The Advice Sisters have a love/hate relationship with Body Shapers, but we couldn’t live without them! Modern shapewear is a must under certain styles, and no matter what you’re wearing good shapewear really does help you look better. The fabrics, light and stretchy (generally made from interwoven nylon and Lycra spandex), move with you and still control the bulges. Body shapers help clothing hang better on your body, pare down bulges, and help even a great body, look better. Bodyshapers make even good bodies, better. They’re are The Advice Sisters’ Weekly Obsession!
Now, to the why I wish I could avoid them: If you don’t get the right shapewear for the job, you may not get the result you want. And worse, if you don’t get the right size or the right amount of compression, you may compromise comfort and still not get the look you want. Buying a body shaper can be as confusing as figuring out your taxes. Should you go for the thigh high panty or the half slip shaper? Would a full body slip be best under a sweater dress? Do you get one with a built in bra, or one that allows you to wear your own? What size ? What compression level? White, beige, black or other?
The good news: We love you, oh body shapers, but they key to making the right match with you is to select by function, followed by fit. Here are some things to consider when adding to your Body Shaper wardrobe, for Summer 2013:
When it comes to warmer weather, consider lightening up the compression a bit, because heavy shapewear does hold in everything, including body heat and perspiration. I love the Spanx Heaven Medium Shaping Brief (Price: $34.00 Style: 1905), a soft, smooth, medium weight panty of super-silky modal. It’s cool and comfortable, without any elastic to cut into your skin. You can pull it on and off without hooks, velcro or contortions, but the double-layer tummy control will slim down any bulges under your clothing. This is not a itsy bitsy bikini, it’s meant to cover you, and while doing so, smooth out the lumps and bumps. You can get it in small, medium, large and extra large in natural (nude), minimalist (off white) and black.
For “the girls,” there are tons of SPANX bra styles. I like the Bra-llelujah!® Underwire Contour Bra ($62.00 Style 216) aavailable in five colors (pink, black, vanilla, raspberry, and nude) in in sizes 32A to 44 DDD! Bra-llelujah!® elastic-free and has a unique “Underwire Contour” design that banishes back fat , along with VBL (Visible Bra Lines) . It is made of silky modal on the outside but 100% cotton lined on the inside, for comfort in the heat. . The bra I wear-tested was the Bra-llelujah!® Soft Touch Underwire Contour bra ($68.00 Style 1485) in three colors, black, natural and minimalist. It also has the back-fat-busting design, and self-adjusting comfort straps that won’t dig into your shoulders when the heat makes you (ummm..swell). The front-closure design eliminates uncomfortable metal hooks and molded cups provide full coverage. When the weather heats up, the fabric feels fine, too: Outer Cup: 81% Modal, 19% Spandex/Elastane. Inner Cup: 100% Cotton. Back: 91% Nylon, 9% Spandex/Elastane. The bras are attractive, but not exactly sexy. However, they will make you look sexier in your clothes — and that is what a bra is for!
I am leaving the best for last. It’s an investment piece and well worth it. When you’re working out in the Summer months, or you need a lounging pant for home and travel that feels comfortable but still looks like you made an effort to be stylish, you can’t go wrong with the multi-tasking SPANX On-the-Go Pant ($98.00 to $102.00 Style 1267, 126-P) . These are a hypbrid of leggings and yoga pants, with tummy tucking but done in a subtle way, so you can still feel comfortable. Smooth out a few lumps and bumps with the Slim-X® belly-buster waistband, and if you wear an over blouse or tunic, no one will ever suspect! The legs are flared, and the pants have slimming back seams. There is a slim pocket so you can stash cash, cards and keys. You can wash these in a machine and you really don’t need to iron them, but you can: Waist: 60% Nylon 40% Spandex/Elastane. Body: 67% Rayon 26% Nylon 7% Lycra ®/Elastane. Gusset: 100% Cotton. You can find simple yoga pants or leggings for less, but they won’t look, feel and perform like these. I’d call this my must-have piece for travel, too. And, even better, they come in a wide range for sizes from Small to 3X. Every woman is going to want and need, these!
You can find all the SPANX products (including SPANX for MEN) on their web site, and of course, in department stores and retailers, just about everywhere.
Back in November, The Advice Sisters wrote an article about shapewear. I suggest you go and read that article before you start shopping for shapewear online or in stores. But what follows here are the very basics to know before you buy: Try before you buy. If at all possible, go to a store and try the body shaper on, preferably with the outfit you plan to use it with. Be sure that the top of the shaper legs don’t show when you sit down in your dress or skirt. Get the Right Size: Bodyshaper sizes are deceiving. They look like baby clothes in the package, and they stretch, but more or less depending upon the amount of compression you desire. Even if the size chart confirms this, the sizing may be meaningless when you try to get it on and off. If it’s too small, you’ll suffer. If it’s too large, why bother? Consider Your Wait on the Ladies Room Line: To get a shaper on, pull gently but firmly, and keep pulling slowly, as if you were putting on a pair of pantyhose. Once on, if you are soaked in perspiration, the fabric will stick to your skin like glue. Most shapers that aren’t just panties will have snaps, hooks or velcro, for the obvious reasons, but wear test them before you’ve gotten stuck on the long ladies room line or you may wonder if you can hold on, as you realize you can’t easily release yourself from your shapewear in time! How Many and What Colors? If your clothing is sheer, a body shaper in a complimentary color is a must. Anything in a funky color, or with print or trim, will show. That’s why you need several in light and dark tones. Can you really throw bras and shapewear into the washing machine? Sorry, but probably not. Delicates and items with elastic can deteriorate in washers and dryers. Hand wash and drip dry is the way to go. But if you must machine wash, use a lingerie bag (to keep underwires and straps from getting caught and loose, foam from getting bunched up or ripping), use the gentle cycle, and a low temperature. Due to the synthetics and elastics, machine drying is never recommended.