shaping High Waist Short
- Best bodysuit shapewear: Yitty Nearly Naked Shaping Thong Bodysuit
- Best shapewear thong: Yitty Nearly Naked Shaping High Waist Thong
- Best shapewear bra: Yitty Nearly Naked Shaping Midi Bra
We've tried: Everybody Shape Enhancing Seamless Mid Thigh Short
- Everybody Shape Enhancing Seamless Mid Thigh Short, £14.40 (down from £18) from Very – buy here
If the main area you're looking to sculpt is the bum, tummy and thighs, all you need is a simple pair of shapewear shorts like these ones from Very's new Everybody range. They promise to lift, support and control your shape while smoothing the silhouette and making you look slimmer, and I can confirm that this is exactly what they do.
I was a little concerned to begin with, as the shorts appeared to be far too small for me as I tried to wiggle into them. However, you'd be amazed at how nicely they fit once you do get them on. Plus, the tight fit is a key component to the slimming effect that you're after.
While they might be snug, they don't cause any unflattering fat bulges or overhang. The shorts finish just a couple of inches above the knee and the waistband is so high that it reaches just below your bra band. Not only did I feel more supported and sucked in, but my curves were enhanced and I felt slimmer all over.
Unlike a lot of shapewear, I didn't find these shorts to be uncomfortable at all. In fact, I wouldn't be tempted to whip them off in the bathroom half way through an evening out like I often do with a lot of other shapewear.
The thing I love the most about these shorts though, is the clear clingy band of silicone around the waistband. This addition ensures that the waistband stays in place and doesn't drop or bunch up under your clothes.
I think these would work best under a maxi dress (I'm regularly wearing them under my favourite silk slip dress because they're seamless), but they could work under a mini dress too as long as the colour is a close enough match.
- Sticky waistband
- Very high waist
- Hard to get on
- Only three sizes
We've tried: Everybody Shape Enhancing Seamless Bodysuit
- Everybody Shape Enhancing Seamless Bodysuit in Beige, £24 (down from £30) from Very – buy here
Much like the brand's shorts from the Everybody range, the bodysuit has become a real staple in my wardrobe. This one is really easy to get into, but has just as much sculpting power on the stomach area. It's ideal for flattening your tummy area and supporting your boobs under a T-Shirt or dress. I wore mine underneath a very fitted black maxi dress and found that you could only very slightly see the knicker line, but it would be undetectable under something slightly looser. The low scoop neck means you can wear it underneath garments with a variety of necklines, too.
As someone with an average sized chest, I found that I was able to go braless with this bodysuit. However, if you've been blessed with a larger chest you may want to tighten up the adjustable shoulder straps and double up with a supportive bra.
The poppers between the leg space make it easy to go to the loo without needing to remove the shapewear and your clothes first, too.
- Easy to get on
- Can replace the need for a bra
- Adjustable straps
- Available in 4 different sizes
- Slight VPL
We've tried: Everybody Shape Enhancing Seamless Short Mid Thigh Bodysuit
Everybody Shape Enhancing Seamless Short Mid Thigh Bodysuit in Mink, £24 (down from £30) from Very – buy here
If you're after shapewear that covered everything but your arms and calves, then look no further. It's like if the regular bodysuit and shorts from this brand were joint up as one garment. But, this has to be my favourite of the entire collection.
The thick but lightweight and smoothing fabric feels really luxury and gives you the same sculpting effect that you'd get from any of the more expensive shapewear brands. I didn't feel restricted, either.
The biggest difference I noticed with this bodysuit was that it made my waist look smaller and had a more seamless overall slimming effect, because there were no gaps in my underwear.
It is definitely a little hard to get on, but like the shorts from this range, it's comfortable once you're wearing it. I'll continue to wear mine under a my favourite Skims long-sleeved maxi dress, but you could probably wear yours with a mini dress too.
The only annoying thing is, you'd need to remove the entire piece of shapewear and your outfit in order to go to the loo.
- Adjustable straps
- Can replace the need for a bra
- Have to remove in order to go to the toilet
- Hard to get on
We've tried: Pour Moi Definitions Shapewear Tummy Control Strapless Body
- Pour Moi Definitions Shapewear Tummy Control Strapless Body in Caramel, £27.60 (down from £46) from Pour Moi – buy here
If you want a piece of shapewear that you can wear with almost any dress in your wardrobe — strapless or otherwise — you'll be a fun of this one from Pour Moi. Its main feature is the fact that you can adjust or totally remove the straps. And, if you're wearing a racer back, you could cross over the straps to ensure they're covered.
This bodysuit definitely made me feel more sucked in than usual and smoothed over bumpy areas. However, while the seams do have a contouring effect, they will show through your clothes. So, in my opinion, this bodysuit would work best under a slightly looser dress. It is the best choice for ladies with fuller busts though, since you're able to tailor it to your exact cup and band size and the built in bra is underwired for extra support. And, it has adjustable hook and eye back fastening so you can loosen the bodysuit over the course of the day if it's too tight. Clever, right?
Let's not forget to mention the handy popper fastenings underneath, either.
- Adjustable and removable straps
- Smoothing cups
- Hook fastening back
- Sizes based on cup and band size for perfect fit
- Not based on dress size, so can be hard to find right fit
- Slight VPL
We've tried: Pour Moi Hourglass Firm Control High Waist Short
Pour Moi Hourglass Firm Control High Waist Short, £25.60 (down from £32.00) – buy here
For a simple pair of shaping shorts that stop at the smallest part of your waist, look to Pour Moi. While a super high waist is normally more flattering, I found the lower waistline on this pair to be a bit of a relief. They were still flattering and the hold is really firm, but I enjoyed the reduced intensity of a regular high waist compared to a waist that stops below the bra.
These shorts are pretty much seamless and can be worn under most things, but the contoured panels were slightly visible when I wore it underneath a simple ribbed bodycon dress.
I'll continue to wear these to prevent chafing and enhance my figure without discomfort, as they feel quite breathable and are still loose enough to wear all day.
- High waisted (but not ultra high waisted)
- Firm hold
- Short enough to wear a mini dress
- Contoured panels sometimes visible through clothes
We've tried: Pour Moi Definitions Shaping Control Brief
Pour Moi Definitions Shaping Control Brief, £14.40 (down from £18.00) from Pour Moi – buy here
At a first glance, I didn't think these lightweight, thin and silky knickers would do much However, when I looked closer I realised that the fabric is thicker and bonded around the tummy area for zonal control. The fabric in the back is stretchy and smooth so that it is comfortable and doesn't create a VPL. If your main aim is smoothing and slimming your tummy and hips, Pour Moi's knickers are all you need.
These knickers are easier to get into than a pair of sculpting shorts, but they're still just as supportive on the tummy. My only gripe would be the soft edges which, although they create a seamless effect and don't dig into the skin, can roll down and bunch up a little bit.
- High waisted
- Soft edges don't dig
- Tummy control
- Lightweight and breathable
- Soft edges roll slightly
We've tried: Yitty Nearly Naked Shaping Thong Bodysuit
- Yitty Nearly Naked Shaping Thong Bodysuit in Moody Bitch Taupe, £84.95 (£25.48 for members) from Fabletics – buy here
I have the Yitty Nearly Naked Shaping Thong Bodysuit in black and taupe, and I'd buy it in every single colour if I could (I've got my eyes on shades Bossed Up Brown and Tempo Lavender right now). These bodysuits are incredibly flattering, but they really don't feel or look like shapewear. You could just as easily wear them under a dress to support your tummy as you could wear them with a pair of jeans and a blazer and some hoop earrings to dinner.
These bodysuits really hug your curves and are totally and utterly seamless (thanks to the 4-way stretch fabric). I'd feel comfortable wearing these in the summer too, since the fabric is so breathable and lightweight.
As someone with an average chest size, I find the Yitty bodysuit to be a pleasurable alternative to a bra and knickers and I wear mine underneath plain T-Shirts and smart shirts all the time. The clever 'anti-uniboob' technology ensures that your boobs stay separate and supported, and since the bodysuits are available in up to size 5X (a UK dress size 34), ladies with larger chests may feel comfortable enough to go braless too.
Lizzo and her design team thought through every single detail, ensuring that this bodysuit is as practical (it's moisture-wicking and has bathroom-friendly popper closures) as it is sustainable (it's made with recycled fabric).
I'm seriously impressed.
- Supportive on the bust
- Thong (no VPL)
- No-roll waistband
- Available in a variety of colours.
- Wide size range (from XS to 5X)
We've tried: Yitty Nearly Naked Shaping High Waist Short
- Yitty Nearly Naked Shaping High Waist Short, £49 (£14.70 for members) from Fabletics – buy here
It's official: I'm going to be wearing the Yitty Nearly Naked Shaping High Waist Shorts all summer long. These look just like regular biker shorts and could be worn with a pair of cool '90s dad trainers and an oversized tee without looking out of place (especially in the Iconic Black shade, but I'm obsessed with the bright yellow, purple, red and blue options too).
Not only are these shorts trendy, but they're also great for beating chafing and, of course, sculpting your bum and thighs.
I find these shorts to be incredibly flattering on the stomach, bum and thighs, without any obvious contouring seams or panels. More than any of the other shorts on this list, I found these to lift my bum, slim my thighs and support my tummy without any restriction. Plus, the clingy clear silicone band (with the Yitty logo repeated all the way across) on the inside of the waistband ensures that the shorts stay up and don't roll down — without digging into your skin.
- Waistline doesn't roll down
- Recycled fabric
- Variety of colourways
- Variety of sizes
We've tried: Yitty Nearly Naked Shaping High Waist Thong
Yitty Nearly Naked Shaping High Waist Thong, £34 (£10.20 for members) from Fabletics – buy here
I typically find most shapewear thongs to have weaker sculpting power than their shorts and unitard counterparts. Or, if they're super strong and sturdy, they normally have a VPL and are rendered pointless. Yitty's offering gets it just right, though.
This thong has all-around compression, so it sculpts your tummy, hips and bum and every inch of fabric clings to the skin so it doesn't show through clothing. Just like the shorts, it has a silicone gripper around the waist to ensure it doesn't slip down and bunch up. I wear mine in the shade Moody Bitch Taupe with a bra underneath fitted dresses and skirts and have never had an issue with seams showing or the high waistline slipping and bunching up.
Although the fabric is thick, it's not heavy or restricting and it doesn't make you overheat. Plus, the Antimicrobial SilverSeam Technology keeps you fresh and odour free where other thongs may not. Well done, Yitty.
- Silicone band keeps waistband in place
- No VPL
- Medium compression
- Antimicrobial SilverSeam Technology fights odour
- Variety of colourways
- Variety of sizes
We've tried: Yitty Nearly Naked Shaping Midi Bra
Yitty Nearly Naked Shaping Midi Bra, £59 (£17.70 for members) from Fabletics- buy here
I find myself reaching for this bra on a daily basis. It is a tight squeeze to put on, but once it's on it genuinely feels like you're wearing nothing (and the customer reviews back me up on this). The fabric is stretchy and super lightweight, and I don't get sweaty like I have in the past with other fitted shapewear bralettes.
It lifts, supports and smooths without painful underwires or seams that show through clothes, making it ideal for wearing under anything from t-shirts to party dresses. I have shades Moody Bitch Taupe and Iconic Black, and I wear the taupe under white T-Shirts and lightly coloured things, and the black under dark clothing.
If you're someone who finds bralettes to be unflattering because they don't have individual cups, fear not. This bra has special 'anti-uniboob technology', which basically means it is designed to keep your boobs separate and defined. On top of that, the no-roll waistband (we love the build-in clingy silicone band) makes sure everything stays in place and the bra itself won't bunch up.
In my opinion, every plain T-Shirt I have looks so much better with this bra underneath than it does with my regular bras. This bralette really is undetectable under clothing.
- Anti-uniboob technology defines breasts
- Breathable fabric
- No-roll waistband
- Variety of colours
- Available in XS to 5X
We've tried: Marks and Spencer Magicwear Waist Cincher & Thigh Slimmer
Marks and Spencer Magicwear Waist Cincher & Thigh Slimmer, £35 from M&S – buy here
M&S's Magicwear Waist Cincher & Thigh Slimmer does exactly what it says on the tin: it makes your thighs and waist look a little smoother smaller. Available in 4 practical shades (black, brown, beige and tan), you'll find it easy to select a shade that works for your skin tone and outfit.
When I first tried these shorts on, I was concerned that they wouldn't fit well. It was easy to step into them, but getting them over my hips and stomach was challenging due to the intensity of the tummy control technology. But, I appreciated the tightness once the shorts were on because it definitely shapes your body and keeps wobbly bits in place (even when busting some moves on the dance-floor).
One of of the best things about these shorts is that the waistband goes all the way up to just below your bra. This means that there's no big gap in your underwear and no random bulges where shapewear stops, leading to a smooth, seamless silhouette. In other words, you won't be able to tell you have shapewear on, especially because the fabric is mostly seamless.
The thigh control isn't as intense as the stomach control, but that's not actually a bad thing. If the compression was too strong around the thighs, it would cause fat to spill out from the bottom of the shorts. My thighs do look slightly slimmer, but I found that the shorts mainly helped with keeping my tummy under control, beating thigh jiggles as I walk, and preventing chafing.
Even though the material feels quite thick, I didn't overheat due to the clever moisture-wicking Cool Comfort technology.
- 4 neutral shades
- Available in sizes 8 to 22
- Waist cinching
- Thigh slimming
We've tried: Marks and Spencer Light Control Bandeau Seamless Slip
Marks and Spencer Light Control Bandeau Seamless Slip, £20 from M&S – buy here
At a first glance, you'd think this was a regular bandeau dress with no sculpting power. But, when I tried it on, I realised that it's exactly what you want for a little bit of extra support underneath strapless or strappy dresses.
The fabric is super lightweight and cool, and the dress' main function is to cinch the waist and flatten your tummy. And it does exactly that.
- Cinches waist
- Flattens tummy
- Cool, smooth fabric
- Can only be worn with certain dresses (not that versatile)
We've tried: Marks & Spencer Medium Control Secret Slimming Full Slip
Marks & Spencer Medium Control Secret Slimming Full Slip, £15 from M&S – buy here
As soon as I slipped into this little number, I felt instantly slimmed down and ready to hit the down. It's super flattering, sculpting and lifting, and you don't need to wear a bra with it. For me, this worked well under a few different mini dresses. It's seamless and has soft edges, so you can't see it under your clothes. Plus, the silky feel and shiny finish give it a luxury feel. However, it wouldn't work with a strapless dress (obviously) or a strappy slip dress because the straps are quite thick and would be visible.
- Doesn't require a bra
- Really slimming and sculpting
- Available in sizes 8 to 24
- Only available in 2 shades
- Thick straps limit the dresses you can wear it with
We've tried: Marks & Spencer Body Define Firm Control No VPL Full Briefs
Marks & Spencer Body Define Firm Control No VPL Full Briefs, £15 from M&S – buy here
I like my shapewear knickers to be thongs rather than full briefs, so I was surprised to like these so much. Often full briefs that claim to have no VPL are disappointing, but I can confirm that these didn't show through my jeans, fitted dress or satin slip skirt. The waistband is just thick enough to prevent it from rolling down, so you don't have to worry about needing to readjust throughout the day.
They're super comfortable, will softly define your curves and support your tummy, and they're pretty affordable too.
- No VPL
- Smoothing and cinching
- Only available in two colours
Conturve High-Waisted Shaping Leggings
- Conturve High-Waisted Shaping Leggings, £19.99 (down from £50) from Conturve – buy here
Material: Premium stretch fabric Style: leggings Colours: black Size range: S to 4XL
Leggings are a year-round wardrobe staple. In winter you can pair them with oversized knits and boots, and in summer you can swap those for a lightweight linen shirt and some sandals.
These seamless shapewear leggings from Conturve smooth and shape your body, with a supportive waist panel for extra support.
You'll never want to go near a pair of jeans again once you've gotten used to the extra-high-waisted comfort you get from these leggings.
Be aware that although these leggings aren't at all see-through they are considered undergarments, so are best worn with long jumpers and tops, or even under trousers if you want extra support.
Skims High-Waist Shine Briefs
- Skims High-Waist Shine Briefs, £48 from Harrods – buy here
Material: Stretch-polyamide Style: briefs Colours: cocoa, onyx and sienna Size range: XXS to 5XL
Shapewear queen Kim Kardashian knows how to finesse a high-waisted brief that brings out your curves.
The Skims Shine collection is made to enhance your figure without skimping on comfort, featuring an ultra-soft finish and seamless design.
Choose from Onyx, Cocoa and Sienna to find one that suits your skin tone.
Skims Sculpting Bodysuit W.Snaps
- Skims Seamless Sculpt Brief Bodysuit , £68 from Skims – buy here
Material: Spandex Style: body Colours: nine variations of nude Size range: XXS to 5XL
A Skims best-seller, the Everyday Shapewear Bodysuit pulls in your core while simulatenously shaping and lifting your butt.
The Skims support level of this is rated strong so expect high-intensity sculpting.
It comes in nine different shades, but keep your eye on the site because these bad boys sell out pretty quickly.
Dorina Skin Skulpt High Waist Shaping Shorts
- Dorina Skin Skulpt Nylon Blend Mesh and Micro High Waist Shaping Shorts, £19.20 (down from £24) from Asos – buy here
Material: Recycled stretch fabric Style: shorts Colours: black Size range: UK 8 to 16
Head to ASOS for the Dorina Skin Skulpt mesh shorts, equipped with a high-rise waist for support.
Not only are they flattering and reasonably priced, they're cut from recycled fabric so you're shopping sustainably too.
The mesh cut out is cool too, in case you fancy doubling them as a hot date night outfit.
Ningmi High-Waisted Tummy Control Bodyshaper Butt Lifter
- Ningmi High-Waisted Tummy Control Bodyshaper Butt Lifter Boyshorts, from £11.99-14.99 at Amazon – buy here
Material: Stretch-cotton Style: shorts Colours: black Size range: S TO XXL
Ningmi's Butt Lifter Boyshorts are a number one bestseller in Amazon's 'Women's Control Knickers' category, so you can be sure they come highly rated by shoppers who have tried and tested this fave.
With high waist support and featuring a four steel bone design, the strong elastic spandex promises to help tighten your waist and belly, while remaining breathable in warmer weather.
One reviewer raves: "I’ve tried a few different ‘suck in’ shorts but none have worked as well as these do! I’ve been self-conscious of my mum tum and hip dips since having a baby and these have just given me my confidence back!"
We tested: Spanx Suit Your Fancy Plunge Stretch-Jersey Body
- Spanx Suit Your Fancy Plunge Stretch-Jersey Body, £132 from Selfridges – buy here
Material: 51% elastane, 49% nylon Style: body Colours: black and beige Size range: XS to XL
Love wearing bodycon dresses with plunging necklines? You'll want Spanx' Suit Your Fancy Plunge Stretch-Jersey Body on your radar.
It's a little pricey at £132, but this works for all all-over body sculpt, from your thighs to your waist, hips and bust, lifting your cleavage with padded cups and leaving an open back.
If you have a smaller bust then you might want to size down for this one as we tried a medium (we're size 12-14) and it definitely could have been tighter around the back, although it still gave us a sculpting fit.
It clings to your whole body in the best way, cut from an ultra-soft stretch fabric, with a U shaped support in-between the cups that holds them well in place.
Like all Spanx products, the quality can't be faulted and the removable straps are adjustable so you can decide how much lift you really want for your cleavage.
Definitely invest in this if you love a backless dress or deep neckline, as it'll never fail to give you a flattering silhouette.
We tested: Spanx Higher Power Shorts
- Spanx Higher Power Shorts, £35 from John Lewis – buy here
Material: 54% nylon, 46% elastane Style: shorts Colours: black and beige Size range: XS to XL
If you're after a smoothing, sculpting shapewear staple that ticks off your tummy, thighs and butt all in one, then Spanx's Higher Power Shorts just might be for you.
Available in soft nude (above) or very black, these are full coverage shorts with an ultra-high waist compared to the classic Power Shorts that Spanx also offer.
When we first got them out of the packaging, we were wondering how on earth we would get them on as they look quite small, but that's because the shorts pull you in so well.
We're obsessed with these. Not only do they completely flatten your stomach (even when we tried them on straight after eating), they sculpt your figure, accentuating the curves of your hips and butt.
There's even a slightly sticky waistband around the top which stops them moving as you wear them and they're so comfortable we can imagine wearing them all evening at a party with no problem whatsoever.
They're a lot higher than any other shape wear shorts we've tried, they go right up to your bust, which gives you really smooth shaping, ideal for wearing underneath tight-fitting dresses or jumpsuits.
Maidenform Women's Pretty Collection-Body Briefer with Lace Bodysuit
- Maidenform Women's Ultimate Slimmer Bodysuit, from £25.12 from Amazon – buy here
Material: 76% polyamide, 24% elastane Style: bodysuit Colours: white Size range: 36C to 42DD
A favourite under party dresses, this shaping design feels like sexy lingerie – it just happens to enhance in all the right places.
Fans rave that it's a 'confidence booster', 'the best fitting I have ever had', offers 'firm support' and 'makes me look a stone lighter'.
Spanx Faux Leather Leggings
- Spanx Faux Leather Leggings, from £68.81 from Amazon – buy here
Material: 94% polyamide, 6% elastane Style: leggings Colours: black Size range: 3XS to 3XL
Spanx have been around for over two decades, and the brand is still leading the charge when it comes to solution and style-focused shapewear.
These leggings have the shapewear benefits of a slimming power waistband and seamless front, plus the Spanx quality devotees have come to love and expect.
'An excellent fit, very slimming and a good length,' writes a fan.
Triumph Essential Minimizer Hipster
- Essential Minimizer Hipster, £20 from Triumph – buy here
Material: 79% polyamide, 21% elastane Style: hipster briefs Colours: variety Size range: 8 to 20
These no-nonsense hipsters from Triumph's best-selling Minimizer range might look like normal knickers, but they're actually shaping too. Winner!
Promising an invisible panty line, these discreet hipsters feature gathers at the back for supporting shape and are crafted from barely-there fabric, which ensures a forming and smoothing effect.
Pair with the coordinating minimizer bra to complete the set.
Wolford Tulle Forming Dress
- Tulle forming dress, £155 from Wolford – buy here
Material: 67% nylon, 33% elastane Style: dress Colours: nude and black Size range: 34 to 44
A shapewear dress is a fuss-free choice that's perfect for any formal occasions, so will cover you from Christmas parties to summer weddings.
This lightly shaping dress is made from a sheer stretch tulle with space for your bra, and offers the same Wolford quality we've come to expect from this brand's fantastic hosiery.
The light sheer tulle fabric ensures you can wear this under the most delicate of dresses or skirts.
Chantelle Seamless Camisole Top
Soft Stretch Seamless Camisole, £32 by Chantelle from Harvey Nichols – buy here
Material: 80% polyamide, 20% elastane Style: camisole Colours: black and nude Size range: XS to L
Less sculpting and more smoothing, Chantelle's cami top is perfect for building a seam-free silhouette under any outfit.
Featuring adjustable, seamless shoulder straps, it's made from a stretchy fabric that will feel like a second skin – which is exactly what we want from our shapewear!
Fashion Forms U Plunge Backless Bodysuit
- Fashion Forms U Plunge backless bodysuit, £32.20 from Etsy – buy here
Material: Stretch fabric Style: body Colours: black and nude Size range: S to XL
Backless tops and dresses used to be notoriously hard to find underwear for, but nowadays the options are limitless.
If your backless garment also happens to have a deep plunging neckline, this bodysuit by Fashion Forms is absolutely perfect.
Featuring detachable straps, self-adhesive push-up underwired padded cups and a backless design, this plunge front, thong bodysuit ensures a completely smooth and seam-free silhouette.
John Lewis Tessa Light Control Thigh Slimmer Shorts, Black
- Tessa Light Control Thigh Slimmer Shorts, £22 from John Lewis – buy here
Material: 70% elastane, 30% polyamide Style: shorts Colours: black and almond Size range: 8 to 18
These shorts from John Lewis's Tessa range are a bestseller, and come in at a great price if you're looking for an everyday style to wear under dresses and skirts.
Providing a seam-free finish and lightweight control shaping, they fit securely and comfortably from the midriff to the thigh — ideal for preventing the dreaded chafe.
Sure You Like Tummy Control Shorts
- SURE YOU LIKE Women High Waist Body Shaper Underwear, from £13.99 at Amazon – buy here
Material: 92% polyamide, 8% elastane, Style: high-waist shorts Colours: black Size range: 8 to 20
These well-priced shorts are designed to slim the tummy, highlight the waist and smooth away any lumps and bumps, and they won't disappoint.
Fans like the comfortable fit, and the fact they can be worn all day under all sorts of different outfits – yep, they're that easy to forget about.
'Very comfortable and made me feel like a princess model, obviously not Tyra Banks, but had me doing an elegant wiggle,' writes one happy customer.
Maidenform 'Take Inches Off' Unitard
- Maidenform Women's Take Inches Off Unitard Bodysuit, £44.99 at Amazon – buy here
Material: 81% polyamide, 19% elastane Style: bodysuit Colours: beige and black Size range: S to XXL
This bodysuit provides firm control with space for your own bra, smoothing from the bra line right down to the mid-thigh.
It's great under dresses and fans insist it's the best shapewear piece for all kinds of complaints, from muffin tops to a pot belly and unsightly rolls.
One fan writes: 'It feels far more comfortable than the high-waisted pants I usually wear because it does not roll down and the shoulder straps can be altered'.
Commando Whisper Weight Tank
- Whisper Weight Tank, £45 from Commando – buy here
Material: 78% nylon, 22% Spandex Style: camisole Colours: black, beige and white Size range: XS to XXL
Commando is the latest brand to hit the UK from across the pond – and it's revolutionising shapewear as we know it.
This cami combines smoothing with ultimate comfort and seamless edges thanks to an innovative raw-cut fabric.
You won't be able to see or feel it under your clothes. 'I never really understood the point of camis, in terms of functional lingerie. 'This one changes that. I can wear lightweight, light-colored tops with this in hot weather without uncomfortable added bulk. 'It actually makes my existing wardrobe more usable.' writes a convert.
M&S Body Define Firm Control No VPL Full Briefs
- Body Define Firm Control No VPL Full Briefs, £15 from M&S – buy here
Material: 62% polyamide, 38% elastane Style: knickers Colours: rose quartz and black Size range: 8 to 24
M&S has long been a must for shapewear, and their current collection is filled with some great options – like these firm control briefs.
Available in two shades, the no-VPL waistband is designed to be super comfortable while offering you firm tummy control.
The colourways can also be worn with bras from the M&S range for a coordinated underwear look. No more mismatching!
M&S Collection Light Control No VPL Full Briefs 2-pack
- Light Control No VPL Full Briefs 2-pack, £12 from M&S – buy here
Material: 77% polyamide, 23% elastane Style: briefs Colours: black Size range: 8 to 24
You just can't argue with £12 for two pairs of light control briefs, can you?
These are perfect for comfy everyday wear, providing gentle compression to smooth and flatten your tummy, while still remaining totally wearable.
John Lewis 15 Denier Sleek Body Shaper Tights
- 15 Denier Sleek Body Shaper Tights, £7 from John Lewis – buy here
Material: 88% nylon, 11% elastane, 1% cotton Style: tights Colours: variety Size range: S to XL
Shapewear comes in all forms, so if you're not keen on specific control pants – why not swap out your ordinary tights for a shaping pair?
John Lewis's 15 denier tights are available in six shades, including black, sable and natural, and they feature a wide waistband to hold in and smooth your waist, hips and tummy.
Be sure to pick up a few pairs, as these are always handy to have in your underwear drawer.
KSKshape Arm Shaper Compression Sleeves
- KSKshape Arm Shaper Compression Sleeves, from £18.99 at Amazon – buy here
Material: 79% nylon, 21% Spandex Style: sleeves Colours: black and beige Size range: S to XXXL
If you're self-conscious about excess skin on your back and arms, an arm shaper can be a great confidence booster, helping to smooth and sculpt those areas with no one needing to know you haven't been working out religiously.
Offering medium compression, this version by KSKshape is also recommended for post-surgery, arm liposuction surgery recovery, brachioplasty and post-weight loss.
It even promises to provide back support and help correct your posture, with one shopper commenting: 'You will unconsciously keep straight when you sit.'
SKIMS Boned Stretch-woven Waist Trainer
- SKIMS Boned stretch-woven waist trainer, £74 from Selfridges – buy here
Material: 75% nylon, 25% elastane; interior 81% nylon, 19% elastane Style: waist trainer Colours: clay and onyx Size range: XXS to XXXXL
Kim K's shapewear brand SKIMS has been a cult favourite ever since it launched – this waist trainer even had a waiting list.
You can get your hands on it right now from Selfridges and you won't be disappointed. Crafted from ultra-thin and soft neoprene with flexible boning for a smoothe silhouette, wear this on days when you want to feel extra cinched and fabulous.
Next Firm Tummy Control Cupped Lace Slip
- Firm Tummy Control Cupped Lace Slip, £36 from Next – buy here
Material: 78% nylon, 18% elastane, 4% polyester Style: slip Colours: black, chocolate brown, nude and tan brown Size range: 32A to 38DD
Next's shaping slip manages to do both sexy and practical, so it's a win in our eyes.
Designed to smooth the tummy and hips, the bra is lightly padded and comes with multiway straps, which can also be removed if you need to go strapless.
It's firm control, too, with one 5-star reviewer describing it as being a comfortable fit and easy to put on.
Next Total Support Smoothing Microfibre Body
- Total Support Smoothing Microfibre Body, £42 from Next – buy here
Material: 82% nylon, 18% elastane Style: body Colours: black and nude Size range: 34B to 34F
In the mood for sexy lingerie?
This smoothing body from Next not only looks amazing but features a firm control panel if you want a bit of extra help in the tummy department.
The full cup design makes it ideal for larger busts too, with cup sizes available from B to F.
- PowerConceal™ Full Body Tummy Control Shapewear, £65 (down from £106) from Shapellx – buy here
Material: 77% Nylon and 23% Spandex Style: body Colours: Black, Brown, Lilac, Almond Milk, Beige, Light Purple Size range: 34B to 34F
Running up to 5XL, the PowerConceal™ body is ideal for defining your curves in the best way possible.
Thanks to the support running from your bust all the way to your thighs, you'll feel like your best self, with a smooth tummy and lifted butt.
It even has an open crotch so you can pee with no fuss. Love that.
Which company has the best shapewear?
There are so many shapewear brands available in the UK in 2023 that finding the right garments for you can be tricky. The most popular luxury shapewear brands on the market are undoubtably Skims (owned by Kim Kardashian) and Yitty (Lizzo's brand with Fabletics), and part of this is down to their products going viral on social media time and time again.
The best shapewear company for you totally depends on your budget and preferences. There are more affordable options out there at brands like M&S, Pour Moi, and Everybody at Very.
Does shapewear flatten stomachs?
Yes, shapewear is capable of creating the appearance of a flatter stomach. Certain garments, like shaping shorts, briefs, knickers and bodysuits, will specifically target your stomach with elastic and rigid fabric that artificially holds in your stomach.
Which type of shapewear is best?
There is not a 'best' type of shapewear. The best shapewear for you depends on the area you want to target and what you're planning to wear it underneath. For example, a all-in-one unitard wouldn't work with a strapless mini dress because you'd see the straps. Equally, if you're fair skinned and wearing a nude or partially see-through dress, you should choose shapewear in a colour close to your skin tone rather than a black or brown garment.
You may need to own several pairs of shapewear for different purposes.
What are the different kinds of shapewear?
Thread's senior stylist, Millie Rich says that there are so many different types to wear depending on what you want to achieve.
"Controlling camisoles – perfect to help control your tummy; controlling tights/shorts – can be worn under dresses and skirts to shape your bum and thighs; corsets – on-trend garments used to make your waist appear smaller while shaping your tummy," she explains. "Body shapers – a full-coverage shaper that shapes your torso and your breasts; control pants – a great option for cinching your tummy and streamlining your waist; salf slips – perfect if you want to wear a mini dress or skirt, they shape your waist, tummy, and thighs; dress slips – like a half slip, a dress slip is great to wear underneath a mini dress and provides full support from the bust to the hips."
Why does shapewear roll down?
Rich says that the best way to stop shapewear from rolling down is to shop for the correct size. Pretty straightforward.
Can you wear shapewear everyday?
"There's no hard rules when it comes to wearing shapewear every day, but there are some things you should be aware of," says Rich. "There are different types of control levels when it comes to shapewear, but light control is recommended if you want to wear shapewear every day, as it is much more stretchy and flexible. Firm-control, on the other hand, is often more rigid and is best kept for special occasions, as it offers a lot of sculpting, but not much comfort.
"For the best breast support it is best to wear underwire bikini tops and bikinis with a push-up quality, which can help make exercise, such as swimming, more comfortable. Simply Be blends theirs with high elastane, nylon fabrics, and thicker straps, so you feel comfortable and supported all over."
Does shapewear really work?
Since shapewear is a compression garment, it can smooth out lumps and bumps, accentuate curves and make whole areas appear thinner and flatter.
Shapewear is designed to make everything look smooth and is worn underneath clothes, such as dresses and tight trousers, but it won't create permanent changes.
Some people insist that wearing waist trainers can shrink your waist over time, but there's no evidence to prove that.
There is, however, scientific evidence to show wearing too-tight garments for too long can create digestive problems.
How do I choose shapewear?
The type of shapewear you choose depends on the look you're trying to achieve – and the occasion you need it for.
Be sure to pick the right size (the size you normally wear). Tone your legs with shapewear shorts or leggings, high-waist knickers can do wonders for making tummies look flat, and a shapewear bodysuit will smooth the whole torso (that's why it's a favourite under bodycon dresses).
How much do body shapers cost?
As with any item of clothing, you'll find body shapers at a range of price points.
M&S is a good option for budget-friendly shapewear, with 2-pack knickers starting at £10.
Premium shapewear brands like Spanx are more expensive: you're looking at paying around £60 for the Suit Your Fancy high-rise stretch jersey thong.
Should you buy shapewear a size smaller?
No, you should buy shapewear in your regular size.
Since shapewear is made from slimming, stretch fabrics, it will fit snugly over your body when you get the right size – that's how it was designed to work.
What is the best shapewear for under a dress?
It all depends on what sort of coverage you're after, but for occasion dresses, lots of women opt for a full bodyshaper or slip for the most seamless of bases.
If you feel like you just want some extra support in the form of a light control pant or tights, then these are really comfy and wearable options. Just do you!
What is the best shapewear for tummy control?
Anything that says 'firm control' is your friend if you're looking for sculpting in the tummy area.
Check out some of the briefs and shorts in our picks above: these will smooth your silhouette, without creating any unwanted bulges.
What colour shapewear is best?
Shapewear comes in a brilliant variety of skin-matched tones these days, so opt for something similar to your complexion for a completely natural look under light or sheer clothing.
Meanwhile, for more opaque garments, you can't go wrong with white or black shapewear – plus you can mix and match it with your other underwear.
Where to buy shapewear?
As you can see from our feature, there are so many places that stock high quality shapewear, including:
- John Lewis
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